I was listening to a podcast from William Lane Craig’s Defenders class the other day and was struck by a particular point he made. Many people have no desire to grow in their faith. They are simply comfortable sitting back and never thinking through either what they believe or why they believe it. For these folks, the idea is that they have a “childlike” faith that has a noble quality, but is this truly the case?
Craig makes the point that many people have what is actually a “childish” faith and not “childlike.” To have faith like a child is to be fully trusting in one that is greater, stronger, wiser, etc. This is typical of the faith you see between a child and parent (obviously there are parents who fail miserably). This is good and desirable. In fact, Christ expects us to have faith like that of a child (Matt. 18:2-3).
The faith that does not seek to grow and develop is childish. This is not something to be striven for, but just the opposite.
The Scriptures plainly tell us to use our intellect in our relationship to God.
Matt. 22:37 – Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (NIV)
1 Cor. 14:20 – Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.
So, you can see that we are to have faith like that of a child, but we are to grow and mature in our thinking. It is important for us to learn about our faith and have the ability to articulate what we believe.
The question then becomes one of where to begin. If you have never seriously studied the Bible, then I must say that the place to begin is right there. Don’t just dive in at random places, but have systematic plan in place. There are many Bible reading programs that can be used to help keep you on track with reading through the Bible in one or two years. In addition to reading the Scriptures it is also good to learn about the many doctrines of the faith. For this, I feel a good introduction is the book, Christianity 101 (click here for Christianbook.com) I read it years ago an like the way he treats varying viewpoints. His approach allows you, the reader, to come to conclusions on your own.
All in all, it is my hope that each of us seeks to grow daily in our faith. While we desire faith that is childlike, let us never confuse that with childish.