Monday, August 28, 2006

Is Faith a Volitional Act?

Continuing with the questions posed to Professor Zane Hodges at the 2000 Grace Evangelical Society conference, the following question was asked after part two of his speech How to Lead People to Christ. A written, abridged version of the speech is available online in the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society.
Question from the audience: Wouldn’t you also say that when a person believes, that it is not a volitional act? It’s not that they can decide to believe something. If a person is 99% sure of something, they have not believed it. They can’t make a decision to believe. When we use that nomenclature, we kind of confuse the issue as if … you know … I believe the chair will hold me, but I’m not certain. Therefore they don’t really believe. But it’s not a volitional act that they decide to believe something of which they don’t really hold to.
Answer from Professor Hodges: I agree with that 100%. I cannot decide to believe something that I’m not sure is true. And I’ve often used the illustration: If someone told me that Bob Wilkin is the biggest crook in Dallas, I can’t decide to believe that because I don’t believe that is true. There are bigger crooks. [Laughter from the audience].