Trust and know

Augustine of Hippo wrote crede, ut intelligas, “believe so that you may understand” (Tract. Ev. Jo., 29.6), which contrasts with what many want to do, that is, understand so they may believe. Both of these have their place but the point of Christian faith is to trust that we may trust more.

Christian faith is in the first place trust in Christ. This trust is like the trust that people can have for each other. As one way this is expressed is by trusting the words of the other person, so Christian faith trusts the words of Christ. Christians trust that Christ came from God the Father and expresses God’s will so they trust the Word of God expressed by and in Christ.

How do we trust someone? Don’t we have to know them perfectly first in order to trust them? Some people are very suspicious of others and seemingly cannot trust anyone. For them trust may begin with very small steps. They can start by trusting someone on a very minor manner and find out if the person is worthy of a little trust. If the person is worthy of a small amount of trust, they can gradually increase their trust more and more.

This can be done with the words of Christ, too. One can start with a single sentence and trust it as one trusts the words of a faithful friend. This is a small step, not a leap. It should not be a leap in the dark or blind faith if one has at all heard the claims of Christ and how they have been defended.

Experience is a teacher though not the easiest teacher. It is best if one can trust the words of a teacher without trying to discover everything on one’s own. However, some experience is valuable in order to fully understand and remember a lesson. That is why teachers use exercises to get their point across.

It is sad that so many attack the Christian faith by attacking blind faith or a leap in the dark. They are wasting their time. Christian faith is never blind, never a leap, but always a step, and a step that is not alone but accompanied by the Spirit of God and the prayers of the faithful.

The result is knowledge, not of abstractions or practicalities but of a person, Jesus the Christ who presents the Father who sent him and the Spirit who is sent by him. This is a great mystery on the outside but a great friendship on the inside. Come join us.