Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fact, Faith, Feeling

"Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where to get off', you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith." Mere Christianity

Many years ago, when I was a young Christian, I remember seeing the graphic illustration above of what C. S. Lewis has, here, so eloquently put into words. FACT is the engine of the train of the Christian life which pulls the car of FAITH behind with the caboose pulling up the rear, filled with FEELINGS.

There are many debates today about what exactly are the historical facts which can be known for certain as true about the foundation of Christianity. As much as that topic is debated it hasn't changed the evidence we have for early Christianity; we have that evidence in the New Testament. There is an objective reality on which my faith is based. That reality was what it was long before I was born. It will be what it will be long after I am gone from this planet as we know it now.

In a world that is in a constant state of flux it is good to know there are some things which never change. In some ways I know more today than I did at thirteen years of age about the historical foundation of Christianity; in some ways I know more about the FACT engine of the Christian train. But in some ways I know less than I thought I knew when I was thirteen. Be that as it may, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is unchanging, regardless of my faith or my feelings or even my knowledge about it. That Gospel is the engine which pulls my little life along, even when my faith is minuscule and my feelings constantly want to jump the track in one direction or another.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8


Marty said...

Got your site on a search to credit the "Fact, Faith, Feeling" Train. Do you know where it orignially came from.

Thank you,

Marty Adams, marty_pastor@yahoo.com

WILL VAUS said...

Dear Marty,

The FACT/FAITH/FEELING Train comes from Campus Crusade for Christ's Four Spiritual Laws.


Lee Corder said...

Dear Will, just found your blog while doing some work on a sermon for 1st Pres Hburg and was much appreciative of your good work here. I will look forward to reading further.I also have used the Fact, Faith, Feeling illustration from Crusade but recently discovered F.B. Meyer wrote of just such years before in his little book The Secret of Guidance, Chapter 4 found on line at: http://www.ccel.org/m/meyer/guidance/guidance.htm

Blessings and thanks
Lee Corder

Will Vaus said...

Good to hear from you Lee! Glad to be of help. And thanks for the note about F. B. Meyer. Many blessings upon you and your ministry in all places.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much for sharing.
Earlier today I was thinking about someone close to me who is a believer, they had confess to me that they had lied to someone and asked Jesus to forgive them. She then asked me if He did in which I quickly thought of the verse If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) So I reminded her of that verse. Later the train came to me and upon looking for it I found your site.
if we went by our feelings: I don't feel He forgave me or as in the serpent beguiling Eve with "did God REALLY say that?" we'd be placing the feelings car before the faith car. Thank God we have the Word to remind us of what God says… that is putting faith before our feelings when we look to His Word for the standard. A dear lady shared it with me when I came to Christ nearly 2 decades ago. The way she explained it was how fickle our feelings can be and we need to base things on God's Word not our feelings. As we grow in the Lord our feelings follow. It's so awesome that after all these years the Holy Spirit brought this to my remembrance when talking with this lady.
I never knew that C.S. Lewis also talked about the train. I will have to look into that book Mere Christianity.

Will Vaus said...

Dear Ruth,

Thanks for your heartfelt comment with which I heartily agree. I'm glad you found my blog and found it helpful.

Lewis did not use the train illustration, but what he did say in Mere Christianity goes along beautifully with this illustration, I think.