Faith is not a private reality that arises from inner reflection or as a result of philosophical investigation. People receive the Spirit “by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:2-5). When human beings hear the word of the gospel and believe, they are saved. The oral proclamation of the word is necessary for faith.

—Thomas R. Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ

Discussion

  • Ben Arbour thought to say:

    This last line troubles me. Faith is impossible apart from someone actually hearing, orally, the word? That would make it impossible for the Spirit of God to so move a person from unbelief to faith from reading the world of Scripture. For, if the oral proclamation is necessary, there is something sacramental about preaching. Consider the implication of his statement: no person can have faith until that person, even if after reading and believing the contents of Scripture, later heard the oral proclamation of the word, since, according to Schreiner, such is “necessary” for faith.

    Am I missing something?

    Offer a rejoinder↓
  • Ben, I’ll have to look up the context again, but I don’t think that was the point Schreiner was driving at. Rather, for Paul, in Paul’s day, there was no way people would have access to the gospel without that proclamation. (Obviously the situation is rather different in our own day.) Schreiner’s emphasis was on the way Paul understood the necessity of his mission, rather than whether Paul thought – or we should think – that oral proclamation is necessary. For Paul, it certainly was, in any case.

    Offer a rejoinder↓

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