What is the Free Grace definition of belief? Also, what is “intellectual consent,” and is it more than a belief in a historical Jesus? I would like to understand.
There are disagreements in Free Grace (and in Evangelicalism and Christianity) circles over those questions. Here is my answer in the form of twelve theses on belief:
- All belief is propositional.
- To believe is to be persuaded that a proposition is true.
- Belief does not come in degrees: you are either persuaded or you are not.
- Before you can believe a proposition, you must first understand what the proposition means.
- You can understand a proposition without believing it to be true.
- There is only one way of believing (i.e., being persuaded), but there are many different propositions you can believe.
- Whether or not you have saving faith depends on what you believe, not how you believe it.
- The historical facts of Jesus’ life and the saving message are both propositional.
- You can believe the historical facts of Jesus’ life and also believe a false saving message.
- To be saved, you must believe the saving message (i.e., Jesus’ promise of eternal life, or justification by faith alone, or the equivalent).
- The power of salvation lies in Jesus and His promise, not in your belief (or your behavior). Belief is merely instrumental.
- Assurance of salvation is propositional—it is believing that Jesus’ promise of eternal life is true “for me,” that Jesus is “my Savior,” that I “have” everlasting life.