Faith Without Conviction

Benjamin Franklin was a gospel preacher who lived from 1812 to 1878 and preached primarily throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Below is an excerpt from a sermon he preached in 1868. It addresses a much needed topic - shallowness of faith. Hebrews 11.1 speaks of conviction. Faith without conviction…what benefit is that? Here is the excerpt:

“Many of the fashionable and educated, in the highest circles of life, who go to and belong to church, could not tell what they believe if it were to save them from perdition. A reason why such cannot tell what they believe is, that they do not believe anything. They are simply non-believers. It is a fact that a large number go into a church, commit themselves to the church, without ever reading, or hearing read, the creed, and utterly without knowing what is in the creed. It is useless for these to talk about faith, their creed, or any other creed. They know wha† church they have joined, but know not what is in the creed, or what is the belief of their church. Faith has nothing to do with the action of such people. All creeds are the same to them. They know nothing of what is in any of them. They have started out with the popular idea that ‘there is good and bad in all churches; that all ought to belong to some church, but it is no difference what church, “if the heart is right.”’ They have fallen in love with some church because of its fine organ, delightful music, pleasant minister, fine house, respectable members, or their special associates of being there, and not on account of any creed or any belief, for they know nothing of any creed and have no belief. They simply know that they belong to a different church from some of their neighbors, but do not know what the difference is. They are deceived, thinking that they are believers, when they not only believe nothing themselves, but do not know what a man should believe to become a Christian.”

Speaking of creeds, this same Benjamin Franklin wrote the following words on church creeds:

“No man of intelligence will affirm, in plain terms, that the Bible is not sufficient for the government of the saint; or that man (i.e., uninspired man) can make a creed that will serve a better purpose than the Bible. Still such affirmations are implied in every attempt made by uninspired men to make a creed. If you admit, as all are bound to do, that the law of God is in the Bible; that nothing may be added to it, nothing taken from it, and that no part of it may be changed, there is not an excuse in the world for making another law. The law of God in the Bible is the law, the divine law, the supreme law, in the kingdom of God; and it is a treasonable movement to attempt to get up another constitution, law, name, body, or officers, apart from the constitution, law, name, body, and officers as found in the Bible.”