Let me comment on the column “Power of belief is key to Christian renewal,” by The New York Times’ Ross Douthat, which was published in the Dec. 21 LNP.
It had some merit, and I liked that it cited the ancient prayer, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” But the biblical passage in Mark 9:20-29 doesn’t teach a human-based “power of belief.” Yes, it teaches faith. But a faith that exists when the Holy Spirit (third person of the Trinity) empowers us to read and obey the Bible. And, thankfully, spiritual power belongs to the omnipotent triune God who, as Father, sent his Son to die for us on the cross, then rise from the dead to go and prepare a place for us in heaven.
So it is misleading to talk about a human “power of belief” that is “key to Christian renewal.” For God alone can renew the spiritually dead. Yes, we have sinned and continue to come short of what pleases him. Yet God, in mercy to us, sent his Son to be born of the virgin Mary and has two natures — one nature as God from the beginning of time and one nature as a child of Mary.
In summary, no human “power of belief” to renewal exists among men. But it does belong to Jesus, Son of God and Son of man, who saves sinners by his power and calls us to himself, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
So, if we rise and follow him, it will be due to his power, not ours, and we will win the race.
The Rev. Robert S. Rapp