Temporary Faith – Thomas Ridgley

There is another kind of faith, which has some things in common with saving faith, and is sometimes mistaken for it, but is vastly different from it. This, in some, is called an historical faith; and in others, by reason of the short continuance thereof, a temporary faith. An historical faith is that whereby persons are convinced of the truth of what is revealed in the gospel, though this has very little influence on their conversation: such have right notions of divine things, but do not entertain a suitable regard to them; religion with them is little more than a matter of speculation; they do not doubt concerning any of the important doctrines of the gospel, but are able and ready to defend them by proper arguments: nevertheless, though, in words, they profess their faith in Christ, in works they deny him: such as these the apostle intends when he says; Thou believest that there is one God, thou dost well; the devils also believe and tremble, James ii. 19. And he charges them with a vain presumption, in that they expected to be justified hereby; whereas their faith was without works, or those fruits which were necessary to justify, or evince its sincerity; or to prove that it was such a grace as accompanies salvation; and therefore he gives it no better a character than that of a dead faith.

As for that which is called a temporary faith, this differs little from the former, unless we consider it, as having a tendency, in some measure, to excite the affections; and so far to regulate the conversation, as that which is attended with a form of godliness, which continues as long as this comports with, or is subservient to their secular interest: but it is not such a faith as will enable them to pass through fiery trials, or part with all things for Christ’s sake, or to rejoice in him, as their portion, when they meet with little but tribulation and persecution, in the world, for the sake of the gospel. This will evidently discover the insincerity thereof; for it will wither like a plant that is without a root: our Saviour speaks of it in the parable, of the seed that fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root they withered away; which he explains of him, who heareth the word, and anon with joy, receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of thy word, by and by he is offended, Matt. xiii. 5, 6. compared with ver. 20, 21. This parable had a particular relation to the Jews, who heard John the Baptist gladly, rejoicing in his light for a season; and seemed to be convinced, by his doctrine, concerning the Messiah, who was shortly to appear; but when they apprehended that his kingdom, instead of advancing them to great honors in the world, was like to expose them to tribulations and persecutions they were offended in him; and this is also applicable to all those who think themselves something, and are thought so by others, as to the profession they make of Christ and his gospel; but afterwards appear to be nothing, deceiving their own souls.

– Thomas Ridgley, A Body of Divinity, Volume 3, p. 124

11 Responses to “Temporary Faith – Thomas Ridgley”

  1. natamllc Says:

    For me, from my years in ministry, the worst of the temporary faiths I have seen come and go is found in understanding this parable portion:::>Luk 8:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. Of the four soils, the first two make it out quickly enough.Of the next one, here is where daily discipline and a response to every off colored situation is very important, "no" matter how long they have been among us, because when Jesus comes to explain the length of time from the first to the fourth, this third one can be quite deceiving as the Word of God is being choked dead out of them right under our noses slowly. We ought to test all things, not just some things!! Why?Luk 8:14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. The pleasures of life/bios/life and the cares and riches are things that take a long time to surface to maturity.What then is our course?1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1Pe 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 1Pe 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1Pe 5:11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Now ask yourself, when viewing both soil's fruit, initially, don't they produce the same appearances?Seems that way to me?Here, it seems to me is where I see Thomas Ridgley is getting at my point, when we read this:::>"….or is subservient to their secular interest: but it is not such a faith as will enable them to pass through fiery trials, or part with all things for Christ's sake, or to rejoice in him, as their portion, when they meet with little but tribulation and persecution, in the world, for the sake of the gospel.".

  2. skillet Says:

    What do you think of Gordon Clark's understanding of James 2:19?

  3. Turretinfan Says:

    My recollection is that he reduced faith to knowledge and intellectual assent. If my recollection is correct, I disagreed with his position.

  4. skillet Says:

    Is your disagreement with Clark based on your understanding of James 2:19?

  5. Turretinfan Says:

    Yes, in part.

  6. skillet Says:

    So why do you think that faith doesn’t reduce to knowledge and assent?

  7. Turretinfan Says:

    Because of verses that use the word "trust."

  8. skillet Says:

    Clark claims that the term fiducia, which is often joined with knowledge and assent to make the definition of faith, has never been unambiguously explained. Can you unambiguously explain “trust”?

  9. Turretinfan Says:

    Perhaps I cannot. Would that change anything?

  10. skillet Says:

    It would help explain why you think that because certain verses use “trust,” Clark is wrong.

  11. Coram Deo Says:

    Maybe Clark is describing demonic faith.

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