Faith and Feelings

As evangelicals, we tend to promote “faith not feeling” as a necessary reminder that we do not live by our changing emotions (driven by changing circumstances) but by the unchanging rock of God’s Word and character. All this is right and good. But is there more to it than that?


Dietrich Bonhoeffer, reflecting on Spinoza, wrote, “Emotions are not expelled by reason, but only by stronger emotions.”[1] I suspect there is a good bit of truth in this. We are called to be joyful always (1 Thessalonians 5:16): shouldn’t this joy, rooted in the eternal work of God, overcome a host of lesser emotions, rooted in the vicissitudes of life? We have been created, called, redeemed, reconciled, adopted by God in Christ. We acknowledge this truth by faith—not feeling—but it produces within us the feeling that overwhelms all others.


The joy of eternity expels the sorrow, anger, fear of the moment.

[1] Letters and Papers from Prison, enlarged ed., trans. Reginald Fuller, Frank Clark, and John Bowden (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971): 375.

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