Dr. James Kennedy founded Evangelism Explosion. Within this curriculum you will find the term mere intellectual assent. This refers to a basic belief in God similar to what the earthly brother of Jesus illustrates in the passage below. One of my favorite bands from college was a group called Surrender 18. This name matches their hit song as the lyrics reveal there are only 18 inches from your head to your heart. This distance is what separates the beliefs of an atheist from a Christian.
You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as [a]make a man’s hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]! – James 2:19
Neil Diamond wrote the song “I’m a Believer” for his 1967 album Just for You. Yet, the Monkees version of this song became number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1966 due to the popularity of their television show. The lyrics of Diamonds song is the opposite of faith, referring to physical attraction: Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind; I’m in love, I’m a believer. Anyone can believe in something you see, but it’s what you do with your belief that makes it special.
And [so] the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God’s will in thought and deed), and he was called God’s friend, James 2:23.
James uses Abraham’s belief as an example in the passage above. The book definition of belief is an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. Abraham’s response to God was multi-fascinated. When asked to sacrifice his one and only son from his wife Sarah, waiting decades to be born, Abraham adhered to, trusted in and relied on God. Bible scholars suggest that Abraham believed that God would somehow resurrect his son if he was faithful to God’s calling. This is genuine belief.
by Jay Mankus