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Mediaeval/Reformation Schema of Faith


Mediaeval/Reformation Schema of Faith
(see lecture #4)

Notitia:             understanding

Assensus:         assent

Fiducia:           trust

Note 1:  For the Protestant reformers faith (fides qua creditur rather than fides quae creditur) occurs only at the level of fiducia.  Still, the previous two aspects are included in fiducia.  Understanding is essential or “faith” is mere idolatry.

Note 2:  At notitia only there is what Wesley calls mere “notional faith” and Calvin “empty ideas flitting about in the brain.”

Note 3:  The reformers reject the “implicit faith” of 16th century Roman Catholicism wherein it was asserted that to assent to “the faith of the church” was sufficient (since for the reformers fiducia included assurance, and this assurance many people felt they lacked.)


Calvin’s Fullest Definition of Faith

“Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”            Institutes 3.2.7

Note the following:

“…if faith turns away even in the slightest degree from this goal toward which it should aim [i.e., the Word that creates faith], it does not keep its own nature but becomes uncertain credulity and vague error of mind.”                                                                                   Institutes3.2.6

“It is after we have learned that our salvation rests with God that we are attracted to seek him.”

Institutes  3.2.7.


Wesley’s Objection to the Scholastic Protestant Ordo Salutis


He felt that the ordo salutis implied a series of atomistic states wherein the person moved from one “link in the chain” to another.  The schema suggested a set of transitions rather than a developing relationship with God as Holy Spirit and quickened spirit “breathed” into each other.

He felt that the order in ordo suggested a direction that could never be reversed; i.e., the Dordt’s insistence on final perseverance denied the possibility of regression or apostasy.

He felt that the ordo was highly abstract as befits scholastic method, lacking the concreteness of pastoral concern.

For this reason Wesley should be understood in terms of a via salutis rather than an ordo salutis.