Saving and Secular Faith: An Invitation to Systematic Theology - B. A. Gerrish
Gerrish argues that faith is not an exclusively religious word, but "the perception of meaning and purpose in one's life through commitment to an object of ultimate loyalty in which one finds security" (33). Whether one is religious or not, "a faith of sorts underlies the whole of human existence" (43). The belief in an external, meaningful world; the belief that our senses accurately receive information from this world - "these are the presuppositions of every scientific experiment and every scientific generalization" (43).
Whether one buys his argument or not, Gerrish provides an insightful summary on faith. New Testament faith (Greek: pistis) is a two-sided concept that corresponds to the English words "belief" and "trust." To believe is to accept something as true. To trust denotes a disposition of the will. One trusts in something or someone. Trust underscores the reliance, confidence and commitment the believer exercises toward the object of faith. Thus, there is a difference between faith as propositional assent and faith as personal trust. Both are aspects of saving faith: "In short: Saving faith is both (1) perceiving one's experience under the image of divine benevolence (fides) and (2) a consequent living of one's life out of an attitude of confidence or trust (fiducia)" (14).
Faith as propositional assent is not assent to knowledge in the strict scientific sense. The intellect is not compelled to believe. The intellect must be moved to assent by a deliberate choice of the will. There is for the Christian, however, only one object of faith - God - but the believer apprehends the one object through a multitude of propositions. One of the main beliefs is in God's benevolence or goodwill as disclosed in the gospel.