Rationalism, otherwise called Modernism, is a Hermeneutical method
of interpreting Scripture in light of that which the interpreter
deems rational. Characteristically, Rationalists deny miracles in
Scripture since they seem "unreasonable." For example, Modernists
deny that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
Faith transcends (rises above the limits of) Rationalism. Faith
"is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
seen" (Heb. 11:1). "Hermeneutics means theory of interpretation"
(A Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, p. 282). Christians live
by faith, not by theories of interpretation.
Faith transcends Rationalism because it is not limited to human
theories, logic, reason, knowledge, and understanding. This message
rings loudly in Scripture demanding that we "walk by faith, not
by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). However, Rationalists walk by sight, not
Hebrews records two examples of faith in the destruction of Jericho.
The first is the destruction of the walls. The Bible says: "By faith
the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven
days" (Heb. 11:30). Now what does circling the walls of Jericho
for seven days have to do with the walls falling? Logically, nothing.
Rationalists attempt to explain this event in a way which dismisses
the intervention of God. But we understand that Israel obeyed God
in a very simple thing whereby God gave them victory over Jericho.
The second example of faith, in the destruction of Jericho, is
the salvation of Rahab. The Bible says: "By faith the harlot Rahab
did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received
the spies with peace" (Heb. 11:31). Remember that the spies told
her to bring her relatives into her house, not to go outside the
house during battle, and to bind a scarlet cord in the window through
which she had let them down to escape (Josh. 2:17-20). Then after
the walls fell, Joshua sent in the spies to rescue Rahab who lived
on the wall (Josh. 6:20-23). Now what does tieing a scarlet cord
in a window and staying in a house have to do with being saved from
the destruction of Jericho? Logically, nothing. And what does faith
have to do with the salvation of Rahab and her household? By faith
she obeyed God; therefore, God saved her. The cord did not save
her - God saved her because of her faith.
Paul writes: "For whatever things were written before were written
for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the
Scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4). What do we learn from the
Scriptures? We learn obedience through faith - not through logic
and reason. Faith rises above the carnal mind of man to obey God
whether or not His commands seem reasonable.
Now think about those things which God desires from His children
today? Think about the manner of life God desires us to live. And
think about the salvation He is ready to give all those who walk
by faith. No, we cannot earn God's blessings. But He requires that
we walk by faith in obedience to His ordinances apart from human
reason and understanding.
Do you believe? If you do, you will obey God whether or not it
seems rational to your mortal mind. God is not seeking to save "smart"
people. He is seeking those who believe. Concerning this fact Paul
wrote: "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer
of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not
know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message
preached to save those who believe" (1 Cor. 1:20-21).