Robert Rollock on Temporary Faith

Rollock explains that temporary faith is different from historical faith (and other sorts of non-soteric faith) and that it shares many elements with justifying faith. Rollock says:

The reason of the name is this; it is called Temporary, because it endures but for a time, because it hath no root.

It hath the same object with justifying faith, and which is properly so called, namely Jesus Christ with his benefits, offered in the word of the Gospel and in the Sacraments; wherein it differs from historical faith, which hath for the object thereof the universal truth. It hath the same subject with justifying faith; for it hath its meat both in the mind, and also in the will and heart.

Last of all, it hath as many parts of nature as the justifying hath. For it is a knowledge of the understanding, conjoined with both the judgments of the mind, and it is the apprehension of the will or heart, whereout followeth also the stirring of the affections, as of joy, delight, &c.

But that I may speak a little more largely of this apprehension, which is in temporary faith, and of this joy. First, it is certain by the Scripture, that these things are in the temporary faith. For Christ saith in Matthew, That he, which is but for a time, doth receive the Word, and that with joy. And in John, the Jews are said to have rejoiced for a time in the light of John the Baptist. And to the Hebrews, there is attributed to this faith, not only the enlightening of the mind, but also the taste of the heart, and that performed not only by the Word, but also by the Spirit; for he saith, “They which have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost.” Therefore, in temporary faith, there is indeed a kind of apprehension; there is indeed a certain joy, wherein temporary faith differeth from historical faith. For in historical faith, these things are not indeed, but he that hath it doth feign, and dissemble, and lie, in his outward profession, that he hath these things; wherefore he is a shameless hypocrite. But he that hath temporary faith hath these things indeed-apprehension, I say, and joy, after a certain manner, neither doth he so feign or lie, as he that hath an historical faith; yet he is a hypocrite, because this apprehension and this joy are not sincere, albeit after a certain manner they be true.

…For temporary faith is a knowledge in the mind, and an apprehension in the will, of Christ with all his benefits, but yet temporary, or enduring but for a time. And thus much of temporary faith.

~ A Treatise of God’s Effectual Calling pg. 208, 210 in The Select Works of Robert Rollock Vol. 1 (Woodrow Society 1849)

Notice that temporary faith is an “apprehension in the will of Christ with all his benefits.” Now it is interesting that Rollock will still contrast temporary faith against “justifying faith,” and I don’t know that “and all his benefits” necessarily includes justification, though you would think it would.

What this shows is that there is a breadth in the manner of speaking alloted to Reformed theology.

This entry was posted in church history, fv by Steven Wedgeworth. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.

One thought on “Robert Rollock on Temporary Faith

  1. Pingback: The Scottish Heresy | Theopolitical

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