As I read, think, and write about Christian apologetics I find this question to be a central issue in the minds and hearts of those who struggle with the idea of God. This only makes sense. Salvation comes through faith, but people I rarely meet someone struggling to receive salvation from God; they usually just struggle to believe in Him.
It is in these instances, when someone wants to believe in God, that we need stop discussing faith, and start discussing God. Faith rarely comes by hearing evidence. It sometimes comes by understanding propositions. It usually comes by experience. It always comes with a love for a person – that person is God.
John C. Collins defines faith as “trust towards a person.” I think this simple definition shapes the foundation of saving faith. And it is a definition that people understand.
Every husband or wife puts their faith in a person they know and, based upon that knowledge, trust. Why else do people so often encourage dating as a stepping stone to engagement as a stepping stone to marriage? It is because more time allows for more shared experience, which allows for more mutual knowledge, which allows for more trust. It is only once trust has been established that faith in marriage and commitment becomes tenable. Faith is trust towards a person.
I think most apologetic/evangelistic encounters rise and fall upon the definition and experience of trust towards God.
So next time you encounter someone struggling with the idea of God, stop giving them proof of his existence and start telling stories of His faithfulness. Infect them with the idea that God is a person worthy of their informed trust – not blind faith.
Where trust goes before, faith is soon to follow.