I am ready to wrestle with doubt.
I don’t think I could have said that ten years ago or even five years ago. I have been serious about faith, specifically Christian faith, for eighteen years. I think I have always had doubts, but I am just starting to wrestle with them. In the earlier days of my Christian journey, I assumed doubt was the enemy of faith. I assumed to acknowledge the presence of doubt was a sign of weakness or Christian immaturity. So I did what any eager young follower of Jesus would do, I faked it. I hid my doubt. I stuffed it down and ignored it. I convinced myself that good Christians don’t have doubt. I quoted Scripture like a Hindu mantra and hoped doubt would just go away. It didn’t.
I am wrestling with doubt.
Faking it has to be the most fatal of Christian diseases. While there are a number of bad habits that can shipwreck one’s faith, nothing is more fatal than ignoring doubt, stuffing down questions that seem to contradict Christian belief, and just faking it. Pretending to be self-assured (or God-assured) when you are riddled with nagging doubts undermines authentic faith. Real faith acknowledges doubt, calls it what it is, and wrestles with it in order to understand Christian belief more clearly.
On Friday, I picked up The Reason for God by Tim Keller. Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York. I read the introduction before I got home.
Keller got me thinking about wrestling with doubt. He writes:
“Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts–not only their own but their friends’ and neighbors’. It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them. Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide grounds for your beliefs to skeptics, including yourself, that are plausible rather than ridiculous or offensive. And, just as important for our current situation, such a process will lead you, even after you come to position of strong faith, to respect and understand those who doubt.”
Wrestling with doubt not only strengthens my faith, but it also helps me understand the doubts shared by skeptics and those outside the faith, so I can more effectively lead them to Jesus. I want to teach on this subject soon.
I want to teach on doubts related to:
1) The existence of God
2) The exclusivity of Jesus
3) The authority of Scripture
4) The problem of evil
My doubts are not related to these subjects. I don’t have any doubt in the first three. I do struggle with the problem of evil. I got some doubts there, but honestly my doubts are not in these subjects. Nevertheless, I want to wrestle with the doubts others have with these issues so I can understand.
fides quaerens intellectum
faith seeking understand
faith wrestling with doubt
This is the Jesus way.