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LIFE ISSUES

Christians have always believed that to doubt is a sin. We try to resist doubt like the plague.  After all, the Bible is clear about this subject. Take for example James 1/5-8

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

At the risk of appearing to challenge the authority of Scripture (which I do not for a moment believe I am doing), I want to make a case for the legitimate place of doubt in the life of the believer. Here is my thesis:

I believe that any professing believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who does have times of doubt and seasons of questioning is not really serious about their faith.

In fact, I would go further and say that such a person will be restricted and hindered in their Christian experience by superficiality. People who are serious about their commitment to anything will not allow a superficial attitude to compromise their commitment.

I can almost hear someone objecting to this line of reasoning: “But if we doubt God surely that is an expression of lack of trust/faith in Him?” I would respond by saying that faith/trust in God is dynamic, not static. i.e. we are meant to grow in faith and sometimes it is the trial of faith that enriches and matures our faith.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1/5-8 NIV)

A superficial faith is no faith at all. Genuine doubt can make us challenge the superficial. Genuine integrity can make us honestly own the questions that we would otherwise deny to ourselves let alone to others.

It’s in that sense that I use the title, The Ministry of Doubt. True doubt makes us seek greater depth and, in that way, it ministers to us or serves us well.

Suppose you are faced with a family tragedy and all that you have believed about God - His love, faithfulness, mercy, kindness etc – is called into question. In a sense you have two options. You could walk away from all you have believed OR you can enter into a season of internal conflict as you struggle with God seeking answers to hard questions.

Either of those options have much more integrity than a third option – stay and pretend that there is no conflict to be acknowledged.

That’s superficiality.

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