You are a Christian.
You put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
You have been baptized and you are a member in good standing of a Christian church.
For years everything was fine between you and God.
But now, suddenly you have doubts.
Maybe something happened in your life to cause you to question your faith.
Maybe you are having trouble accepting some of the teachings of the Bible.
Maybe you have come to see that Christianity is not all it is cracked up to be.
Maybe you have read a book from an author like Bart Ehrman and now you have questions.
Whatever the reason for your doubt, I am here to help you.
Going to your pastor or a fellow church member won’t help you. They will tell you to pray, trust God, or resist the temptation of Satan. I suspect you have tried all these things and yet you still have doubts.
Christians are taught not to doubt. Just believe. Just have faith. Only in Christianity is the natural human experience of doubt considered a bad thing.
Doubt means you have questions. Doubt means something doesn’t make sense to you. Doubt means that the answers of the past no longer answer the questions of the present.
First, it is OK to doubt. Anyone who tells you otherwise has something to hide or has an agenda. Your pastor wants to keep you as a church member and he knows that the exit door of the church swings outwardly on the hinges of doubt. So, he tells you to trust God, pray, read your Bible, attend church more, and confess any sin in your life. Yet, you still have doubts.
Second, the only way to find answers for your doubts is to be willing to read and study. You must be willing to work hard. If you really want to know…the answers can be found.
Third, be honest. I mean completely honest. Don’t lie to yourself. Be willing to meet the truth in the middle of the road. Engage every bit of new information and weigh it carefully. Don’t move forward until you really understand the new information.
Fourth, you must be willing to follow the path wherever it leads. Are you willing to lose your faith if that is where the path leads? Are you willing to leave the church you are a part of if that is where the path leads?
Fifth, the only person you have to answer to is yourself. This journey of yours is singular. It is a lonely walk that you must take by yourself. No one can guide you, direct you, or tell you which way to go. You alone must chart your course. Remember, the journey is more important than the destination.
Sixth, Don’t be in a hurry. Take your time. You have your whole life ahead of you.
Seventh, be careful who you share your doubts with. Christians are known to turn on those who don’t think like they do. They think their God demands conformity and obedience and as a doubter they will have “doubts” about you.
It doesn’t matter where your journey takes you. Maybe you will stay right where you are, but I doubt it. It is likely that your doubts are telling you something about where you are now. Staying where you are is not an option IF you are really serious about finding answers to your doubts.
Here is what I know from my own experience…you will always have doubts. Having questions is how we mature as human beings. As we seek answers to the doubts we have we develop a better understanding of self and the world we live in. Pity the person who never doubts, who never seeks answers to questions. Ignorance is not bliss and understanding self and the world we live in is key to living a happy, productive life.
I am here to help you, no strings attached, I don’t want your money, life, or soul. I have no desire to convert you to atheism. In fact, I am quite certain that most people will not end up where I am. It is not about you being like anyone else. It is your life, your journey, and I hope you will walk on in openness and honesty.
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Bruce Gerencser spent 25 years pastoring Independent Fundamental Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Christian Union churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. Bruce attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. He is a writer and operates The Way Forward blog. Bruce lives in NW Ohio with his wife of 32 years. They have 6 children, and five grandchildren.
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce