When the Preacher Has Doubts

When the Preacher Has Doubts July 19, 2017

photo-1432836721189-7525e6869861_optLast week’s blog in this column was by my former preaching intern Mitch East, and Mitch was making the point that sometimes doubt can be seen as “trendy” and something people pursue to be on inside of what C.S. Lewis calls “the inside circle.”

And I’ve been in ministry long enough to know that’s sometimes true, and also long enough to know there is another side to that truth as well.

Most of the people I’ve known who struggle with doubt aren’t wearing that a badge of honor, or pursuing it, but are trying to honestly wrestle with questions they have about God/their faith/Christianity.

I just read yesterday another quote by C.S. Lewis about how when he was doing his work on Christians apologetics that caused greater seasons of doubt than almost any other. Here’s what he told a group of priests in Wales in 1944:

“Nothing is more dangerous to one’s own faith than the work of an apologist. No doctrine of the Faith seems to me so spectral, so unreal as the one that I have just defended in a public debate. For a moment, you see, it has seemed to rest on oneself; as a result, when you go away from that debate, it seems no stronger than that weak pillar…”

There’s something about ministry that can wear on you, make you ask questions even as you give answers, or as C.S. Lewis said, after you give answers.

And that brings me to this video. Meet Mike Cope. Many of you already know him, he’s the author of lots of books, he’s currently the director of the Pepperdine Bible Lectureships and he was the previous preacher of Highland Church of Christ, the church I currently serve at.

I’ve heard Mike talk about this before several times, but I’ve never seen him to do so publically and on video. Normally this is the kind of conversation that starts and stays in whispers among a select few trusted friends, and so I’m very thankful that Mike was willing to share this part of his story publicly.

Because the worst place a preacher can do is have to pretend to believe in order to get a paycheck, and yet sometimes as we walk through life or just the text we’re preaching that week we face our own set of doubts. We’re just human, we’re asking the same kinds of questions that the People of God have asked since time began, questions that are, ironically enough in the Bible itself.

But because of the role we have, we often don’t feel like we can share that part of our faith journey with others, and if that’s you, than I think this video will bless your ministry. And if it’s not you, I still think it’s important to watch, because chances are someone you care about is asking these kinds of questions.

Maybe even your preacher.

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