- - Saturday, March 30, 2024

Doubt is often considered a dirty word in Christian circles. As early as Sunday school, we learn to be wary of doubting Thomas, the infamous apostle who was skeptical about Christ’s resurrection and was told by Jesus to “stop doubting and believe.”

In practice, however, facing occasional doubt and questions is a regular part of faith and can help fuel spiritual growth according to J.D. Greear, author of the new book, “12 Truths and a Lie: Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions.”

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“The 12 truths are answers to the most common questions that I get asked, whether that’s from college students or people in the congregation that I serve. The lie, the one lie I included in the book, was that the presence of those questions or doubts makes you a bad person [or] there’s something defective in your faith,” Pastor Greear recently told The Washington Times’ Higher Ground. “Just look at the disciples, who got an in-person lesson day after day of trusting Jesus in the midst of questions.”

The longtime pastor and former President of the Southern Baptist Convention revealed that he still has questions about certain parts of his faith, even after years of study and ministry. And yet, being open and honest about those questions has helped fuel numerous meaningful conversations with those who have felt too scared to admit that they sometimes have doubts.

“I found that when I began to, as a pastor, verbalize just questions I struggle with, and honestly, I have a PhD in theology and I’ve been a pastor for 20 years and I still got questions about certain things. I found that when I verbalized them, a lot of people in our congregation sort of came out of the woodwork and said, ‘You know, I’ve asked the same thing or I’ve wondered the same thing I’ve been afraid to ask,’” he explained. “I tell them, and this is one of the things I try to bring out in the book, is that a lot of our Bible was written by people who were in the midst of some really difficult questions.”

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From wanting to know when the things Jesus talked about would happen to what signs they should be looking for, the disciples were constantly seeking answers from the Lord. What they ultimately had to learn, and what Christians must hold onto today Pastor Greear said, is that regardless of our questions, our confidence comes from who Jesus is and what He did on the Cross.

“If you’re waiting on answers to all of your doubts to be resolved then you’ll never be a person who will have any peace with Christ,” he noted. “In fact, the Bible writers did not learn all the answers to their questions. A lot of times what they got was Jesus saying, ‘You know me and you can trust me. And even where you don’t necessarily understand the answer, you can trust that there is an answer because I rose from the dead.’”

Indeed, part of being a Christian is being okay with the fact that we’re never going to have all the answers we may want. And at the same time, we can be content knowing that God’s Word provides all the answers we need.

“Sometimes what we want is explanation and what God gives us instead is revelation,” Pastor Greear said. “Doubt can be a divine invitation to press deeper into intimacy with God, to really get to truth [beyond] the superficialities of your faith, the Sunday school faith that you inherited. Doubt can be a divine invitation for you to press deeper in, to actually learn significant things about who God is and why you can trust Him, even in the midst of unanswered questions.”

Marissa Mayer is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in Christian Post, The Daily Signal, and Intellectual Takeout. Mayer has a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Arizona State University.

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