Reasons for Doubt

I was browsing de-conversion’s contributor list today. When I read something I am always interested in the life of the author, not only in what they have to say. I was very intrigued by the bios of the different contributors. Many of them are former theology students or ministers. Some claim that they forced themselves to ignore supposed contradictions in the Bible. All equate their “de-conversion” with the ability to think rationally.

I am intrigued with these two claims (that about contradictions, and that about rational thinking). I am convinced that Christianity is a rational faith. I am also convinced that the Bible is not contradictory. Every supposed contradiction I have been shown has turned out to be no contradiction at all.

I have seen a two-fold attack on the minds of modern humanity in the Christian realm. First is that of secular humanism with all its facets, trying to enlighten the world to the truth of evolution and atheism. Second is the lack of sound teaching in the church. I talk a lot about the first on this blog, so let me focus here on the second.

I am convinced that the church has strayed from the gospel in a lot of ways. Instead of the true gospel of the Bible, what is now being taught are what I refer to as the Self-Help Gospel, the Halmark (Feel-Good) Gospel, the 25% Gospel, or else the Prosperity Gospel. These messages bear almost no resemblance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s no wonder that people who are taught in these ways find contradictions in the Bible! What they are being taught isn’t biblical at all, so when they look at the Bible and see differences, they throw out the Bible instead of throwing out the false teachings and taking the truth.

False doctrines aside, there are some pretty good churches out there as well. The big problem with a lot of these is that their congregants are not taught how to think. Their faith is real, as it should be, but they have never been taught to explain it to someone else. As a result, when their faith is questioned they do not know what to say. Instead of being fortified with truth, they are torn to bits by the shrapnel of disbelief. This is a problem.

The church’s solution is this: Teach right doctrine, and teach how to defend the truth. If these two things happen, the church can stand up against the attacks. But with no foundation of truth, the faith of the Christian will always crumble to bits.

Ravi Zacharias, in the preface to his new book Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend, says that it is actually perfectly proper and appropriate for the Christian to wrestle with the issues of the faith in order to come to a good answer and proper defense. I wholeheartedly agree. Ignoring questions will not solve the problem. The church needs to equip believers to think, and to be able to find the answers to the questions. They are there. They are rational. So let’s get to work.


2 Responses to Reasons for Doubt

  1. micey says:

    Amen! I agree with all your points about church… I am really thankful I found a church which is determined to preach the full counsel of God and also offers classes on doctrine and evangelism and missions… Thank You Jesus!

  2. astudent says:

    I have not been able to access the internet easily lately, so I have missed much of what you have been saying. I suppose it is no big deal as we seem to agree on most everything anyway. Well, maybe I should say that I agree with you. You may not agree with me.
    Anyway I agree with your assessment of churches as a whole.

    All of our problems stem from not following the advice of our Father. We are told how to conduct a proper meeting in First Corinthians. It seems as if it usually gets glossed over because either one is studying “Tongues”, or a women’s role in church.

    Disregard the word “tongue” in these verses and consider what they say. (I removed 27 and 28 and the last part of 33 so that my point it is clearer)

    (1 Cor 14:26 NIV) What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
    29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.
    30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.
    31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.
    32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.
    33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

    What these verses say to everyone is that everyone is to participate. In the services today the only time all of the people are invited to participate is with a hymn. The person in the pew is given no chance to speak a word of instruction, revelation, tongue, or interpretation during the service. As the verse says, “All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” and it is only logical that if these things are not done then the church will be weak.

    The kind of service that God wants is a big Bible study, so that everyone can openly ask questions and everyone has a chance to answer those questions.

    In the church service today everyone sits down, shuts up, and listens to what one man says. One man that is “supposed” to understand almost everything about the Bible. The problem is that all men are flawed, and no man understands everything about the Bible, so part of what is taught is going to be wrong and because no one is encouraged to speak up we end up with a weak church.

    Can you picture any one standing up in the middle of a sermon and saying, “Wait a minute: that doesn’t seem right!” If you even say in private that you believe the minister is wrong about something you are thought to be trying to destroy the church and you better not try to tell a minister that he is incorrect about anything: no matter how gentle you try.

    I agree with you the church of today is weak and it teaches about man and what man wants in this world. It should be teaching about God and what God wants. Blessings do not come from understanding mans wants, needs, or desires, but from understanding what God wants.

    People are no longer taught that there is a Hell, because it doesn’t fit with the wants and desires of man. It is unpleasant and therefore not what man wants to hear. It seems that those who are in charge of the church today think it is more important to get people to attend church than to teach “all” of the truth. I cite this example only to illustrate that the church is indeed weak.

    I only slightly disagree with your statement, “The big problem with a lot of these is that their congregants are not taught how to think.” I don’t think you teach someone to think. All you have to do is to interact with them, encorage them, and let them think.

    The church will not become stronger if we continue to ignore the full teaching of the Bible. We should be changing the format to two or three “leaders” and encouraging everyone to speak up in the service with their questions and comments. This format would do much to keep one man from becoming a leader that others follow instead of following Jesus.

    One does not learn to play a game by watching someone else play. The only way to really learn is to get in the game. You can not learn the Bible by listening to someone else explain what they have learned, or think they know. You have to get in the game and play yourself and the minister, preacher, leader, or brother has to give everyone the opportunity to play. The way things are set up now the congregation is not permitted to play.

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