“But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, being double minded and unstable in all his ways.” –James 1:6-8, CSB-
Is doubt really all that uncommon? Here at 30 years old I find myself doubting more then believing. It seems as though a lot of it has been inspired by this most recent political election. Seeing “evangelical Christians” rally their strong support behind Donald Trump has left me baffled. I realize that for Christian values Hillary Clinton was not much of a better option, but during the primaries we did have better options. Also, while I understand feeling like there was no better option, why defend everything this man does? I do not want to focus on the politics in this post, so let me move on. Between the election, and the continual denial of my “ability” to do ministry because I happen to be divorced I lost hope in the southern Baptist faith. However, I felt like I have in this journey strengthened my Christian faith.
This journey to finding where I am in my faith is still happening, and I guess by this scripture in James you might should turn and run while you still have a chance. I have never been one to just accept things as the way they are because that is the way things have been. When I was only 15 I truly felt God “calling me” into the ministry, and I was a member in an American Baptist Association church in a small North East Texas town. I was also dating a preachers daughter, and had started a “Prayer Group” in my local High School. During this time in High School, and after graduating I struggled with sexual sin, and I remember thinking I had to have been a horrible person, and I must be damned for hell. After joining the military at 19 I went through a break-up and felt like I had lost my way. Along with this drastic change in my life, I also began meeting people from all over the country, and eventually the world who changed my attitude on “outsiders”, and those nasty “non-believers”. I found that a good person had little to do with whether or not they had a faith at all, and more to do with the decision that this person made on whether or not to be a good person. However, without hesitation I can say that I have always felt the most freedom to doubt, question, and make mistakes in a crowd of non-believers then I have in a crowd of evangelical Christians.
The first time I read the book Love Wins by Rob Bell back about three or four years ago I was shocked at the allegations Rob Bell was making and immediately I criticized and judged his point of view. Today I have picked this book back up and have started reading it again, and I guess because of my experiences I find myself a lot less judgmental. Not only do I feel not judgmental of this book by Rob Bell, but I feel connection with his ways of thinking. This is a dangerous viewpoint in the evangelical Christian world. No doubt about it, even suggesting this would likely remove any possibility of me Pastoring, or even being asked to speak in most evangelical Christian churches. That really is not much of a blow to me though, considering most of these churches would not ever ask me to come speak simply because of my unpardonable sin of divorce.
I say all this to hopefully encourage you that at least for this Christian, I have doubts. I pray tonight for myself and for you that this does not mean we are sinners because of these doubts. We, of course, know the story of “doubting Thomas” in the New Testament, and this may be where you find yourself. It happens. For me, my bigger issue is not whether or not God is real, but whether or not the Baptist doctrinal statement that I grew up with is real. This is a striking statement to many people. I have no doubt that this would “concern” many people, but I want my friends and family to know that I still believe in God, and I still believe in Jesus Christ. I know that God is love, and I am continually seeking Him, and seeking to understand more of what I believe.