In American Christianity, doubt is cool these days.
You hear many people, especially in Evangelical circles, vocalizing their doubts about their faith and dogmatic systems of belief. So many take a journey that leads the, through a period of “deconstruction” and doubt.
They ask questions unwelcome questions about the sacred cows of our faith, things which we are supposed to never question, let alone openly doubt. Such questions are often met with a slight of hand type of responses, hostility, or rote dogma that rings hollow.
Sensing they might be hoodwinked by people with vested interests in political and religious power, who offer cute and lazy answers, they call BS on everything and proceed to burn everything down to the ground.
As a result many consider themselves #Exvangelical. Today’s podcast is all about addressing this cultural trend in church.
Sympathizing With #Exvangelicals
I sympathize with these folks. I’ve seen it myself.
Memorized formulas end up being repeated by people who clearly have never asked hard questions or really wrestled with a variety of competing claims that say they are the truth. They are given by people who are more interested in preserving the status quo than doing the hard thing, and entering into meaningful dialogue with folks on a journey. And the answers many of these folks provide are inflexible truths that make no room for the possibility of nuance, paradox, or the possibility they are wrong and that others might have a valid perspective.
Consider young earth creationism or Noah’s flood. Based purely on the Biblical texts alone, there is definitely something to support this line of interpretation. I personally believe it. But when you start looking outside the Bible at the world around you, and what we learn from other disciplines, we find there is plenty of valid reasons to doubt this interpretation.
How do you reconcile such things? Maybe you can, maybe you can’t.
A Open Mind And Softer Heart
But as Evangelicals we would be stupid and foolish to simply sit there and engage in the type of apologetics we do on these sorta topics the way we presently do it. Simply declaring such things a lie from hell and shutting down everyone who says otherwise is idiotic, and taking cheap shots at holes in the theory of evolution or history of the world is equally dumb. We should be cautious about being rigidly dogmatic where there is room for exploitation.
Instead, we should recognize tensions. We should recognize we might not have all the answers. And instead of simply dismissing all naysayers who genuinely question such things in light of other evidence, we should recognize the opportunity to journey with others and invite them to have a seat at the table with us as we continue to hash things out.
A Curious Faith Should Guide Us
We should have a “curiosity” about our faith that lets us ask the hard questions, acknowledge facts that other disciplines discover, and let the truth take us wherever the truth takes us.
But along the way, we shouldn’t turn this into a movement than enshrines doubt as a virtue. But like the Lord, we should simply invite people to follow along, knowing that even the most essential of Biblical truths (like who Jesus is and what He did) aren’t truths that are grasped overnight, let alone all the issues that we so bitterly fight about in our theological wars.
The Journey Is As Important As The Destination
Rather, these things are often learned slowly, and gradually over time as folks are drawn closer and closer into the orbit of Jesus. Such things are a process and a journey, and the path of discovery one ends up traveling can be just as important as the end destination. I believe we see this with the following passage of Scripture.
John 1:35-39 (NASB)
Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.