The Doubting Thomas Mission

“As a man of faith, you are not supposed to doubt.” This was said to me by a seasoned pastor in front of an entire classroom of people. That last part matters. He assumed that this statement was such an axiom that the whole class would agree. On the surface, he was right. One who is “full of faith” perhaps could be, by definition, “absent of doubt.” But, I think most of us know that is not the case experientially.

Doubts are important. In fact, doubts are helpful. I like the way Tim Keller put it when he said, “A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.” It is for this reason I believe doubt plays a critical role in faith formation for the Christian. Without doubt, your effort to grow in your faith (discipleship) will be limited. And there should be no threat in this. If this Christian thing is true (which I believe that it is), it will stand up to my doubts.

There has been much ink spilled and pixels posted online addressing particular doubts that people have. I do not have much new to contribute to that conversation. I am thankful for that information and utilize it regularly. What is lacking online, and more tragically, in the church is open conversations about doubts. And, often when those conversations DO happen, it is “debate style” in a tone that lacks the gentleness and respect 1 Pet 3:15 commands.

So, where does the Christian go when they have doubts?

Perhaps they Christian goes online to an apologetics page or group. Often they will be met with militant attacks on skeptics and/or prideful rants about how illogical a particular argument might be. And, the apologist may be right. But, what that tells the doubter is that their raising a hand to ask a question will be received as an attack. And, if they do have the courage to ask the question, the response will make sure to show them how stupid the doubt (though received as an argument) was to begin with. A harsh tone, though true, will close the ears of the listener (Proverbs 15:1). I am painting with too broad a brush, I know. But a little time on some apologetics websites or groups will demonstrate that this tendency is clearly present.

So, let’s say the doubting Christian decides to go to a pastor or ministry leader. From the stories I have been told by people struggling with doubt the response is the same most of the time: either they are told they “just need to believe” or they are met with superficial responses that are not informed by solid apologetic education. And, let’s face it, most pastors do not have the time or energy to get apologetic training.

But here is the problem… where does that leave the doubting Christian once their doubt is not addressed substantially? Where do they go if they have been alienated in their doubt?

This why I created the Doubting Thomas Mission. My hope is to have kind, compassionate, yet substantial conversations about doubts with Christians. I have created a calendar where people can make an appointment to chat with me in hopes that, together, we can grow closer to Christ. Soon, I would also like to create a podcast where we can have this conversation in a way that others can listen in. This might help the doubter not ready to articulate out loud the doubts he/she has. This may help the pastor or ministry leader learn a better way of navigating the doubts of the people God has entrusted into their care. I also hope that I can expand my efforts to train pastors and leaders in churches to create safe places for their people to doubt. I think this is key to discipleship in today’s day and age. We can leave people to doubt, or we can learn to address them head on (but with gentleness and respect) so they (and we) can grow.

And, one day, I believe God will raise up an army of folks who are willing to engage with doubting Christians in a substantial yet compassionate way to have honest conversations. I would love to provide a platform where doubting Christians can find a safe place to process their doubts with a trained and empathetic apologist.

So, where does the Christian go when they have doubts?

It is my prayer that I can be that place for a few. And, as God allows, it is my prayer that churches all across the country are trained and equipped to be that place as well. To learn more, click the graphic:

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