Tag Archives: faith

Why Doubt Can Be A Good Thing (An LDS Faith Example)

Plumb LineNot everyone struggles with doubt… and that in many ways can be a good thing.

But for people who think they have absolute certainty in their faith, it is very tempting to pounce on others who ask questions. All sorts of unintended consequences can then happen. For folks who go on and ask questions anyway, there are times where it can get them into trouble. Just ask Rachel Held Evans.

Sadly, the problem is, if left unchecked, doubt can lead people down a road that takes them to places far away from faith in the God of the Bible.   As Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it, the problem with the human condition is not simply that humankind is sick. The problem is that we are in rebellion against God. Unfortunately, runaway doubt leaves us with no one but ourselves to look to, and it merely imprisons us in our own rebellion.

This being the case, it is understandable why so many Christians wish to discourage doubt completely. Just have faith. Just have faith. But I would contend that this is wrong-headed. Sometimes doubt can be a good thing, too.  Just ask “Doubting Thomas” (John 20:24-29).

Here is what I mean: Thomas doubted the resurrection of Jesus, but the Lord did not immediately rebuke him. Instead, He invited Thomas to put his finger into the nailed scarred hands. The resurrected Jesus had a real, physical body. He was not some spirit without a body. The Bible preserves this story for us as further evidence for the truth of Christ’s bodily resurrection.

However, sometimes faith can be presented in a way that looks good at first, looks solid, but upon closer examination, it is built on the wrong foundation. There are more than a few of  us humans who do recognize our rebellion from God, and so we run to God in the arms of faith. But the “faith” we cling to with such certainty is itself confused, the terminology gets all muddled, and the knowledge of truth suffers. We think we are being obedient, but that obedience fails to measure up to the plumb line of God’s Word.

Indeed, doubt can easily misdirect us. But a misdirected faith can also take us in the wrong direction.  If our faith is not firmly planted in the truth, we can easily persuade ourselves that what we believe is true is consistent with the Jesus of the Bible, when in fact, we are only confused as to the object of our faith. Here is a good recent example of what I am talking about.

Continue reading


Things that Go Bump in the Night

“From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!”
Scottish prayer recorded in The Cornish and West Country Litany, 1926

Nightmare

Nightmare by Paul Bielaczyc. Charcoal, 2005.

 

There was my dentist—a normally genteel man—in the back of a military cargo plane decked in an olive-drab Level A HAZMAT suit, gesturing me into his examination chair with long, gleaming, barbaric surgical instruments. I had a hard time making out what he was saying behind his face shield, but it sounded like, “Buckle up.” I’m pretty sure he was grinning.

I’m not one much for dreaming, nor am I particularly anxious, but it’s amazing what the anticipation of a minor dental procedure did to loose my subconscious this week.

Fear is powerful, and the Bible has a lot to say about it. The words fear, afraidanxious, and anxiety appear 541 times in the ESV.

  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; (Proverbs 1:7)
  • Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:7)
  • Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.” (Matthew 6:25)
  • He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
  • And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26)

Need an anti-anxiety prescription?  Here you go: fear in the right channel is prescribed—throughout Proverbs and the rest of the Bible. The apostle Paul instructs believers in Philippians 2 to, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  We’re not supposed to be free from fear. We’re supposed to live with fear in the right context—reverence and respect for the awesome power of our Creator. That’s what Dick Woodward’s 4 Spiritual Secrets are all about.

Ready for some good news? According to Jesus, fear has an anecdote: faith.

Fear is powerful. My loving mother, who hung that Scottish prayer just outside my bedroom door, was paralyzed by fear her entire life. So many times I wished I could have helped her think through her fear. But that’s not the way it works. Overcoming fear is not a matter of our intellect or will—it’s a matter of the heart. And no one gets out alive. Apart from the grace of God and a little faith we don’t stand a chance.

Here’s a link to Whom Shall I Fear? by Chris Tomlin that gets to the heart of the matter.

Peace.

HT: Paul Bielaczyc (Nightmare used with the kind permission of the artist.)


Veracity…the Book!

Confidence in Jesus Christ

We are one!

(Our blog is one year old that is.)  And to celebrate, after 88 posts, Clarke and I are giving away as many copies as you would like of our new ebook, Confidence in Jesus Christ, the Joy of Personal Discipleship.

Confidence is a sampling of what this blog is all about, in an evangelical wrapper.  With some attitude.  It’s a hyperlinked presentation of the Gospel that you can share with anyone.

For a limited time you can get Confidence simply by clicking on the above image.

Thank you all for being such great family, friends and followers.  Please drop us a comment and let us know how we can make Veracity better for you, and please share this material.  We’ll spare you the details, but the more subscribed followers we have on the blog, the more widely our message gets spread through cyberspace.

We look forward to sharing more resources and ideas, and engaging in thought-provoking dialog in the months and years ahead.  God willing, of course.

Chi Rho!

Clarke & John


Veracity’s Top 10 Scorers

Veracity's Top Scorer Award

Do you ever wish there was a blacklist we could use to avoid being blindsided by bad doctrine or theology?  After all, there is so much material out there—who has the time to sort through it all?

When you think about it, a blacklist is a pretty ridiculous idea isn’t it? Not that there aren’t all kinds of names—from the famous to the infamous—that deserve to be called out, but there is a much better way for thinking men and women to attack this problem.  Study the good guys.

Welcome to Veracity’s Top 10 Scorers list. These are the players who consistently “put the puck in the net.” No deking and skating around—just on-target discipleship.

The list includes pastors, philosophers, professors, a historian, theologians, apologists, an astrophysicist, several world-class scholars, and some exceptionally gifted teachers.  (Actually there are 12 winners on our Top 10 Scorers list, because they all deserve the award.) Continue reading


Obedience in Losing

It’s just not in our nature to accept losing. We hate to lose. But there are worse things that can happen. One of the pastors in the video below has a uniquely refreshing perspective on what really matters—and on being blessed for obedience.

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:1-6 (NIV)

Here’s a follow-up to our previous Chi Rho post. (Don’t miss the comments at the end.)

 

HT: John Yates


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