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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.

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