Friday, May 27, 2011

Is it Ok for Christians to Have Doubts?

A student of mine wanted to write an apologetics paper on the role or place of doubts in the life of a Christian.  He wanted to find an answer to the question, "Is it OK for Christians to have Doubts?"

His conclusion after reading non-Christian and Christian sources was that one will still be saved even if that person doubts his or her salvation in Christ. 

Here were his arguments:

1. Doubting your salvation is actually good!  Doubting leads one to grow spiritually and intellectually, because a doubter will want to know the answer for the doubt, and through the research can increase trust or connection with the subject he or she had doubt.  For Scriptural support, he cited 2 Cor. 13:5. 

2.  There is no reason to doubt your salvation.  Doubts show a lack of understanding, but God has revealed all that we need to know for our salvation.  "These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:13). 

3.  Salvation is important to any religion and every religion includes doubts as an important step to reach their goals.  Overcoming doubt in Hinduism is an important step to reaching moksha.  Buddhism calls for believers to overcome their religious doubts.  His conclusion here was, "It is important to know how other religions take care of this problem because by knowing those religions, one can increase interactions with other religious beleivers and convince them to become Christian since it is easier for people to move towards Christ if they know that they can still have doubts and be a Christian."  It thought this was an interesting point.  Other religions require a person to overcome doubts for salvation.  Christianity allows a believer to still have doubts.  It's a more inviting offer. 

4.  God will always love you and tries to save you even if you are unfaithful to Him.  2 Timothy 2:13 says, "If we are faithless, he [God] remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself."  Luke 11:10 says, "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened."  The student concluding this point by quoting John 3:16 and saying, "Even though we have sinned too much that we should be eternally separated from Him and put to death, He still saved us and took our punishment upon himself." 

The final conclusion was "you will still be saved even if you doubt your salvation as doubting is an integral part of growing faith in God and trust in the Bible, which is the only source that answers questions beyond our natural knowledge.  This student also stated that this research has "made it easier for me to invite more people to Christ because Christianity is the only religion that only requires faith for salvation, while still allowing a person to be saved even if they have doubts." 

I'll keep the student's name anonymous, but I'd also like to share that he is a Japanese international student. 


  1. With respect, and a nod of approval to your student's courage to undertake such a daunting topic, I disagree.

    1. I can almost agree with this one, save for the word doubt. It is good to ask questions about your faith, and not be afraid to have your faith challenged, and seek the answers where they can be found. It is even good to know that we don't know everything about our faith (1 cor 13:12). However, if your student would have continued his cited support, he would have found that we can be certain of our salvation in verse 6. Paul was inviting his believers to examine themselves in order they may find comfort in Christ.

    2. I agree with this statement, though it seems to contradict his conclusion.

    3. These other religions are false, law-based religions. Comfort is not found in christianity because it allows believers to remain in doubt, but it is found because it takes the emphasis away from what its believers must achieve. It points them toward what Christ has accomplished, turning them away from doubts in themselves and towards complete certainty in Christ. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see (heb 11:1)

    4. Your student does a great job of discovering the gospel here! With the gospel, however, we have to be careful that we do not use it as an excuse of license, i.e. God will love me if I doubt him, so it is okay to doubt him. The gospel brings about change in a Christian and makes them want to do things that God desires for them; in this case, that would mean it makes a Christian not want to doubt.

    I commend your student for not being afraid to ask questions, and for knowing the only source for answers is the Bible. He also seems to have begun an understanding of the gospel, and I hope you can continue to grow this understanding with him.

  2. Honestly who really knows? Seriously, you can sit here and cite 1000+ sources, tell me what the Bible says and still I am going to say, how do you know for sure?! It is ALL by FAITH. I can't sit here and say- Yes you will be saved even if you doubt' or I could say 'No' but did Jesus say to Thomas- 'Because of your doubts you are not saved, you are damned?' He did go on to say 'blessed are those who believe without seeing' but blessed and being saved are not the same thing, rather it is a blessing 'to be saved'. Now- I honestly feel as though doubts can be a good thing, and yes they can be harmful as well but I think what it really boils down to is faith...even mustard seed faith! I truly believe one has to WANT God. God knows us! If our hearts are opened to him I feel he will accept us even though we doubt things at times. If our hearts are hardened and we do not want God, he will know this...and for the most part a person like this will not have 'doubts' because they simply will not care nor think much about it if think about it at all.

  3. And I did not mean to come across as rude or rambling. I suffer from doubts and it can be scary to think- 'What if I die tomorrow and I suffer from these doubts?' It's just a touchy subject. I am working on these doubts. My heart is open to God. I WANT Jesus in my life and in my families life. - Yeh I am rambling again. Sorry.