Why a series on doubt?

This Sunday we begin a new series of messages that we are titling Doubting your Doubts.  The series will be based on the book The Reason for God by Tim Keller.  We chose to do this series because question and doubt are a normal part of the spiritual journey.  Life is complex and complicated, and the issues of God and theology are often so big that our brains cannot comprehend.  For various reasons, we as humans question things, often contemplating the incredible question “why”?  It began when we were two, following mom around annoying her because that question was continually on your tongue.  For most, the question has not changed.  We still wonder, still ask why, and still hope somehow we can have life and mystery explained.

Our reason for doing this series is that we believe doubt and questioning are not necessarily bad things.  In fact, often our desire to discover truth and explore the mysterious is an expression of the image of God that is within.  By doing the series, we are not trying to say, “You have doubt, come to us.  We have the all the answers.”  But we do want to be a church that gives people a safe place to explore faith and struggle with questions that are bigger than any of us.

My hope is that the series will speak directly to three groups.  First, it will encourage the skeptic to examine the claims of Scripture and the person of Jesus.  For people who are unsure of spiritual things, and not quite to the place of becoming a Christian, we honestly hope that this series and the events that go with it will help you look at your own beliefs and presuppositions about Jesus, and help you struggle with the possibility that Jesus is who he claimed to be.

Second, we hope the series will be an encouragement to people who have become Christians, or are deeply considering this, as they wrestle with their own doubts.  We believe that doubt is healthy as long as it leads to honest search, and an interaction with spiritual depth.  We hope this series will answer some questions, but we also know that it may spur others.  We know that a few minutes on Sunday morning will not “clear things up”, but we do hope that it will help people who believe but have great doubt chart a course to continue seeking.

Finally, we actually hope that this series will challenge people who are strong in faith to consider a few things.  First, we hope that it will challenge any prideful idea in us that we have things figured out.  Issues of God, sinfulness, suffering, and human nature are subjects that are magnificent and unbelievably deep.  We never corner truth, and anything in us that acts like we have arrived needs to be removed.  Second, we hope that this series will raise our awareness and compassion for those in our culture who do not agree with us.  We need to see that some of the concerns raised about Christianity and belief in God are valid.  We need to quit seeing people who come at these issues form different worldview perspectives as enemies, and begin realizing they are people created in the image of God who deeply need an encounter with the risen Jesus.  We need to have empathy with them in their struggles, and love for them whether they become Christians or not.  We hope that the series will raise understanding and wisdom in the believers so we can become more like Jesus who was full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

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