Wednesday, 2 May 2012

No doubt will save you and your hearers

Doubt is currently in vogue. Even the once-rarefied Radio 3, recently had a week of programmes focussing on the issue of doubt. In the circles with which I'm familiar (ordained ministry in the CofE), embracing doubt is considered as something noble and intellectually honest. For example, various Bishops have trumpeted their skepticism and castigated those who exhibit a confident certainty regarding ό θεός. It is even purported that a former Archbishop of York once said that lust for absolute certainty was a sin. But in preparing a bible study on Hebrews 11 recently, it struck me forcibly that doubting God truly is a heinous sin. To doubt God's word is to make God a liar. It is in fact that act which brought death into our world and all our woe and the loss of Eden. It is a sin which Satan has been promoting ever since that fateful day in the Garden.

We must in my view therefore guard ourselves against the temptation so rife and du jour in many circles. To doubt God's word will lead us to a gospel of our own imaginations. To be faithful to the gospel will necessarily be thought of as out-of-vogue but that is a price worth paying if we are to save both ourselves and our hearers (1 Timothy 4:16). As Augustine once told the heretic Faustus, “You ought to say plainly that you do not believe the gospel of Christ. For to believe what you please, and not to believe what you please, is to believe yourselves, and not the gospel.” (Against Faustus, 17.3)

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