I have been in a conversation recently about doubt. Most specifically, the question that has risen is, “Can a true Christian doubt God at the most fundamental level.” A girl just wrote to me and said that she often envies Christians who don’t ever doubt. I told her that there is really no such thing. All people doubt!

Let me be clear (for this is something that many people would disagree with me on): I don’t think that belief should ever be conceived of as “black and white.” No, don’t go there. I am not talking about some form of relativism with regard to the nature of truth (i.e. there is no such thing as truth). What I am saying is that people vary with regard to the strength of their beliefs. And I am saying that this can vary from time to time. Belief can go up and down. In other words, belief is not something that you either have or you don’t.

I have already revealed my proposition (i.e. a truly born again believer can doubt). Let me define “fundamental level.”  What I mean is that a Christian can doubt to such a degree that they even doubt the very existence of God. Yes, I am assuming that you have done the same. I have and sometimes still do.

Where did this come from? I had a different conversation today when a lady, whom no one would ever expect, came to me in confidence expressing her inner pain. “I have recently been doubting the existence of God,” she told me with much trepidation. I think that she was most surprised that I was not surprised (well, maybe a little).

A dictionary definition of a straight line is “the shortest path between two points.” The definition of doubt, at least from one perspective, is the line that bridges our faith and perfect faith. I am under the assumption that no one has perfect faith. If this is true, then everyone’s faith is lacking in some respect. This lack will take on different forms for different people and different circumstances. Sometimes it will show itself though particular habitual sins. Sometimes it is our own pride. Many times it takes the form of doubt at our most fundamental levels.

I don’t believe that this is wrong. Let me step back and rephrase. In a fallen world with fallen people—and Christians who are still battling the flesh—should we expect anything else? Do you really believe that once you become a Christian doubt is no longer a foe? So it is wrong only in the sense that living in a fallen world is wrong. It is bad to the degree that being a resurrection short of full redemption is bad.

These are the words of another who sent me an email today (it has been a day full of this issue for some reason): “I lived for so many years doubting as religion was crammed down my throat, and watched those very same people live in hatred and judgement…now I know that Christ is not about rituals, dogma, and I was so relieved to find out it was OK to question…I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

I can’t read too much into this, but my assumption is that many people, like the one above, are afraid to make a commitment because they have worked under the unfounded assumption that our faith must be perfect. J.P. Moreland once said if someone believes 51% and disbelieves 49%, they are a believer in that which holds the greatest percent.

Do Christians doubt? Of course we do. But this does not mean we don’t believe. You may be at 63%, 95%, or 51%, but know that your ability to rise above 50% is of the Lord. He is with you and will hold you tight. Doubt is a necessary by-product of imperfection. It is a necessary evil that accompanies us on our road to belief.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    338 replies to "Can Christians Doubt?"

    • steve martin

      Also, when Jesus asked Peter, “who do you say that I am?”

      Jesus said “blessed are you Simon Peter for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven.”

    • Vinod Isaac

      Hi Wm,

      Yes one need 100% faith. It is possible that one can have 100% faith to get saved but may not have any faith to receive a miracle from the Lord. It is possible that one may believe Jesus heals from sickness but may not have saving faith.

      It is possible that with less than 100% faith one may step into to try out and God will respond to that first step. These repeatitive interactions can help increase faith.

    • Wm Tanksley

      Faith comes when people cast themselves upon the mercy of God as a result of conviction. Thus, God doesn’t give faith directly; people have to do something first.

      I guess we now have to tie this back in to the point of the post… Once someone has faith, how does doubt affect things? Should a person who’s feeling doubt _also_ start to question their salvation? More positively, what should they do: should they start working to measure their level of faith, do something to increase it, and repeat until the doubts go away?

      Obviously, I think that faith is a gift of God, part of the whole gift of salvation; our part in salvation is to exercise that faith (remembering, with fear and trembling, that it is God who works within us both to will and to do His good pleasure). Therefore I don’t think that monitoring faith or working to increase faith is a reasonable response; I think that working to _show_ your actual current faith is correct, and praying for more is correct, and trying to discover the truth about your doubts is correct.

      I have a notion that Paul was strongly influenced by his personal experience. […] Predestination may be the only explanation he could see for God to have chosen him and not others. The heavenly vision brought him to conviction, out of which faith grew. For most of us, however, the Holy Spirit works not with visions but through the Gospel.

      I don’t understand… Are you saying that when Paul wrote about predestination, he actually meant what Calvinists think he did, but Paul was _wrong_? (I hope I misunderstood.)


    • cheryl u


      Think we have been down this same road before and I said then I really don’t have time or energy to go into it any more. And I still don’t. So please don’t expect me to get into any big long conversations with you about this at this time. I am just going to quote some verses that certainly sound to me like they are saying faith comes before life and leave it at that. Feel free to leave any rebuttal you want but I doubt I will have time to respond.

      “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
      John 3:16

      “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24

      “But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31

      “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” I Timothy 1:16

    • Alexander M Jordan

      Hi Vinod:

      There is mystery in this process of doubt and faith that you do not seem to acknowledge. You make this very black and white– faith means no doubt and faith is entirely man’s responsibility. Behind your argument is the assumption that unless faith (believing in God for salvation and believing His Word) is man’s responsibility alone, then he cannot be held responsible by God for whether or not he possesses and acts in faith.

      But the assumption is unbiblical. Jesus holds us responsible for believing but at the same time says no one comes to Him and believes except it is granted by the Father.

      You seem so determined to hold on to the assumption described above that you interpret the passages we have been discussing in contradiction to what they are actually saying.

      Also for you it seems faith means having 0% doubt, and that faith can never co-exist with doubt. But the only One who had perfect faith and never doubted is the One who is perfect– our Lord Jesus. We are not perfect beings, therefore our faith may waver or we at times display doubt. This does not make our faith inauthentic, just as when the disciples at times doubted they were still saved men through their faith in Jesus.

      Can you really say Vinod, that your faith has never wavered at any time in regard to any biblical truth? Does not our faith progress and grow stronger, as we mature as believers? If your faith has sometimes wavered and been less than 100%, did that mean that you were no longer saved?

      I am glad that the Lord understands that at times I am weak in faith. While I am responsible to grow and mature in my faith (1 Peter 2:11, 2 Peter 1: 5-11), the Lord is also patiently working in me, sometimes by trials, to test my faith and make it pure (1 Peter 1:6-9, Phil 1:6).

    • Vinod Isaac

      Hi Alexander,

      There is no mystery in it if you read it as it is written. On the other hand we do not have anything unless it is granted by God. Our brain, our ability to believe or reject, free will every thing is given by God.

      If God just takes away our ability to think or to make decision we will not have that ability.

      But pre determination is not what those passages say.

      You wrote:
      Can you really say Vinod, that your faith has never wavered at any time in regard to any biblical truth? Does not our faith progress and grow stronger, as we mature as believers? If your faith has sometimes wavered and been less than 100%, did that mean that you were no longer saved?

      I have always said that there are different messures of faith. So yes my faith wavers and when It does I know it is not a good thing and I need to work on it.

      Yes our faith progresses and grows stronger. That’s what I was saying that we need to work on it. We need to believe and not doubt.

      Anyway this is my last post on this perticular topic. I don’t want to drag it forever. Specially in light of complaints.

      Thanks to all who participated and who had patience to read what I had to say. Thanks and God bless.

    • Alexander M Jordan

      Hi Vinod:

      OK, I probably misunderstood some of your earlier comments. I am glad to hear you say that you agree that for believers faith progresses and grows stronger. But if this is true your initial response to this post seems like an over-reaction. Because this post was not about justifying doubt but was saying what you are now agreeing with– that faith is progresses or grows over time and doubts may be part of this process.

      If as you say “we do not have anything unless it is granted by God” then is not faith also included in that? Yes, God doesn’t take away our ability to choose or to think or to use our brains. But He does give light to those He has chosen, that they may see the truth of His word:

      “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him
      John 10:21-22

      “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

      7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,

      “God gave them a spirit of stupor,eyes that would not see
      and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”

      And David says,

      “Let their table become a snare and a trap,a stumbling block and a retribution for them;10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.”
      Romans 11:4-10

      10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
      Matthew 13:10

      Blessings to you as well. May He lead us all into purer faith that expresses itself in deeper Christian love.

    • Wm Tanksley

      In [John 6:37] it is present continuous tense “gives Me”.

      Greek doesn’t have a present progressive; it’s simply a present active indicative. It might or might not be progressive, neither is required. Either way, “the Father gives me” happens before “will come to me”, because “will come to me” is future.

      In [John 6:65] it is past tense. But even 1 second ago is past tense so it doesn’t need to be pre determined.

      What do you mean by “pre-determined”? It was your word, and clearly it means something different to you than it does to me. To me, “pre-determined” means what the sum of its parts mean: determined before. 1 second before is still before.

      Every thing is to draw that person toward Jesus. But giving faith I don’t find anywhere in the Bible.

      Unfortunately, you’re not offered an option; once you’re drawn, you will believe in Christ; and once you’ve believed, you will be raised up on the last day.

      And what does that imply for doubt, the topic of this post? Well, I think it matters whether we think that faith is God’s gift or our own creation. If faith is God’s gift, doubt is a temptation that attacks the outward working of your salvation, perhaps weakening you; if faith is our own creation, doubt implies a failure (perhaps the same as fractional unbelief), and attacks the very foundation of your belief, perhaps even destroying your ability to save yourself.

      That is why preachers are there. Every time they preach, Holy Spirit tries to convict and Father tries to teach. Person has his free will and he can refuse to learn.

      EVERYONE who has heard from the Father comes to Christ (John 6:45). In other words, when people hear from the Father, THEY LISTEN. Contrary to your claim, the Father doesn’t “try” to teach, the Holy Spirit doesn’t “try” to convict of sin — they do it, and it’s done.


    • rayner markley

      Steve: ‘ So then faith is dependent on what ‘we do’?
      The bible tells us that faith is a gift of God.’

      I see a distinction between having faith and exercising faith. Even supposing that God gives faith, it doesn’t accomplishment anything unless we act on it.

      If predestination is what Paul meant in his teaching, I can see how his own experience might have led him to it. I don’t know whether that doctrine is right or wrong. One can doubt predestination as a doctrine; many Christians do.

    • mbaker


      I think what has been forgotten here is God’s common grace. As Creator, He gives grace to all creation, but He does not save those without faith in Him as Savior.

      However, This post is not about having faith in Him, but about doubting Him in some way that cause us to have a crisis of faith. All humans doubt. That is part of our nature. It began with Adam and Eve in the garden. When they had a choice between having faith in God’s wisdom, when it was questioned by satan, they doubted it enough to disobey God and caused the fall of the entire human race. That was doubt taken to the extreme.

      As I pointed out in an earlier thread if our faith were blind, without discernment, we would all soon be dead. Doubt seems to be a built in safeguard against making harmful mistakes. I have faith in God, for example, but I wouldn’t go the wrong way on the freeway or jump off a building, and think I would have any different outcome than a non-believer, just because God had given me faith. jesus demonstrated that when He refused to jump of the precipice, when satan taunted Him to prove He was God.

      So doubt can also be a good thing. As I also pointed out before, it can lead to a quest for truth. Taken to the other extreme, however, it can also lead to losing our faith, both in God and other people. I think we have to recognize that even those of us with the greatest faith are going to doubt at some point of our Christian lives, and chalk that up to our human nature. We have faith sure, but doubt makes us ask, and wisely so, if what we are believing in is real and true.

      For those who are doubting to the point like the person CMP is talking about above, however, we have to stop throwing platitudes at them, and listen. There is usually a reason, I’ve found in my years of ministry, caused by another human being, more often than not. I’ve observed that it’s very often the ungodly actions of another Christian which makes a believer start to doubt how much influence God really has. Take what has happened in the church with the widespread sexual abuse by trusted leaders This would cause a person of the greatest faith to doubt how strong God is in these folks lives that they could not only perpetrate such a thing, under the auspices of His name, but try to cover it up.

      Nope, things haven’t changed much since Adam and Eve, as far as human beings go. Until Christ comes back, the questions and the doubt are going to arise. We cannot simply dismiss those who have valid doubts, because they don’t ‘have’ enough faith. Arguing from your premise, it would seem that God is at fault for not giving someone enough in the first place.

    • Vinod Isaac

      Just one more note on the email I received from Parchment and Pen.

      I just stumbled on about page and found that CMP is owner of it so the email I received must be from CMP.


      Just wanted to let everyone know who I believe was behind sending the email.

    • C Michael Patton


      I just caught up on some of your comments. Please do not comment any more on this post. If you do, you will be suspended from the blog.

      Please read the rules before posting again.

      Folks, I am sorry I let things get this far. It is impossible for me to keep up on all the comments.

      I do hope you continue to find this blog a useful place to discuss significant issues without feeling like things are going in circles or that people do not respect the rules. If this becomes the case, it would be better not to support such a place at all. I understand that. I will try to do better at keeping things moderated.

      I thank all the P&P regulars who do contribute in a productive respectful way that is not arrogant.

      Vinod, please don’t respond to this in any way. This is the last word on the matter here.

      The discussion can continue on topic if you so please.

    • Richard

      Hi Vinod,
      I do agree with Michael–which means I DO NOT agree with your apparent–and impossible–attempt to be worthy before a sovereign God, but I do understand and applaud (especially these days–you have no idea!!!) your need to express yourself with passion. If we are silent about what we believe to be the truth, what makes us any different than Ananias or Sapphira? All Christians should be passionate—at least as much as Michael Patton! (I do thank God for you, Michael!!!) The problem, my friend, is that, while most of us hold tightly to our opinions, we only sew a few of them into our skin–because truth is more important than being right. You do seem to fear being wrong. If you find my words constructive, then also remember—know–that God is not concerned with “nit-picking” the details of our theology (I don’t think, for e.g., that the “thief on the cross” had much time to develop a “defensible” theology!). Personally, I think God wants us to understand Him as best we can, but is much more interested in helping us to appreciate Him—even, and maybe especially, if our journey with Him includes a lot of kicking and screaming. I think that appreciating God is the best way to love Him—because He first loved us! I’m truly sorry, Vinod, if this sounds arrogant or condescending…but I just thought that maybe you should be given a kind–and forthright–“answer” to your apparent angst.
      Have a great day,

    • cheryl u


      I’m not sure what you mean by “deliberately trusting and believing the Word of God.” Actually, we become worthy only through Jesus and the righteousness He gives us when we trust in Him as our Saviour and Lord.

    • Vinod Isaac

      Also look at the parable in Mat 22:3-4 King (means God) invited people and forgot to give faith? Or was He not capable of giving faith in his sovereignity? If God’s sovereignity works the way you think then God is at fault. But fact is it doesn’t work the way you think.

      Mat 22:3 “and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
      Mat 22:4 “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”‘

    • Richard

      Perhaps I’m just dense beyond belief, but please tell me what–anything…ONE thing…that God NEEDs. If there is something–anything!– that the eternal God/Creator could possibly need, then perhaps you will have an opportunity to supply that need–and then be worthy of His love. Gook luck with that; I think I’ll just stick to accepting His love and grace–because He seems to love to love me (I stopped asking him why He loves me–oh wretched man that I am–many years ago!)

    • Marvin the Martian

      If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing.

      Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered


      I am able to say this as I used to be very much like you. I was once a person who delighted in debating theology. I loved to try and show people the error of their ways. I was deriving my opinions straight from scripture too. I could proof-text like no other, so how could I be wrong? I was personally very impressed with my own knowledge of scripture and I wanted others to be impressed by it as well. Unfortunately for me (and you), God is not impressed if we are right in our theology if we are doing so with a wrong heart attitude. I wanted to impress people. I can’t speak as to what your motive is, only you and God know that. But I can say with a great deal of certainty what you are NOT motivated by, and that is Christian love.

      You have not been kind, nor gentle in the defense of your beliefs. Nearly every post you have done is saturated with a tone of arrogance and pride. You have been extraordinarily rude to other BELIEVERS no less, but praise God you have a Bible verse to allegedly back you up, so it is OK to for you to mock, insult, and accuse your brothers and sisters in Christ. And please do spare us the “I can’t help it if Truth offends” defense. You have no monopoly on Truth claims. Sadly, a great number of your posts have been but “a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” because there is no love in what you do.

      I can only hope that you are able to humble yourself before God humbles you. Personally, I did not humble myself and God allowed me to fall big time. It nearly trainwrecked my faith so great was my fall from His grace. But thankfully God is far more merciful than you or I. Though I don’t FEEL nearly as close to God as I would like to feel nor have felt in the past, I probably am closer to Him NOW than I have ever been.

    • C Michael Patton

      Vinod’s comments after my warning have been deleted and he has been banned for continuing to post after I told him not to.

      In the three years I have been blogging, there are only three who have been banned. Vinod is the third.

    • Alexander M. Jordan


      People crucified the Lord Jesus to shut His mouth but they still could not shut His mouth. Getting banned from a blog is still better than being crucified.

      Why are you playing the martyr? No one is crucifying you, they merely disagreed with some of your points.

      As you know they were many people during this discussion that disagreed with some of your arguments. Many provided reasons as well as Scriptures in rebuttal.

      Obviously the blog moderator, Michael Patton, is not trying to suppress this conversation, which has gone on for over 300 comments. Neither is he trying to suppress the “truth” (which apparently, only you are aware of).

      When you said that your comment #307 would be your last I had doubts about that statement 😉

      You say the discussion needn’t have been so long– if only people had not ignored all the verses you showed them that so explicitly proved your point then the discussion would have ended sooner, we all would have been content and could sit down at the feet of Vinod, to be taught properly. What of the verses that others quoted, that explicitly contradicted your arguments? How come you had no reply to my last comment. Were you ignoring it?…

      It seems now you have been banned. Personally I think that your comments helped to generate a good discussion. It’s too bad you felt the need to express your thoughts in the way you did. It wasn’t your opinions that people objected to but the manner in which they were stated.

      I hope your quest and passion for truth continues. Yet as others have said, none of us have a corner on truth. If you have been wrong on certain points before, that means you could perhaps have been mistaken this time. We all can be wrong sometimes.



    • Michael

      I always love (read despise) people who claim to understand the Bible according to its “plain meaning” or “as it was written”. Whenever I see someone claim this I have to often have to close the website quickly lest I fall into sin by wishing very cruel things upon them. They are without fail the most arrogant people I know for they instantly equate any disagreement with them as going against God as if they speak for Him (or at least are His anointed interpreters of the Word). They promote their intellect above that of any others. It is even more frustrating when their “plain reading” is plainly contradicted by the “plain reading” of those in the Early Church who were in a much better position to understand the text then I or they are. They give all of us people who are genuinely trying and grasping to understand the things of God a bad name and are detrimental to the cause of the Gospel. Because I am often questioned about such people by the non-Christians I deal with and try to share the Gospel with I have come to the conclusion that it is best to completely disavow them as being brothers. As far as I’m concerned they are not a part of the Christian faith and I will have nothing to do with them or in any way acknowledge them. If this were my blog (probably it’s a good thing it’s not) such a claim would get someone an insta-ban.

      Alright I apologize about my rant. I have been so disturbed by the posts of he who shall not be named that I couldn’t help but say something. Please forgive me. As to CMP’s original post I myself have often struggled with doubt. I don’t consider this a good thing, on the contrary it is a scary and disturbing thing which I wished did not happen, yet as CMP pointed out it is a part of struggling against our fallen nature and the forces of darkness which oppose God and our faith. Despite this doubting often causes me to go back and reexamine the evidence and do more study. In the end the bouts I have with doubt have often been used by God to strengthen and grow my faith. I thank you for the post CMP and look forward to the day where God will perfect all our faith and what we now see dimly we will then see face to face

    • Joshua Allen

      Good move on the banning. Just yesterday I found the “how to conduct yourself” post that CMP wrote for theologica last year: http://theologica.ning.com/forum/topics/how-to-conduct-yourselves-on. A really great set of guidelines. It is always sobering how quickly people on message boards can spiral into a caricature of how not to adhere to such common courtesy. I know I need to watch myself sometimes.

      Regarding the post, I thought more about Dr_Mike’s point in #21 about “two minds”. The same topic (of having two minds) came up in my pastor’s sermon, and in a book I was reading. I don’t think I could speak authoritatively about doubt vs. faith vs. fear vs. unbelief, etc. But this helped frame the question with a bit more clarity for me.

    • Joe

      Was it the disciples who said, “We believe! Help us in our unbelief!” Apparently, parsing this logically, there can be an measure of unbelief, doubt, in belief.

      Or those who “believe,” are allowed a bit of doubt, and yet can still be called believers.

    • David from GA

      Hello Michael,

      Your post began like this:
      I have been in a conversation recently about doubt. Most specifically, the question that has risen is, “Can a true Christian doubt God at the most fundamental level.”

      As a recently deconverted christian, I thought this was a great question to ask. I had been in the faith for 36 years, a church board member and lay youth pastor. I had always taken the entire bible as the infallible word of god. There was never a doubt in my mind whatsoever. I, in fact, used to defend the scriptures wholeheartedly to mormons, jehovah’s witnesses and non-believers.
      However, about a year ago, I began to have doubts. At first, I simply began investigating the historicity of the stories in the Old Testament. Eventually, I also began examining the New Testament as well. Over a period of about six months, I slowly began losing my once rock-solid faith in the bible. As a result, I began losing my faith in the existence of the biblical god as well. Today, I am no longer a believer. I sometimes wish I could be back in the faith, but I can’t.
      For tthe sake of brevity, I’m going to stop here. But suffice it to say, the answer is a resounding yes. One can be a true christian and have doubts about god at the must fundamental level. I never thought I would be anything else but a christian. The thought never even entered my mind. But here I am after having left the faith because of the doubts that I had and the questions that couldn’t be answered.

    • Wm Tanksley

      But suffice it to say, the answer is a resounding yes. One can be a true christian and have doubts about god at the must fundamental level. I never thought I would be anything else but a christian. The thought never even entered my mind. But here I am after having left the faith because of the doubts that I had and the questions that couldn’t be answered.

      Thanks for the followup — and for bringing us right back to the main topic — but I think you slightly misread his question. A brief restatement of what he was asking would be “Can a true Christian doubt God at the most fundamental level and remain a true Christian.” Your story is on topic, but testifies how you became not a true Christian — it doesn’t tell us whether a true Christian remains true even while doubting.


    • Alexander M Jordan

      Hi Dave:

      I am sorry to hear your testimony about being “deconverted”. It sounds like this was a very painful experience for you.

      But it seems to me that there a difference between believing certain propositions about Christianity and being a Christian. Jesus talks about becoming converted to God as a spiritual event– one is “born again” (John 3:5-7). Likewise, Paul defines the essence of being Christian as being one in whom the Spirit of Christ dwells, since he says, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him (Romans 8:9)” and “… do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? (1 Cor 6:19).

      So believing that the Bible is inerrant, that God does exist, that Jesus is who He says He is, etc. are important, but there are some (perhaps many) who believe such propositions and yet are not Christians.

      Don’t give up the fight of faith. As human beings we all struggle with doubts, as Michael was talking about. But the Christian faith is reasonable– it is not blind faith. Do you think that there is a solution to man’s deepest problem– sin– apart from Christ?

      The disciples’ faith was very imperfect, yet Peter declared, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

      They knew this because no one ever spoke or acted like Jesus. And God opened their eyes to see it. I hope you will find Jesus again.

    • Wm Tanksley

      But it seems to me that there a difference between believing certain propositions about Christianity and being a Christian.

      This is without a doubt true, and bears directly on the question of whether we can doubt without being ‘deconverted’ (whatever that means). This person used to believe, and thought that he was a real Christian; now he does not believe, and thinks that he is not a Christian at all. We both say (following 1 John 2:19) that if he had truly been a Christian he would not have left us — but what good does that message do for someone who is experiencing doubts, but hasn’t “left” the faith? And, looking back, what good does that do to “David from GA”, who used to be certain of his faith and now is reasonably certain in his unbelief (David, I hope I’m not reading anything unjustified into your post) — would he not see his experience as testimony against the claims John makes, and therefore confirm his unbelief?

      I have some ideas, but I need to get on the road now… Does anyone else have some?


    • gary

      WM Tanksley wrote “would he not see his experience as testimony against the claims John makes, and therefore confirm his unbelief?”

      To him [ David ] this may or may not be how he sees it, but it would in the believers perspective irrelevant. I am not saying to a believer that David’s position is irrelevant but rather how he sees his position is not relevant to the Christian perspective since the Christian takes the Bible as God’s word on the matter and it stands authoritatively over against any claimed experience. All because the Worldview of the bible alone provides and accounts for meaning and truth and right and wrong and so on.

      please keep that in mind as you debate such a possibly emotionally charged issue.


    • Wm Tanksley

      I am not saying to a believer that David’s position is irrelevant but rather how he sees his position is not relevant to the Christian perspective since the Christian takes the Bible as God’s word on the matter and it stands authoritatively over against any claimed experience.

      I agree with your closing point, largely, but without bringing the testimony of the Bible to bear on David’s experience it’s going to be left mute. Furthermore, by investigating David’s experience we have a chance to look at how the Bible’s teaching applies to a real-world situation, in a way pertinent to the original post CMP made (regarding what happens when Christians doubt).

      If we believe the Bible is true, it seems to me that we have an obligation to apply it to reality, rather than keeping it isolated from reality.

      On the other hand, I agree that “how David sees his position” is less important — although not (as you said) irrelevant. David may possibly be wrong about his position; but David’s opinion about his position is important because if he’s wrong, that error is part of David’s position, and if his true position is relevant to our discussion, his error is relevant.

      I’d like to explore how (and whether) doubt shades into unbelief, in support of CMP’s assertion that a true Christian can doubt without becoming non-Christian; that doubts about points of doctrine need not automatically destroy assurance of salvation.

      I should add that I believe David’s testimony misses the point; as you’ll recall, David actually offered his testimony in order to show that a true Christian _can_ doubt, but the fact that he’s not a true Christian anymore actually argues _against_ that premise.


    • Katie M

      John the baptist doubted that jesus was the one to come … matthew 11.. peter doubted.. thomas doubted… every christian has doubts from time to time. if you never doubt, then i would find it hard to believe that you even have faith.

    • Bob Sacamento

      I can honestly say I’ve never doubted God’s existence. The world has always seemed too extraordinary to a thing to have come in to being with no intelligent cause. And I always think God must be ultimately good and just and will eventually make all things right in the end. I mean, intellectually, that’s the way it has to be, right? But I still have one question, and it is the most important: What if this all righteous, just God, still really doesn’t care a whit about me? Yes, He will make all things right some day, but what if the good in my life, from the heavenly perspective, isn’t a part of that? I’m dealing with some family members’ addicitons right now, and all that that entails (abuse included), no Church to help, and no sense of God’s presence at all. It’s been going from bad to worse for years now, despite my prayers and attempts to keep going. And then I’m dealing with some people telling me that Jesus didn’t die for everyone, not really. That’s my doubt.

    • Josh

      Anyone with doubt is not a christian. People just want to believe in god so badly that they’ll even make rationalizations for themselves when deep down they question it.

      You may believe or question the existense of god…..but don’t question this – the ‘bible’ is foolish. You can question whether or not there is a god, while still ignoring foolish things like the quaron/bible/torah/ etc.

    • Olivia

      If doubt is a result of the Fall, why is it described to be “okay?” Would it not be on the same playing field of other things that are a result of the fall ie. greed, pride. I guess what this comes down to is, is doubt a “sin?”

    • Amara akomas

      I have no reason to doubt you God,James 1:6-7 – but he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord….Jeremiah 32:26 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 27″Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” and I Amarachurch Akomas Said NO nothing is impossible for My God to Do…

    • Joshua

      When my mind doubts, my heart believes. I always end up doubting God when I search for him with my thoughts. I have realized that my problem isn’t with the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God because no matter how bad I have wanted to not believe that there is no God I can’t. My problem has been with trying to understand religion enough to find a church.

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