FAQ: What if I have doubts?

doubtMany people feel like they can’t become a Christian until they are 100% sure that Christianity is true. This is completely understandable. Becoming a Christian is the most significant, life-altering decision a person will ever make.

But does a person have to be 100% sure that Christianity is true in order to become a Christian?

FIRSTLY, WE DO NOT HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT THE ENTIRE BIBLE IS TRUE, WE JUST NEED TO BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED & ROSE AGAIN

We do not have to believe in Adam & Eve, Noah & the Ark or Moses & the Burning Bush in order to become a Christian. Consider the following…

A) The Early Christians were not 100% sure of the entire Bible because the entire Bible wasn’t even written yet.
Andy Stanley makes the point that “there was no Bible as we know it for the first three hundred years of Christianity. People were becoming followers of Christ before the Gospels were even written” (Deep & Wide, p 246).

B) Most Christians alive today have not even read the entire Bible, so how can they be 100% sure that it’s true?

C) We are saved by our faith in Jesus, not the Bible.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9).

SECONDLY, ALTHOUGH WE HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED & ROSE AGAIN, WE DO NOT HAVE TO BE 100% SURE THAT JESUS DIED & ROSE AGAIN.

Certainly the Bible is clear that we need to believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. The Apostle Paul said: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). But we do not have to be 100% sure that Jesus died and rose again. Consider the following…

A) We do not have the luxury of waiting until we are 100% sure
A lot of people think that becoming a Christian is like crossing a busy road. We look both ways and we don’t cross until we are 100% sure that it is safe to cross. Although this scenario seems correct, it assumes that we have an endless amount of time on our hands.

But unfortunately the decision to become a Christian is not without time constraints. All of us will die one day. We only have a limited amount of time to decided whether or not we will place our life and eternity into Jesus’ hands.

Perhaps a better analogy is to think of becoming a Christian like jumping out of the way of a big truck. Suppose we find ourselves in the middle of the road. We look up and see the truck coming straight towards us. We are forced to make a decision. Do we jump out of the way, assuming the truck will continue straight along its path? Or do we stay where we are, assuming the truck will swerve around us? We will never be 100% sure of either. In fact, we may be 51% sure of one, and 49% sure of the other. But we have to make a decision, so we make our decision based on probability.

In the same way, all of us have death coming straight towards us. Do we jump into the arms of Jesus, trusting Him to save us? Or do stay where we are and face death on our own? We may be 51% sure that Jesus rose from the dead, and 49% sure that He didn’t. But one way or the other, we need to make a decision.

B) We do not need to be 100% sure
Suppose a young child has never been on an elevator. One day, she walks into a very tall building. She notices people walking into the elevator, the steel doors close, and they never come out. As you can imagine, this could be quite frightening. After some time, the child decides to take a step of faith and jumps into the elevator. She hears the big steel doors close behind her. She notices that everyone has turned around, and is now facing the front. She then begins to feel this weird sensation in her stomach as the elevator begins to ascend. After some time, she starts to get freaked out by the fact that nobody is talking to each other, and there is some weird music playing in the background.

But no matter how anxious the child becomes. No matter how significant her doubts, no matter how much she may regret her decision, the fact is, she will get off on the 10th floor just like everyone else.

Her doubts are only significant if they stop her from getting on the elevator in the first place.

In the same way, a person can become a Christian and still have significant doubts. What matters is that they are willing to jump on board. Certainly, their experience as a Christian may be plagued with doubt. They may be much more likely to question whether or not they’ve made the right decision than a Christian who has less questions and doubts. But they will still be taken to heaven. Jesus will still be with them on the journey.

We don’t need to be 100% sure that Jesus died & rose again. We just need to be sure enough to place our life and eternity into Jesus’ hands.

THIRDLY, ONCE WE COME TO BELIEVE IN JESUS’ DEATH AND RESURRECTION, WE CAN THEN BELIEVE IN THE REST OF THE BIBLE.

Andy Stanley says: “I’ll tell you why I believe Adam and Eve were actual people. Jesus did. I’m a simple man. If somebody predicts his own death and resurrection and then pulls it off, I’m with him. I don’t really care what he says, I’m with the guy who rose from the dead. I would like to do that someday myself. And he said those who believe, even though they die, they will live. So I go with what Jesus said” (Deep & Wide, p255).

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ILLUSTRATION: Concentric Circles

NOT EVERYTHING IN CHRISTIANITY IS OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE…

When Jesus was asked to explain the greatest commandment, He replied by saying: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt 22:36-40).

When the Apostle Paul was speaking about doctrine, he explained that some doctrines are of first importance, implying that others are of less importance: “Brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:1-3).

When the Apostle John was writing his biography of Jesus, not everything could be included. He was forced to leave our some of the less important information. In his closing statement he says: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

ONE WAY TO THINK ABOUT THE DIFFERENT DOCTRINES OF CHRISTIANITY IS TO DRAW A NUMBER OF CONCENTRIC CIRCLES…Urantia_three-concentric-blue-circles-on-white_symbol.svg

The inner circle contains those doctrines which a person must absolutely believe in order to be a Christian. These would include:
> The deity of Jesus
> Jesus dying on the cross to pay for our sin
> The resurrection
> That we are sinners who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus

The second circle contains those doctrines which a person may not have to believe to actually be a Christian, but they are so significant that if we mess with them there would be serious implications. One example of this might be the authority of the Bible. A person could come to place their faith in Jesus to save them without actually believing that the whole Bible is true. So in that sense, it’s not an ‘inner circle doctrine’. But the implications for not believing the Bible are huge, both individually and corporately as a church community.

The third circle contains those doctrines which typically divide denominations. These might include:
> Baptism
> Communion
> Speaking in Tongues
> Predestination
> Church Leadership Structures
> …etc

The outer circle contains those doctrines which Christians might discuss, and perhaps even hold an opinion on, but even within different Christian denominations there are varying beliefs.

WHY THIS IS HELPFUL…

Firstly, a person doesn’t need to believe absolutely everything Christianity teaches in order to become a Christian.

Secondly, the objections or questions a person has about Christianity may not be as big a problem as we might expect. Some people figure out all their questions before they become a Christian. But most people become Christians even though they have not had all their questions answered.

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