Chris' Blog


Chris Philbeck

Room For Doubt

This weekend (September 7/8) kicks off our new "Room for Doubt" series. That might sound like an odd title for a sermon series but here's what I'd like you to consider. As Christians, we should make "room for doubt" in our lives, in our relationships, and in our churches. Now those last two things make sense. We should welcome relationships with people who have doubts because that opens the door to honest conversations and the possibility of a spiritual journey. We should make room for people with doubts in our services because what better place to learn and be challenged. We should also make room (acknowledge) doubt in our own lives. Let me explain that with the following illustration I found in a book called, “Faith and Doubt” by John Ortberg.
As long as you have faith, you will have doubts. I sometimes use the following illustration when I'm speaking. I tell the audience that I have a twenty-dollar bill in my hand and ask for a volunteer who believes me. Usually, only a few hands go up. Then I tell the volunteer that I am about to destroy his (or her) faith. I open my hand and show the twenty-dollar bill. The reason I can say I am destroying his faith is that now he knows I hold the bill. He sees the bill and doesn't need faith anymore. Faith is required only when we have doubts, when we do not know for sure. When knowledge comes, faith is no more.
Sometimes a person is tempted to think, I can't become a Christian because I still have doubts. I'm still not sure. But as long as doubts exist, as long as the person is still uncertain, that is the only time faith is needed. When the doubts are gone, the person doesn't need faith anymore. Knowledge has come.
I tell the audience that this is exactly the point Paul was making in his first letter to the church at Corinth: "Now we see ("see" is a 'knowing' word) but a poor reflection (now we have confusion, misunderstanding, doubts, and questions) … then we shall see face to face (we don't see face-to-face yet). Now I know in part (with questions and doubts); then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (13:12).

I will be honest and tell you that I have spent a great deal of my life as a Christian avoiding doubt because I never made room for doubt. If I had my own doubts, I felt guilty. If I encountered someone with doubt, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to answer their doubts. But my experience last year in my Spiritual Discovery Group where every session was focused on the doubts of my non-Christian participants, removed my fear.
Maybe you are like me (like I used to be) and you're afraid of doubt because you never made any room for doubt in your life. These next five weeks at Mount Pleasant (and all of our IMPACT campuses) have the power, not just to change that, but to change the way you approach the people you know and love who are a long way from God. I'm praying that will happen. And don't forget that this weekend we begin our new Sunday morning service schedule with services at 9:15 and 11am. I'm anticipating a large crowd this weekend, but we'll have our overflow spaces ready, and we do have 1,200 seats in our Worship Center which means we have room for 3,600 people between Saturday night and Sunday morning. I would ask, if you are able, you might consider parking across the street at the Community Life Center.
I'll see you this weekend (bring your one life and/or a friend) for Room for Doubt.
Pastor Chris