Why do we keep seeing these stories?
Unfortunately stories like these are all too common: A person famous in the Christian community “shocks” the world by announcing they’ve lost their belief in God. But should these kinds of announcements be “shocking” to us? Should they even be surprising?
The unfortunate answer is “No”. Common in many of these stories is for a person to start with normal and honest questions about God, the kind we all have: “Why would a loving God allow evil and suffering?”… “Wouldn’t a loving God save everyone?”… “Is the Bible really the Word of God?”. All of these (and more) have solid answers that aren’t out of reach with a little thought and careful study. But because of their celebrity many people cannot openly share their questions. In the article published on The Christian Post, John said he had been “terrified to be honest about this publicly for quite some time, because of all that I thought I would lose.”
Here at the Ambassadors Forum we’ve recognized the Biblical truth in this area. We have strived to create an environment where people can openly question their faith, because “hard questions lead to good answers”. We know that God is not afraid of the questions, and neither are we.
The crux of this matter has to do with the word “doubt”. Well-meaning Christians will quote familiar Bible verses like Matthew 14:31 where Jesus chastises Peter for doubting when he walked on the water. Or James 1:6 where Christians are commanded to “not doubt”. But in these contexts we are being encouraged not to “doubt” the kinds of things we already know to be true, ie what God has clearly and repeatedly revealed in Scripture and in creation: that He created the world, that all men are sinners, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, etc. In contrast, the kind of doubt that steers many famous Christians away from their faith is better defined as “questioning”. This kind of questioning could be further defined as “trying to align all truth with itself, and trying to align the truth I already know with the reality around me”. Nowhere does the Bible condemn this kind of behavior, or even discourage it. On the contrary, God is light (1 John 1:5) and He desires that all people everywhere bring their questions and concerns and doubts into the light of His truth.
Scripture contains an excellent example of people who had questions about their faith, and what they did about it. In Acts 17 Paul brought a stunning new presentation about the Messiah to the Bereans. It caused them to question the faith that they had always believed. But instead of hiding their doubt they openly confronted it, searching what they knew to be truth and testing it against the new claims about Jesus Christ.
We have the same mission today at the Ambassadors Forum. Come join with us as we search God’s truth and consistently think deeply and logically to help others struggling with the same questions.