I am part of a small group that is studying a book by Lee Strobel entitled "The Case for Faith." In it he proposes it is perfectly OK for a Christian to have doubts. I disagree with this position and cite Hebrews 11:6
It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
If you look up the word "doubt" it implies mistrust. If we doubt God, then we don’t trust God. If we do not trust God, then wouldn’t it be the same as a "lack of faith?" I have pasted a listing of synonyms of “doubt” at the end of this article and while the word “question” is listed as one synonym, when you look at the totality of the synonyms, I still maintain that Christians should not “doubt” God. Perhaps, we can “doubt” our understanding, but not doubt Him.
Now, I will agree that Christians can have questions about such things as "Why would God allow evil to exist?" etc. But, questions to me are quite different than doubts.
Some members of the group say it is "semantics." I personally see nothing wrong with studying the meaning of words for how else can we communicate? In fact, most in this class have a basic set doctrinal beliefs based on the study of the original languages of the New Testament. For many things they state that we must go back to the original language to determine meaning and some make it a matter of “Faith.”
If I say the cinnamon rolls at Panera Bread are "bad?" What does that mean? The only way to know is either ask me for clarification, or study the context in which I said it and to know a little about me. But, definitely more needs to be ascertained prior to concluding that one understands my meaning. (Incidentally, they are “bad” in a good way.” What do I mean by “The salmon at Sam’s was bad.” It smelled awful!
Am I making too big a deal out of the importance of understanding terminology when it comes to communication? I really don’t think so.
If a doctor told you that you were suffering from “Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria,” would you know what he meant? Not likely. So he has failed to clearly communicate what your condition is. Therefore, you would not know how to treat it. Until you understand the terminology you cannot ascertain the meaning.
So, what do you think? Is there a difference between “doubts” and “questions” or is it really just a matter of semantics? Please leave a post.
Dennis “No Doubts but many questions” Wilson
noun 1. uncertainty, confusion, hesitation, dilemma, scepticism, misgiving, suspense, indecision, bewilderment, lack of confidence, hesitancy, perplexity, vacillation, lack of conviction, irresolution, dubiety << OPPOSITE certainty
verb 3. be uncertain, be sceptical, be dubious
verb 4. waver, hesitate, vacillate, sway, fluctuate, dither chiefly Brit. haver, oscillate, chop and change, blow hot and cold (informal) keep changing your mind, shillyshally (informal) be irresolute or indecisive, swither Scot.
verb 5. disbelieve, question, suspect, query, distrust, mistrust, lack confidence in, misgive << OPPOSITE believe >> no doubt certainly, surely, probably, admittedly, doubtless, assuredly, doubtlessly
USAGE In affirmative sentences, whether was in the past the only word considered acceptable for linking the verb doubt to a following clause, for example I doubt whether he will come. Nowadays, doubt if and doubt that are both considered acceptable alternatives to doubt whether. In negative sentences, use that after doubt, for example I don’t doubt that he is telling the truth. The old-fashioned form not doubt but that, as in I do not doubt but that he is telling the truth, is now rarely used and sounds very stiff and formal.
Collins Essential Thesaurus 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2005, 2006