One of the things I really enjoy about my job is that I get to spend a lot of my time in 1-1s with people. I spend hours reading the Bible with, praying with and discussing some of the difficult questions people have about the Christian faith. Too often I’ve seen Christians worry that their questions will be thought of as doubts and a lack of faith. This is a great book touching on that very topic…
In DoubtLess Shelby Abbott does a great job at helping Christians see that God is not annoyed at their questions. Abbott stresses the importance of brining your questions, all of your questions about the Christian faith, to God and to fellow Christians. Here’s what Abbott himself says…
“It’s important to understand what doubt actually is and what it isn’t before making assumptions on the nature of what we’ll be talking about in the coming chapters. Many people, Christians in particular, conclude that doubt is the same thing as unbelief. Let me assure you that it’s not. If doubt were the same as unbelief, I don’t know a single follower of Christ who could be certain that their salvation was secure. They would feel as if their eternal destiny were in the throes of a cosmic ping-pong match, bouncing back and forth between heaven and hell, peace and anxiety, joy and despair. Unbelief is a conclusion someone reaches—a deliberate decision to live life as if there is no God. Doubt is something significantly different.”
This book is jammed with pastoral experience of serving and discipling university students and young adults. The thing I like about this book is that it doesn’t tackle the normal apologetics questions. Instead Abbott addresses questions like…
- What does it mean for my Christianity if I’m doubting?
- I don’t feel loved by God right now, is He really there?
- Why am I so anxious when I have questions and doubts about God?
- Am I alone in my doubt?
Doubts and questions can be scary, it can feel like the thing that you’ve believed your whole life is crumbling under your feet. But the questions is, what do we do with our doubts? Abbott rightly highlights the danger of dwelling on our doubts and the negative effects that can have on our spiritual life. This doesn’t mean that Christians should have questions. Every Christian does, whether they admit it or not. But there is a big difference between recognising doubts and questions and dwelling on them almost to the point of them being an obsession. The later can lead to a person walking away from their faith. We must let our doubts, our questions and our worries make us run to God and seek Him in absolute honesty and faith.
Faith can be unfairly characterised as a leap in the dark or blindly stepping into the unknown.
“faith isn’t ultimately about absolute certainties. It’s about a willingness to trust in the promises of God and the saving work of Christ, knowing that one day our trust will be vindicated. One day we’ll have all our questions answered; but for the moment, we walk by faith, not by sight.“
It is important that we’re honest about our doubts because not speaking about them can have real consequences…
“Doubt becomes unbelief when you let it become unbelief. When you cling to unrealistic ideas about the Christian faith, get hopelessly preoccupied with doubts that are a natural part of the life of a believer, or fail to allow your faith to grow, you are making active choices to move to unbelief. It’s important not to be ashamed of your doubts. When you are, hiding, isolation, and loneliness become the natural by-product. Consequently, the cycle of shame, hiding, isolation, and loneliness feeds on itself, driving you further away from your faith.”
I could go on and continue to quote some really good and helpful advice that Abbott gives in this book. I could continue to highlight some of the great teaching points and applications that he brings out in this short book. However, the best thing for you to do is just go buy it for yourself.
I wish I had this book as I was wrestling with my faith when I was younger. Do you have doubts? Do you have questions? Are you unsure about how to reconcile your doubts and your faith? Is the whole situation sending you into a negative spiral? Then I highly recommend this book. It would be a great book to discuss in a 1-1 with another person, it would also be a great one to work through with a group of students and teens.
If you’re in the US you can buy the book here from the publishers, New Growth Press. If you’re in the UK you can buy it here from 10ofThose, it’ll be released at the end of September 2020.
Shelby Abbott is an author, campus minister, and conference speaker on staff with the ministry of Cru. His passion for university students has led him to speak at college campuses all over the United States and author the books Jacked, I Am A Tool (To Help With Your Dating Life), and Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress (New Growth Press). He and his wife Rachael have two daughters and reside in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.