Doubts concerning the ideas or persons most important to us might be called an almost universal fact of life. The question marks in our heads are never fully erased."3 And lest someone think that non-religious persons are different, C. Lewis' personal comment is very instructive here: Uncertainty is common to human existence, but dealing with it is complicated both by the fact that there are different species of doubt and because each of the types frequently involve more than just that one area.
One could well question how many Christians have not doubted, at least at certain times in their lives.2 Based on numerous analyses of human behavior, scholars have noted that doubt of various types is a constant companion throughout life and is common to human experience. Thus, there is a tendency for doubt to "spill over" into other elements of human experience.
While factual doubt may require the expertise of the apologist or philosopher, emotional and mood-related doubt will have more to do with the psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor.
Questions pertaining to the will are perhaps best addressed by theologians.
These studies propose to deal, successively, with the general topic of doubt as experienced by believers, and then, chiefly, with practical suggestions for the possible resolution of each of three prominent types of doubt.
Afterwards, we will examine several pertinent issues which might potentially be of further assistance to persons experiencing such uncertainty.
The week at Western Seminary, at the invitation of Professor Gerry Breshears, provided an excellent time of interaction, including meetings with administration, faculty and students.
The three weeks at Oxford provided an intensely personal setting for the integration of living and learning.
So if I err in my conclusions, I humbly ask your forgiveness and invite your comments.One of the lectures there was similarly devoted to the subject of doubt.I benefited personally from my interaction with those from both groups during this lecturing and writing.And the more that I deal with the subject, the more I recognize that sociological, anthropological and educational insights are examples of other areas which are also crucial at various points.So there are certainly elements of doubt which require a multidimensional effort.Here I must rely on my own study and interaction with professionals in the other disciplines.And addressing an audience which involves persons who are trained in these areas, I can only admit my lack of expertise and open myself to the observations of others.To this end, this book is written to Christians and so will not attempt to argue for the truth of Christianity, although endnotes will frequently list some relevant sources which do a commendable job of introducing the reader to the area of apologetics. Definition and Nature of the Problem Doubt of various sorts is portrayed somewhat regularly in the New Testament, both in narrative and doctrinal texts.No fewer than seven Greek terms speak of some aspect of the issue with diakrino being used most frequently, often indicating uncertainty or hesitation between believing and not doing so.1 For our present purposes, I will define doubt more specifically as a lack of certainty concerning the teachings of Christianity or one's personal relation to them.Those lectures, entitled "Christian Doubt: Toward Resolving a Painful Problem," comprised most of Sections I and II of this volume.The remainder of the manuscript (Section III, in particular) was completed during a lectureship in an adjunct study program at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, England.