Author Archives: aphobia

Doubting as a Pastor (by Pastor Anon)

Raised in a “Christian” home, I thought Christian belief was simple and straightforward. I then went to a conservative, dare I say “fundamentalist” Bible College and learned differently. Sometime in between my junior and senior year I was very tempted to throw my Bible away and walk away, mainly for academic reasons.

I pursued answers to the questions, and this search awakened in me a passion for apologetics. I went on to seminary to study apologetics, and it was there in seminary, Jan. 2004, for an entire month I’d lie awake in bed asking myself how people would respond if I announced tomorrow that I no longer believed. I don’t know how I made it through that time except to say my wife and I found a warm church family. Now several years later I find myself in pastoral ministry plagued unrelentingly by a consistent feeling that the “Christian” expression I have been taught is not correct. I tell people at this point that I only believe 3 things (God’s existence, Jesus is His Son, who came back to life).

So for me the doubts now circle around other issues. This is extremely difficult, especially for a guy in pastoral ministry because I am not sure what I think of the Bible. And because I am expected as a pastor to have the answers I never feel like I have the space to work through my own struggles. It is fearful and paralyzing to stand before people who expect you to declare what God says and not be sure. The doubts are no longer academic…they are hard to categorize.


Don’t Feel the Presence of the Holy Spirit Anymore (by Anon)

I was a believer as a young child. At age 12 I almost died, didn’t phase me a bit because I trusted Jesus as my Savior.

At age 21 I doubted my salvation because of my lifesyle. There was a voice inside of me asking me to consider the “last day” a year earlier. Convinced I needed to be born again I became desperate and started seeking the LORD JESUS (Who is the LORD by the way) and was scared of going to hell. I knew the Gospel and believed it. At a Church service I gazed upon the cross and it became so personal. Months later I knew I needed to hear from God. Starting to explain my situation at a Bible Study the men got up and started to pray for me. I began trembling and started to feel a presence I’ve never felt. A woman began to explain that the Holy Spirit entered the room and she almost cried with me! On the way home I felt the peace beyond all understanding. The next few weeks, the Joy of the LORD.

Several compromises later I’m terrified that somehow I don’t have the Spirit. I’m not as close as I was. HE is the desire of my heart still and I want to live my life in a way that keeps me in fellowship with HIM. I hope I’m not a Judas or a castaway. Many different doctrines on this. Please, HELP!!!


Easier to Believe at Night (by anon)

I accepted the Lord at12. I was brought up in the Christian faith from birth but did not ask Jesus to be Lord until I was 12/13. I love the Lord and felt His presence in my life.

After the birth of my second child was the first time I experienced doubt. Probably brought on by post partum. I thought I was dying and prayed for healing. I did not see the changes I prayed for. The scriptures say “If you believe…”, and when I didn’t see the changes, I started questioning what “I believed”. It must be something with what I believed since I did not see the results I expected from my prayers, it must be my belief system. Through a word from God delivered to me through a trusted evangelist and lots of prayer, I got through it gradually about a year and a half to two years. I grew spiritual after that.

The second time I went through it was right before 9/11. I am not sure what brought it about. I know I was in the middle of depression again. I am not sure if it starts with the physical depression first that brings about the spiritual or the spiritual that brings on the physical depression. I learned a lot about physical depression during this time. This time lasted, I would guess, 1 year.

One day I decided I would choose to believe and that I needed to get busy doing what I knew needed to do, where God had me at that time in my life, to be a good wife and a mother. I grew spiritually more than ever. I love, loved, loved the word of God. God was very real in my life. I heard His voice and felt His presence and even began teaching the Word of God and on depression. I was asked to be the director of our Women’s ministry January 2010. I prayed about it and accepted and took the position in August.

Shortly after my first meeting as director, I remember very clearly, as you said you did, the first moment/thought of doubt this 3rd time I had. I was reading in Mathew of when they wanted to set guards in front of Jesus tomb so that His disciples would not come a steal his body, my immediate thought was, “Yes, what if they really stole His body?”. Shocked at where that thought could have come from, I shut my bible and put it out of my head and went on with my day. A couple of days later, I was in prayer for my teenage daughters attitude and remember asking God why He wasn’t answering my prayers. What was wrong with my heart that was hindering my prayers. God has always been so favorable to me. The next day I started crying over my daughters attitude. When I found it hard to stop crying, the questions of doubt/unbelief started coming back. I think of the scripture that says in the end, all that can be shaken, will be shaken. I felt like I was going through this shaking. Also it is as though the gospel didn’t make since to me anymore. The bible says the spirit testifies to our spirit of Him, I have felt the lose of that. Where I had great confidence now was replaced with fear. As if I know there is a God but didn’t believe Him.

I have felt as though I have grieved the Spirit with my thoughts of doubt/unbelief and God has removed His Spirit from me, I am spiritually dead. I went through many physical problems in the beginning, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, crying, feeling insane. It is the absence of peace, joy, hope, love, and confidence that has kept me where I am. Also, I do not notice the voice of God in my life anymore. It is difficult for me to read the Word (I still do read now and then though) it’s hard to listen to Christian music (I still do listen though). I see no favor in my life anymore. Like the man you mentioned during the meeting, I sometimes feel like I miss Jesus. I have not discussed all of this openly with more than 2 or 3 trusted friends.

Things are better for me physically now. It is easier for me to believe at night, for some reason, odd I know. I feel like I am always searching, always battling with myself – double minded. I feel quite hopeless at times. I quote scripture aloud. Talk to God constantly and feel I am waiting for a response.


Doubting as a Pastor (by Anon)

Raised in a “Christian” home, I thought Christian belief was simple and straightforward. I then went to a conservative, dare I say “fundamentalist,” Bible College and learned differently. Sometime in between my junior and senior year I was very tempted to throw my Bible away and walk away, mainly for academic reasons. I pursued answers to the questions, and this search awakened in me a passion for apologetics. I went on to seminary to study apologetics, and it was there in seminary, Jan. 2004, for an entire month I’d lie awake in bed asking myself how people would respond if I announced tomorrow that I no longer believed.

I don’t know how I made it through that time except to say my wife and I found a warm church family. Now several years later I find myself in pastoral ministry plagued unrelentingly by a consistent feeling that the “Christian” expression I have been taught is not correct. I tell people at this point that I only believe 3 things (God’s existence, Jesus is His Son, who came back to life).

So for me the doubts now circle around other issues. This is extremely difficult, especially for a guy in pastoral ministry because I am not sure what I think of the Bible. And because I am expected as a pastor to have the answers I never feel like I have the space to work through my own struggles. It is fearful and paralyzing to stand before people who expect you to declare what God says and not be sure. The doubts are no longer academic…they are hard to categorize.


What if I Am Missing Something?

My doubts have never been because I feel I don’t have enough information, or that Christianity has some sort of internal inconsistencies. I think I’m cynical and pessimistic by nature, and have chronic depersonalization disorder (well, self-diagnosed). When I doubt, my thoughts are along the lines of, “Yes, all that makes sense, but what if we’re missing something…. what if the truth about the world isn’t beautiful and hopeful and good, but behind everything is, instead, some terrible truth that will consign us to eternal torment because we have missed something?”

I look at people of other faiths who are assured of their being right, and think, “couldn’t that be me, too?” The role depersonalization plays in this is that it makes me feel not real, makes me question my own existence, and can be accompanied with paralyzing fear/anxiety that is just utter darkness. I don’t feel these doubts acutely all the time, or even that often, but I wish that I could shake the feeling that Christianity isn’t real in the same way that the chair I’m sitting on is real.


Doubts are My Thorn (by Anonymous)

I was raised in an atheistic family and was saved out of that environment after 5 or 6 pre-salvation years of struggling with whether the gospel was real. However, I find myself at odds with many of the feelings & emotions of so many of the participants in the first week’s forum–I never feel angst, get depressed, or ever consider suicide due to my doubts. I guess my doubts are purely intellectual. IF THERE IS A GOD, I believe in the God the Bible clearly communicates: One who makes much of us as humans by loving us and giving Christ to us, that our lives might in turn make much of Him.

The doubts aren’t constant, but they are always in the background. At my conversion, and many times since, I have been fully convinced of God’s reality. Ninety-five percent of the time (I first said 99%, but that wouldn’t accurately portray my doubts) I believe God exists and has revealed Himself to me. I even got three seminary degrees, am ordained, and have served overseas in some hard environments because I desire to make God known as glorious among the nations (I am not trying to boast, Michael–I just want to hit home the point that I really am a Christian.). But the doubt lingers in the background.

I appreciated you saying we cannot immerse ourselves in non-theist resources and not expect the doubts to come. Most of the time, especially when presented in a forum through which I am helpless to respond, my doubts come the strongest at me when I read or listen to the views of intelligent men (philosophers, professors, or just all around cool and savvy atheists) who really have no doubts that God does not exist and that Christians are a bunch of redneck, backwoods, superstitious, pitiable, close-minded ignoramuses. Unfortunately, much of the time I can agree with them on some of those descriptions (I hope that doesn’t sound mean, but do you get what I’m saying?).

I have come to terms with my doubts, always believing (and publicly stating in my teaching) those doubts are my thorn. Do they have to be? Or can God remove my doubts?