17 October 2010

Another Word About Doubt

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson



The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "The Three Witnesses," a sermon originally preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on Sunday morning, 9 August 1874.

   feel sick to death of the common talk about the healthiness of doubting and the beauty of "modern thought." This talk is only the self-praise of a set of concealed infidels treacherously lurking in God’s church.

C. H. Spurgeon


35 comments:

Thomas Louw said...

I wonder if the answer could be 100% proven,
which leaves us to doubt the truthfulness of the answer,
but it cannot be disproven which increases the doubt factor.
That leads us to believe that doubt is the only thing that can be proven.
But our doubt may not be proven to be 100% correct.
which leaves us to doubt the .....
May I say more?

donsands said...

Satan is forever roaming about, and subtly speaks his lies and tickles ears.

John wrote:

"This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true."

God's Word is eternally true.

Canyon Shearer said...

"You shall KNOW the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - Jesus Christ, the Truth, the Faithful Witness, called True

Andrew Perriman said...

Of course, it rather depends what you are doubting. I doubt if Spurgeon was always right, or that his embittered judgmentalism was always just.

Cathy M. said...

Defending the truths of God is neither embittered nor judgmental. To do anything less would be craven and treasonous.

"That our gospel offends the King's enemies is no regret to us." ~C.H. Spurgeon

Andrew Perriman said...

Cathy, I said nothing about the 'truths of God'. My point was simply that Spurgeon was as fallible as the rest of the us, and there are always good reasons to doubt our perception of things.

Christopher said...

I know someone writes this on each Spurgeon post, but may I simply do so again: It seems as though Spurgeon could just be preaching down the street from my apartment. His preaching (which is nothing more than Biblical preaching) is as accurate and applicable today as it was in his day...and will no doubt be the same in my grandchildren's day, should the Lord tarry.

Ken Silva said...

"My point was simply that Spurgeon was as fallible as the rest of the us."

Tis true; but I doubt he was wrong here.

witness said...

You are right Andrew... I do doubt your perception of things.

Eric said...

Andrew,

If your point was "simply that Spurgeon was as fallible as the rest of the us," there would be no need to use the words "embittered judgmentalism." Clearly you were trying to say a little more than your truncated summary.

It seems kind of "judgmental" of you to accuse Spurgeon of "embittered judgmentalism." Just sayin.

RomansOne said...

I wonder if Andrew doubts his perception that "there are always good reasons to doubt our perception of things"?

Sounds like a vicious circle ... and exactly what Spurgeon was lamenting.

Andrew Perriman said...

Eric, you make a fair point, though Spurgeon sounds rather sour to me. Whether he is being judgmental is difficult to decide out of context.

But all the facetious comments about doubting my perceptions, etc., seem unhelpful. We question our perceptions all the time; we question whether a news report accurately represents an event; we have doubts about whether we have made ourselves clear to someone. This is just normal.

And it is proper to question or doubt whether we are communicating the truth of God's word as accurately or as relevantly as we might. Doubt is healthy: it is a matter of facing up honestly to the limitations of human knowing. Faith is not pretending otherwise.

Mike Perrigoue said...

Andrew,
Regarding the facetious comments, you were only met where you began...snippy remarks. I'm not excusing it of course. Be careful in your beginning for it saves a mess in the end.

Eric said...

Andrew,

No one eschews all doubt. The trend that Spurgeon was commenting on is the same trend that we see today in some circles, namely elevating doubt to status as virtue. Doubt of some things is clearly healthy (say, for instance having doubt about the claims of a politician), while doubt of clear Biblical teaching under the guise of humility and virtue is unhealthy and destructive to one's faith and the faith of others.

Eric said...

Andrew,

I'm not sure what to make of your last sentence. Are you saying that faith is not pretending that doubt is necessary? If not, can you expound on what you meant? If so, I'm not sure that can be Biblically supported.

RomansOne said...

I wasn't being facetious, just making an observation (though granted I should have phrased it more politely -- sorry).

If one truly believes that "there are always good reasons to doubt our perception of things", then you end up in an endless regression of doubt, since you can never know that that statement is, itself, true.

I concur that we should always be in a process of self-analysis, comparing ourselves and our beliefs to the truth of Scripture, and open to correction.

But saying that we should be "doubting" everything is not Scriptural -- doubt, in Scripture, is the antithesis of faith.

CGrim said...

"There are always good reasons to doubt our perception of things."

But once you start down that path, where does the doubting stop? How do we know the law of gravity will continue on into the future? There's no way to know. How do we know our senses aren't deceiving us? How do we know we're not living in some sort of Matrix / Inception scenario? How do we know that other people are real and not merely figments of our imagination?

You can doubt everything if you wish. But don't insist that everyone else join you in your doubt.

CGrim said...

"Doubt is healthy: it is a matter of facing up honestly to the limitations of human knowing. Faith is not pretending otherwise."

Nope. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Shawn said...

Of course the theists can't permit any doubt. Otherwise you might start seeing all the holes in your 2000+ year old Middle Eastern fairy tales.
If someone tells you not to ask questions and just trust them, what do you think they are up to?
If they can't answer your questions what is the point in floowing them?

Brad Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Williams said...

Come on, Shawn! Our fairy tales are much older than that.

Are you sure that our beliefs are so ludicrous?

Thomas Louw said...

Shawn.
Take some time and read any of Lee Strobel's books.
It may not answer all your questions but lead on the path to the answers.
Doubt is good if you not lazy and start in investigating stuff.

Thomas Louw said...

Andrew.
Advice on your
"embittered judgmentalism" remark.
"Words are precious. Don’t surround them with useless scaffolding when they can stand all by themselves. Choose your words well and use them wisely. And be prepared on occasion to use them sparingly" Kevin De Young

Shawn said...

Here are some doubts for you to explain to me:
Why did God create the universe and humans? Was he just bored? If he existed for all eternity then why did he start the universe when he did (approx 13.75 billion years ago). Did he just get out of proverbial bed one morning and decide it would be an interesting project?

Why did he wait so long to create the earth? (9.21 billion years from the start of the universe)

If God is loving and omnipresent and the supreme power in the universe, why does he allow bad things to happen to good people, and good things to happen to bad people? Seems a bit unloving and unjust to me.

Why did Jesus have to be physically crucified in order for his father (who is also himself) to forgive the rest of us for sinning? Isn't God (and/or Jesus) capable of forgiving sins without human sacrifice?

Why did God create the tree of knowledge on earth if he didn’t want anyone to eat it? (If he hadn’t, according to biblical logic, there’d be no sin and we’d still all be living in the perfect world).

Why is the worst sin ever committed on earth knowledge?

Why hasn’t God revealed himself to everyone down here for 2000 years? Or conversely, why did he pick 2000 years ago?

Why do some babies die? Are they more worthy of getting into heaven/hell faster? How can this be if there is no pre-conception soul?

Why are some people born into rich families and others into starvation? Are the starving ones somehow unworthy? Again, how is this justifiable from an all loving God?

Why did God get so mad at one point that he killed every person and animal on earth but saved Noah’s family and two of every animal. Why didn’t he just start again with a new Adam & Eve, and/or the animals on the ark, and just re-populate the earth himself? Why hasn’t he been as mad since (surely we’re equally as sinful today?)?

And the following aren't doubt ending answers just very flismy excuses for not having credible ones:
1. "only God knows";
2. "god works in mysterious ways"
3. "you just have to have faith"

Referring to specific passages in the Bible will get you partial credit, but as I consider it a politically constructed (and highly edited)contradiction filled, book of ancient myth and superstition, I might still have serious doubt.
Full points for logical and evidenciary based answers.

Steve B said...

The greatest sin in the emergent, progressive worldview is to confess to believe in something without reservation.

Doubting shows "enlightenment." It shows that you won't be "shackled" by the archaic beliefs of old, but are open to a more holistic gospel.

Doubt is a two lane street. Not only does it rob us of conviction, but it also enables us to keep open that escape hatch, that subtle and insidious confession that, "well, you COULD be right about that..." such that we are equipped to rationalize the soft-coating of the Gospel.

From doubt springs such things as "we can't be judgemental of other's beliefs" or "we all worship the same god, just in different ways."

Doubt should serve only as the catalyst which spurs us to greater study, such that we regain a firm conviction in the Truth.

Thomas doubted, but came to see the truth. Judas doubted, but didn't.

I suspect doubt wasn't something Jesus struggle with.

Thomas Louw said...

Shawn
Why did God create the universe and humans?
Short answer. To show His and love and mercy
Was he just bored?
He has never been bored and never will be, otherwise it will mean that He lacks something.
Remember God is a tri-un God, The three persons of the trinity is hanging out with each other, no chance of being bored.
Why did he wait so long to create the earth?
Small mistake on your concept of God, time is no issue.
If God is loving and omnipresent and the supreme power in the universe, why does he allow bad things to happen to good people, and good things to happen to bad people?
Your perception of man is wrong, there is no “good humans” all deserve to be killed on the spot for our sins, we don’t even have a right to live. God shows His mercy by creating us and live in rebellion towards Him.
Isn't God (and/or Jesus) capable of forgiving sins without human sacrifice?
Cause and effect. God is loving and graceful but righteous, He would not be righteous, if He did not demand punishment He would of stopped been righteous.
Why did God create the tree of knowledge on earth if he didn’t want anyone to eat it?
Because He is more glorified by us having a choice. If didn’t give us a choice there would have never been a chance for God to show is mercy.
Why is the worst sin ever committed on earth knowledge?
Knowledge wasn’t the sin, prideful rebellion was.
Why hasn’t God revealed himself to everyone down here for 2000 years? Or conversely, why did he pick 2000 years ago?
He is reveal still everyday through his Word the Bible.
Why do some babies die? Are they more worthy of getting into heaven/hell faster? How can this be if there is no pre-conception soul?
Read MacArthur’s book “Safe in the arms of God”, or the letter John Piper read at the burial of his grandchild.

Thomas Louw said...

Again Shawn read Lee Strobel’s book “Case for the real Christ”. It will get you started it’s not technical and an easy read. If you want to really know more check out his list of resources and choose some of them and read them

Shawn said...

Thomas Louw
I didn't refer you to other people's opinions to make my argument, so I won't be reading more of your fairy tales. Argue your own case, or at least explain the other person's opinion here that you wish to rely on.

As for some of your attempts to assuage my doubts. Hilarious in the extreme.

I particularly liked these:
"Remember God is a tri-un God, The three persons of the trinity is hanging out with each other, no chance of being bored".

"Your perception of man is wrong, there is no “good humans” all deserve to be killed on the spot for our sins, we don’t even have a right to live". (you sure that's what Jesus was saying?)

"God is loving and graceful but righteous, He would not be righteous, if He did not demand punishment He would of stopped been righteous".

I'm sorry, but if those are the best answer's you've got I'm really surprised there's more than a couple of thousand christians still practicing.

donsands said...

"Why did he wait so long to create the earth? (9.21 billion years from the start of the universe)" -Shawn

You sure it wasn't 9.24 billion?

Brandon said...

Was Spurgeon a prophet??? Wow, timeless words like these speak directly to our emergent friends who think their ideas about doubting are so new and novel!

Halcyon said...

Oh snap! Shawn threw down the Problem of Evil card, Evolutionary Theory auto-Assumption card, and anti-Substitutionary Atonement card. No respectable intellect has ever answered those before!

Everybody duck!

Eric said...

Shawn = troll

Shawn said...

Shawn = doubter waiting to be convinced with logic or evidence rather than being told to blindly believe in ancient myths.

Eric = unable to respond to logic with logic.

Shawn said...

donsands
Whether it was 9.241 billion or 29billion really isn't the point of the question now is it?

Halcyon said...

Please, Shawn.

You're not a "doubter" looking for any real answers.

You're just a punk looking for a fight.

Go bother some other combox.