Addressing Doubts about the Faith
by Kenneth Samples
Several years ago I received an email from a pastor who was going through some difficult times. He had battled a life-threatening illness, experienced troubling problems at his church, and yet worst of all, his daughter had begun having serious doubts about the truth of the Christian faith. This perfect storm of suffering all struck at once.
What follows is a summary of my response to the pastor. (Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.) The central focus of my letter addresses the problem of doubt—a common issue that many Christians struggle with at some point in their lives. This response can also help you or assist you in helping other people who are wrestling with doubts about their faith.
A Letter to a Pastor
Thank you for contacting me, Pastor. The content of your email really touched me. I have a daughter who is the same age as your daughter Susan.
Let me begin by addressing the topic of doubt.
Apologist Gary Habermas in his excellent book Dealing with Doubt1 identifies three types of doubt:
1. Factual Doubt: Doubt about the factual underpinnings of Christianity
2. Emotional Doubt: Doubt stemming from subjective, psychological issues (anxiety, depression, hurt, anger)
3. Volitional Doubt: Doubt that arises from a weak or immature faith
From reading your email, I am inferring that your daughter’s struggle with unbelief may reflect all three types of doubt…
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