A lot of Christians have encountered Christians (particularly younger ones) who are experiencing a great deal of doubt. A disciple of Jesus, Thomas, had an issue of doubt. Jesus did not rebuke him. Instead, He gave him the opportunity to have his questions answered (John 20:24-29). This account opens up the reality that there is a difference between the one who is constantly seeking questions and the one who is seeking answers.
The following is not intended to be a list of hard rules with no exceptions, but they are fairly typical when you are faced with doubters:
- The question-seeker is never satisﬁed with any answers but continually sees unanswerable questions. The answer-seeker has questions too but is able to recognize genuine answers and is happy to ﬁnd them.
- The question seekers follow up is, “Yeah, but what about …?” The answer seekers follow up is, “Now let me understand how to apply this.”
- The question-seeker mistakes a search for questions with a humble search for truth. The answer-seeker ﬁnds truth through the humble acceptance of legitimate answers.
- The question-seeker looks for clever ways to ask the questions so as to stump others. The answer-seeker looks for clarity, not to stump anyone, but to lead to solid conclusions.
- The question-seeker sees the questions as an end in themselves since no answers satisfy. The answer-seeker sees the questions as a means to ﬁnd real answers.
- The question-seeker uses the lack of answers as an excuse to raise doubts. The answer-seeker uses the lack of answers as a way to keep seeking and ﬁnally trust in the One who does have the answers.
- The question-seeker uses unanswered questions to suspend judgment on God and Christ. The answer-seeker suspends judgment on an unanswered question, but can still trust God.
Questioning is not wrong. The Bereans did it and were commended (Acts 17:11). The gospel invites sincere investigation (Matthew 7:7). However, when all one wants to do is perpetuate doubt in their heart, they are not an answer-seeker. Sadly, an question seeker will never be satisﬁed. What will you be?
Adapted from Doy Moyer