Home > Faith, Jesus, Sermon > What to do with doubt

What to do with doubt

So, tomorrow morning we are treated to the feast of St Thomas (it having been transferred from December 21st) and the poor old Apostle‘s stereotype is dragged off the shelves again.
Reading the story again from John 20:24-29 and I have a near-as-ever alliterated 3-point sermon…

What to do with doubt…

  • admit it
  • accommodate it
  • allow it to be confronted

1)      Admit it, declare it, own it – don’t hide it

But don’t triumph in it (look how much I doubt!)!

See where it comes from

– are we just ‘one of those people’? (no criticism!)

– do we isolate ourselves? (Thomas’ absence after the crucifixion)

– faith is full of paradoxes – how well do we handle this?

Jesus doesn’t reject Thomas

– this appearance seems to be  specifically for his benefit


2)      Accommodate it in others (but don’t pander to it)

The disciples didn’t ‘expel the disbeliever from their midst’!

– he had challenged/denied their assertion and experience

What is our response when people don’t believe as we do?

– behave → believe → belong or behave ← believe ← belong

– yet at the same time, don’t encourage people to stay there

1) and 2) on their own lead nowhere


3)      Allow it to be confronted by Jesus (who has all the answers)

Whilst Jesus didn’t reject Thomas… He didn’t leave him in his doubt

He knows how to challenge our unbelief perfectly

Thomas outlined conditions which would help him believe

– not ‘putting God to the test’, rather:

– “help my unbelief” (John 9:24)

‘the locked door’ (v26)

– fear and doubt go hand in hand

– surely he still longed for it to be true – but he needed to see

– just like John got to as he entered the tomb

– just as the other disciples got to in that same room

We are not permitted that great joy

– Jesus says we who have not seen and believe are blessed!


Are there parts of our faith which we question?

– don’t throw in the towel!

– God is not afraid of questions (nor is your Vicar, but ask God as well / first!)

Faith built on assurance of our own brilliance is very flawed!

– faith built on humility and dependence on Jesus…

Doubting Thomas’ saw and believed then went on to take the Gospel to India (apparently)

– can our honest, open doubts help others to take first steps?

– of course they can!

– but always wait for Jesus to come through the locked door

Categories: Faith, Jesus, Sermon Tags: ,
  1. Meg Underdown
    3 July, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks Richard! I’m talking on Faith and Doubt this evening at St Teilo’s. Your thoughts will help mine.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: