Jesus said “My house will be called a house of prayer” Mat 21:13 Join us for a week of pray.
Why are Christians so afraid of doubt?
“Stop doubting and believe.” Jesus said to Thomas. In James 1:6 we are warned “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind”. So doubt is bad. If you doubt, there is something wrong with you. Your faith must be weak. You just need to trust and believe.
The story within many Christian communities is that life following Jesus progresses in a victorious straight line. And when the reality of our lives and world does not match up we need to at least pretend that this is case. No wonder Christians are so often accused of been hypocrites. We really struggle with honesty sometimes.
Christian author Philip Yancey observes that “The church has sometimes chastised people who admit their weakness and failure, and our society has an aversion to suffering… So Christians naturally tend to hide behind a thin veneer of cheerfulness and health, while they secretly hurt and doubt.”
So what can we do about this? Well Yancey goes on to say, “When I speak to college students, I challenge them to find a single argument against God… that is not already included in books like Psalms, Job, Habakkuk and Lamentations. … God seems rather doubt-tolerant, actually.”
If we take wider look at scripture we actually see a number of situations where some of our ‘heros of the faith’ express some rather strong doubts about God, but don’t end up falling off the wagon.
Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.’ Exodus 5:22-23
Joshua said, ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! Joshua 7:7
You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? Jeremiah 12:1
Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10
I love the refreshing raw honesty of these verses. It shows a God who does not fear or is threatened by our doubt. But is able to use it to draw us to him. The Christian faith is not a precarious, carefully balanced stack of rocks on the beach. If you tap it or prod it the whole thing might fall down. No. It is a firm foundation and like the wise man who builds his house on the rock, it has survived thousands of years wars, debate, arguments and attacks. And still stands. Jesus says that the gates of hell will not prevail.
Doubt sometimes gets confused for unbelief which can be problematic. Colin Smith highlights the difference between doubt and unbelief saying. “Doubt is questioning what you believe. Unbelief is a determined refusal to believe. Doubt is a struggle faced by the believer. Unbelief is a condition of the unbeliever.”
But some streams of the Christian faith find doubt more problematic than others, seeing doubt and unbelief as the same thing and sometimes adding cultural ideologies, values and norms to the ‘essentials’ of the faith. Michael Hakmin Lee observes that: “Evangelicalism, especially its more conservative or fundamentalist incarnations, commonly fosters a rigidly constructed faith, with multiple layers of what we consider essential beliefs and values. On the one hand, certitude can be comforting and reassuring in a world filled with chaos and uncertainty. However, the danger of holding something to be essential to one’s faith is that when that essential belief is called into question, the whole edifice, not just that belief, begins to destabilize. And while there is nothing inherently wrong with confidence or certainty in one’s beliefs and convictions, there is potential harm when evangelical communities and leaders place an unwarranted level of confidence in their theological constructs and impose their certitude on others.”
Evangelicals faith in certainties can make us very uncomfortable with mystery. And unfortunately many of us would rather deal with a simple wrong answer than a complex or unclear one. The reality is that doubt is a part of our day-to-day life. It is not necessarily good nor bad. It is our response to that uncertainty that determines whether it was good for us or not.
Os Guinness describes the value of doubt as follows: “The value of doubt is that it can be used to detect error…. But a sword like this will cut both ways. If doubt can be turned destructively against truth so that it is dismissed as error, doubt can also be used constructively to prosecute error disguised as truth…. Doubt, then, is a problem for both faith and knowledge. As long as the presence of doubt is detected anywhere, neither faith nor knowledge can ever be complacent. But though doubt may be normal, it should be temporary and it should always be resolved. Wisely understood, resolutely faced, it need hold no fear for the Christian. To a healthy faith doubt is a healthy challenge.”
9 May, 6 June, 4 July
Families Service 11:15- 12:00am
This is a chance for mixed aged households, particularly those with preschoolers and primary school kids, to come together in all-age worship.
30 May & 27 June
Families Social – 11:15am
Meet at CHS and walk to the park on Kirstenhof greenway (bring your own drinks/ snacks).
16 & 30 May and 13 & 27 June
‘Ground Zero’ Youth – 9am
Soccer and social @CHS for 14 – 17 years olds.
Youth Alpha – 4-5:30pm for10-13 year olds starting 9 May
The Childrens Church room is open during the service for parents or guardians to use with their babies & preschoolers, with a selection of toys and live stream broadcast of the service.
Home Learning packs with links to Bible stories and activities for 4-13 year olds, are available at the Families Service or on the Families Watsapp group.
Sunday 4 April at 7am
Zandvlei yacht club
Together with other local churches including Mountainview Baptist, Muizenberg and Tokai Methodist, Muizenberg Connect and Bay City Church we are celebrating our risen saviour, with a joint outdoor sunrise Easter service at the Zandvlei yacht club on Sunday 4 April at 7am. There will be chairs set out but you can bring your own camping chair and a themos of coffee if you,d like.
12 April 2021 – 7pm
Join us as we give thanks and reflect on all God has done in the last year. Will include ACM report, financial summary and Life Centre progress update.
This Life Online magazine has recorded some great video interviews sharing what is already happening at CHS and our vision for the Life Centre.
An easy way to support our fundraising for the Life Centre is by:
- sharing the article and
- sharing the link to our new online donation page
On Tuesday 16 Feb at 7:30pm we are starting a 5 week online zoom bible study in the gospel of John, led by Trevor Owen. There will be a teaching followed by an opportunity for discussion.
If you would like to take part please contact the church office.
As the church we walk together in faith, each of us a part of the body of Christ. At the start of every year we have a Covenant or Commitment Sunday, where each of us who consider CHS our home church, have an opportunity to respond to how God is calling us to pray, give, serve and connect as part of the community this year.
You can pick up a Commitment Sunday form in church or click here to fill in online.
The book of Acts chapter 2 carries such a powerful picture a Christian community where the Spirit God is powerfully at work, the gospel preached and lives are transformed. I long and pray that the Christian community I am part would look more like this.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.Acts 2:42-47
Yet so often there seems a huge gap between this ideal and the reality of the hurts and frustrations of a diverse group of “sinners” each hindered by our own baggage, blindspots and hurts.
I know many believing friends who are now “post church”. They believe… but have stepped back from participation in a church community. The ideal of Christian community has been drowned out by the disappointments and hurts experienced within the church.
So often I find myself frustrated by the ways the community I am part of does not reflect Jesus or his kingdom. Often I find myself loving the ideal of Christian community more than the community I am part of.
So I have been greatly challenged by these wise and challenging words from the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial.― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God hates this wishful dreaming because it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Those who dream of this idolized community demand that it be fulfilled by God, by others and by themselves. They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law, and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church.
Whoever is mindful to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it, for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it. We must confess he builds. We must proclaim, he builds. We must pray to him, and he will build. We do not know his plan. We cannot see whether he is building or pulling down. It may be that the times which by human standards are the times of collapse are for him the great times of construction. It may be that the times which from a human point are great times for the church are times when it’s pulled down. It is a great comfort which Jesus gives to his church.
You confess, preach, bear witness to me, and I alone will build where it pleases me. Do not meddle in what is not your providence. Do what is given to you, and do it well, and you will have done enough…. Live together in the forgiveness of your sins. Forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts.”
We are so encouraged by the continuing drop in COVID numbers and move to Level 1. We pray for wisdom for our countries leaders and trust for safety as the country begins to open up.
One of the changes for CHS is that we will soon be moving from prerecorded online services to lives streaming our 9am Sunday gathering on Youtube starting on 4 October.
Services can be viewed on our Youtube channel