Know Doubt

(Zondervan, 2008)

John Ortberg introduces Know Doubt (previously titled Faith and Doubt) by emphasizing that “when we take seriously the reality of faith and doubt, the most important word in the phrase is the one in the middle.  While faith and doubt often are considered mutually exclusive terms, philosopher Michael Novak suggests that doubt is “a razor’s edge that runs through every soul”.

While both faith and doubt are needed, aith is more fundamental.  The author describes doubt as a”good servant but a poor master”.  The kind of belief we hold really matters, and Michael Novak describes 3 types of convictions: what I say I believe (public), what I think I believe(private), and what my actions reveal I truly believe (core) and live out on a daily basis.

The term ‘leap of faith’ usually carries negative, foolhardy connotations, but it more correctly  describes total commitment in spite of our fears and doubts.  Philosopher Mortimer Adler described his person leap as going from intellectual assent to devotion.  Sometimes, however, as John Ortberg points out, our core convictions are  reflected  in a single word- If (see Mark 9:22).  The author goes on to state that “if you never believe, if you never trust, you will never know .  Sometimes a leap of faith is the only from of transportation.”  Our material hopes will someday disappoint us.  Our foundational hope must be in Jesus.  Honest doubt can help take you there.  As Martin Luther insisted, pride, not doubt, is the opposite of faith.

What do you need to let go of?  Using the image of a trapeze act, the author concludes: “You let go and you wait, and you get caught.  The flyer can do nothing.  The Catcher does everything.  God is calling, ‘Trust me.  All will be well.  Let go, let go, let go.'”

About the author

Dave Henning


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