There were many things I learned during my time in Kenya the past 3 weeks, but one of the greatest things I witnessed this year was not simply the contagious laughter and smiles of the amazing kids or nationals. It was the doubt expressed by some of the oldest kids in the village. Doubts of God. Doubts of Christianity. Doubts of the reliability of the Bible they’ve grown up reading every single day. How could Jesus be the only way to heaven? Why should they believe in a God that allowed slavery to exist? And the list went on.
I must admit that at first I was quite taken back by these very vocal and transparent doubts. These children are brought up by some of the greatest examples of Christ I've been blessed to meet, and diligently taken through bible studies developed by former Executive Director of Bible Study Fellowship, Rosemary Jensen, and widely respected theologians. They know plenty about God's Word. There's a reason table talk at dinner with these children can include bible trivia and heated discussion regarding each child's favorite prophet.
A short amount of time around these Rafiki kids often leads me to quickly assume their faith is 'perfect', and you would have to be dumb to even question this Jesus person many of them know so well. Unfortunately, I think this is also how many non-believers may feel when visiting church. I was blessed to realize however that these Rafiki kids often experience the exact same doubts I believe many wrestle with when first learning about the Gospel. We all too often quickly dismiss these doubts because we think our question may be dumb. Or the doubts make us feel or appear 'unholy', or we fear the doubt is actually right... what if God did not actually pay the full price for our sins on the cross, what if he is not in fact loving, or sovereign?
I would argue these are the healthiest questions nonbelievers can consider.
Believers should be receptive, and welcome doubts from others, even when we have no idea how to answer the doubt or question at first.
Nonbelievers should acknowledge, and wrestle with doubts, not ignore them. Ignoring doubt is an intentional decision that the item we are doubting is insignificant. Regarding something as insignificant can be ok for many items such as what color to paint the inside of a cabinet, or whether or not to learn what the Pokemon Go craze is all about. But when it comes to making a decision on the One who divided time, we must wrestle with doubts and make a decision to ultimately either accept or reject Jesus Christ as Lord. People who don’t doubt essentially never take ownership of their faith. Tim Keller explains they will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. Those who suppress their doubts essentially declare the doubts to be true, or allow themselves to be satisfied with a lukewarm faith. God does not leave any gray area regarding how He will respond to the lukewarm. He explains in Revelations 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
This is why I was so proud to see some of the Rafiki kids share their doubts about God with us. These kids obviously know very well what 'conclusion' the full time missionaries, myself and others in the village would like to see them reach regarding Jesus. But they were committed to reaching this conclusion on their own, not just because this is what the missionaries and others around them believe. They did not want to simply accept that 3x3=9 simply because that is what the calculator says, but instead wanted to learn why it equals 9. These children were committed to personally knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
It was amazing to witness the relief some of the kids experienced as they expressed their doubts, and then came to understand there were in fact answers to their intellectual doubts. Not each of these kids came to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior during our time with them, but I rejoice that they are bringing these doubts to the light so their faith may soon be built on a foundation that does not waiver (Matthew 7:25).
-Drew Boe, Founder of Managers on A Mission
To God Be The Glory!