A.G. Freed on Doubt

National_Teacher's_Normal_and_Business_College_Administration_BuildingNot long ago, I spoke to a group of teenagers and youth leaders on the subject of apologetics. I emphasized to them that we should take the evidence that God has given us and cease doubting. One of those in the audience criticized my presentation by saying that it was part of Christian growth to doubt and that doubting is good; we should not criticize it.

Of course we must ask critical questions of our faith in order to get the answers which we then must give in support of our beliefs (1 Peter 3:15). No faithful Christian has developed his faith without asking “Why?” or “How do I know … ?”. These questions lead us to find reasons for believing. But once we have found our reasons (and they are available!), we must stand on our convictions and avoid doubting. Jesus did not congratulate His disciples for doubting, rather, He critiqued them (Matthew 14:31; 21:21; cf. Mark 11:23). Our prayers must be without doubting, “for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

It is interesting to consider what the leaders of the Restoration Movement said on the subject. One such leader was A.G. Freed. In his book, Sermons, Chapel Talks, and Debates (1930), he writes words that are strikingly relevant in the present:

Infidelity comes today under many cloaks—atheism, agnosticism, higher criticism, free speech, free thinking, evolution—but they are all infidelity. Its advocates have been bold, but never more so than now. Their onslaught has never been better organized nor more malignant and vicious. . . . There are three essential things in beginning the duties of every day and of every hour and minute of the day. First, we should have the assurance that we are in God—living, moving, and having our very being in him; that he sees our every act and knows our every thought. Second, we should be conscious that we are accountable and responsible unto him. Third, we should never doubt that he has revealed himself unto us in his word, the Bible. . . . These principles are fundamental. When faith in God leaves the human heart, prayer dies upon the lips. If there be no faith in God, there can be no prayer. To rob a man of faith in the Bible is to rob him of his faith in the Fatherhood of God and of the brotherhood of man. He knows nothing of his origin, relationship, or his destiny. Without faith in God there can be no hope of immortality. He has, then, no incentive to beckon on to nobler heights. To reject God is to reject Christ. To deny God is to deny the Bible. No wonder the divine writer said: “He that cometh to God must believe that he is.” Here is the mainspring of all useful human activities. God uses the soul whose heart is full of faith. He has a mission for him. Without it, man is useless. ((Nashville: Gospel Advocate. 19-20.))

Notice two of the many lessons we can draw from Freed’s statement: First, Freed says we should never doubt. Never doubting is an ideal, just as it is ideal never to tell a lie. We may fail by doubting on occasion, or fail by lying on occasion, but we must not laud or idealize our failures. Second, Freed connects doubting God with all manner of problems in society. When people isolate themselves from an understanding of and relationship with their Creator, they are doomed to lives of misery and an eternity of destruction (Hosea 7:13; Hebrews 11:6).


- 2024

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