While I watched the sun come up over the trees today I started my Saturday with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, i.e. a read through Facebook and Twitter. This is something I haven’t done much lately for various reasons, but today I came across this article from @BuzzFeed via @jessmisener who wrote about losing her “born-again-faith” in Jesus.1 It is a truly sad story, and all the stories I read like this are ultimately eternally sad. I have a hard time personally comprehending how a person comes to faith, or so they think, and then when doubt sets in (in this case through a world class education at Yale), they fall away. This article is basically the story right out of Matthew 13 of the parables of the seeds that were sown on the rocky ground.
13.20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
We have a great way in the church of explaining these situations away. Either they were never a Christian to begin with or they are going through a period of doubt and will soon return. [Scripture is clear that no one can just “lose” their salvation, so logic has either she never had it to begin with or her “Jesus phase” as she puts it, will reclaim her life again one day.]
What we don’t have a great way of explaining away are the challenges of the modern day church she so eloquently brings up through her doubt. The article has millennial DNA stamped all over it. A far too familiar story of a millennial who has left the church, and perhaps their faith, because every question can not be answered leaving zero doubt. They have an overall basic mis-trust of the church, and a highly skeptical view of the doctrine of inerrancy. [On another side note, apparently her masters did nothing but help fuel her skeptical view of inerrancy while my masters solidified my understanding of inerrancy. Though we did received similar degrees, mine is not of the Ivy League type and perhaps did not require me to question my faith to the extent Yale did hers.]
This article is a microcosm of what our modern day church faces, and shows how little we have accomplished when it comes to understanding this generation of doubt. It seems many I know who have left the church, and or their faith, think every single doubt should be answered, every question scientifically proven. Scripture never claims this, nor did Jesus throughout his ministry. This is where faith steps in. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, not the complete and total understanding of every doubt that enters the mind, valid or invalid.
The church certainly needs to find a way to reach the skeptical mind of the doubting generation while maintaining orthodoxy and sound doctrine. Holding on to our stereotypical ways of the 80’s and 90’s is probably not that way. Neither is trying to convince them of all their wrongs with a 10-step correction process that is one size fits all. Maybe it comes from the church living out Matthew 22.34-40. With this comes everything else.