John’s doubt, our challenge

The forerunner for the Messiah was in prison, punished for presuming to speak truth to power. Though John had pointed others to Jesus, he still had followers. These disciples reported to John all that Jesus had been doing (Luke 7:18), most notably raising a widow’s only son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17).

When John hears of these wondrous miracles, he is dismayed. He sends two disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Luke 7:19). Perhaps John is discouraged because Jesus is doing these wonderful things and John is confined. Perhaps John was anticipating the Messiah’s work to be quickly accomplished.

Remember, this is the one who announced with such conviction, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). It is he who received confirmation from the Father that Jesus is “the Son of God” (John 1:34). John is no stranger to the nature of the one called Jesus. But prison and possible death likely has a way of causing a person to need reassurance. Continue reading “John’s doubt, our challenge”

Baptism and the principle of doubt

Years ago, I listened as Dick Sztanyo presented an excellent lesson on ethics. In it, he enumerated a number of principles for ethical decision-making. One he called the “principle of doubt.” Citing Romans 14:23, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (ESV), Sztanyo reasoned that if one doubted the rightness of an action, one should so act as to remove the doubt.

The context of Romans 14 discusses morally neutral actions that may prick the consciences of weak Christians, thus causing them to sin. The principle of doubt calls the weak to avoid those actions and thus clear their consciences. May the principle of doubt also be applied to another class of actions?

Continue reading “Baptism and the principle of doubt”

The fog will clear

A few days ago, early in the morning, I glanced out my back window toward the apartment building where my son Joel and his family live. They’re living here for a year and found an apartment a couple of blocks away. But their building was gone! I did a double-take and noticed that a heavy fog had rolled in. Nothing could be seen beyond my backyard.

In less than an hour, the fog had lifted. My son’s building and everything else were in place.

The doubts of life are like that morning fog. Continue reading “The fog will clear”