Bansfield BeneficeDiocese of St Edmundbury & IpswichChurch of England Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes

Church News Volume 4, Issue 7

Dear friends,

Tennyson once wrote a poem 'In Memoriam'in which he says "There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds". As we journey through the Easter season are we allowed to have doubts, about spiritual matters, about our understanding of the Bible story of Easter, or do we see our doubts as signs of weakness, spiritual weakness? Looking in on the church we might feel we cannot be part of the life of the church because we have those doubts, that many of the things the church teaches us are hard to accept and understand - so the easy way out is to stay away and think it's not for us.

But one of the great stories of Easter is that of Thomas' meeting with the Risen Jesus. Thomas was not with the other disciples we are told when Jesus first appeared to them in the upper room on Easter evening. He doubted and wanted to see Jesus for himself. When Jesus next appeared Thomas was there and exclaimed "My Lord and my God!".

Doubt, what Tennyson called "honest doubt", is not wrong, unreasonable, or a sign of weakness. Doubt is normal. We all have doubts. Uncertainty is natural; and questioning inspired by doubting is vital, to our knowledge, our safety, our well-being, and our faith. Do you know of anyone who has no doubts? Someone who is certain of everything? If you find such a person you will find someone who is inhuman, and one for whom we should be deeply concerned.

It is a paradox that for there to be doubt there has to be belief; there has to be faith, however tenuous, however miniscule, wavering, or buffeted by the winds. To doubt is not to disbelieve. To doubt is to ask questions. To ask questions is to find answers. To find answers is to uncover belief and faith.

A perceptive and a reassuring Chinese proverb says : 'The one who asks is a fool for five minutes - but the one who does not ask is a fool forever!' An important Christian virtue is to be vulnerable, and part of vulnerability is honest doubt. If we need a role model it is surely St. Thomas. He provides us with assurance that by doubting we ask questions and find answers. In his doubting he found the Risen Lord Jesus and his Easter faith.

What will we find through our doubting, our questioning? The church welcomes those who have doubts. God accepts and respects those with doubts.

So don't let your doubts keep you away from God and His church - that really is foolishness. Let your doubts lead you to inquire more fully about the faith you have heard and which is proclaimed in our churches.

Revd Ian M. Finn

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Sunday 04 March 2018