Realities of a Faith Crisis

Acts 20:28-30 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

There is no doubt that usually verses 28-29 gets all the attention within this context. As people, when we surround ourselves with those whom we believe that we can trust, verse 30 is almost never considered. I can hear all the excuses now as to why we should not question the teachings and beliefs of others. Friends, if we blindly follow others just because they are our “friends”, you are not being a friend to God.

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.

James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

More and more I am seeing and hearing these new ideas that we should “walk with those who are going through a faith crisis”. My problem is not with the idea of being with them. It certainly is not with the fact that we need to love them. Loving one another is not optional. If we do not love others, we are in for a world of hurt when we stand before God. We can define “faith crisis” in all sorts of ways. I am not sure that this article will cover the complete idea of what having a faith crisis truly is. I have personally seen it within my own life through many. Being with those individuals, loving on those individuals, trying to support them as best we can (in my humble opinion), has never been the problem. Just off the top of my head, I can think of at least three men- sound, gospel preachers, who went through a “faith crisis” and are now no longer part of any faith whatsoever. This breaks my heart and every time I think of these men and even others, I used to get a sense of guilt that I did not do enough. That I did not love them enough. That I failed these people. With this new rhetoric that I am hearing coming from others recently, I once again, had these similar thoughts but I now question the validity of these claims and feelings.

Why is it when people struggle, that we want to pin their failures and crisis of faith on others? Should we not consider the elephant in the room? Sin?! Instead of being gospel preachers, many are trying to become counselors in solving the problems of the people through means other than the gospel. Through allowing God to work in our lives. Think about the divorce rate for example. Most would agree that it is outrageous. Many gospel preachers avoid teaching against divorce for fear of losing warm bodies in the pews. I am not advocating that people should not get marriage counseling. I am advocating for a pro-gospel approach! So back to this idea of going through a “faith crisis”. When someone finds themselves struggling within their faith. It doesn’t matter who it is. Does ignoring a potential problem help? Does coddling them in their crisis help? What I mean is, we always come up with an excuse for them. “They just were not loved enough.” “So and so did this, so and so did that.” Do we just throw accountability out of the door? Is this where we have come to? What about endorsing their crisis? I believe we do that when we constantly come up with excuses for them. We are giving people reasons or the feeling of validity that they are now “martyrs” because of their faith. While there have been martyrs, you do not become one simply because you are now having a “faith crisis” and you are struggling with your understanding of the gospel.

Let me get back to Acts 20:30 with the main problem being sin. Going through a “faith crisis” is not necessarily sinful, but I believe one can make a strong case that teaching false doctrine is sinful. Leading people away from the simplicity of the gospel and trying to throw a “new spin” on things is not helpful. It is not expedient. It certainly does not lead anyone to the truth of the gospel. Yet, we are told to “be nice, be understanding, this is just a phase and it will pass, or you just need to love them more”. Really? I just do not believe that everyone within the Lord’s church has failed others so badly that we are no longer nice, not understanding, or not loving. We need to take this warning seriously that there could be those who we never thought would teach false doctrine, ends up leading many astray!

Galatians 4:16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

We need to preach the pure, unadulterated gospel. There is nothing wrong with opinions or ideas, but if they do not further God’s work, the gospel, then keep your interjections and “I think so’s” to yourselves. The only thing you need to affirm is the scripture. Some of the things that I have been hearing recently from some gospel preachers have not been gospel. They have been assertions from opinion and not based on truth. We do not get to blame these things occurring on lack of love or misunderstanding. We do not need to blame anything. We need to love people enough to tell them that they are not preaching the gospel and convince them to repent. Coddling, ignoring, and embracing these new ideas is not helping. Stop hindering the gospel because of your relationships! Stop hindering the gospel because of worldliness! Stop hindering the gospel because of sin! Stop hindering the gospel!

I am no scholar. I do not have a college education. I have no degree from any theological school that will officially qualify me (by the standards of some) to preach the gospel. I am a Christian, a husband, and a father. I have attended the school of hard-knocks all my adult life and my goal is to go to heaven. I want my wife and children to go to heaven. I want you to go to heaven. As brother Dee Bowman used to say, “if you miss heaven, you’ve just missed all there is.”

by Lee Elkins