“Am I wrong for being skeptical?” asked many in the last week. By being skeptical of events, am I questioning God or what the Holy Spirit is at work doing? The answer is clearly no. Rephrased, if we take the whole Bible into account, skepticism is part of being spiritual. Christian skepticism is about wisdom, and such is commanded.
Jesus gets us, so be skeptical
Jesus warns us in Matthew 24 that “many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased the love of many will grow cold.” Our boss and big brother warned us that in the last days things will get nuts. To be naive and accepting of everything would be to disobey Jesus’ warning. But in this period of lawlessness, we must be careful to not grow cold ourselves. Skepticism, yes. Critical spirit, no.
Saint Paul gets us, so be skeptical
Paul warns us that “the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” He even warns that “even if an angel should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be cursed.” False teaching movements are a critical concern of New Testament writers. Discernment is essential to the Christian life. This is about pursuing truth and what God wants from and for us.
Saint John gets us, so be skeptical
John warns us that “many false prophets have gone out into the world.” This warning is preceded by his instruction “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Questioning a possible movement by God is not sin but rather obedience to John’s warning and instruction. Central to this is about what the movement is communicating about Jesus. John is a cheerleader, but being optimistic does not negate his discernment.
Many Christians have sinned
When Christians cry out about being skeptical of things, and question the skepticism, they are questioning obedience to Scripture and the great commission. Jesus did say to “teach them to observe all that I commanded you.” If you call out the questioners, you need to stop, repent, and learn to be skeptical yourself. What you are doing is sin.
Skepticism is not criticism
The problem with the pharisees was an unrepentant heart. Christian skepticism is not a license to a critic. It is a caution to see if something is truly of God. Often skepticism is covering for what we need to repent of. Hence Jesus’ words to “remove the log from your own eye.” A critical spirit violates Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4:8-9. Being a critic is frankly sinful, so repent. Better, ask what God is trying to teach you.
Skepticism is accountability
Church is a patient work. Obedience to Christ means we need to do something. Doing something will invite skepticism. Being a coward and doing nothing. Or bunkering down until the rapture because everything is going to get worse, is sin. Why? Because Jesus saved us to bless others. God commands us to not be afraid. The skeptics keep us humble to remind us if we are being true to God’s Word. Annoying at times, yes. Accountability is a blessing, not a curse.
There are a few things that helps us discern whether something is from God. First, does it deny or inaccurately portray Christ? Yes, accuracy matters, as we see in Genesis 3 when satan tempts Eve. Second, does it line up with what the Bible teaches? This is why the Berean’s were amazing, they searched the Scriptures. Yes, theology matters and God’s Word is supreme. Third, what is the fruit? In Galatians there are two “fruits” to measure what is true and what is false: the deeds of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. (If you are not living the fruit of the Spirit, perhaps your skepticism may be a critical spirit.)
Daily faithfulness produces skepticism, skepticism points to daily faithfulness
The bottom line is we need to daily be faithful to Jesus. God instructs Joshua to know the Word so well that he (and you and I) would be careful to do all that is written in it. In this instruction we are warned to not turn to the left or the right, but just stick to what God said. In the end, God is looking for people to just believe his Word and do what it says. That’s faith. Obeying God’s instruction will produce skepticism: is this following or not following God’s Word? We need the delight of God’s Word that Psalm 119 beautifully describes.
One thought on “Christian Skepticism is obedience to God”
So glad to receive your articles! I missed you wisdom these past few years- Lthough i have seen some. Keep the coming! Blessings, Joy 🥰🥰
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