home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > August 04 > THINGS THAT CHRISTIANS CAN’T TALK ABOUT

There are several things that Christian’s can’t talk about — not because Christians are incapable of doing so, nor because they are forbidden from doing so, but because they can’t bring themselves to talk about it. Perhaps this is because when a person is redeemed from their old way of life, all his or her negative aspects are expected to be done away with as result. But this is not everyone’s experience. Sometimes, life gets messy, messed-up, and quite frankly – massively disappointing for some. Thus, believers who are supposed to ‘have it all figured out’, feel they can’t talk about: their doubts, their depression, their fear of death, and their marriages that are at risk of divorce. Their reluctance to do so could be because they might be thought of by other Christians as “weak”. But sadly, this reluctance to talk about their struggles with someone they trust only tends to compound their struggles. As a pastor it troubles me to see believers struggle like this. So, I would like to pastorally share some thoughts about this taboo topic of doubt in what will be part 1 in this short series of pastor’s desk articles of four taboo topics that Christians can’t talk about.



“I’ve been having lots of doubts lately.”
You just need more faith!

Unfortunately this kind of problem<>solution conversation happens way too often. It reveals two bigger problems. Firstly, it fails to appreciate that there are different kinds of doubt; and, secondly, it seems to misunderstand what faith is and the role it plays in dealing with doubt. Consider how this conversation might have gone – 

“I’ve been having lots of doubts lately.”
“How so?”
“I keep praying and God doesn’t seem to be answering my prayers.”
”Anything else?”
“Well yes. It’s got me wondering whether I’m really saved or not. After all, if I was really saved then God would answer all my prayers, wouldn’t He!”
“How do you know that God is not answering your prayers?”
“Because what I’ve been praying for hasn’t happened yet.”
“I see. Sometimes even those people in the Bible went through what you’ve been going through – with unanswered prayers and doubts about whether God really loved them – and I think that what you’ve been experiencing is pretty normal for most believers. Do you remember what happened to John the Baptist after he baptised Jesus when he saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus and then heard the booming voice of the Father from heaven?”
“Yes. He was later locked up in jail and then sent messengers to Jesus asking if He was really the Messiah.”
“That’s right. His prayers had not been answered and he was perhaps wondering whether God loved him anymore.”

Not every admission of doubt should be treated with a dismissal such as “You need more faith!” Let’s look at the two problems this kind of dismissal reveals.


¶ Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him,
“Are You the One who is to come, or shall we look for another?”  And Jesus answered them,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.”
¶ As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John:
“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing?
Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’
¶ Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.
Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Matthew 11:2-11

John the Baptist’s doubt was circumstantial (his circumstances where negative). He was imprisoned and was probably despondent. But even at that low point, he remedied his doubt by asking for reasons to keep believing. Jesus did not condemn him for having doubts. In fact, he paid John the Baptiser the highest compliment (Matt. 11:11). Some doubts need a pastoral response that provides reassurance.


Some people regard faith as ‘believing things that cannot be proven’. There are, of course, some things that I believe for which I cannot prove are true. For example, I believe in the proposition that: my wife loves me. I feel that I have good reasons for believing this is true. But I can’t support my faith in this proposition with mathematics or a piece of objective evidence. All I have to rest my faith on the belief that my wife loves me is my thirty-seven-year friendship with Kim in which I have observed her self-sacrificing for my happiness and welfare; and, her daily testimony when she tells me, “I love you.” Faith can be based on what we have experienced when it aligns with supporting evidence.

I have faith about some things that I have never seen. I have never physically seen Jerusalem. But I have faith that it exists. Of course I have seen photographs and film footage of it, but there is a risk I am prepared to take in the work of photographers and journalists that they are being truthful. Added to this visual evidence, I also have the eye-witness testimonies of people in whom I trust who have actually been to Jerusalem. Faith can be grounded in the eye-witness testimonies of those who are trustworthy.

Therefore, genuine faith is grounded not just in personal experiences but in experiences that are supported by the observable and consistent evidence of reliable witnesses – including yourself. This means that faith is “trusting the evidence”. This is why Jesus rebuked Thomas the apostle for his refusal to believe the testimony of those he knew could be trusted-

¶ Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them,
“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails,
and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
¶ Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.
Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said,
“Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands;
and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him,
“Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:25-29



John the Baptist’s doubt was a cry for reassurance. Thomas’s doubt was a rejection of those whom he had known were trustworthy. But there is also false doubt where someone ceases to have faith – not because there are no longer good reasons to believe or good reasons to disbelieve, but because a person no longer wants it to be true. Paul refers to two of his former colleagues who “rejected and shipwrecked” their faith because they became more attracted to the enticement of what may have been sexual sin-

holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,
among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
First Timothy 1:19-20

Yet, there is a kind of genuine doubt that comes from a lack of awareness of appropriate evidence. This kind of doubt requires evidences and good reasons for believing (1Peter 3:15-16).

Then there is a kind of doubt that is actually a spiritual attack which Paul describes as “the flaming darts of the evil one” in Ephesians 6:16 where the enemy lures the child of God away from the source of their spiritual strength – 

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
Ephesians 6:16

This kind of doubt requires being reminded of what God’s Word says. This is why the enemy seeks to keep the child of God from reading the Bible, hearing and experiencing the preaching of God’s Word with God’s people, and sharing with other believers in their small group.

Every believer is going to be subject to doubts. Some genuine doubts might sincerely question God, His Word, and His love. Some other doubts may be masking a battle with temptation to gratify sinful desires. But there is a healthy way to deal with both of these kinds of doubts.



Doubt is normal. Questions that arise from having doubts nearly always have a reasonable answer. Hopefully by now you have heard me say that if you are battling with, or not battling with, your doubts, you should talk with a fellow believer in whom you trust. If you are run-down and battling with illness or injury in which you are physically vulnerable, then let you small group know about it so that they can pray for and with you. The other week I spoke with someone in this situation and they shared just how difficult it was to read their bible each day and to pray. As I spoke with them over the phone and did two things. I shared with them what I had read in my Bible that day and how it had effected me. Then I asked If I could pray for them and did so. Sometimes when we are run-down we need the strength of another believer to have the grace to continue to stand (1 Peter 4:10). This is why our small groups, and interactions with our brothers and sisters in Christ each Sunday after our worship service is so invaluable.

Sharing your troubling doubts with another believer in whom you trust is not something you should feel you can’t talk about. And if you are someone who does have someone share the battle they are having doubts, then remember the exchange between John the Baptist’s messengers and Jesus, and how Christ had responded to them, and be gentle.  

¶ As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
Romans 14:1

As I approach the sixth decade of following Christ and growing in my understanding of God’s Word, I am now more convinced than ever before that for every intellectual objection to GOD and His Word there is a reasonable answer supporting our belief in the God of the Bible and Bible itself. If you have any doubts about this, let’s have a talk.

Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

1 Comment

  1. Therese Stepanovic

    Thank you Ps Andrew, I really enjoyed reading that, yes I agree how we can all question our faith at times and struggle with reading our Bible and praying. It’s very important to have a fellow Christian we can talk to and trust. To have that support is a comfort we all need because we have to remember we are not all perfect in our walk with Christ. Thank God for church and fellowship with one another.


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For those unfamiliar with the story of the Bible who may be seeking to remedy that unfamiliarity, I would recommend that they start reading in the New Testament. It is there that they will be introduced immediately to Jesus who is the central character of the whole Bible. For many novice readers of the Bible who then attempt to read the Old Testament of the Bible (its first 39 books), it initially seems like they are reading a completely unrelated story which seems to describe a completely different God. But with a little patience and persistence the reader will begin to suspect that this is not a different story but is in fact the prequel to the New Testament. Then a strange supernatural thing happens as they continue to become acquainted with the lives of the patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets, as these characters interact with enemies, giants, angels, strange heavenly beings, and GOD Himself. The reader begins to see in a similar way to what a photographer could not previously see clearly until his camera’s focus was adjusted to make the picture clear — the GOD who created, acted, spoke and judged, frequently referred to Himself as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, and at times seemed to have conversations with divine characters identified as ‘the LORD’ and ‘Me’ and ‘His Spirit’ (Isa. 48:16). And this all begins to sound very reminiscent of the GOD described in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With a growing knowledge of the Bible and hunger to understand it, the follower of Christ discovers that literally for thousands of years prior to this day there have been many many others who have also walked the journey of discovery through the mysterious pages of the Bible and have each made a startling discovery about the human Jesus’ pre-existence throughout the pages of the Old Testament.


The One who spoke the world into existence entered materially into His World and “split time in half”. He came to rescue the world because a great betrayal occurred. One of His chief agents was filled with self-deception and conceited envy and manipulated a serpent to his bidding in destroying the very last and highest of the Lord’s “very good” creation. Disappointingly she fell for it – and her husband who supposed to protect her failed in his most basic of responsibilities. Their fall from innocence and into grace plunged that was momentarily and formerly under their vice-regency. The world had now gone rogue. When the Eternal Son of God submitted to His co-LORD, the Holy Spirit placed Him into a virgin’s womb by uniting his consciousness and sinless essence with the ovum of this young virgin. In doing so, Immanuel relinquished none of His sovereign power or prerogatives but chose to lay aside His glory and become fully human. And for those who came to recognise who He actually was, it ever caused them to fall down at His feet in adoration, or shrink back from Him in terror. The side-effect of those who who adored him was a new ability to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping because of worries, you too can discover how an acquaintance with the Lordship of Jesus the Christ can also help you to sleep better. 


Today, “Jesus Christ is Lord” sounds like a bumper sticker or part of an ancient church liturgy but when Christianity was founded if someone uttered these words it could literally mean death! ’o christos ’o kurios “Christ is Lord” was a risky thing to declare when the only safe thing to declare was ’o kaiser ’o kurios “Caesar is Lord”! Yet it was upon these words that the earliest confession of the Church was founded. For the early Christians, this was not a glib, throw-away line uttered during a church service or something stuck on the backside of your donkey (or chariot if you were wealthy).  


I really dislike the expression ‘moving forward’. So many people say, ‘moving forward’ from the meeting, the experience, the…. whatever! Has anyone stopped to think that time continues. We can’t go back. Even if we are reflecting, or for that matter mulling, we are in the continuum of time, and unless we have a mythical time machine, we just can’t go backwards in time. Our only option is to ‘move forward’.


I have long said that my primary role as a shepherd-pastor is to help people to die well. To do this, as I have often said, requires that we learn how to live life well. Of all the normally uncomfortable subjects that Christians find it difficult to talk about, death should not be one of them. But it is. This is because, of all the world religions, only Christianity has a positive view of death. After all, we have a divine Saviour who confronted and conquered death. As a result the original apostles mocked death.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
¶ The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.”
(First Corinthians 15:55-56)
These apostles refused to be intimidated by death which was ultimately evidenced by their martyrdoms. The apostle Paul could look forward to his death with the obvious lament that he would no longer be available to help those he had led to the Lord (Phil. 1:23-25). But he could face his impending death with the assurance that it would mean that he would immediately be in the presence of his Lord — and so should we! And like Paul, we too should be be able to talk about death in a very different way to those who do not know what we know.


A suburban home in Australia is shrinking in land size even though the average house size is headed in the opposite direction. What hasn’t changed is fencing around the block of land in order to separate it from a neighbour’s property. Broken fences, overgrown hedges and pets jumping fences are a known source of conflicts. We value our privacy. Those fences are boundaries. To go over them without permission will be trespassing. Renting, owning or owned outright – our home is our safe haven. When we chat with neighbours across the fence, there is a sense of security that comes with standing on our own patch of land. A little piece of Australia over which we have custody, albeit temporal.


Each of these uncomfortable topics in this brief series of articles are uncomfortable because there they carry a sense of embarrassment or even shame attached to them. But this particular topic also carries a good deal of pain associated with it – in addition to any feelings of embarrassment or shame. This pain may involve a sense of failure, betrayal, rejection, and humiliation. Divorce rarely effects just the two people involved in ending a marriage. Divorce can scar people like little else can. It can scar socially, financially, emotionally, relationally, and even a person’s physical health – and sometimes do so permanently.


All of us feel sad at some point – even people who are usually happy most of the time. Usually though for most people there will be some understandable reason for it. This might include the loss of a loved one, a certain disappointment, an accident, or sympathy for someone. This kind of sadness is temporary. But there is a kindness of sadness that lingers which leaves a person drained, teary, thinking dark thoughts, and feeling desperately lonely. This is usually when we consider someone is experiencing ‘depression’ and it is one of those things that Christians find difficult to admit to or even talk about.


Resilience was one of the predominant character traits of the early Christians. They called it being steadfast. For these early Christians being ‘resilient’ meant being able to keep going despite set backs, discouragements, betrayals, unforeseen circumstances, lack of energy, motivation, and resources. Like a weary hiker looking down a long road that leads to the mountain range they must walk over, being resilient in life means putting one foot in front of the other, and then doing it again, and again, and again, and so on. God knows that today, in what many are describing as “Post-Christendom” (and the resilient among us prefer to think of as Pre-Christendom) to be resilient is to live with a purpose, to stay focused, to live for others, and to strive toward a good, honourable, goal. With so many reasons to lose sight of the true purpose of life the tendency is to be tricked into believing that life right now is too hard. But the truth be told – people need to know how to be more resilient. Leaders especially need to be resilient right now. Churches assuredly need to be resilient at this time. With the recent interference into churches by government through the measures they said was “to keep people safe” — it has actually depleted people’s ability and willingness to be resilient! Here’s what leaders, people, and churches can do about it.


home > Pastor's Desk > 2023 > July 21st > COME ON IN AND JOIN USSome people think of ‘church’ as a place of religious rituals. To them it a place where sermons are preached, hymns are sung, weddings are conducted, funerals formalised, and babies are...