If you don't have doubts about the Bible, chances are you are not reading it or don't plan on living according to its message, Steven Furtick, pastor of the popular Elevation Church in North Carolina, said.
In a recent message discussing his faith walk, Furtick admitted to his congregation that sometimes he struggled to believe what the Bible says.
"I have my doubts. I read that whom the Son sets free is free indeed but sometimes I feel bound by stuff. I have my doubts. Is that alright? Do you need to find another church now that you know that the dude with the mic has some doubts?" Furtick revealed after sharing a story about how it is generally assumed by some people that because he is a pastor he never struggles with doubt.
"I meet these people and they say things to me, because of my profession I guess, they make assumptions about me, because there's a Rev. in front of my name. They make assumptions about me that I don't have real doubts," he explained.
"One gentleman that I was doing business with, he put it this way. He was like 'I envy you because I would love to have faith. I always wanted to believe in God. But I'm just always, I'm the kind of person that doubts a lot. And I envy you that you don't have those doubts,'" Furtick said.
The megachurch pastor explained that having doubt doesn't mean a lack of faith.
"Now here's what I should have said back to him; it only took me four months to come up with this. Because he is assuming that faith is the absence of doubt. For me, faith has never been the absence of doubt. Faith is not the absence of doubt; it is the means to overcome it. Do you hear what I'm saying? 'Cause we get in church and we just all go into this Walking Dead willing suspension of disbelief. And we just believe things that have no impact on our everyday life, like we're binge-watching Netflix, like 'I'm just going to watch this a little while and hear this comforting word.' But then we go out into the world and we doubt this stuff, but we can't say we doubt this stuff because doubt is bad," he said.
He explained that he doesn't want people to believe that it is wrong to have doubt as they walk in faith. He recalled having to correct one of his campus pastors who portrayed faith as believing without doubt as he led potential converts through the Sinner's Prayer during one service.
"To me, he made a really big mistake when he was praying the prayer because he was inviting people to pray the prayer and he said, 'If you want to give your heart to Christ today and know for sure that you have a relationship with Him, pray this: Lord Jesus, I believe that I'm a sinner in need of a Savior, and I believe without a doubt ... and that's the part he should've left out ... That one parenthetical insert without a doubt, I told him never again when you stand in the pulpit at Elevation do I want you to put people into a position to pray something that they can't honestly pray. In fact, don't put them in a position to pray something that you can't honestly pray. Because there's not one of you in the room — even with tabs in your pink Bible — that you can honestly say [the sinner's prayer] without a doubt. And if you can, hang on, you haven't had teenagers yet," he said.
"I have my doubts. I don't believe this because I don't doubt it," Furtick said, lifting his Bible. "If you don't doubt it, you're not reading it or you're reading it with no intent to live it. See my doubt is the evidence of my growth. The closer I get, the more questions I have. I struggle to believe it. That I'm forgiven, that He forgives me not only before I accepted Him but for what I still do. Maybe He can forgive the past stuff but what about the present stuff ... I have my doubts. I have my faith but I have my doubts."