the end of skepticism.
Skepticism is perhaps the most under-recognized cultural problem facing the spread of Christianity today, at least in those cultures that sprang from intellectual roots in the Age of Enlightenment.
Skepticism’s grip on the average person’s mind, which used to affect primarily religious faith and belief in God , now casts doubt and suspicion toward all other arenas in which faith is required. We no longer trust leaders; skepticism says they all are hiding things. We no longer believe in marriage; it’s based on a false hope and is an imposition on human freedom. And even human freedom is a pipe dream, according to skepticism, since we are all merely by-products of our DNA.
Who knows? You may even be dealing with it as you go through the Prayer Imaginarium.
So how does skepticism in all these forms go away? Probably, like most problems, you go back to where the train jumped the track. If the roots of skepticism are found in the intellectual dismissal of God, and from there the foundations for certainty eroded in other arenas, then the undoing of skepticism probably requires taking away skepticism’s grounds for the dismissal of God.
What’s the best way to do that? Well… what did the apostle Paul say?
(1 Corinthians 2:1-4) When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Paul goes on to teach that the things of God can only be discerned via spiritual transmission.
(1 Corinthians 2:14) The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Even when the most brilliant intellect is employed the mind will remain dark if not for communication from the Holy Spirit. Putting the two scriptures together: skepticism is defeated by manifestations and communications from the Holy Spirit. This gives us clear direction as we imagine what is necessary to bring about the demise of skepticism in our churches.
What would it take for convincing signs and wonders to be manifest in our churches?
•Imagine an outbreak of healings.
•Imagine people in your church praying for one another, or for seekers, with knowledge they could not have picked up on their own.
•Imagine a skeptical PhD sitting in your service suddenly finding himself overcome by God and speaking in a heavenly language.
(All of the things above have been and are happening in some of our churches.)
Remarkable love is also a demonstration of the Spirit’s power that causes skeptics to believe in God.
•Imagine marriages being restored even after infidelity.
•Imagine people selling their own possessions in order to make sure a fellow Christian has his needs met. Imagine them paying another person’s bills to get them out of debt.
•Imagine people who always seem to notice and reach out to the unnoticed and unwanted.
•Imagine people forgiving and blessing others who have mistreated them.
•Imagine people doing the terrible tasks that no one wants to do, and doing it with a joyful spirit.