Patricia Hofer

Is believing with certainty possible?

TO BELIEVE WITH CERTAINTY, WE MUST BEGIN BY DOUBTING. This Polish wisdom is not only helpful but essential for a Christian. The Lord knows we have doubts, and he knows we’re not perfect. And he will help us with both, if we let him. Which leads me to John Wesley. He embraced Reason as a part of faith, and he saw Christian living as a process of “maturation and hope” (Outler 253). As Wesley assures us, the Christian not only “grows in grace and in the knowledge of Christ” (II Peter 3:18) but also in “the love and image of God.” And we each “will do so not only till death, but to all eternity” (294).

What a relief it is to realize that our purity of heart does grow—from greed to generosity, from fear to trust, from judgment to compassion, from selfishness to unselfishness. And, as he did with the disciples, the Lord does guide and support us in this maturing process. Instead of penalizing us in some way for doubting and wondering, Christ is ever with us, opening new ways to expand and grow our believing.

(John Wesley, Edited by Albert C. Outler, Oxford Univerity Press, 1964.) (Also Turning Aside to See, chapter 15)

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