It is not uncommon for me to get a letter from a leader or a pastor, and some of them are anonymous and some give me bogus names and some tell me their name honestly, in which the pastor explains to me that he or she is full of doubts about God, about Jesus Christ, and about the Christian faith. They write for guidance and for prayer and for help.
Whenever I receive such a note, one person comes to mind immediately — Francis Schaeffer. I’m not absolutely sure which book of his tells the story, but here is a brief description by one who knew him well: Jerram Barrs. I must have read about Schaeffer’s crisis in True Spirituality when I was a college sophomore or junior. At any rate, Schaeffer went through a crisis and that crisis shaped his theology and his passions powerfully. He went down into his doubts and he came back up a different person.
What happens to pastors today if they go through a crisis? Are there friends to whom they can go, mentors, spiritual directors, denominational advisors? Do they continue or do they take a sabbatical or do they get fired? Is it wise to share doubts with the congregation? Can they speak of their doubts without censure? Do they suppress their doubts and struggles?