Last night in our midweek Bible study, as I was stumbling around the book of 1 Corinthians, a conversation / discussion erupted. Actually several did. We somehow wound up on the issues of people receiving “revelations” and the doctrine of baptismal regeneration (being baptized as a part of being born again).
I’m not writing to address either of those questions here (though I’ll tell you I’m wary of anyone with a “revelation” and don’t believe baptism is part of the new birth). I’m writing instead to challenge you as a Pastor, leader, writer, influencer, or whatever else you might be, to tackle the tough questions instead of avoiding them.
After the study was over, one visiting couple expressed surprise that I was willing to venture into 1 Corinthians at all, given the number of controversial issues that arise. But avoiding tough questions isn’t an option for me when it comes to teaching Scripture.
I’m currently teaching through the entire Bible and we’re only in Ruth so far. I’ve talked about every subject under the sun, not because it was a popular or controversial subject, but because it’s simply next.
Here’s the thing. People have tough questions. This fact can’t be ignored. Some questions are dumb and don’t belong in the conversation you’re framing, but others are legitimate searchings of the soul, so why should we avoid them? In fact, addressing the tough stuff may be exactly what you need as a leader to challenge yourself to keep growing.
In my own realm of ministry, tough questions abound, and I don’t want to avoid any of them. Questions like…
- How can you prove God exists?
- You really believe in a literal 6-day creation?
- Why did my child die?
- Where is God when everyone else is abandoning me?
- Why is there war, hunger, disease? Why cancer?
- What in the world is this “rapture” thing and what will it feel like?
None of these are off the table. Everything is fair game. Why? Because inquiring minds want to know and in the realm of church leadership, sometimes we spend too much energy trying to avoid the very questions that provide the key to the soul.
Tackling the tough questions challenges you and I to connect with people in an authentic, albeit risky way at times. In the end, it’s worth it. I sure am glad someone answered my tough questions!