Archive for the ‘Doubt’ Category

GideonToday is a very special day in the Tong household, as we celebrate our son Gideon’s 2nd birthday. What makes today more special than any other birthday? Well, unknown to us before delivery, Gideon’s body was not forming exactly right in the womb. He had a severe birth defect known as bladder exstrophy, a rare defect that affects 1 in 40,000 babies. His hips were rotated out slightly and therefore his pelvis did not properly close. This allowed his bladder to “pop through” and form on the outside of his body. Along with this condition come an epispadias, bowel issues, bladder problems, and possible neurological problems at the base of the spine. What began as a normal delivery turned into an emergency flight to Louisville and a conversation with a pediatric urologist who had only one failed exstrophy operation on his resume. (more…)

528483-Depression-1364630455-842-640x480Depression is a crushing problem for many, plunging them into a despair and hurt few can understand. Robert Burton spoke of depression rightly when he said: “They are in great pain and horror of mind, distraction of soul, restlessness, full of continual fears, cares, torment, anxieties, they can neither drink, eat, nor sleep…”[1] Abraham Lincoln spoke of his depression similarly. “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better, it appears to me.”[2] So how in the world are you to help a person in this condition? What if you find yourself dealing with depression? What course of action should you take? Is there a Christian perspective on the topic? (more…)

??????????????????Doubts about your faith can be one of the most painful experiences for the Christian. When the waves of questions and uncertainties come crashing in, your emotions and faith can be violently tossed about. From some, doubts have led to unbelief and eventually full-blown apostasy. However, for others, doubts have drawn them closer to God and ultimately strengthened their faith. As a Christian, you obviously want the latter, but how can you ensure that your doubt will draw you into a deeper faith? How can you guard your soul against the damnable sin of apostasy? In order to do this, there are many questions you need to answer. What is doubt? Is it sin? What is causing my doubt? What type of doubt am I dealing with: emotional, factual, or volitional? Is doubt good or bad? How do I talk with others about these embarrassing issues I am facing? Does doubt mean that I am not a Christian? (more…)

Gospel_of_Jesus'_WifeIf you check out any newsstand, religion section of a news outlet, or other media source during the Easter or Christmas seasons, you are bound to find opinions and stories about Jesus that disagree with the orthodox Christian position. “Religious news” about Christian doctrine rarely speaks of the conservative Christian position, but of some divergence from it. But this is the media, so what should we expect? However, while the culture latches on to the hype of unknowns and “what-ifs” regarding religious truth, Christians are left to make sense of their convictions in light of the supposed findings. Can their faith withstand the new claims? Are these new claims valid? Do we tackle every claim or just ignore them all? Since these claims often threaten the very foundations of our worldview, they cause many to doubt or question the certainty of their faith. (more…)

SuicideHere are the opening lines of a recent article at CNN.

“Funny, happy people do not kill themselves. It doesn’t make sense.”

That’s usually what people say. “They were such a bright light … the life of the party.” I know, because I used to say these things about my brother, Evan.

Now I know better.

Four years ago, just a few weeks shy of his 21st birthday, Evan ended his life with the intention of forever ending his pain. And I am left with blood on my hands. My misconceptions about suicide have made me an accomplice.

The story seems to go something like this: a teenage boy who had everything going for him – great personality, funny, athletic – began to battle depression of some sort. This turned into anger, internal darkness, confusion, and the eventual taking of his life. For the full story of Evan, you can read the original article here. (more…)

pentecostal-church-service-smallWe live in a sensation driven culture. We are fascinated and driven by the experiences of our senses. Moral values and religious principles often take a back seat to what feels good or what I enjoy. Due to Enlightenment thinking, we have relegated non-physical claims, especially religious ones, to the realm of personal opinion. The only real facts are those that we can experience with our five senses. Such thinking has not been absent from the church, as Christian are likewise very “sense-driven.”

When Christians speak of God, their understanding of him, his interaction in the world, and their relationship to him, they usually speak in emotive language. “I felt God prompting me.” “I felt God in church this morning.” “I just felt a peace about it.” Additionally, Christians often judge other Christians by their emotions, such as their enthusiasm, tears, or other response to Christian activity. So the question must be asked: what role do emotions and feelings play in the life of the Christian. Is the Christian life best described by how we feel and our emotional state? Do we examine the status of our relationship with God based upon how we feel? (more…)

anxiety1In “Anxiety – Part 1” we discussed the distinction between soul and brain and the biology of anxiety disorder. In this post, we will examine the causes, both physical and spiritual, of anxiety disorder and the treatment options.

Causes of Anxiety

Although anxiety has physical and neurological aspects to it, it is my conviction that the ultimate cause of anxiety disorder is sin. Please understand I am not saying psychiatric treatment is unnecessary, for it can be very helpful as we will see below, but the underlying issue runs much deeper than our brains. In order to properly understand how sin is the root cause of anxiety disorder, three aspects of sin – three parts of the whole – must be explained. (more…)

AnxietyOne of the fastest growing forms of medical treatment in the 21st century is psychiatry. Treatment for diagnoses such as ADHD, anxiety disorder, and depression have seen a dramatic increase in recent years. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 26% of the adult population suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder.[1] However, not only are we being diagnosed with these disorders, but many are taking medications for them. Antidepressant use has increased by 400% in the last decade, making it the third most common prescription taken among adults.[2] (more…)

question_head5A very hidden problem many Christians face is doubt. Doubt is the kind of problem you don’t want others to know you are having, for fear they will start treating you as an unbeliever or an apostate. “What! You are doubting God? You are doubting the inspiration of the Bible?” Well, many Christians do struggle with these issues, along with a host of others. Common questions may include: How can I know that I am a Christian? How can I know that Christianity is true? Why should I trust the Bible? How can I know God will forgive me? How do I know another religion is not true? This list could go on and on and on. (more…)