Faith as Doubting Belief: A personal reflection

Rob James


This paper is a personal reflection revealing the author’s ideas of faith and belief to have previously been inadequate as they have focussed on believing in particular certainties, even when this way of thinking about faith proved selfdestructive. The context for this way of approaching faith is the first few years of ministry in an Anglican/ Episcopalian church, which led to the author abandoning ministry for a number of years. The ideas of Wilfred Cantwell Smith and others are used to demonstrate that faith is more about a direction and less about certainties. The essay also proposes that the fundamental content of faith is action, often taken because of the ability to doubt accepted norms. On this basis, doubt is a useful element of true faith and good ministry. Faith is not something fixed but something that moves and develops. This is found to be of more practical use than lists of items to be believed as ‘true.’

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