Doubting Thomas

Doubting Thomas is a new online publication run by people in Zambia whose main occupation is to deny the existence of God.  In their May 24-30 publication they assume that because President Michael Sata announced he would rule Zambia on the basis of The Ten Commandments, many Zambians believe disobeying President Sata is equal to disobeying God. The authors believe that the rule of fear upon the Zambian people, who are largely Christian, is Bible inspired because of their understanding that to disobey the leader is to disobey God. They say the result of people believing that political leaders arDoubting Thomase custodian and executioner of God’s commandments leads most Zambians to accept tyranny.

Meanwhile, a concerned Christian has e-mailed several Christians warning them not to open mail from Doubting Thomas, because they do not believe in God. As Christians we must not be fearful of reading such publications. They help us understand the mind of unbelievers and how they interpret the Bible. The writers for Doubting Thomas are doing the same thing Thomas did before Jesus made a special second appearance to him. To be an effective witness we need to follow Jesus’ example. What did Jesus do with Thomas? Jesus came to his level; he did not rebuke him nor humiliate him. He could see that deep down in Thomas’s heart was a desire to really know God. Like Thomas, we too have been sceptical at one time or another. Just as God turned our unbelief into belief he can do the same with others.

I found it interesting that the authors chose Doubting Thomas as the name for their publication. After all, Thomas was one of Jesus’ disciples. This shows they are not reading the same Bible we read. Otherwise they would have known that at the second appearance of Jesus to his disciples, Thomas, who had previously doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead, (John 20:24-25) gave a powerful theological confession that Jesus is God-My Lord and my God (20:28). From the onset, we can see that the authors of this publication need help with reading and understanding the Bible. If they knew their Bible well they would have known that Thomas moved from being doubting Thomas to believing Thomas.

Finally, Doubting Thomas has distorted what the Bible teaches about leadership. The Bible teaches that he who wants to be a leader must be a servant of all. They have also distorted what the Bible teaches about obedience.  To be an effective defender of the Gospel we are to, “In our hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1Peter 3:15). Ravi Zacharias, an apologetic, writes “There are Five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, and some people will never read the first four.” Scripture gives us a clear picture of the proper response toDoubting Thomas: 1. Set apart Christ as Lord in your own heart 2. Answer their questions 3. Do so with gentleness and respect. Doubting Thomas is asking questions.

How are you preparing your members to respond to Doubting Thomas? Are you helping them to deepen their understanding of the scriptures so they know how to answer sceptics?  Or are you simply telling them to declare “sceptic go back to your sender (the devil)”. My prayer is that you will be motivated to equip your church members to become people of the word whose lifestyle presents compelling evidence for the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lawrence Temfwe