Hey Greg Boyd/ReKnew team!
I wanted to sincerely thank you for this website, Greg’s books, and for the Woodland Hill’s sermons. My husband and I have grown up in the conservative Christian church. Our churches had good intentions, but did express to us that asking the “tough” questions was sinful and would reveal our true hearts as being impure. We have spent our whole lives being anxious skeptics in hiding, and we found some amount of pseudo-peace in hiding in our skepticism together through our marriage. My husband and I started getting serious about our doubts a few years ago and started questioning stuff that you should NEVER question as a Christian (Is there actually a God? Is Jesus divine? Is the Bible God-breathed? Why does God seem like Satan in the OT?). We started reading books about Theism/Atheism, Jesus Divinity/Jesus humanity, etc., all the while having a pure heart that always kept wanting to know Truth/God at the center of our research. All of this to say, we did not tell ANYONE that we were doing this for 2 whole years because we were afraid of the backlash that we might encounter, and this lead to us feeling so alone and inauthentic in this journey. A few months ago, my husband and I discussed that we could not stand being in hiding any longer and wanted to “come out of the skeptic closet” with our church home group.
A few months ago, I gathered the courage to speak up in our home group. Someone in our home group had been talking about how awesome it is that the Bible is inerrant, and that every single word in the Bible is in the exact spot that God intended. Seeing how “psychologically certain” he appeared in this claim of the Bible’s inerrancy, my heart longed to know God in this way if God was to be known in this way. I fought off the strong anxiety that I was experiencing to muster up the vulnerability to say, “I don’t know where I stand with believing that the Bible is inerrant. There are some things in the Bible that seem so violent and inconsistent with Jesus on the cross, and then there are some parts of the Bible that seem cultural or mythical. I always find myself asking ‘did God really say that? How did you guys come to believe that?’” There was silence in the room for a few seconds as I anxiously waited for someone to respond. Then, someone said, “Holly, the first thing that Satan asked Eve in the garden of Eden was ‘did God really say that?’” As my husband and I tried to explain that our hearts were pure in these questions, we were told by other members of the home group that we were “borderline-heretics” “worshiping our own knowledge instead of worshiping God” “the times that you heard God’s voice were probably demons talking to you because God’s sheep know his voice” and that the members of the home group were “worried for our souls and worried for all of the people that we were going to lead astray.”
This experience was so painful. We were devastated and hurt that our worst fears had come true and that people thought our hearts were not pure when we had finally come out of hiding. I began to question if my heart was actually impure like these people told me. This is when I went to my window, looked at the stars, and cried out to God, “God, I want to know You. No matter how painful, no matter Who You are or What you are, I want to know you purely, fully, and wholly. Please help me find you!” With newfound peace at the fact that these people in my home group did not have the authority to define where my heart was at with God, I went to Google and asked my questions online. I found ReKnew right away when typing in my question about Biblical inerrancy. My husband and I spent the next 6 hours (until 2am), looking up Woodland Hills YouTube videos, reading tons of ReKnew Blog posts, and researching Boyd’s books on Amazon. We were seriously overjoyed to find someone who loved Jesus ACTUALLY asking these questions! Since then, my husband and I have read Benefit of the Doubt, are reading multiple books on theological concepts, have found another couple asking these questions that we meet with weekly, and have come out of hiding. We are no longer anxious or scared about our questions, we are keeping God at the center of this entire process, and we our LOVING how much we are growing in relationship with Jesus. I feel like I’ve learned more about God in the past 4 months than I have in my entire Christian-ese life! So, this is super long-winded, but if you’ve actually read to this point, I am so thankful that your spiritual community was there for my husband and I the night we were broken, vulnerable skeptics searching for Jesus in a mass of confusing questions. We live in Portland, Oregon and strongly desire to spread the truth of asking the tough questions to the Christian church here. We will continue to look for people who are on this journey, and we will no longer hide, but will be confident that God is with us, and that he is stronger than any cries of “heresy” at us.
Thanks for being there!
Holly and Zach