Tag Archives: doubt

Believing with Difficulty is Better Than to Do So with Ease

This is an excerpt from Juan de Valdes’ book One Hundred and Ten Considerations.

Among those who bear the name of Christian, I know that there are two classes of men.  One finds it extremely easy to believe all that is said to them in matters of religion.  For the other it is extremely difficult.  it appears to me that the facility of belief in the first group comes form superstition and superficial thought, while the difficulty in the other comes from excessive reflection.  The one never exercises prudence, while the other finds it hard to believe anything at all.  So the one will believe many things that are false, perhaps giving more credit to the false than to the true.  While the other never believes in the false, but also hesitates to accept the truth.

Pondering on this matter, I find that only the Holy Spirit can help both classes of men.  On the one hand, the Spirit of God will gradually disabuse the former of what is false, while He will authenticate to the other the things that are true.  Both struggle, one to be more critical, the other to be less cynical.

While both of them struggle, I believe that they who find it hard to believe anything are in a better position to receive God’s Spirit.  First, this is because it is easier to recognize the truth than falsehood.  Second, whoever believes readily is the more easily deceived.  Third, he who easily believes may live much longer under delusions, such as those in the early church who were converted from Judaism.  I am also convinced that he who believes without being taught by the Spirit of God will rely more upon human opinion than upon a personal faith.

However, Christian faith is not based upon hearsay, but upon divine revelation alone.  It is this that blesses us and brings us new hope and love.  It is this that purifies the heart, and it is this that in every way pleases God.  may we then be enriched with this by God Himself through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Juan de Valdes loved when people would ask questions rather than simply accept whatever came out of a preacher or teacher’s mouth.  Like Luke, he believed it was more noble to go back to the Scriptures as the Bereans had done, and see if what was being taught/preached were true.  He was not an opponent of doubt, but believed that a person willing to learn in spite of doubt was a good thing.  That doubt would keep them on the quest for truth.

Image result for Juan de valdesJuan de Valdes is not “the coffee guy.”  That’s Juan Valdez.  Juan de Valdes was an Italian Reformer, one of the greatest if not the greatest, who was a contemporary of Martin Luther.  Obviously, he is not as well known as Luther, but he fought not only to reform the RCC, but also Italian humanism.