T4L: Elyse, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview with Theology for Life Magazine. Please tell us a bit about yourself, including the current ministries you are involved in!
Elyse: Having not been raised in a Christian home, I didn’t come to faith until right before my 21st birthday. But soon afterward, I found myself in Bible College and then married with children. In 1985 I began training in biblical counseling with CCEF (San Diego), and went on to get an M.A. in biblical counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary (Newburgh, IN).
I began writing books (primarily on the intersection between daily living and God’s Word) in 1997, and have since written about 2 dozen books—some on practical theology, and others on God’s grace for sinners. I presently speak at conferences 10-15 times a year and are continuing to write books.
T4L: Wow! It sounds like you’re staying busy! Can you please tell us a bit about your book Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises, the reason you wrote it, and how it’s being received?
Elyse: I was thankful for the opportunity to add to the series of devotional books on daily living from P&R and Deepak Reju. Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises is a book that acknowledges that all of us struggle with doubt—during some seasons more than others—and that the struggle with doubt is not only common, but also something that the Lord understands and will welcome us through. He doesn’t shame doubters; in fact, He calls them to Himself and gives them faith to believe and trust.
T4L: Very true. So, how do the Bible’s claims about itself help doubts begin to trust the reliability of the inerrant and authoritative Word of God?
Elyse: The Bible claims that it is God’s Word, which really wouldn’t mean much if it were not for fulfilled prophecy and the resurrection of Jesus Christ—a historical fact that was attested to hundreds of people, who could have denied it, but also gave their lives for it. In Scripture, we’ve been given as much proof as we need to be able to “walk by faith” even though we’re not walking “by sight”.
T4L: Yes, and this is something that we—as Christians—need to understand. What role should the local church play in helping Christians deal with doubt?
Elyse: They should recognize and speak to the ubiquity of doubt in the local congregation, and offer resources to people that will help them. It would be good for the leadership to admit that they themselves have times of doubt and that it doesn’t mean that they should be ashamed or are unloved.
T4L: Excellent point. So often the average lay person seems to believe that his/her pastor never has any doubt…ever…but obviously that is not the case. You’re right, we do need transparency in this. Many Christians struggle facing trials or times of suffering and are filled with anxiety and doubt. How can they face these times of life and grow in the grace of God?
Elyse: It’s good for people to know that we all struggle with doubt, especially during times of testing and trial. If people can remember that they are not called to complete certainty, but rather to a reasonable belief, they can walk through dark days and trust that the Lord is with them. It’s especially good for people to have others in their lives to whom they are confessing their doubts and who will, in turn encourage them to keep walking.
T4L: Agreed! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview, Elyse.