by Jerry Vines

When In Doubt
Jerry Vines
Matthew 28:16-17

One of my favorites books and one of the greatest books ever written in the history of Christianity is a book entitled Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It is a classic. It is an allegory which Bunyan wrote about the Christian life, depicting the journey of the Christian from the cross where the burden of sin is lifted all the way to heaven, the Celestial city, and the difficulties and obstacles that Christian encounters along the way. Along the way, Christian goes to Vanity Fair and it talks about the battle of worldliness that the Christian faces. He goes through the Slough of Despond and talks about the depressions and despondency that sometimes comes to the Christian. He also points us to an experience of Christian in Doubting Castle. It is a rather fascinating story in the way John Bunyan depicts it. Christian and his companion, Hopeful, are spending the night, unaware of the fact that they are sleeping on the property of Giant Despair and his wife, Distrust. They preside over Doubting Castle. So, Giant Despair finds them on his property. He immediately arrests them and carries them into Doubting Castle and he puts them into a dank, nasty, stinking dungeon in Doubting Castle. He first of all begins to scold them like they are dogs. Then he whips them with heavy clubs and he tells them that they will never get out of doubting castle. That the only way for them to get away from it is to commit suicide. So, for a period of time Christian, in Doubting Castle, thinks he may commit suicide. But one night at midnight he declares, “What a fool I have been to stay in this stinking Castle when I have in my pocket a key that will unlock every door in Doubting Castle.

I’m going to tell you what that key is later. But I’ve often thought that Bunyan was quite right when he depicted doubt as a castle. Doubt is indeed a castle. It is a castle that locks us up. It fills us with defeat and despair and desperation. There ...

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