Within Christianity is a need for an open place for those with doubts, those with questions or those curious about Christian faith. The question is now, whether such a place should be opened in the Body of Christ or somewhere else? Some churches approach this as a missional opportunity. Some use the Alpha course. Some do a theology on tap or pub theology. Others may have a place in a coffee shop or a restaurant.Or some may have concurrent prayer meetings and question sessions at the church house.
Regardless of where it takes place, the space must be open, respectful and fearless. For some Christians, the thought of questioning matters of faith evokes fear and leads to a closing of the mind. This is a troublesome place to be since one of the great commandments is to love the Lord with your mind. Many places in scripture speak of the mind and need for turning, renewing and transforming (closing doesn’t seem to be an option). The open space to discuss big questions regarding faith can lead to spiritual transformation and a strengthening of faith. [The converse is true as well, some may leave the church and Christianity which might be the root of the fear.]
An open space like this can also provide an opportunity for those curious about Christian faith or maybe even hostile to Christianity. This is not necessarily a platform for Christian apologetics but a place for discussion of what one believes within Christianity and how it is worked out in one’s life. Rhetoric, incivility and vitriol should not find a place of prominence here but civility and open dialog and calm reflection. Disagreements are bound to occur but let respect reign supreme.
The key point in all this would be the emphasis on developing relationships and friendships. This is not for the sake of opening an opportunity to share the gospel, but rather for the relationship itself. This is more about being the gospel as opposed to presenting the gospel as something to be sold. The gospel is free yet costs us our life. We should be giving this gift away in and through our lives. The gospel is Christ, not a set of propositions, a series of scripture passages or the repetition of a certain type of prayer. Seems Jesus was open to questions so why can’t we?