Denial. Jn 20:24-25 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Based on the definition given earlier and the various things scripture has to say about doubt, I would say that the reason for doubting the Good News of Jesus Christ can be summed up as refusal to accept the historical account of the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Christ as fact and trust it to be accurate.
Unknown or dubious source. 1 Thess 5:24 but test everything; hold fast what is good. There is nothing wrong with taking steps to verify the source of a message. Be sure God is speaking. If you find it is in fact God speaking, then you have no excuse for not obeying.
Insufficient data. Jn 8:14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. At some point things have to be taken on faith. However, if you simply don’t have enough information, how can you make a good decision? The modern church is riddled with “easy believism” theology. Many flocks are not being fed the spiritual nutrients needed to grow strong and stand firm. If the Gospel were presented in its complete and raw form, some would find Christ who were not convinced by the simple messages. On the other hand, some of the simple message lovers would be shown for who they are.
Fear. Lk 22:60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. It is natural to fear the unknown. Throughout scripture we are chastened to fear the Lord. That isn’t quite the same as fearing a snake or a spider. Fearing God is like fearing your father’s belt — it is more like respect. In this case, Peter was afraid for his life. He forgot the promises of Jesus and reacted out of fear rather than faith. Peter forgot the words of David in Ps 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Ignorance. Lk 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. Sometimes we are so bound up in our own little world we ignore the reality around us. I call this “blissful ignorance.” Some people just don’t want to know so they refuse to accept anything which challenges what they think they know. The guards casting lots were eye witnesses of God’s power. The signs were right before them, yet they ignored them.
Difficulty. Mt 19:21-22 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. This young man made an informed decision to do what he thought was easiest.
Strangeness. Isaiah 28:21 For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim; as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused; to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work! God is a mystery. He does things we can’t fathom. Some just can’t grasp the Gospel because it’s too foreign to the worldly things they do understand.
Competing beliefs. 2 Jn 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Many would dilute or modify the Good News of Jesus Christ. The world itself offers a great many things (temptations) to also serve as distractions. Satan uses every means at his disposal to try and keep us from obedience.
Bad Examples. 1 Tim 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. It is no wonder we aren’t successful in communicating the Good News when we don’t give an example of its value to the world.
This post is an excerpt (Question 6.11) from my book Ask James one.