393–394: Does “Certainty” Hinder Living Faith?

Living faith is a growing faith. It is faith in a living God. It is trust in a trustworthy being (or beings). It is striving to align ourselves with a will conveyed to us by a wise and loving God. In many ways, through a person’s experiences with the Divine, living faith can be “certain” about the existence, goodness, wisdom, and compassion of this Source, but so often we want more. We want exactness. We want to be able to describe and be certain about every detail about God, the Plan for us, how to be “saved,” etc. And we are even encouraged to strive for this kind of certainty. But this encouragement is too often misunderstood as a striving for a certainty of “this” or “that,” or a certainty of “what,” but is that as important as a certainty that comes with a relationship with a “Who” that surpasses all other beings? Can our striving to be “right about God” and these other things actually hinder our ability to truly know God?

Christian theologian and author Peter Enns thinks so, and many Latter-day Saints through their own faith journeys and evolution have also come to feel less certain about “certainty about” God and more certain about paths God wants them to follow, paths that they feel are leading them to truly embrace the full and abundant life that Christianity, including Mormonism, teaches about.

In this two-part episode, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon is joined by four wonderful and thoughtful Latter-day Saints—Jeff ChristensenDoug ChristensenJana Spangler, and Jay Griffith—for a discussion of these and several other issues related to the problems of “certainty,” some of it based upon Enns’ book, The Sin of Certainty. It’s a fantastic discussion, rich in insight, and includes stories from each of their own lives and faith journeys. Don’t miss it!

NOTE: Upon first release of this episode, the majority of Part 1 (Episode 393) did not play in both speakers (ears). This has been corrected. But to access it as it should have been initially, you can either refresh this screen (Mormon Matters podcast) and use the play button on the site, or re-download it via iTunes or whatever podcast app you use. So sorry for this hassle!  Dan Wotherspoon


Peter Enns, The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs (HarperOne, 2016).

Peter Enns, The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It (HarperOne, 2015).




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