While it is possible for us to distinguish between doubt and unbelief in theory, it is not so easy in practice. Doubt can move in the direction of unbelief and cross the borderline, but when it does, it ceases to be doubt. The idea of “total” or “complete” doubt is a contradiction in terms, for doubt that is total can no longer be classified as doubt; it is unbelief.
Os Guinness points out that when we attempt to undertake a biblical analysis of doubt, we can come out with either a “hard” or “soft” view of the subject. Those who take a “soft” view of doubt point to how vastly different doubt is from unbelief, and those who take a “hard” view of doubt point out its similarities.
Both views can be drawn out of the Scriptures. Error is usually truth out of balance, and it is important, therefore, that we get a balanced view of what the Bible has to say about doubt. In my view it can be summarized like this—doubt is not the same as unbelief, but unless cor–rected, doubt can naturally lead to unbelief.
This view has helped me avoid what I consider to be the extremes of being too hard or too soft on doubt. It is a condition which must be regarded as serious, but it need not be fatal. Don’t allow your doubts to bring you into condemnation, for when faced and brought into clear perspective, they can be the catalyst to a deeper pursuit of God.