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Here are two great Christian facts:

1. Conviction is an essential part of Christianity. Christianity may begin, but cannot ultimately end, with a kind of vague, nebulous emotional response and reaction to the wonder of Jesus Christ. It must go on to try and to test things and to hold fast to that which is good. “The unexamined life,” said Plato, “is the life not worth living,” and the unexamined faith is the faith not worth having. Where the heart has gone the mind must follow.

2. Preaching is the medium which produces conviction. Preaching is therefore the proclamation of certainties, and the confirmation of belief. Preaching is designed, not to produce questions, but to answer questions; preaching is designed, not to awaken doubts, but to settle and to conquer doubts. The preacher who uses the pulpit to air his own intellectual doubts is doing his people a grave disservice. He will have to state the doubts and difficulties; but he will have to state them to answer them, not to leave them unsolved. “Tell me of your certainties,” said Goethe. “I have doubts enough of my own.”

Extract from The Mind of St Paul by William Barclay, page 104; Fontana Press 1965
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