A Question I Was Asked:

How Come That Jonathan Edwards Lost His Faith?

The Question:

What can one say after hearing how Jonathan Edwards, the former British athlete and once a very vocal Christian, has 'lost his faith' and now doubts that there is a God. The whole thing seems strange to me but I doubt he was ever converted but was too emotional in his beliefs. Maybe he was also a little manipulated and reacted against that. What do you think?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, well this is a difficult one for me because I would rather discuss theological/spiritual/biblical matters without ever mentioning names unless they are the names of Christian writers or theologians whom I might quote. True, I have fired a few broadsides in the direction of Richard Dawkins but in view of his belligerent and hateful views of Christianity and Christians, he is surely 'fair game.' In this case we have a high-profile former British Olympic athlete turned BBC sports pundit who had been somewhat famed among British evangelicals for his biblical beliefs.

Around 2007 Edwards was quoted as saying that he lost his faith and that his marriage was in trouble (I am simply stating what was widely quoted around the time). A few reports have even claimed him as now being an atheist but, in fairness, Edwards himself has not been too vocal on this so one cannot be sure. But in his now somewhat famous 27 June 2007 interview with The Times Edwards did state that "when you think about it rationally, it does seem incredibly improbable that there is a God." In the same interview he also said, "I feel internally happier than at any time of my life." So presumably his loss of faith suits him.

I don't want to say too much about this man whom I don't want to judge. My 'gut feeling' is that he possibly never thought his Christianity through thoroughly enough in the first place. Perhaps indeed his approach was too emotional, maybe he was even pushed and manipulated a little and reacted against that at a time of crisis in his life. I know that even now this man will quote the odd Scripture (he quoted a verse from Proverbs during his Olympics TV stint), but most probably his knowledge was never very comprehensive. He now believes - or so we are informed - that it is "improbable" that God exists. What can one say? It is obvious that he never did his Christian Apologetics or he would never say that. I have to say that I also tend to doubt that this gentleman was ever truly converted.

Ultimately only God knows about this man's current spiritual standing and where he is headed. We do know that God's true people cannot be snatched out of His hand. See John 10:27-29. All one can do is to hope for the best. Maybe - I said 'maybe' - this is all part of a huge crisis in this man's life and he will come out of it spiritually stronger than before.

Robin A. Brace. August 20th, 2012.