Two Books on Doubt and Faith

Two Books on Doubt and Faith January 19, 2019

Alister McGrath
Doubt in Perspective: God is Bigger Than You Think
Nottingham, UK: Inter-Varsity, 2006.
Available on Amazon.com

McGrath defines doubt as not scepticism or unbelief, but as a mixture of questions and uncertainty, something that is “a permanent fixture of the Christian life,” and a “kind of spiritual growing pain.” McGrath points out that all worldviews have an element of faith (even atheism) and that no respectable Theologian or Scientist thinks they can prove or disprove God’s existence.  McGrath also deals with doubts about the gospel, oneself, Jesus, and offers some useful tips on how to handle doubt. Lots of quotes and anecdotes, especially with/from C.S. Lewis and Pascal. Main takeaway: if faith is a form of resistance in a land occupied by an invader power, then expect your faith to be assaulted and challenged on every front, feeling prodded, weakened, and unguarded is natural.

Anthony C. Thiselton
Doubt, Faith & Certainty
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2017.
Available on Amazon.com

This latest book by Thiselton – when is the guy ever going to stop! – is a philosophical, theological, and exegetical exposition of what the title says: doubt, faith, and certainty. Thiselton draws on ancient and modern philosophy to explicate the terms and provide an informed and faith-affirming account of all three. So on doubt, Thiselton says that doubt is not necessarily a bad thing, and it is, in fact, necessary for self-criticism, humility, and careful reflection. Of course, no one can doubt everything, some things need to be presupposed to make sense of anything. On faith, Thiselton sees it as a polyvalent concept touching upon self-involvement, assent, trust, and rationality. In regards to certainty, Thiselton provides a good overview of different types of certainty and different contexts of certainty, he provides a brief description of Reformed Epistemology, and the book ends with an illuminating chapter on eschatological verification.

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