Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Review: Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty

Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty by Gregory A. Boyd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of several books on doubt and christianity that has come out in the last couple years (a few others: Barnapas piper: help my unbelief. Pete Enns: The sin of certainty). I think this was a good book, but not a great book. To be honest I think people would be better off listening to the "house of cards" sermon series that Greg preaches to learn the essential core ideas of Boyd's thoughts on faith and doubt which I will quickly summarize as (1) biblical faith is covenant/relationship based, not certainty-seeking/intellectual based; (2) christocentric faith- Greg proposes the idea that we should believe in the Bible because we believe in Jesus, not that we should believe in Jesus because we believe in the Bible. For him this important, b/c it means our faith is not based on interpretive disagreements or views of authorship but rather the center of our faith is in who Christ is and what he has done. (3) Wrestling it out - I think the most significant takeaway for me from this book is the overall attitude and message to wrestle with difficult questions from a place of relationship and commitment to God. Don't wait to be certain to be committed to following Christ, follow Christ in the midst of uncertainty. This is like being in a marriage where one does not wait for the problems to be fixed or to know the other person completely before committing to love them. In a marriage, you choose to commit to loving the other despite mysteries and problems.

The book is good, but like I said above, I would encourage people to listen to the sermon series or even just the single sermon below:

One last thing, on the subject of doubt. Roger Olson has a really good blog post titled "clearing up some christian confusions about doubt" (link below). For anyone interested in christianity and doubt I would encourage them to read that short but excellent blogpost.


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