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Faith and Doubt

by John Ortberg

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358472,316 (3.88)2
What if the most important word is the one in the middle? We often think of doubt as the opposite of faith, but could it actually strengthen our relationship with God? According to John Ortberg, best-selling author and pastor, the very nature of faith requires the presence of uncertainty. In this refreshingly candid look at a life of faith, he traces the line between belief and unbelief: less a dividing line between hostile camps than a razor's edge that runs through every soul. His findings point us toward the relief of being totally honest. Questions can expand our understanding, uncertainty can lead to trust, and honest faith can produce outrageous hope. Written from Ortberg's own struggle with faith and doubt, this book will challenge, comfort, and inspire you with the truth that God wants all of us--including our doubts.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
John Ortberg writes well, with an interesting style, on the topic of doubt within the Christian faith. Unlike some, he insists that doubt is an essential part of real faith. After all, as he points out, if we have no doubt at all - if we are totally, 100% certain of something - then there is no need for faith.

He looks in some depth at reasons why people doubt God, and problems that can arise when doubt is taken too far, or turns into skepticism, cynicism or worse. He looks, too, at a few of the questions asked by agnostics, and while he doesn't give any answers, he explores the issues thoroughly.

It's good stuff. Sound, clear, with interesting anecdotes and the occasional amusing aside. I like Ortberg's style, which is casual yet well structured, and I find his books easy to read. I've read a chapter or so each day for around the past ten days.

Latest full review: https://suesbookreviews.blogspot.com/2021/05/faith-doubt-by-john-ortberg.html ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
John Ortberg takes an honest look at the misgivings and uncertainties that often obscure our view of God. he candidly describes grappling with his own personal doubts as well as walking with others through the faith-shaking storms of life. Then he reveals how we can celebrate the gift of uncertainty as we allow the right kinds of doubt to actually deepen our faith and intimacy with God.
  RubislawLibrary | Feb 1, 2014 |
I found this book very helpful. Written with humour, honesty, and wit; this book engages and wrestles with the deep questions of life. It doesn't pretend to have all the answers to these questions but does unashamedly assert that the most satisfying way of living with them is found in following Jesus. With an author who is not afraid to tell stories against himself there is a humility and wisdom to this book that I found liberating. Ortberg argues that faith and doubt are not necessarily opposed, but that doubt, rightfully understood, can allow faith space to grow. Having said that, he also acknowledges that doubt can go bad, and shows how it can lead to unhealthy scepticism and cynicism. Further, he argues that faith can also go bad if it is understood to require dogmatism and certainty. I am frustrated in writing this, because I feel that I am not doing the book good service. Go and read it, he writes about it better than I can! ( )
  tcarter | Feb 19, 2012 |
From page 23: "Perhaps great believers and great doubters are more like each other than either group is like the great mass of relatively disinterested middle-grounders. Bother are preoccupied with understanding the nature of the universe. Both agree that this is, after all, the great question."

Indeed. I'm glad Ortberg took the time to write a book like this, because faith & doubt do co-exist, and few people realize or recognize that both have a place. Ortberg's book discusses what roles faith & doubt play in his life, in our lives, in the world around us... and explains why we need to listen to doubters and discuss things intelligently, not just argue with them.

I like the way Ortberg phrases it at the beginning of the book, which to me, set up the discussion to follow: "I must have truth. Therefore I doubt. If I did not doubt, I'd be just another one of those suckers that P.T. Barnum was so grateful get born once a minute; I'd fall for every carnival sideshow delusion that comes along. And I scorn delusion. I must have hope. Therefore I believe. If I did not believe, I would cave into despair. And I dread despair." ( )
  dk_phoenix | Jun 16, 2009 |
Showing 4 of 4
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More than thirty years ago I and my best friends sat at the feet of a redheaded, poor-joke-telling, large-hearted, deeply sensitive, idea-loving, self-effacing, life-changing Greek professor,

Gerald Hawthorne.

He led us into a larger and deeper world as an act of grace. I learned more from him than I could ever say. To him, this book is most gratefully dedicated.
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What if the most important word is the one in the middle? We often think of doubt as the opposite of faith, but could it actually strengthen our relationship with God? According to John Ortberg, best-selling author and pastor, the very nature of faith requires the presence of uncertainty. In this refreshingly candid look at a life of faith, he traces the line between belief and unbelief: less a dividing line between hostile camps than a razor's edge that runs through every soul. His findings point us toward the relief of being totally honest. Questions can expand our understanding, uncertainty can lead to trust, and honest faith can produce outrageous hope. Written from Ortberg's own struggle with faith and doubt, this book will challenge, comfort, and inspire you with the truth that God wants all of us--including our doubts.

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