I just want to make another shameless plug for my friend David Matthew‘s book ‘A Poke in the Faith’. David is a scholarly man who is widely read in Christian literature, and indeed founded (and taught in) a couple of Bible schools here in the UK.
The book’s subject matter is exactly relevant for readers of this blog who can identify with my enquiries into the ‘boundaries of faith’. In the book, he describes how evangelical Christians are calling into question certain tenets of their faith (like I do in my blog), and explains how and why it is safe to do this.
He explains, in clear language, what dilemmas and problems are faced by Evangelicals who wish to preserve their faith but also have genuine questions.
His perspective is that of a helpful mentor who recognises the primacy – first importance – of the believer’s personal relationship with Christ, and he explains carefully how, so long as that relationship comes first and foremost, the believer’s entire faith does not need to come crashing down if some of its basic tenets are challenged. He likens this to a tower of wooden blocks in the family game ‘Jenga’: it is perfectly fine to prod and move blocks without bringing the entire edifice down, although he does in fact wonder whether such a tower is necessary in the first place.
Not only does David explain why questioning these doctrines is not going to destroy one’s faith, but he also makes some recommendations as to how we can share our ‘changes of opinion’ gently with others. Throughout the book, David’s emphasis is on maintaining, not destroying, one’s faith and indeed building ourselves up, and others, in our faith through our questioning. Written with his easygoing and humorous style, and with David’s passion for building up the Body of Christ, this book is a real treasure-trove of goodness.
For people with sincere ‘faith questions’, I would indeed recommend this book as a reassuring, encouraging ‘manual’ full of helpful ideas which are so useful when going through our ‘heretic’ times such as those being experienced by many people these days. Reading this book will affirm you in your questioning and it will also provide encouragement and practical tips that are really useful in our real lives. And there is a ‘further reading’ list as well that includes many useful (short!) book reviews too.
The book is free; you can download it as a PDF or as a Kindle .mobi file, or an .epub file for other eBook readers.
There’s really no reason not to get this book and read it. I simply can’t recommend it highly enough.
Click the cover image below to go to the download page: