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In Search of a Confident Faith: Overcoming Barriers to Trusting in God Paperback – August 30, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"Moreland and Issler show how and why ancient theologians spoke of three elements of faith: notitia (knowledge, doctrinal understanding), assensus (confidence that Christianity is true), and fiducia (commitment which involves living a life that reflects the truth)." (Marvin Olasky, World Magazine, March 13, 2010)

"In Search of a Confident Faith is an excellent book. It patiently defines terms; supports its arguments through Scripture and reason; is richly illustrated with salient personal testimony; and provides wise advice for believers. I recommend this book to any Christian interested in strengthening his faith, but especially to high school grads, college and graduate school students, and pastors." (George Wood, AG Think Tank (, December 2008)

"This is no light treatment but a balanced look at 'God-confidence,' as the authors replace the slandered word 'faith.' It made me examine facets of faith I had not studied before. I was challenged by this book, and I like where God is leading me through it." (George Henson, Baptist Standard, December 15, 2008)

"Faith has an expansive horizon. It is not merely about believing the right things. Instead, it inhabits every dimension of our personhood--how we think, how we behave, how we deal with our emotions and how we relate to others. We owe Moreland and Issler a great debt of gratitude for expanding the faith horizon in a way that will encourage many to actively grow their faith, their confidence in God." (David Neff, editor-in-chief, Christianity Today)

"Moreland and Issler demonstrate how critical thinking and heartfelt religion go hand in hand, while encouraging God-confidence in the lives of Christians. Drawing upon their personal experiences as well as a lifetime of commitment to higher education, the authors model a spiritual balance too often neglected in understanding the dynamic relationship between Christian faith, hope and love." (Don Thorsen, professor of theology and chair of advanced studies, Haggard Graduate School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University)

"In Search of a Confident Faith is a delightful exploration of developing one's trust in an ever-faithful God. Moreland and Issler offer candid glimpses into their personal faith walk and their struggle to find balance between 'head' faith and 'heart' faith. This book provides an important contribution toward understanding the development of personal confident faith in those traditions that tend to dichotomize head and heart in all religious matters, giving permission to both traditions to embrace the other. In addition to an eloquent articulation of faith which integrates intellect and affection, Issler and Moreland offer the reader practical suggestions for personal growth in God-confidence. A must-read for all those concerned with Christian spiritual formation!" (Lisa Milligan Long, assistant professor of Christian formation, Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee)

"The volume is an invitation from Father God for his beloved children to live by faith, which the authors clarify through the term God-confidence. J. P. Moreland and Klaus Issler, not only as distinguished scholars but also as 'credible witnesses' of God's supernatural activities among us, present a well-balanced treatment in guiding believers to grow in God-confidence through changes in their beliefs and daily practices." (Linda Pyun, associate dean for academic affairs, The King's College, Los Angeles)

"Many books focus on either intellectual or emotional barriers to faith. What makes this one unique is the profound way it combines both. In addition to identifying and helping us remove barriers, it also includes many practical, positive strategies for building our God-confidence. As I read it, I found myself not only being informed, but also being inspired. Often I found myself praying, 'Lord, increase my faith.' I am confident you will too." (Stephen A. Seamands, professor of Christian doctrine, Asbury Theological Seminary)

"We live in a world dominated by a kind of practical atheism. Some of us may vaguely believe in God or even trust Christ as our Savior, but still think and act as if God was not really present. We need a robust faith that sees beyond the moment and brings forth lives lived in the conscious presence of a God who is engaged with the world. J. P. Moreland and Klaus Issler call this God-confidence. Their counsel on how to move toward such a faith is biblically based, theologically and philosophically sound, and experientially confirmed. This is a book to grow on." (James W. Sire, author of The Universe Next Door and coauthor with Carl Peraino of Deepest Differences: A Christian-Atheist Dialogue)

"Rich in story, here is a work that creatively unfolds the heart of faith as confidence in God, with helpful implications for matters of doubt, prayer and guidance." (Bruce Demarest, professor of theology and spiritual formation, Denver Seminary, Denver, Colorado)

"This book is warmly personal, readable, engaging and edifying, and will challenge readers spiritually as well as intellectually. The insights and testimonies deeply encouraged my own faith, provoking me to remember in a new way God's acts of kindness in my own life." (Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Palmer Theological Seminary)

About the Author

J. P. Moreland (PhD, University of Southern California; ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He also serves as director of Eidos Christian Center. He has written, edited or contributed to over twenty books including Christianity and the Nature of Science, Does God Exist? (with Kai Nielsen) and Philosophical Naturalism: A Critical Analysis. He has also published more than fifty articles in journals such as Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, American Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Metaphilosophy, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Southern Journal of Philosophy, Religious Studies and Faith and Philosophy. He is a fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

Klaus Issler (Ph.D., Michigan State) is professor of Christian education and theology in the Ph.D. program in educational studies at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (August 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830834281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830834280
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By MJ Sharp on January 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
In Search of a Confident Faith is an excellent comprehensive apologetic for establishing trust in God "for real." I wanted to review this book due to my own interest in Christians becoming confident in their faith. The book reaffirms the Christian faith as one of propositional knowledge confirmed through personal experience; but does so at a very accessible level. Moreland and Issler address many helpful points concerning the influence of Western culture in creating doubt in Christians' faith. First, the authors address the misuse of the term "faith" in today's culture as a "blind leap" or as in place of reason. The term historically entailed a much richer meaning of trust and confidence, which crucially required the proper exercise of reason, evidence, and knowledge. Second, they describe the essential role of knowledge in the Christian faith; through a look at the Biblical view of knowledge, through breaking down the concept of knowledge, and through addressing our plausibility structures (explained more thoroughly later). Third, the authors attend to intellectual and emotional doubts: both through logical arguments and then through practical steps in handling these doubts. Fourth, Moreland and Issler handle doubt caused by low expectations of God's intervention into a believer's life and make practical suggestions for increasing trust in God. Their writing systematically and carefully treats each area without losing interest or bogging down in terminology.


Continued review:

Of particular interest is the section on plausibility structures, which the authors define as a set of background assumptions that establish a tone for what people think, how they feel, and how they act.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. Henson on October 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book written by two college professors, but it doesn't have the feel of one written by scholars. While their research and scholarship is evident, the book is neither difficult to read or dry. One of the most thought-provoking truths presented is that "faith" has been given a label by mainstream society that likens its to wishful thinking. As the authors point out, faith is anything but blind but has a bedrock foundation in the truth that God is trustworthy and capable of doing anything he wills. This is no light treatment, but a balanced look at "God-confidence," as the authors replace the slandered word "faith."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Beisser on February 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading other reviews and researching the authors, I had high hopes for this book. "In Search of a Confident Faith" promises to explain how to have a biblical faith that is theologically sound. That is certainly no small undertaking, but I figured two distinguished theologians with backgrounds in Christian education would be up to the job. And they are. Sort of.

There is no doubt that Moreland and Issler are incredibly intelligent and know a tremendous amount about Christianity and the bible. Knowing a lot and being able to communicate well are two different things, however, and unfortunately "In Search of a Confident Faith" just falls short in so many areas that it really isn't worth the read.

The bad at a glance:

- Mediocre writing. Most of the premises are presented in overly academic terms with the explanations and support being overly colloquial. I found myself rereading sentences on a rather regular basis.

- Over generalizations. Often times both Moreland and Issler make sweeping assumptions about things that really just can't be taken for granted. Saying things like "we evangelicals believe x and y".

- Lengthy unfocused chapters. The book is only 6 chapters, but at around 200 pages that makes each chapter between 30-40 pages, and they really have a tendency to drag on.

- Logical fallacies. Proof by example and false dichotomies appear quite often.

- Impersonal stories. Using stories to highlight a point or show a reader how a concept applies is a fantastic tool...Assuming the story is personalized and actually related to what was said. Most of the stories that are presented aren't personal or compelling and usually add very little if anything to what is trying to be explained.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By George P. Wood VINE VOICE on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Faith has a public relations problem."

With that sentence, J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler launch In Search of a Confident Faith. The authors are professors of philosophy and Christian education, respectively, at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, and evangelical Christians. Their book is not an apologetic for the Christian faith directed at unbelievers. Rather, it is an exercise in spiritual formation for believers, aimed at "overcoming barriers to trusting in God," as the subtitle puts it.

One of the reasons faith has a public relations problem is because it's so widely misunderstood. The rash of books published recently by atheists reinforces this misunderstanding by tagging faith as an intellectual leap in the dark. This partially explains why, for example, Richard Dawkins and his ilk annoyingly refer to themselves as "Brights."

Chapter 1 looks at "What Faith Is...And What It Isn't..." Moreland and Issler note three synonyms of faith (confidence, trust, and reliance) and define faith as "trusting what we have reason to believe is true." Rather than an intellectual leap in the dark, then, faith has its reasons. Interestingly, faith is not merely a spiritual act, it is an inherent part of the intellectual enterprise, for much of what we know we take on faith (confidence, trust, and reliance) from acknowledged authorities. Moreland and Issler go on to note that in the Christian tradition, faith is further delineated as noticia (content of belief), assensus (personal assent), and fiducia (ongoing commitment). Philosophy helps clarify the nature of faith by pointing out that there are degrees of belief, by distinguishing confidence in persons from confidence about truths, and by showing us how beliefs are changed indirectly rather than directly.
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