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Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity [Kindle Edition]

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (413 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Greg Boyd and his father, Ed, were on opposite sides of a great divide. Greg was a newfound Christian, while his father was a longtime agnostic. So Greg offered his father an invitation: Ed could write with any questions on Christianity, and his son would offer a response.

Letters from a Skeptic contains this special correspondence. The letters tackle some of today's toughest challenges facing Christianity, including

Do all non-Christians go to hell?
How can we believe a man rose from the dead?
Why is the world so full of suffering?
How do we know the Bible was divinely inspired?
Does God know the future?

Each response offers insights into the big questions, while delivering intelligent answers that connect with both the heart and mind. Whether you're a skeptic, a believer, or just unsure, these letters can provide a practical, common-sense guide to the Christian faith.

Editorial Reviews Review

Edward Boyd's agnosticism rested "not ... too much on any positive position ... but rather on a host of negative ones" about Christianity. In an attempt to address these negative issues, his son Greg, a professor of theology, asked his father, a strong-willed, highly intelligent, and stubborn 70-year-old, to enter into a correspondence in which "all of their cards would be laid on the table." Greg would give his father the opportunity to raise all his objections to the veracity of Christianity, and Greg would "answer these objections as well as give positive grounds for holding to the Christian faith."

Three years and more than 30 letters later, Letters from a Skeptic was published and Edward Boyd came to accept Christ. During his journey, he and his son hash through such topics as why the world is so full of suffering; why an all-powerful God needs prayer; how you can believe in someone who rose from the dead; and how another man's death can pardon others. Despite their brutal honesty, both men exhibit respect and love toward one another as they address these volatile subjects. In Edward's second response to Greg, he boldly says, "Well, your distinction between the 'Christian Church' and 'Christians' is interesting and novel, but frankly, I don't buy it." Greg responds, saying, "I've got to admit that you are raising some extremely good points in your letters. You are raising the most difficult questions a theist can face." --Jill Heatherly

About the Author

Greg Boyd has authored or co-authored 17 books and numerous academic articles. he graduated with honors from Yale Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary and was a professor of theology at Bethel University for 16 years and continues to teach there as an adjunct professor. Greg is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church, and evangelical church in St. Paul, MN.

You can read Gregory's blog at:

Product Details

  • File Size: 853 KB
  • Print Length: 259 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MT7XGS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,117 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Father - Son Dialog On the Things That Matter August 19, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Greg and Edward Boyd have have given us a great blessing in publishing their correspondence on the nature of Christianity. This book is unique among the many apologetic sorts of books I have read for a few reasons:

1)It's honest. Ed Boyd doesn't go easy on his son about Christianity. The questions are thoughtful, penetrating and genuine, not straw men set up to be easily knocked down. Greg Boyd's answers are equally thoughtful and well stated. He doesn't overwhelm with theological language but does a very good job of explaining difficult ideas in simple language. He honestly admits to uncertainty in places, but does a fine job of showing that uncertainty need not be a serious impediment to genuine faith and rational belief. I have never seen so many difficult questions about Christianity answered so well in so little space.

2)It's intimate. This is a discussion between a father and son who genuinely love and respect one another. It's a model for how important, ultimate issues can be debated in a very constructive manner.

3)It's powerful. Ed Boyd's conversion is more than a mere acceptance of certain religious beliefs. It is a powerful testimony to the power of God to change a human life wonderfully "from the inside out."

Many have objected to parts of Greg Boyd's theology. For example K. Restoule's review here goes so far as to say this isn't really a Christian book because of Boyd's "Open Theism." (See his other books for a more detailed treatment of his theology.) Though I have some questions about this position myself, I think Boyd is a genuine evangelical Christian theologian who is wrestling honestly with how to make the best sense out of the whole Bible's portrayal of God. Restoule's objections are one-sided.
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81 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Many hard questions finally explained. July 15, 2000
By Spiff
I loved this book and read the 190 pages in few days. I am struggling with my own doubts about religion. My belief in God is strong, but any details are blurry (that includes the choice of religion). Edward Boyd asked several questions which have been leaving me confused about Christianity, I found myself suprised many times at how he was just asking what I often wondered about. Several times I was thinking "ok, that explains it, but what about XYZ, I want you see explain that one, ah!" and later Edward did ask something like it and his father managed to come up with a pretty solid answer. The topics include: Why has Christianity done so much harm? Why is the world full of suffering? Why does God create famine,earthquakes? Couldn't it all be by chance? Why does an all-powerful God need prayers? Why trust the Gospel as true? What about the contradictions? How could a man rise from the dead? Why are there so many different interpretations of the Bible? What about other holy books of other religions? Do all non-Christians go to hell? Why would God torture people in an eternal hell?
Plus many other. Sometimes you'll get answers that are based on faith, sometimes you get clear facts, but I have to admit I have never read any explanations that left me thinking it was making sense.
If you already believe, this book might help you to see things a bit more clearly. If you are a skeptic (like me), it will leave you less confused.
Ultimately, I do not believe I will find any final answer from books. It will have to be a deep personal experience, but I am gathering as much info as I can. I dare quoting the Bible: "Test everything, hold on to the good" (1 Thess 5:21).
This book was great clearing up a few problematic issues like the concept of Hell.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Apologetics Literature April 2, 2004
A few years ago, I belonged to a Friday Night Bible study not far from where I used to live. We had a Christmas gift exchange and wrote ona piece of paper our name & what we wanted. I wrote "A Christian book." Oddly enough, this is what I got in return.
These days apologetic literature is all over the place. With the Muslim world vastly growing, books on apologetics are vastly popular. I enjoyed this book because it was an easy read & was very down to Earth. Sometimes apologetic books can be a bit too theological and will be too deep for the average reader. Even though Gregory Boyd works at a Christian college, he made this book understandable.
This book started out of letters from Greg's dad, who had lots of faith related questions. His dad, Edward Boyd, was a skeptic/agnostic. His questions were thorough & gut wrentchingly honest. His Son Greg answers his questions honestly and evry straightforward. In about 3 years time & over 30 letters between father & son, Edward Boyd finally got saved & became a Christian. It's neat to read all of the letters back & forth & watch the drama unfold.
Now, some of the other reviewers had some trouble with this book. Even though it's not specifically stated, I think it's because of their own theological and/or denominatonal background. It's as though they were saying, "I wouldn't go there defending Jesus." "My church wouldn't say that." "What aboyt this issue or that?" As a pastor myself, I can tell you that this is the reason more people in America don't get saved. We're centered too much on our own theological camps & on our differences. What so many negative reviewers didn't say was that Gregory Boyd did explain the tenants of salvation correctly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I used this book as a guide for my Bible study.
Very good book for anyone wanting to understand how God wants to use and shape each of us as we learn of his full love.
Published 3 days ago by william p smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Very thought provoking. Loved it!
Published 19 days ago by Pamela Whittington
5.0 out of 5 stars I really like this book- but read it if you actually do ...
I really like this book- but read it if you actually do have questions.
It's a good book both for Christians who are seeking answers and for those who just want to broaden... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Alheri
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book. great questions and helpful answers
Published 27 days ago by RapidsKinz
5.0 out of 5 stars !!!!
Amazing book. I could and do read it again and again. My friends and family all take turns borrowing it. Very moving and informative. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Aaron
4.0 out of 5 stars Patience
I was overwhelmed and humbled at the patience shown from Dr. Boyd to his Father. He answered his questions with honesty and conviction. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Liza Jane Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a very enjoyable and thought provoking read
The author, Gregory Boyd, PhD, was in late 1989 a professor of Apologetics at Bethel University in MN, a pastor, and devout believer in Christ Jesus. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jason Branson
4.0 out of 5 stars help in understanding
Good info when talking to someone with belief issues!
Published 1 month ago by Vernon G. Andrews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Raw and Very Real
I loved this book. I loved how the son allowed his fathers true feelings and questions be written as were told by the father. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mothershoe
5.0 out of 5 stars Refresher!
I could read this once a year! It applies to all, not just skeptics :-)
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Gregory A. Boyd is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and founder and president of ReKnew. He was a professor of theology at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.) for sixteen years where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor. Greg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BA), Yale Divinity School (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD). Greg is a national and international speaker at churches, colleges, conferences, and retreats, and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. He has also authored and coauthored eighteen books prior to Present Perfect, including The Myth of a Christian Religion, The Myth of a Christian Nation, The Jesus Legend (with Paul Eddy), Seeing Is Believing, Repenting of Religion, and his international bestseller Letters from a Skeptic.

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