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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 (424 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

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: #67,523 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 72 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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82 of 95 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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27 of 29 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Bent page folds 10 total but ok
Published 17 days ago by Kimberly Harclerode
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
For anyone with a logical mind who has a hard time with not having all the answers.
Published 17 days ago by Virginia Gower
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A compelling apologetic for the divine origin and authority of Christianity.
Published 18 days ago by Robert Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book! Logical answers to some very tough questions.
Published 1 month ago by Ryan T. Wahlund
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and informative book
Wonderful and informative book. It's an easy read because it is a compilation of letters between Dad and PhD son.
Published 1 month ago by HalZ
4.0 out of 5 stars Why do righteous people suffer after death if they do not accept Jesus...
Enjoyed the reading. Many fine points.
My objection to the theology, if I read correctly is that the "fully righteous " person who imitates God, imitates Jesus, reads... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steven Herson
4.0 out of 5 stars ... this in my Apologetics Life Group and it's really good to hear the...
We're reading this in my Apologetics Life Group and it's really good to hear the questions and answers and to hold discussions about both, even if we disagree sometimes.
Published 1 month ago by Storm Rhodes
5.0 out of 5 stars why God seems to allow bad things to happen to good people
This author answered a lot of questions I've had for many years. I am a long time Christian, but I still didn't understand many things . Read more
Published 1 month ago by Thelma Crutchfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for those struggling with embracing faith
This book is a dialogue more than a thesis and reflects an authentic conversation between Greg (a pastor/theologian) and his father (a skeptic). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Sharpe
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, wonderful presentation of faith
This book addresses many of the issues that men and women considering a commitment to Christ would want to have addressed. It does so in an easily understood manner. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lee Attema
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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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