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God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt Paperback – January 5, 1996
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About the Author
Os Guinness (DPhil, University of Oxford) is an author and social critic. He is currently a senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics in Oxford and has written or edited more than thirty books. Os has spoken at dozens of the world’s major universities and political and business conferences on many issues, including religious freedom. He lives with his wife, Jenny, near Washington, DC.
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Top Customer Reviews
In part 1 Guinness starts with what he calls the "square one principle": "The person who has the courage to go back when necessary is the one who goes on in the end." Going back and reexamining faith guards against coasting through life on the basis of a faith that, though once vital, has grown inauthentic due to it being taken for granted. When an inevitable crisis comes it fails, leaving one disillusioned and alone in the dark with all kinds of duplicitous thoughts.
From there he "dares" us to doubt by explaining that the idea of faith being "doubt free" only sets us up to drive our faith into the ground like an overloaded donkey. First, it is beaten with a variety of admonitions and cajolings that then lead to warnings and threats of the "big stick" of judgment until it expires and collapses. Then it is beaten for collapsing.
Guinness explains that the doubt is an "in-between" problem that has two minds between faith and unbelief. Unbelief is a deliberate refusal to believe that willfully rejects any affirmation of faith, while doubt is the suspension between the two. The distinction is important, because it makes all the difference in expunging that dreadful perfectionism demanded by "doubtless faith" which ends up being more discouraging than the worst of doubts ever could be.Read more ›
Although the majority of the book probes the nature of doubt from practical origins, one chapter is entirely devoted to doubt springing from emotional and / or psychological scars. This chapter is handled very well, proving Mr. Guinness thinks deeply as well as with breadth of soul and empathy. I think he is a most uncommon and remarkable man.
I was particularly struck with his comparison, using scripture, of the different kinds of doubt we hold. Some of us doubt the POWER of God to affect our lives for the better. This illustration is made in Mark 9: 17 - 25 (the man who brings his demon-possessed son who is often thrown into water and fire to destroy the child). The father of the possessed child has experienced failure at the hands of the apostles. He approaches Jesus with "...if thou canst do anything...." He doubts the POWER of God. He confesses his weak faith: "...and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
This kind of doubt is contrasted with the doubt in God's COMPASSION and MERCY as shown in the leper who desires to be cleansed (Matthew 8:2; Mark 1:40; Luke 5:12). The leper says, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." (Matthew 8:2) He doubts the willingness of God to extend healing and mercy - but not God's power to do so. Jesus affirms his willingness verbally: "I will" or "I am willing" and then touches the man (the touch of great compassion and power).Read more ›
But this book is very different. Os Guiness asserts that doubt is not all bad. Genuine faith will always have elments of doubt. It goes without saying that doubt can be incredibly harmful and destructive. But it doesn't have to be. We can choose to allow our doubts and questions to push us deeper and closer to God, rather than away from Him. Its really up to us.
Os Guiness has written a amazing book. He talks about different types of doubt. How to recognize them, what the roots are, and best of all, simple and practical ways to tackle each type of doubt. Then he tackles two of the most thorny questions (that most Christian authors seem unwilling to raise, much less discuss at length) Why God why? and How long?
It doesn't matter if you are a relatively new Christian, or someone who has walked with the Lord for many years. If you struggle with doubt and trusting God, this is the book for you.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are a few good points, but this book is so deep and theological that it is incredible hard to read. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Sherie
An amazing book for any Christian at any level in their walk with Christ. It helped me in ways I wasn't expecting it to. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Fantastic book. Lot's of helpful perspective for thoughtful, sensitive, intelligent Christians wanted clarity on how to deal with doubt compassionately and competently.Published 4 months ago by Timothy D. Johnson
Making my blood pump with an enthusiasm of truth all twiddled within the pages of Os Guinness book!
This is an amazing book. The Lord led me to this book at a difficult time. I was permeated with an overwelming peace and I suddenly knew what the answer to the spiritual struggle... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Doug
The author lays out the path clearly and then proceeds to bring light to a frightening subject. If your question is: "What if I doubt God? Will I lose my salvation?"Published 17 months ago by Ronable