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Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not the Enemy of Faith Paperback – July 1, 2015
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Basically, the author makes the point that a faith that has never questioned itself, is not a healthy faith. How can you honestly say you believe something if you have never struggled, at some level, with the possibility of being wrong? He makes this point, saying, "More likely you have been afraid of questions—afraid they would offend your fellow Christians or even offend God, afraid they would rattle your faith." (loc. 1337)
Asking good questions, with a desire to learn, and then confidently relying on the goodness of our heavenly father, is the essence of "childlike faith," whether we understand all the loose ends or not. The author admits that, "We will live with loose ends, and that is something we must accept, not because they are inherently good, but because there is an inherently good God. We live in faith, and faith, by nature, stems from an “I don’t know.” To live by faith is to rest in the object of our faith, the God of the Bible, and to come to terms with all of our “I don’t knows.”" (loc. 1395)
The book is written in such a way as to reinforce our faith in a good God who knows all, though he might not always choose to reveal all those answers to us.
His chapter on "Unbelieving Doubt" and "Believing Doubt" was particularly impactful as it identified and defined a tension - and a point of great frustration - that I've faced. These two ideas are quite different and the ability differentiate between the two (and where you are in your journey in relation to them) is of immense help. Barnabas writes, "Believing doubt will always anchor in God's character and word as unshakable and then take on questions that harass and attack.... But if he (the believing doubter) stands fully in his relationship with God, even those unanswerable questions will not overcome him." (pg. 94) This is logically simple, but incredibly difficult to actually live and embody. Understanding and identifying where our doubt is anchored is key and Barnabas does an amazing job unpacking this for the reader.
Get this book! If doubt and unbelief is a reality for you, it will be an eye-opening read. If it's not, it will help you better understand and relate to those who do face these issues.
As a teacher and coach at a Christian school and an elder at a church in Lincoln, Nebraska I greatly appreciate the way Piper embraces doubt and helps his readers to understand and evaluate their own doubts. As I read the book I was challenged and convicted. Piper's words helped free my heart to be more honest in prayer and in my interaction with other believers. As I read I also found myself contemplating the ways I will be integrating Piper's wisdom from "Help My Unbelief" into my curriculum as teacher and sharing it with my athletes and my church.
Overall, this is a book I will be recommending and I will be talking about with friends and family. "Help My Unbelief" is a great read for every Christian and will be very helpful to those who read it.