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In Search of a Confident Faith: Overcoming Barriers to Trusting in God Paperback – August 28, 2008
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"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 (agthinktank.com), 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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Moreland and Issler begin the book with a corrective to the common misconceptions of faith in the modern world. Faith is normally understand as belief without evidence. Read morePublished on April 23, 2012 by J.R. Fraser
Intellectually solid reading. Full of lots of great examples and left me wanting more. Reminds us that God is very active in our lives and in the world. Read morePublished on April 13, 2011 by Carol S
By guest reviewer Zach Koehn, 16
I was really pleased with In Search Of a Confident Faith. Read more