Belief You Can Change In: a book review

Easy faith, simply believing, doesn’t last. Our faith looks different in different seasons of our spiritual life. Often our confrontation with different theologies and worldviews may cause us to rethink some things. Or at least give us more understanding for others. We may grow from a budding apologist with sure answers for every Bible difficulty to someone with less certainty who still trusts. Our faith was made to change. We were made to move from where we were (or where we are) to somewhere deeper. The world is also changing, and that brings new challenges on how to live out our faith in ways that connect with the wider world.

Michael Hidalgo is the lead pastor of Denver Community Church and the author of Unlost. He writes regularly for Relevant Magazine.  He wrote Changing Faith: Questions, Doubts & Choices About an Unchanging God  to help us move beyond easy answers, certainty and static faith. His hope is that his readers will wrestle with their difficult questions and press on. Hidalgo doesn’t tell his readers what to think, but he hints at the movements we will make if we will continue to be people of faith.

Hidalgo identifies a dozen such movements (these are also chapter titles): From Closed to Open, From Certainty to Probability, From Definition to Description, From Words to Experience, From Knowing to Unknowing, From Being Right to Being Faithful, From Power to Truth, From Legalism to Wholeness, From Toil to Work, From Nowhere to Everywhere, From Bad News to Good News, From Fear to Love, From Small Stories to a Big Story.

It was the subtitle of the book that caught my eye: Questions, Doubts & Choices about an Unchanging God. I have read books about ‘changing faith’ (notably Kathy Esbocar’s Faithshift), wrestling with doubt and apologetic type books designed to help readers grapple with the culture they find themselves in. Hidalgo describes some ‘faith shifts’ (i.e. the movement from closed to open, certainty to probability, knowing to unknowing, right to faithful). Likewise Hidalgo writes about  some questions that will be of apologetic interest.  Fundamentally, however this a book about spiritual growth. If Hidalgo is clear on any point, it is that ‘knowing the right answers’ is not a prerequisite for growth. If anything he commends intellectual humility and trust in our unchanging God, even when nothing seems certain.

I liked this book. I think other authors do a better job of addressing the issue of doubt, but I found myself nodding my head as I read. I appreciate that Hidalgo did not write a book to help us change or to become more honest thinkers. He is writing this book to help us remain faithful in the midst of change and uncertainty. I give this book three-and-a-half stars.

Notice of material connection, I received this book from InterVarsity Press in exchange for my honest review.

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