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Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,958 ratings  ·  230 reviews
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 toughe
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by David C. Cook (first published December 14th 1993)
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James Higgs This book, really just a series of letters between an Atheist dad, and a Christian son, does a great job of answering some of the hard questions…moreThis book, really just a series of letters between an Atheist dad, and a Christian son, does a great job of answering some of the hard questions Christians are asked: If God is real, why so much suffering? is one of the major topics that deserves a clear answer. Most Christians cannot answer this. Most need to read this book. (less)
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I first read this book in the 90s when I was a fresh atheist and someone gave it to me. What I remember is that it seemed to make some decent points (and some bad ones), but the subject of the evangelism converted suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere on what I didn't think was a very interesting claim.

Almost 15 years later, I saw it again, so I was curious how it would seem after I've spent the last few years becoming a much more involved and informed atheist and skeptic.

Since "Skeptic" is in the
I have read a few of the "1-star" reviews critiquing the book for its authenticity and Boyd's open theism views. I feel they were hyper critical and predisposed to negative feelings towards Boyd's work.

While I am not bent towards open theism, Boyd's views in this book do not impede the healthy dialogue between Boyd and his father. Their dialogue appears to be authentic. One reviewer said a 'true skeptic' would not take the words of Boyd so easily. I differ because it was a father-son relationsh
John Ediger
Completely unconvincing to someone with a basic understanding of logic and the scientific method.
Paul Dubuc
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 do
I read this during my time at Bethel University (College at the time) where Greg Boyd was a popular professor of Bible. Boyd's brand of Open Theism was a very widely discussed point of controversy during my four years at Bethel. John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and others were opposing Boyd's Open Theism and there was a contingent of people in the BGC (now Converge) that were attempting to oust Boyd not only from Bethel, but from the BGC itself.

I attended Bethlehem a
This was actually one of the first books I'd bought with my Kindle, probably 3 years ago, and I was just checking which were the best sellers that month on Amazon. I remember being very intrigued by the chapter sample I read, so I bought it and for some reason I never finished it.
Theology, or any kind of philosophical books for that matter, isn't really my thing. Yeah, it's nice that once in a while you read something that challenges you but usually when I really want to read something, I go fo
This is an unusual book because it is all letters back and forth between a father and son. The son is a professor of theology and an ordained evangelical minister. The father was raised Catholic but with numerous questions about Christianity which the son patiently tries to answer over a period of time through correspondence. The questions fall into four major categories: Questions about God, Questions about Jesus Christ, Questions about the Bible, and Questions about Christian life and doctrine ...more
Craig Hurst
As this review will bear out I have mixed feeling about this book. I do not hold to any form of Open Theism/Flexible Sovereignty and I honestly have a hard time seeing it as a faithful interpretation of Scripture and within the evangelical stream of orthodox belief.


My biggest problem with the book is Boyd's view of God, namely his view of God's omniscience. Boyd does not hide the fact that for him God's omniscience is limited to only what has happened because out of love God has gi
The bottom line: While much good is contained in this book (there really is!), I would not give it to an unbelieving friend. If given the chance, I would remove several of the chapters (e.g., 4-7, 11, 24, 25) and would be hesitant to recommend others. I’m grateful for the fact that God worked through these letter exchanges; however, I am deeply troubled by several of the answers proposed.

The book, Letters from a Skeptic, is a compilation of letter exchanges between a son and his father regard
Jason Caldwell
I picked up this book after a friend of mine recommended we take turns picking out books on our own religious faiths (she is a theist, while I am an atheist) and then talking about them afterward. A kind of religious book club that would help her to better understand my views, and maybe she thought it'd help pull me back to her side. I'd like to think it wasn't the latter.

So I picked up this book, and right from the beginning it was very clear that it was not written by two people of opposing vi
Greg Boyd (theology professor at Bethel College in Minneapolis, Minnesota) had a written dialogue concerning the merits of the Christian faith with his (non-believing) father Edward Boyd and Letters from a Skeptic is the collection of that discourse. The book consists of twenty-nine questions asked in writing over the course of three years and twenty-nine responses. Both Boyd men approach the conversation with gusto and a steep level of intellectualism.

At first I was uncertain about the book on
A lot of mixed feelings on this one.

While the concept seemed great, the letters back and forth seemed overly trite and almost forced. I don't doubt the authenticity, but the father seemed to rarely fight back, question, or doubt. He seemed almost all the time to cede ground, cede ground, cede ground. Now, I'm coming from a Jesus perspective here, so I like the idea and can understand because I find the same arguments convincing, but it almost seemed like the letters were just a set-up for Chris
How many times has someone asked you one of the "difficult questions" of Christianity, or have you yourself asked and not received a very clear answer? Usually, it is in conversation and I know that I have a tough time being clear and articulate during a conversation...however, Greg Boyd decided to get away from that obstruction, from the issue of getting personally heated perhaps as one can in a conversation and simply write letters to his Dad to explain his faith. Over the course of 3 years, t ...more
In 1989 Greg Boyd was teaching Christian apologetics at Bethel University. He hadn't discussed his Christian faith with his father much, if at all, since he'd last tried years before when he was in his late teens and recently converted. So he decided to try a new approach for engaging his 70-year-old skeptic dad in matters of faith: correspond by personal letters, allowing him to pose to Greg any and all objections he might have to Christianity, the existence of God, etc. Over the next three yea ...more
Hye Sung
I read this a few years back and I loved it deeply, and I've been going through some questions from time to time in the book, and am still edified and blessed. Gregory Boyd is a guy a lot of Calvinists like myself can be wary of but the fact of the matter is that he is a Spirit-filled, obedient teacher of the Word, and he knows his stuff. This guy is sharp and truly loves Jesus. I do not always agree with his conclusions, especially when it comes to the point of Open Theism, but how he gets ther ...more
Chad Gibbons
This book constitutes a series of letters from a skeptical father to a believing son. There are some interesting answers and Boyd really gets down to where the rubber meets the road. Especially when his father asks him why God killed his wife (Boyd's mother). The answers are well articulated, and Boyd seldom tries to 'trick' you, so it's a good read (even if some of the answers are a little heterodox). Anyone looking for an academic discourse should look elsewhere though. Boyd is a terrific scho ...more
Stars are tricky conveyors of information. I'm not judging this book on quality or enjoyment, as I do most, but on the extent to which Dr. Gregory Boyd's reasoning jibes with my own. Here are two remarks that convince me of Greg's folly.

To provide some context, on page 36, after sentiments such as, "If there is no heaven, Dad, then all the sufferings, tears, and cries of the dying children go unanswered". And "Isn't there something within you which resonates with the biblical proclamation that
Guy Abernathy
The typical evangelical or Calvinist... Just about anyone religious really may have issues with some of the son's answers to his skeptical but open minded father, but Greg Boyd gave great answers, and his father asked great questions. I listened to this book as I followed along with the text. It was narrated by Greg Boyd (for his letters) which is probably why it impacted me so much. You could really hear the passion and love in Mr. Boyd's voice for his father and I'm sure it impacted me more th ...more
This book of letters between an unbelieving father and his Christian son grew on me. At first I was very frustrated with some of the dad's arguments (why is God always perceived to be responsible for the evil in the world?) and sometimes the son's responses were just too long-winded when a more simple and concise answer would have served his purpose better. However, as the correspondence progressed, I came to respect their conversation and appreciate some of the son's answers. I do think it sad ...more
Am Y
This book features letters from an atheist father to his Christian son, questioning various aspects of Christianity and why he should believe in God. In turn, the son replies, through letters as well, addressing the questions raised by the father. Each letter discusses a specific topic (e.g. why does God allow eternal suffering, how do we know that what the bible says is the truth, etc).

Some very good questions are asked by the father. However the answers provided by the son are mostly unconvin
Drew Weatherton
I've heard of this book for quite a few years and I had expected it to be a thorough discussion between a father and son in which the father has a firm set of beliefs and has substantiated those beliefs through considerable thought and research. Instead, this book is a compilation of letters from a father who had grown up Catholic, was passively agnostic and hadn't really thought through what he believed or why. The son has a Ph.D. in Theology from Princeton and has clearly built up a full world ...more
Be forewarned, this is not deep philosophy or apologetics, but best described as a nice account of congenial personal correspondence on aspects of Christian doctrine and culture that culminates in a father's conversion from agnosticism to Christianity. Some of the arguments the son makes for various aspects of Christianity/theism with which his father takes issue are stronger than others. The father seems not to recognize most of the weaknesses in the son's arguments, but to readily accept his e ...more
Ryan Thomas
A strength of this book is that its style lends to openness and vulnerability as reader is placed in context of father-son debate/discussion.

A noticeable problem, however, are problematic doctrinal positions that are taught as if viable options with little to no exegesis or support. To the undiscerning reader, which most reading this type of apologetic book would be, this can be extremely dangerous. Much is good, but some is borderline heretical (borderline within this book; the annihilationism
Paul J
It was a heartwarming story about how followers of Jesus should not give up. Greg's answers to his skeptical father were so "spot on." He had an amazing ability to keep to the heart of the matter and not be sidetracked, so as to end up in a debate, as opposed to a discussion. If only we all would remember to have such an attitude.
Aug 24, 2008 Tisha rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tisha by: Kristen
Shelves: non-fiction
Letters From a Skeptic is a 3 year collection of letters between a Christian son and his skeptical, agnostic father.

This book is intriguing to me as it asks many of the questions I find myself asking in relation to Christianity. I can wholly relate to the son in this book. I am a "Skeptic" if you will.
This book is AWESOME! Letters from a Skeptic is a book comprised of real letters exchanged between Greg Boyd and his dad, Edward Boyd. Ed proposes many questions and arguments against the existence of God and validity of Christianity. Greg answers his questions and concerns with patient understanding. Although Greg is an academic theologian, his letters are written in layman's terms.

I highly recommend this book because it presents a thinking man's theology that answers, although briefly, all of
Chris Armer
This book is difficult to review. I'd give it 5 stars for how much I enjoyed it and for the compassion and concern that Boyd showed for his unsaved father. This was inspirational and emotional. I was crying tears of joy at the book's ending. But then I have numerous concerns with Boyd's theology. Boyd presents a philosophical palatable form of Christianity. He makes the love of God the overriding presupposition to his apologetics and theology. He does this at the expense of other doctrines in th ...more
Overall an enjoyable read and a good opening point for discussion. However, the theology is rather shaky at times, so be prepared before going in.
Dr. Boyd obviously has that gift of discernment, patience, conviction and of course, evangelism. What struck me most was how from the beginning, his father was open to having his mind changed. Unfortunately, the non-believer friends of mine, are so adamantly stuck in their intolerance, as to not allow me the open minded ness to stumble through many of the retorts that Dr. Boyd shares with his father. I was particularly impressed with how he routinely discounted inconsequential elements as not be ...more
Paul Steele
I really liked this book. No, it doesn't go deep. No, it doesn't anser every question a non-believer might throw at you. However, what it does very well is display a non-confrontational approach to answering the questions of people who are interested in the bible and perhaps investigating their own faith. I see it as a great example of how dialogue can happen between Christians and their friends and family about their faith and why they choose to believe. It also does a very good job of explaini ...more
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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). Gre
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