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

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,498 ratings  ·  196 reviews
A modern-day classic defense of the Christian faith, "Letters from a Skeptic" shares an intimate correspondence between a son and his agnostic father that captivated seekers and believers alike.
ebook, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by David C. Cook (first published December 14th 1993)
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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...more
Anafalz
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...more
John Ediger
Completely unconvincing to someone with a basic understanding of logic and the scientific method.
Karen & Gerard
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.

DISAGREEMENTS:

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...more
John
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...more
Ivan
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 regardi...more
Lance
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 dad flipped 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 title, I expected that sets of concerns to...more
Jake
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...more
Jason
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
Seth
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
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...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
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
Mwrogers
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
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...more
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.
Tisha
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.
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
Steve
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.
Steve
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
Gregory
So logically flawed that there's nothing to really review. Don't bother.
Mark
An apologetics crash course from a theologian to his father. Some doubt the veracity of the letters, which is an unnecessary criticism. The strengths of the book include discussions of the problem of evil, free will, Satan, biblical prophecy, the existence of Hell, and other topics. I would recommend it but with a few reservations:

1. Accessibility: It was written by a theologian, not a typical pastor. As such it contains a few brief discussions of some things which may fly over your head: canoni...more
Heather Tomlinson
What a great book this is. It's a collection of Greg Boyd's letters to his Dad, which he started because he wanted his dad to find faith, and his dad was very sceptical. It's a walk through the typical objections to Christian faith and Greg does a good job of explaining the standard apologetics in a very accessible way. So, it'd be good for an introduction to the topic, and definitely suitable to give to people who don't yet believe. It worked for his dad - he became a Christian.
I was also struc...more
Jennifer
Letters from a Skeptic takes place over the course of three years, as Greg Boyd does his best to answer his father’s questions about Christianity through a series of correspondence. Boyd is as articulate as ever here, and very readable for those unfamiliar with theology, as he tries not to get too technical or use too many big theology words. His father wrestles through many questions I have found myself asking over the years. Some of the questions addressed are:

Why has Christianity done so muc...more
Thomas
Lost interest. I was expecting material that would convince a skeptic, but instead most of his arguments are those rarely ever used except to reassure fellow Christians that didn't doubt in the first place (perhaps its main audience are Christians who want to feel like they're right).

Even then, his doctrine is unorthodox enough to ruffle some evangelical feathers.

Baby deformity? Demons.
Why is there evil? Free will.
Why doesn't God help us? Free will, He willingly doesn't know what will happen.
W...more
Lenny
Bedankt Christien!, maar ik ben er niet door gaan geloven :( ;). Ik vind het argument dat datgene wat iets maakt ultiem beter moet zijn dan wat hij gemaakt heeft niet kloppen. En van daaruit wordt geredeneerd dat god altijd ultiem goed en liefdevol moet zijn, maar dat is een idee/stelregel die geloofd wordt, maar voor mij niet opgaat. God zou zo moeten zijn, maar is zo (in zijn boek) niet. Verder blijft de hel onacceptabel en vind ik dat er genoeg redenen zouden kunnen zijn waarom Jezus een prof...more
J.
A fascinating concept, Letters from a Skeptic is an exchange of letters between a father living in Florida and his pastor son in Minnesota. The father has his doubts about Christianity, but he wants to believe because he fears the repercussions of not believing. In his letters, he asks many of the same questions many doubters voice: why does God allow bad things to happen to good people, as well as the many inconsistencies chronicled in the bible.

The author of the book, Dr. Gregory Boyd, patient...more
Poiema
This is a book of epistles, written between an evangelical pastor and his unbelieving, incurably rational father---a man who wants to explore faith but has many "issues" that need to be settled. He asked great questions, questions that every person has probably asked, whether believing or non-believing: "Why does He [God] toy with mankind, teasing us with evidence that is good enough to make us uncomfortable, but never coming out directly and making Himself clear?" "Isn't the Bible full of myths...more
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