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In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage Into the Beauty, Goodness and Heart of Christianity

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Winner of a 2013 Leadership Journal Book Award ("Best of the Best" in "The Leader's Inner Life" category)

Why bother with the Christian faith? In the post-Christian world, doubt and skepticism come naturally to us. Many have given up on faith of any kind, finding it shallow and unsatisfying. But still we yearn for more. We hope for our children's futures. We long for lives
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by IVP Books (first published October 4th 2013)
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Cindy Rollins
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I am not going to say a lot about this book. I enjoyed the premise, although perhaps the writing was a little contrived, or maybe it was just my own mood. Terrific idea.
Apryl Anderson
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Out of the Frying Pan: In Search of Deep Faith

When I accepted the copy of Jim Belcher’s latest book in exchange for a review, I had no idea that it was an invitation to such an enormous challenge. What’s the big deal, right? Just read it, and critique it! Sure, that’s what you’re getting here, but this is NOT where it ends.

I met the Belcher family while they attended ICCP during their stay in Provence, and was intrigued by Jim’s intentions to study his heroes of the Christian faith during a sabb
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jim Belcher and his family were at a crossroads. He'd spent ten years pastoring a church from its very beginnings into a thriving congregation. He made the bold decision to resign. His wife needed a respite from the bubble of pastoral ministry. And he was facing a significant question as a parent: how do I help my children come to own a "deep faith" in their own lives, not just an inherited faith that disappears when one is removed from a Christian social context, but an enduring faith?

Peter Holford
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable. This book took me by surprise. My wife bought it for me speculatively thinking that I might enjoy it after noticing the references to CS Lewis and Bonhoeffer on the back cover. Yet so many books try to establish a link with those classic authors in promotional material that I've begun to be wary of it.

Part journal, part travelogue, this book covers the author's year out, mid-life, to visit places of significance in the story of post-Reformation Christianity in western Europe. Beginni
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is sort of one of a kind. The author takes a sabbatical year from pastoral work to travel Europe with his family of 6, while researching for this book. They visit various sites of interest from a Christian perspective, seeing first-hand the places where key historical figures lived and worked. The book amounts to a collection of short biographies interspersed with a family travel memoir. A fun, relaxing read.
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked this book up because I am going to Oxford this summer. The first 4 chapters take place in Oxford and share some of the great history that has taken place in this city in regards to a number of key Christians from the past (Cranmer, Ridey, Latimer, Vanauken, Whitefield, Lewis). I read the whole book but was most interested in the first 6 chapters, which were very good. The author is a an engaging writer and weaves his own story, theology, and personal reflection into the histories he is ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book which is worthy of being on every bookshelf. Belcher chronicles his family's journey on their sabbatical sharing details which everyone can learn from.

Belcher goes back and forth between their personal story and the historical events his family studied while abroad. These lessons are a stirring encouragement for the reader of all levels.

Go buy it and start reading forthwith.
Bob Wolniak
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, travel
I'm going to miss this book which took me by surprise how many ways it connected with my life. It is advertised as a book about a family pilgrimage into Europe, which it is, but it is also a book that makes fine devotional reading about various people of the faith we can and should learn from. It is especially helpful for parents and all those shaping young minds as well. At the same time the themes it wrestled with weren't simple or pedestrian, but concerned death, martyrdom, imprisonment, war, ...more
Tim Hoiland
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In 2010, after years of church ministry, Jim Belcher was worn out and spread thin, “like butter, scraped over too much bread,” to use the line from The Lord of the Rings.

So along with his family, he set off for a year in England and Europe, not as a vacation so much as a field trip. They visited important sites in the history of Christianity, while reflecting on the lives and teachings of their spiritual heroes—familiar people like C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom, and William Wi
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Past history, personal memoir and travel log-- this book is a crisp easy read. It made me want to visit the sites of these great heroes. A tiny bit of the narrative seemed to focus on what would be "first world problems". I think Belcher realizes this when he reviews the horrible circumstances and suffering that some of these Saints endured. This book would be a good way to introduce people like Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Corrie Tin Boon, and Van Gogh to those who might not read about them otherwise. ...more
Robert Grisham
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. My only regret is that I did not read it before we went to Europe. The book is about the author's family's 9 month trip to Europe. He tells the stories of C.S. Lewis, William Wilberforce, Vincent van Gogh, Corrie ten Boom, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, among others. Highly recommended! ...more
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well thought out book on a topic of importance for families. A good reminder that this is not our home, we are passing through and need deep faith, a map, and help to make the journey a faithful one. Lots of books to add to the to be read pile as well as reminders and challenges for shaping and encouraging our family and those around us.
Jonathan Markham
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is both charming and challenging. The journey is fascinating and the transitions from the Oxford streets or RV to the lives of heroes of the faith is effortless. You feel you have really experienced the pilgrimage with the family and learned so much on the journey
3.5 stars
Chris Woznicki
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read Deep Church when I started doing vocational ministry and it absolutely shaped my approach to ministry so I began to read this book with very high expectations. It’s safe to say that my expectations were met, and even exceeded.

As the title implies this book is about a “Pilgrimage,” specifically a pilgrimage in search of deep faith. Belcher’s pilgrimage takes him on a journey to ensure that his “roots are deeper,” his “maps are better,” and his “destination is clearer.” (291) Roots, Journey
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look,and ask for the ancient paths,where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. - Jeremiah 6:16

“I want to go” was my immediate reaction to reading the first sentences of In Search of Deep Faith. In these pages Jim Belcher draws readers into the lives of his family on a year-long pilgrimage to Oxford, England, and then continental Europe. During this year they explore the history and practice of Christianity through the lives of
Dennis Ticen
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do Thomas Cranmer, C. S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Vincent VanGogh and Maria von Trapp have in common? It's not a list I would have immediately put together, but Jim Belcher does, and quite elegantly, in his book "In Search of Deep Faith."

Several weeks ago, I received a message from a long-time friend of mine asking if I would read and review a new book written by a friend of his. Because of the mutual connection, I was glad to, though I had no idea what the book was about. It's probably
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, travel
This is a remarkable book chronicling the journey of the author's family as they set out on a modern Pilgrim's Progress. Beginning in Oxford, where they study the lives of luminaries such as CS Lewis, William Wilberforce and Sheldon Vanauken, they continue through stories of suffering found in the lives of Corrie Ten Boom, van Gogh, and communities which suffered as they hid Jews from the Nazis. The book concludes with reflections on destination, inspired by Bonhoeffer and Maria von Trapp. Jim B ...more
Gary Land
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
IN SEARCH IF DEEP FAITH is difficult to describe. It is a travel book, a book about parenting, a theological reflection, and an attempt to connect with the Christian past. Belcher pulls all of these elements together successfully. After ten years of building a church in southern California, Belcher felt a need to refresh and deepen his Christian faith and find ways to help his children develop a faith that would enable them to resist the influences that cause so many young people to leave the ch ...more
Marti Wade
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
The premise is great: slightly burned-out PCA pastor/thinker takes his family on an extended pilgrimage to visit sites connected with historical figures who have influenced them most, and uses the journey to tell us stories from the lives of figures like C.S.Lewis, Corrie Ten Boom, Vincent Van Gogh, and more. The result combines memoir, travelogue, and biography. It's clear the author did his homework and that he was committed to getting as much out of this once-in-a-lifetime sabbatical experien ...more
Paul Dubuc
I read Jim Belcher's Deep Church in 2010 and consider it to be an excellent framework for for church life, teaching and practice today. When this book came out I didn't hesitate to buy it, but it took me a while to get around to reading it. "In Search of Deep Faith" is a wonderfully inspiring and challenging account of Jim Belcher's year long family pilgrimage through parts of Europe, visiting places of significance and remembering people who have had a strong influence on their faith. The a ...more
Scott Kennedy
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Jim Belcher and his family go on a pilgrimage through England and Europe, investigating figures from the history of Christianity such as Cranmer, Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom and Maria von Trapp. The stories of these great figures is interwoven with stories about his family and their struggles. Jim and Michelle are concerned to impart a 'deep faith' to their children - a faith that will endure when they leave home.

The book is divided into three main sections. In the first section we are g
Joel Wentz
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This blend of episodic historical stories and family-travel memoir works much better than you might think it would, though I personally felt the historical content was definitely the stronger half of the book. Belcher highlights many expected (C.S. Lewis, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Boenhoeffer) and some unexpected (Thomas Cranmer, Maria Von Trapp, Vincent Van Gogh) historic personalities and their faith journeys. I found myself riveted by the stories of many of these individuals, and the book ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book I fear is only tough to categorize, as it is an Excellent snippets into the lives the Belcher's explore

In Search of Deep Faith is a great read, Dr. Jim Belcher and his family take us on a journey throughout Europe as the search out many of the Great Characters of the Church.
jim Belcher has away of transporting you in his writing as to have you truly feeling like you took this amazing trip & were really part of the family.
If you have never known about many of the people The Belcher's we
Dec 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a family-travelog/spiritual-biography-of-some-of-the-author's-heros-of-the-faith book. The author and his family take a year-long trip through Europe in order to spiritually recuperate. They travel to different locations that are related to people who had a deep faith (or can teach us something about a deep faith). Each chapter contains a story about the family's travel experience interspersed with spiritual biographical material on a particular person (Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Maria von Trapp ...more
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I would actually give it 3.5 stars. While it didn't totally rock my world I enjoyed the journey, the history and the process. I felt like Belcher found his writing stride the second half of the book but still thoroughly enjoyed all of it.

In a nutshell, Belcher takes his family on a pilgrimage to encounter mighty saints that have gone before us... C.S. Lewis, Bonhoeffer, the Oxford Martyrs (Cranmer), Corrie ten Boom, Maria von Trapp, and communities that stood up to evil because their beliefs and
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found Belcher's book refreshing. Recently I have also had a renewed interest in rediscovering the roots of my faith and a deeper relationship with the Lord. The people and places that he selected to study and visit were very interesting. His descriptions of the places he visited with his family and his summary of the background stories of the people he looks up to were excellent. I was not really aware of some of the people he talked about, such as Sheldon Vanauken and the people of Le Chambon ...more
Jeff Learned
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Inspiring and satisfying. This book was the perfect way to start my year's reading. I found myself enjoying this book simply for the pleasure of reading, and the journey it took me on was one I won't soon forget.

Travel Europe with the Belcher family as they explore the stories of Van Gogh, Wliberforce, Bonhoeffer and more. The reader will enter the lives of more than a dozen heroic men and women and measure thier faith through 21 century eyes. If I could buy one for all my friends, I would.
Chris Horton
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book I read last year. Belcher writes a book that has many facets to it; memoir, church history, art history, reflections on numerous historical figures, historical events and all of this adds up to summarize the journey he and his family takes in their pilgrimage of faith. I woke up early every morning to jump into this book immediately after having my quiet time in scripture and prayer. Worth a read!!
Mr Salyer
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All readers
Recommended to Mr by: Intervarsity Press
Shelves: first-read
Belcher has created an interesting guidebook for exploration by the reader. Through use of first person writing, his (and family) story, and third person, the stories of others, he creates a wonderful second person driven novel detailing his hopes for you in searching for a deep Christian faith and understanding. The book is/was extremely well written, blending the past experiences of historical figures with the present-day explorations of the Belcher family.
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Author of In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage into the beauty, goodness and heart of Christianity (IVP) and Deep Church: A third way beyond emerging and tradtional (IVP). For more information go to

I am theDirector of the Practical Theology Department at Knox Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Fl.

I love reading travel writing, creative non-fiction, long narrative journalism, history

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