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Walking Away from Faith: Unraveling the Mystery of Belief and Unbelief
Ruth Tucker
InterVarsity, 240 pages, $17

Ruth tucker sought readers' responses as she prepared for her final editing of Walking Away from Faith. One asked, "Are you trying to shock people?" That may be overstating the sentiment this book evokes—distress or discomfort are perhaps more apt. In any case, it is a bold book and one that needed to be written. It broaches a mysterious, alarming, and heartbreaking reality: Why some people walk away from a life of faith, often without regrets.

Tucker, associate professor of missiology at Calvin Theological Seminary, has organized the book into three sections. In part one, she fleshes out the human side of the mystery by examining her own life and questions of faith, and the case studies of others.

"Doubt—no matter who writes about it—is not properly respected for the power it wields," she writes. "But little is said of the dark, fierce, hoary side of doubt, and of the logical next step—unbelief."

This tends to leave closet doubters alone in their torment, as Tucker testifies from her own experience. She describes the trauma and faith crisis she experienced when her mother was killed in a car accident in 1969. In a departure from the reticence that often typifies scholars, she writes, "I desperately wish I did not have to fight and struggle for every little bit of faith I have"—oddly encouraging words for those who struggle with faith.

She also juxtaposes the testimonies of Billy Graham and former evangelist Chuck Templeton. Their lives in ministry started on the same track, but then took very different turns (Templeton succumbed to unbelief). These stories highlight the flesh-and-blood aspect of faith narratives that ...

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August 2003

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