The riddles of God," said G. K. Chesterton, "are more satisfying than the answers of man." This sparkling one-liner from the 20th century's best theological journalist could serve as a motto for Matthew Lee Anderson's new work, The End of Our Exploring: A Book About Questioning and the Confidence of Faith (Moody Publishers). Like C. S. Lewis before him, Anderson sets out to explore a middle way between free-floating skepticism and dogmatic certainty. The first perspective sees any form of commitment as betraying integrity, holding that the wise are characterized by permanent questioning. The other refuses to think about questions, seeing them as a slippery slope leading slowly but surely to unbelief.
This is no mere academic tension. Anderson's book has emerged from reflection and dialogue with colleagues and friends, particularly at the Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University (the author's alma mater). Like many—myself included—Anderson is worried about young believers who lose their way through well-intentioned guidance of the "just trust, don't think" type. He's also concerned about a Christian subculture that fails to prepare young Christians for life outside the "bubble." Within this subculture, excessive reliance on slogans and clichés can act as substitutes for thinking. As Anderson rightly notes, "It is the nature of clichés to avoid examination."
Anderson is good on why we need to ask questions if we are to grow in our faith, and why so many pastors feel threatened by them. Sadly, some interpret the questions of those who are genuinely exploring the faith as challenges to their authority, or blasphemous attacks ...1