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God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt [Paperback]

By Os Guinness (Author)
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Item description for God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt by Os Guinness...

The renowned author of The American Hour, No God But God, and The Dust of Death examines doubt from every angle and from every major perspective. Os Guinness pays special attention to the two basic questions "Why, O Lord?" and "How long, O Lord?" He tears away the layers of misunderstanding about doubt to reveal not only its dangers but its value.

Publishers Description

"A profound and excellent book for doubters and their friends who want to help." --James W. Sire, Author; campus lecturer for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

"Clear, steady explanation of what doubt is and how it is to be dealt with. There is nothing like it in print." --Dallas Willard, Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern California

Do you have significant doubts about God? Are you afraid to doubt, much less admit to anyone that you aren't fully convinced of God's faithfulness? Are you so torn by your questions that life is losing its meaning?

This forthright but compassionate book works to tear away the layers of misunderstanding about doubt to reveal not only its dangers but its great value. As author Os Guinness explains: "If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt... There is no believing without some doubting, and believing is all the stronger for understanding and resolving doubt."

For those who are unsure of God's trustworthiness--and for those who are in a dark place, wanting to know "Why?" or "How long, O Lord?"--God in the Dark is a must. It puts a human face on the problem of doubt and examines it thoroughly. In a way that will respond to your questions, settle your fears, and strengthen your faith.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.57" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.63"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1996
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN  0891078452  
ISBN13  9780891078456  

Availability  0 units.

More About Os Guinness

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Os Guinness is senior fellow of the Trinity Forum, a forum for senior executives and political leaders that examines contemporary ideas in the context of faith. He is the author of several books, including The Call and The American Hour, and coeditor of Invitation to the Classics.

Os Guinness currently resides in Burke, in the state of Virginia.

Os Guinness has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Hourglass Books

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( G ) > Guinness, Os
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Grief, Suffering, Consolation

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Reviews - What do customers think about God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt?

Great Guinness  May 22, 2008
Let me preface my review by explaining that Os Guinness is in my top ten list of favorite authors (shortly behind Augustine). He does an excellent job of blending contemporary philosophy with ancient tradition. Guinness helps the reader embrace, and then move through doubt. Though perhaps dated for a postmodern audience, Guinness helps the person who holds to a modern world-view understand that it is okay to not understand everything in a scientifically provable sense. This book has helped me personally put to words what I believed internally. I love the fact that Guinness uses quotes from other authors throughout history to illustrate his points. His writing style is just what the doctor ordered for me.
A Guided tour thru the dark night of doubt  Dec 15, 2007
I read 12 non fiction books per year & few stop me & demand my undivided attention like God in the Dark (written 1996) did. Five years later, I was able to fall back on lessons I'd learned in this book to help others whose faith was shaken in the wake of 9/11. Nine years after GITD's writing, (2005) Guinness does it again. A perfect followup to God in the Dark is Unspeakable. While the former covers the minefield of doubt that often usettles believers, the latter takes us thru the unspeakable forest of evil in modern society. These books are definately one a thinking believer (or unbeliever for that matter) should wade thru.
Reassurance for those willing to examine their beliefs  Feb 1, 2007
Mr. Guinness examines faith and doubt rigorously by tracing their presuppositions, carefully explaining the indissoluble bond between faith and rationality. Faith can and will lead us beyond reason, but never against reason into absurdity. The God who created our capacity for reason is beyond our reason but never at odds with it.

Although the majority of the book probes the nature of doubt from practical origins, one chapter is entirely devoted to doubt springing from emotional and / or psychological scars. This chapter is handled very well, proving Mr. Guinness thinks deeply as well as with breadth of soul and empathy. I think he is a most uncommon and remarkable man.

I was particularly struck with his comparison, using scripture, of the different kinds of doubt we hold. Some of us doubt the POWER of God to affect our lives for the better. This illustration is made in Mark 9: 17 - 25 (the man who brings his demon-possessed son who is often thrown into water and fire to destroy the child). The father of the possessed child has experienced failure at the hands of the apostles. He approaches Jesus with "...if thou canst do anything...." He doubts the POWER of God. He confesses his weak faith: "...and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."

This kind of doubt is contrasted with the doubt in God's COMPASSION and MERCY as shown in the leper who desires to be cleansed (Matthew 8:2; Mark 1:40; Luke 5:12). The leper says, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." (Matthew 8:2) He doubts the willingness of God to extend healing and mercy - but not God's power to do so. Jesus affirms his willingness verbally: "I will" or "I am willing" and then touches the man (the touch of great compassion and power).

The account of the leper in Matthew is followed very closely by the account of the gentile centurion (Matthew 8:8) who comes to Jesus seeking the healing of a beloved servant of his household. Jesus tells the centurion that he will come and heal the servant, but the centurion (knowing Jesus would be ceremonially defiled by entering into a gentile home) tells Jesus he (the centurion) is not worthy that Jesus should come under his roof, but that a word spoken alone shall be sufficient. Jesus marvels at this great faith and speaks the word of healing. No touch, just the word. The centurion did not need further reassurance because his faith was very strong. He doubted not the power or the mercy and goodness of God.

I am so grateful for these precious insights and so many others which Mr. Guinness gives in this book.

One more insight, which I find very true in my own experience in the battle with unbelief. On page 65, Mr. Guinness explains why many of us (in comfortable circumstances) do not lose our faith. "One reason why many people do not lose their faith is that they are protected by their lifestyles from the uncomfortable logic of the deficiency in their faith. But this is dangerous. The subtlety of the wrap-around influence of alien presuppositions is that they do their work before they are noticed. Whether it is a Christian student surrounded by relativism on a university campus or a Christian family surrounded by the influence of the mass media, too few are awake to the danger. And when they do wake up to the situation, they find that the combat against relativism is not a clean, hand-to-hand fight but a wearing war of nerves against an enemy who is everywhere and nowhere, friendly-seeming but deadly at the same time."

How can anyone resist such beautiful insight and clarity of thought? Does this not describe many of our experiences in the West?

The book has great practical value. After describing and examining the source of each type of doubt, the solution for each is also given with equal logic. That sounds deceptively easy, but Guinness has an ability to illuminate knotty problems so these lose their complexity.

A most valuable book for those who wish to wrestle with their doubt, and love and serve God with gladness and singleness of heart.
Another excellent book by Os Guinness  Jan 13, 2007
Os's book concisely explains foundational Christian truth and the character of God. It's an excellent tool and support for clearing away misconceptions of belief. His observations about trust are simple and complex. Brilliant.
One of my favorites  Jun 28, 2006
There nothing else like God In The Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt out there in print that makes such a thorough examination of the phenomenology of doubt.

In part 1 Guinness starts with what he calls the "square one principle": "The person who has the courage to go back when necessary is the one who goes on in the end." Going back and reexamining faith guards against coasting through life on the basis of a faith that, though once vital, has grown inauthentic due to it being taken for granted. When an inevitable crisis comes it fails, leaving one disillusioned and alone in the dark with all kinds of duplicitous thoughts.

From there he "dares" us to doubt by explaining that the idea of faith being "doubt free" only sets us up to drive our faith into the ground like an overloaded donkey. First, it is beaten with a variety of admonitions and cajolings that then lead to warnings and threats of the "big stick" of judgment until it expires and collapses. Then it is beaten for collapsing.

Guinness explains that the doubt is an "in-between" problem that has two minds between faith and unbelief. Unbelief is a deliberate refusal to believe that willfully rejects any affirmation of faith, while doubt is the suspension between the two. The distinction is important, because it makes all the difference in expunging that dreadful perfectionism demanded by "doubtless faith" which ends up being more discouraging than the worst of doubts ever could be.

Part 2 is the lengthy middle section of the book in which Guinness identifies seven different kinds of doubt:

Doubt from ingratitude

Doubt from a faulty view of God

Doubt from weak foundations

Doubt from lack of commitment

Doubt from a lack of growth

Doubt from unruly emotions

Doubt from hidden conflicts

I cannot go into all of these, but I will say that the first two and the last two had the greatest effect on me. Sometimes our doubts are good in that they question our pitiful ideas of God that often are outright misrepresentations of him.

In part 3, Guinness addresses two of the biggest questions that most often shipwreck faith: Why, O Lord; and How Long, O Lord? Suffering and evil are at the center of the first question, and is only answered by trust in the God who knows why--the same one who became incarnate and asked the very same question at the point of his death.

Interestingly enough, Guinness believes the second question is much more difficult for faith than the first. Faith seeks its vision to be substantiated; it does not want to BE, it wants to DO. The prospect of the vision going unfulfilled makes one ask if believing was even worth it, and there is no easy answer except to nourish the vision with the vision of God's character.

The book prescribes remedies for each of these doubts, though none is exhaustive. However, I was struck by the non-simplistic answers to these issues and how one must be diligent in engaging the heart and mind to really grasp for the assurance of faith in an honest way.

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