A good book on doubt

September 1st, 2015

My blogging friend Talbot Davis sent me a copy of his new book, “The Shadow of a Doubt,” recently. In honor of a regular feature on his blog, I’d like to share my top five things I like about this book.

5. It engages an important pastoral topic in a faithful way. The book is based on a sermon series Davis preached at Good Shepherd Church on the topic of doubt. This is an important topic, but one I’ve heard handled in unproductive ways in the past. Davis acknowledges doubt — including his own — without praising it. In five sermons, he tackles important questions about doubt and makes relevant connections to people’s lives.

4. It displays Davis’ skill as a preacher. The book chapters are edited versions of Davis’ sermons, which makes this a bit of a sermon anthology for preachers such as myself who are still mastering their craft. Davis is a big fan of Andy Stanley’s one-point preaching style. If you’ve ever read Stanley’s book on preaching and wanted to see how such sermons look in actual practice, this book is a great resource. It also demonstrates Davis’ wonderful use of language and deep engagement with the biblical texts. Which brings me to …

3. It is biblical. Each chapter takes a close look at a key text. This is not a book collecting what secular authorities say about the topic of doubt. It is a book that brings our questions to the Bible and lets the Bible shape our answers.

2. It would be perfect for a small group. Each sermon is followed by well-crafted questions designed to promote small-group conversation, devotional activities, a prayer, and some scripture readings for the week ahead. This would be an easy and interesting five-week small-group curriculum.

1. My copy is autographed. I’m sure if you asked, you could get an autograph, too. I understand Davis will be signing books at the upcoming New Room Conference.

I recommend the book, especially as a resource for small group ministry. At 112 pages and $9.99, it is well worth the price.

Full disclosure: I was provided with a free (autographed) copy of the book and asked to write about it. I was only too happy to do that for a pastor who has a vital ministry in the United Methodist Church.

John Meunier is a part-time United Methodist pastor serving two churches in the Indiana Conference. He blogs at johnmeunier.wordpress.com.

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