Walking Away from Faith: Unraveling the Mystery of Belief and Unbelief
By Ruth Tucker, Intervarsity Press, 2002, 240 pages
Can a Christian abandon the faith? Do true Christians doubt? Is it a sin to doubt? Is doubt a slippery slope that leads to unbelief or abandoning the faith? These are some of the questions addressed by Ruth Tucker in her book, Walking Away from the Faith. Most Christians are familiar with the scripture from Mark 9:24: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” What does this scripture mean? Can both faith and unbelief exist in the same person? Ruth Tucker believes it can. She has actually struggled with doubt and unbelief most of her Christian life. This is a personal look at struggling with doubt and unbelief from someone who has struggled with it. The author notes, “All of us in our faith fall somewhere on the vast, subjective spectrum that ranges from absolute certainty to unrestrained skepticism. Some profess a confident belief in God that is never questioned; others cling to belief riddled with doubts, only a millimeter shy of unbelief”(7). Why is this true? Why do some Christians struggle with doubt and others do not? Are there Christians that do not struggle with doubt? Tucker is able to sympathize with those who struggle with doubt because of her own doubts. The author is from the Reformed faith that believes in eternal security. In this book she does not analyze if people can lose the faith based on scriptural passages. Instead, she seeks to “grapple with belief and unbelief from a human perspective, operating on the premise that there is surely the appearance of losing faith” (8). She says she cannot judge those who are sincere or insincere. We must “listen to their stories to better understand them and to more faithfully reach out to them in dialogue and love” (8-9).