Advertisement
Breaking news: To view all of our General Assembly news coverage in one spot, click here.

Humbler Faith, Bigger God: Finding a Story to Live By

By recognizing the sincerity of doubt and disbelief and accepting criticism of the church as a “gift of a critical friend,” Samuel Wells applies his head and heart to forging a way forward that is more inclusive and accessible.

Samuel Wells
Eerdmans, 248 pages | Published May 29, 2022

In Humbler Faith, Bigger God, Samuel Wells wrestles with ten common questions skeptics have used to critique or dismiss Christianity, offering first the church’s traditional orthodox response and then a contemporary “rival” story (based more on science and sociology) before humbly offering a new perspective to inspire Christians to a deeper and more dynamic faith. Wells is the vicar of London’s St. Martin in-the-fields, a city church that bustles with a café and late night jazz concerts in addition to a lively worship and congregational life — all of which uniquely positions him at the intersection of history and modernity, an ideal location for this task.

Wells responds to “a time, largely past, but not so long ago, when a story known as Christianity was widely understood, in the West, as a largely unquestioned story.” But Wells does not yearn for the olden days in which “belief in (Christian) doctrines and trust in its ways were a normal, unproblematic default.” By recognizing the sincerity of doubt and disbelief and accepting criticism of the church as a “gift of a critical friend,” he applies his head and heart to forging a way forward that is more inclusive and accessible.

I have always appreciated Wells’ winsome storytelling — glimpses of the vicar stopping by for a cup of tea with a lonely neighbor and being invited into their grief, anger or questions. Humbler Faith, however, offers theology without the application; it would have benefited from real-life anecdotes in which Wells shares his more tender view of the Christian stories with disillusioned church members or critics ready to pick a fight. For this reason, the book is well-suited for pastors and other church leaders looking to do the work — how we apply Wells’ wisdom will be up to us.

Presbyterian Outlook supports local bookstores. Join us! Click on the link below to purchase Humbler Faith, Bigger God: Finding a Story to Live By from BookShop, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. As an affiliate, Outlook will also earn a commission from your purchase. 

LATEST STORIES

Advertisement