Called into Questions: Cultivating the Love of Learning Within the Life of Faith

by Matthew Lee Anderson

Do we know what it means to question well?

We need not fear questions. By the grace of God, we have the safety and security to rush headlong into them and find ourselves better for it on the other side.

Faith is not the sort of thing that endures so long as our eyes are closed. The opposite is the case: Faith helps us see, and that means not shrinking from the ambiguities and the difficulties that provoke our most profound questions.

In our embrace of questioning, we must learn to question well. In our uncertainty, we must not give up the task of walking worthy of the calling that Christ has placed upon us.

We are living in the age of deconstruction. We are constantly bombarded online, in schools, and sometimes even in our homes by attitudes and arguments aimed at deconstructing our faith. Called Into Questions is written to aid us in faithfully questioning our foundations. Professor Matthew Lee Anderson shows us, and the ones we love, how to grapple with doubt in a redemptive way—in a way that brings us closer and leaves us more secure in Jesus Christ.

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Anderson cuts to the quick, avoiding scholarly detachment and academic jargon. A series of well-chosen examples allows him to probe why we are reluctant to engage questions, while at the same time illuminating how such questions can enrich faith. We need to do more to help Christians—especially those attending college—to internalize their faith, gain a proper confidence in its roots, and learn to express this in gracious responses to the questions they will inevitably encounter.

Alister McGrath

Christianity Today Book Review. September 2013 Issue.

Matthew Lee Anderson has asked many a question about questioning itself, and the result is a thought-provoking book, full of wisdom and grace, that opens the windows of the mind and allows fresh air to blow through our debates and discourse. A book to ponder, with new virtues to practice. You may never look at a question the same way again.

Trevin Wax

vice president of research and resources at the North American Mission Board and visiting professor at Cedarville University, author of The Thrill of Orthodoxy, Rethink Your Self, and This Is Our Time

This is a marvelous book on questions: what they are for, why they matter, when and how to ask them, and how they can lead us into wisdom and maturity. A number of passages—on Genesis 3, curiosity, deconstruction, and so forth—have more insight than many whole books. They make for a volume that is as readable as it is thought-provoking. Excellent.

Andrew Wilson

Teaching Pastor, King’s Church London

One of the greatest weaknesses of the modern American church is our inability to answer difficult questions. It’s why the deconstruction movement started. In Called into Questions, Matthew Lee Anderson develops a robust theology of questions for any believer who longs to reconcile heart and mind. He shows us how God is all about asking and answering difficult questions. Instead of shying away from them, God draws us to Himself with questions. It’s time to learn how to ask the right questions and it’s time for the church to offer biblical answers to those of us who long to know why. Matthew’s work frees us not only to ask the difficult questions that keep us from abundant life but shows us where and how to find the right answers. I’m grateful for his work.

Lina AbuJamra

founder of Living With Power ministries and author of Fractured Faith: Finding Your Way Back to God in an Age of Deconstruction

I need to read Called into Questions again. There’s a lot of wisdom in this book that needs to be allowed to sift into my soul. I found myself invited to wisdom, to charity, to truth, to repentance, and yes—into more questions. Matt has encouraged me not so much to ask better questions but to become a better questioner by orientating my life, and the life of the communities I lead and influence, toward the truth found in the person of Jesus.

Tim Suffield

elder at King’s Church Birmingham

Pick up this book and read it. Matthew Lee Anderson has given us a gift that avoids being a how-to manual on how to ask questions. It asks us to instead orient our hearts to love the God who is the beginning and end of our questioning so that He may be the one that forms our questions and why we ask them. I pray this book helps many students form the courage and humility to bring their questions to God and neighbor, in love of God and neighbor.

Austin Silvus

Campus Minister with Cru in Columbia, MO, and high school wrestling coach

Although questioning may be natural, it can also be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether our questions arise from prurient curiosity or earnest desires to know. At other times we’re uncomfortable with questioning at all, preferring dogmatic closure to the uncertainties that arise when we do ask questions. Matthew Lee Anderson’s deeply thoughtful investigation into the nature of questioning, disagreement, and persuasion is an invaluable resource for anyone who wishes to pursue a life of Christian faith alongside a robust intellectual life. Written with humor and honesty, this book is especially important for young Christians as they navigate the polarized and difficult territory of contemporary social life.

Elizabeth Corey

director, Baylor Honors Program; Associate Professor of Political Science in the Honors Program

Is this a book about questions? Or about a biblical theology of questions? Or a study in Shakespeare? Is it an exhortation to the followers of Jesus to not be afraid of asking the questions they think they oughtn’t have? Or a discourse on how to live for a long time without answers and with faith? Is it a beautifully written and genuine expression of the author’s evident and tempered desire to help us all rejoice when we die with the praises of our deepest questions in our hearts and on our lips? All to the glory of God? Yes.

Gary Hartenburg

Director of the Honors College, Houston Christian University

This book is for everyone, no matter their age or profession, who wants to grow in Christian maturity. Matthew Lee Anderson realizes that Christianity, far from denying the perplexities of being human, liberates us to face them; the Wisdom who created us now calls us to a life of questioning that is an adventure, a gift, and a form of worship. Charting a path between comfortable complacency and self-absorbed doubt, Anderson outlines a ‘theological ethic of questioning’ grounded in the confident hope of the resurrection. While no checklist for optimizing one’s intellectual life may be found in its pages, Called into Questions offers something truer: an invitation into a lifetime of patient inquiry, inspiring in the reader wonder, desire, and even love for the incarnate Christ who is the way and end of our exploring.

Mikael Good

PhD student at Georgetown University