Questioning Your Doubts: A Harvard PhD Explores Challenges to Faith, By Christina M. H. Powell alt

Questioning Your Doubts

A Harvard PhD Explores Challenges to Faith

by Christina M. H. Powell

Questioning Your Doubts
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Published: October 03, 2014
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 9671
  • ISBN: 9780830896714

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How can we know if God is real?

Does God truly care about us?

Why does God create people he knows will reject him?

Why did God allow my friend to become a rape victim?

Should I switch jobs?

Is this person the one I should marry?

If you have pondered these doubts, you are not alone.

Sometimes we have intellectual questions about the plausibility of God. Other times we go through difficult life experiences that cause us to question our faith. Sometimes we simply struggle feeling confident with day-to-day decisions.

Christina Powell knows what it's like to grapple seriously with challenges to faith. A trained scientist and cancer researcher, she struggled with the mysterious claims of a God who exists beyond what the scientific method could detect. Using personal stories from her own life, she explores how faith can be rooted in rationality, knowledge and facts, while coming to recognize the limits of science in evaluating matters of faith.

Asking good questions can help us clarify and refine our faith. We can think critically about our doubts and learn to discern the true and the good. Powell probes the hidden factors that fuel our doubts to help us move beyond skepticism, disillusionment or painful life circumstances. We can live deeper into our questions in the context of Christian community. Ultimately we can work through challenges to faith and find a renewed confidence in our beliefs.

It's okay to question your faith. But don't stop there. Question your doubts as well.

"In her wonderful book, Questioning Your Doubts, Christina Powell effectively builds a bridge between rationality on the one hand, and faith on the other. As both a cancer researcher and an ordained minister, Christina cleverly draws analogies between her experiences as a Harvard graduate student and the harder issues that we all face navigating the Christian life. Although her analysis of the interface between faith and science is worth the read in and of itself, this book is really a comprehensive, whole-life discipleship guide for any serious follower of Christ."

James Bradford, general secretary, General Council of the Assemblies of God

"Christina Powell's Questioning Your Doubts is a unique and compelling examination of the relationship between doubt and faith. This is the rare book that is rich in content while being thoroughly enjoyable to read. It is a meaningful work deserving of widespread readership."

Ken Horn, editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, the official publication of the Assemblies of God

"Dorothy Sayers once wrote, 'Nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything "funny" about woman's nature.' Christina Powell proves this, and she also proves that there is nothing odd about the brilliant relationships of science and Christendom, women in science, and women and the church. I encourage the reader to join her adventures into the world of graduate student, professional scientist, daughter, wife, mother and Christian pastor."

Mary Poplin, author of Is Reality Secular?

"Doubt can be an enemy of faith. But as Christina Powell shows in her new book, doubt can also be an ally of faith. Not only can it help you ask questions that lead to new spiritual insights, but it can also help you turn the tables on skeptics. Questioning Your Doubts is a good book, and questioning your doubts is a helpful way to grow your faith."

George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (USA) and chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship

"Part memoir and part apologetics, Powell challenges us not only to question our faith, but also to question our doubts. Through good questions, one can clarify faith in the God who reveals himself, in part, through creative handiwork that science intently studies. . . . Particularly moving is Powell's story recounting her work as a cancer researcher while simultaneously working through the anguished questions and feelings of both her parents' diagnosis and the struggle of fighting their own battle with the deadly disease."

Greg Bowman, Baptist Standard, June 8, 2015


Part 1: Thinking Through Doubts
1 Created to Think
2 Interplay of Influences
3 Discernment Requires Doubts
4 Solving Problems with Questions

Part 2: Sources of Doubt
5 Locating Limits
6 Unanswered Questions
7 Doubts Born from Pain
8 Disillusionment Masquerading as Doubt

Part 3: Resolving Doubts
9 An Authentic Journey
10 Retracing the Path
11 Thinking in Community
12 An Incomplete Process

Single-Session Discussion Guide
Chapter-by-Chapter Discussion Guide


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Christina M. H. Powell

Christina M. H. Powell (PhD, Virology, Harvard) is a biomedical research scientist who conducted research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. She has been a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and a research associate at Boston University. She is also an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God and a frequent writer and speaker on bioethics and issues of science and faith.