Book Review: When Faith Fails




I recently read the new book When Faith Fails by Dominic Done, and it is a fantastic book on a controversial subject.

His main thesis is doubt in a believer’s life is usually demonized, or idolized, but in reality, doubt can be a stepping stone to a greater faith as it propels us to trust God more. As Done explains it:

“I wrote this book because you need to know that your doubts aren’t a sign of spiritual collapse but of a faith that is screaming out for substance and truth.” (p. xxi)

He proceeds to divide the book into three sections: When we’ve doubted and it seems as if faith has failed, how can we get back, and finally coming home.

Done tells the reader that the English word doubt derives from the Latin word   dubitare, meaning “two,” so in a sense when one doubts, they are literally “in two minds.” (p. 23) But as he guides the reader through these three sections of his book, Done stresses that doubt is not the same as unbelief – they are not synonymous terms, as some would claim.

Honestly, I’d like to say one section is stronger than the other, but all three sections are solid! He has an engaging writing style, combined with a great education from Oxford University, as can be seen in his vast array of illustrations, ranging from obscure pieces of literature, to giants of philosophy like Nietzsche. And all of this is woven together by his personal testimony of his own struggles with doubt, and yes, even to the point when he thought faith had failed him. Yet, as he powerfully and gracefully details in this book, he came through it with a stronger faith, trusting God even more, yet still without all the answers.

Here are just a few of his notable quotes:

“I began to see that faith was less about having everything explained and more about the fragile beauty of trust.” (p. 61)

“[The Bible} But what if its primary objective isn’t intellectual certainty but to lead us into a flourishing relationship with God?” (p. 90)

“Like a tree, the roots of your soul are most deepened in seasons of thirst.” (p. 141)

“Jacob had wrestled with God and overcome. Not because God was defeated, but because Jacob was. Given a new name, Israel walked slowly away, hurting, limping, humbled, and renewed. He was never the same.” (p. 152)

“Faith refuses to reduce your dreams to the size of your fears.” (p. 153).

I hope these quotes stir an interest in this book for you. While I may have one or two interpretative issues with Done, I have read numerous books concerning doubt and faith, and easily, this is one I can enthusiastically endorse – it is worth your time.

Enjoy, and grow!


Author: Randy Allison

I am an adjunct professor and pastor, driven to understand more about faith and how to live that faith in twenty-first century America.

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