The End of Our Exploring
Do we know what it means to question well?
Faith isn’t the sort of thing that will endure as long as our eyes are closed. The opposite, in fact: faith helps us see, and that means not shrinking from the ambiguities and the difficulties that provoke our most profound questions.
We need not fear questions, but 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.
This book steps into the gap between non-questioning certitude and wishy-washy “dialogue for the sake of dialogue” to help us determine the role of questioning in our lives.
Unlike other offerings, it will challenge the contemporary obsession with doubts and dialogue not by resisting it, but by showing a more excellent and beautiful form of faith that includes within it a viable and robust place for questions.
What does it mean to question well? That’s a good question. Read about Matt Lee Anderson’s journey to this book, in his own words.
Praise for The End of Our Exploring
Doubt has become very popular in the last few years. Many times though, doubt never takes the doubter anywhere for answers. Matt shows us how to question well and actually let our doubts take us to God.
Darrin Patrick, Lead Pastor of The Journey St. Louis, author of For the City and Church Planter
Finally a book that encourages us to doubt our doubts! Well, not exactly, but Anderson does a good job of discerning the various types of questions and doubt we experience. The goal is not to celebrate doubt but to help us learn to ask the questions that lead to an increasingly mature and dynamic faith.
Mark Galli, Editor of Christianity Today
Never mind the hand-wringing about “young evangelicals.” Read Matthew Lee Anderson and you’ll feel much better.
John Wilson, Editor of Books & Culture
Matthew Lee Anderson is the Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy and is studying for an M.Phil. in Christian Ethics at Oxford University. He has explored the relationships between evangelicalism and politics and the generational shifts in evangelicalism.
He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith, in which he explores how Christian theology shapes our thinking about issues like human sexuality, tattoos, and death. His work has appeared at the Washington Post, CNN, Christianity Today, Books & Culture, Relevant, The City, and various other places. He lives in Oxford with his wife.
Sean McDowell, educator, speaker, author of Apologetics for a New Generation
This is a personal, extended meditation on the question, which is to say that it does not try to be hip or current in any way whatsoever. This very quality, its calm, patient perusing, yields the gifts that the book will give to the reader who pushes through the first question (“why should I read this?”) and simply decides to go exploring with Matt.
Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, author of The World Is Not Ours to Save
Christians are often accused of being unwilling to ask the hard questions. Matthew Anderson not only embraces asking the hard questions as core to the Christian life, but equips the reader with the tools necessary to effectively engage in this practice in a manner that refines our ability to think, understand, and live for the gospel.
Paul Spears, Director of Torrey Honors Institute, Biola
In a world where “dialogue” and “conversation” are buzzwords but rarely well practiced, and where doubt and questioning seem to be more about a scene than a search for truth, Matthew Lee Anderson’s The End of Our Exploring comes as a breath of fresh air. Clearheaded, personal, witty and wise, Anderson’s book presents a sensible framework for epistemology that is sorely needed today.
Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity
Over the years, I’ve realized that my wisest, most interesting, most enjoyable friends share at least one common trait: they all ask good questions. They’re curious, open-hearted, aware of all the vistas they haven’t yet explored, seeking out truth, goodness, and beauty in places they haven’t yet discovered. Matthew Lee Anderson’s new book explains why I find this trait so attractive in my friends (hint: it’s the virtue of hope), and he explains how I can cultivate that quality for myself while avoiding its pitfalls. After closing his book, I’m better equipped to heed Jesus’ simple command, “Ask.”
Wesley Hill, author of Washed and Waiting
In The End of Our Exploring, Matt Lee Anderson recovers a lost art—that of questioning well. If you have questions about faith, life, or pain, then this book will equip you to ask questions to challenge and guide you. He describes how questioning can be a pathway to beauty, love, and redemption. Relevant and engaging, Anderson’s work has personally changed the way I ask questions.
Peter Greer, President and CEO of HOPE International, author of The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good
For years, Matt has challenged me to ask the right questions. This practice has deepened my love for God and the Gospel and greatly helped me approach the countless nuances of both ministry and personal life. He has eloquently captured the essence of this helpful practice in The End of Our Exploring. As usual, Matt is brilliantly engaging and humbly transparent as he illuminates the importance of thoughtful exploration and the dangers of asking the wrong questions. I highly recommend everyone reads this book.
Stephen Miller, worship leader, author of Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars
Matt Anderson has questions. But he also has answers. But he also has questions about those answers, and answers about where our questions come from, where they take us, what they reveal and conceal, how they work, what kind of people we questioners are, and what our questioning is for. Open your mind for this book the way you would open your hands for a gift, so you can grab onto something solid at last.
Fred Sanders, Associate Professor of Theology, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola
A thought-provoking, question-stirring book that opens the windows of the mind and allows fresh air to blow through our debates and discourse. You may never look at a question the same way again.
Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project, author of Clear Winter Nights, Gospel Centered Teaching, and Counterfeit Gospels
Matt Anderson excels at asking good questions. In this book, he thanks several people who he says are responsible for teaching him to question well. I’m glad they did. Matt understands and describes in this book how faith can be big enough for doubt, and how questions are better than answers sometimes. Even more important, Matt understands – unlike many in his generation – that the goal of questioning is truth, or more accurately the God who is Truth and is big enough for our questions.
John Stonestreet, speaker and author for Breakpoint and Summit Ministries
Matthew Lee Anderson challenges us to examine the heart behind our inquiries and embrace the God-glorifying design of asking questions—to see them as opportunities to edify and encourage, to grow in our faith. The End of Our Exploring is a wonderful gift to readers of all stripes; I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Aaron Armstrong, author of Contend and Awaiting a Savior
Anderson’s style exhibits a tenderness for his subject and his reader that can only have come from the constant practice of his book’s ideals. He isn’t shouting, “Question! Discuss!” like many contemporary reformers do. Rather, he invites the church to ask questions using a tone that fits with question-asking – that is, he invites us with patience, love, good faith, and wonder.
Peter David Gross, Executive Director of Wheatstone Ministries, editor of The Examined Life
Does it matter how we question? Do purposes inhere in our explorations? Matt Anderson makes the case that there are wise and foolish ways to question. With wit and deft prose Anderson ably guides the reader on a journey, illumined by a constellation of thinkers like Chesterton, Lewis, Blake and Augustine, and thereby enriches our own explorations.
Glenn Lucke, Docent Group
Matt Anderson book is asking all the right questions about questioning. But this book is neither a detached academic exploration of various forms of questioning nor an angsty defense of the glories of doubt. Instead, Anderson begins rightly with the questions God asks of us and then proceeds to offer us a clear and compelling vision of how to question well over a lifetime. My only question is, Why did someone not write something this important sooner?
John Dyer, Executive Director of Communications and Educational Technology, Dallas Theological Seminary, author of From the Garden to the City
The End of Our Exploring is a book questioning our questions, taking us through our doubts and struggles to a richer faith. Matthew Lee Anderson brings his needed perspective into the idea that we can and should question well. For those wondering where their questions fit in a life of faith The End of Our Exploring is a can’t-miss book.
Tyler Braun, author of Why Holiness Matters: We’ve Lost Our Way—But We Can Find it Again
The End of Our Exploring by Matthew Lee Anderson is smart, challenging, and personal. This book will change the way you question, which is to say it will change the way you think about life, faith, and everything in between.
Scott McClellan, author of Tell Me a Story</strong>
With delightful and at times lyrical prose, Anderson argues that faith is not opposed to asking hard questions about life and reality, but in fact that good inquiry strengthens faith and leads to a deeper trust in God. And the more we understand and trust God, the more meaningful life becomes. By providing a theology and roadmap to questioning, Anderson has done the church and the academy a huge favor.
Jim Belcher, author of In Search of Deep Faith
Matthew Lee Anderson is one of the brightest people I know, and when he speaks, I listen. In The End of Our Exploring, he tackles our deepest faith questions and doubts head on. Read it and you’ll doubtlessly be challenged.
Jonathan Merritt, author of A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars
Matthew Lee Anderson gets a lot of answers wrong. But, the questions he asks are the right ones. In this book, Anderson examines the all too often overlooked art of asking and pursuing good questions. If you want to be challenged to think (and ultimately live) more deeply, this book should be well worn and marked up on your shelf.
Timothy King, Sojourners, Chief Strategy and Program Officer