Restless Faith

Holding Evangelical Beliefs in a World of Contested Labels

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One of the most influential evangelical voices in America chronicles what it has meant for him to spend the past half century as a "restless evangelical"--a way of maintaining his identity in an age when many claim the label "evangelical" has become so politicized that it is no longer viable. Richard Mouw candidly reflects on wrestling with traditional evangelical beliefs over the years and shows that although his mind has changed in some ways, his core beliefs have not. He contends that we should hold on to the legacy that has enriched evangelicalism in the past. The Christian life in its healthiest form, says Mouw, is always a matter of holding on to essentials while constantly moving on along paths that we can walk in faithfulness only by seeking the continuing guidance of the light of God's Word. As Mouw affirms the essentials of the evangelical faith, he helps a new generation see the wisdom embodied in them.

1. The Label Question
2. A Faith in Motion
3. A Restless Journey
4. Toward a Second Naivete
5. Remembering
6. Being Clear about Sin
7. Our Deepest Yearnings
8. About Quoting Hymns
9. Embracing Mystery
10. Neighborly Dialogue
11. The Mystery of the Christian "Other"
12. Public Activism
13. Spiritual Formation for Political Discipleship
14. "Jesus Died for Me"
15. Holding On While Staying Restless


"I'm tempted to say that Richard Mouw is the wisest evangelical alive. Here is an outline of evangelical faith that can weather the turmoil of our times--and flourish."

Mark Galli, editor in chief, Christianity Today

"In Restless Faith, Richard Mouw stakes out a thoughtful defense of evangelicalism as a spiritual and even intellectual tradition. Always compassionate, Mouw's voice is a vital corrective to the invective that distinguishes some prominent evangelicals. You don't need to be religious yourself to appreciate his earnest pursuit of truth and meaning in our divisive age."

Sarah Jones, staff writer for New York magazine

"Rich Mouw has contributed much wisdom to Christian faith and life over many decades. This wonderful book continues that gift. With characteristic honesty, humility, and hope, Mouw acknowledges the restlessness of his own evangelical identity but then points a way forward to a generous and faithful expression of that identity. For other restless believers, this book contains needed ingredients: some correction, some coaxing, and plenty of celebration for God's good gifts."

Leanne Van Dyk, president and professor of theology, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Restless Faith challenges us to consider how we understand our faith and helps us make sense of what it means to be a Christian in today's world. This is a needed resource, especially for those engaged in college and seminary education."

Deana Porterfield, president, Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary

The Author

  1. Richard J. Mouw

    Richard J. Mouw

    Richard J. Mouw (PhD, University of Chicago), a renowned author and a widely traveled speaker, is senior research fellow at the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to that he worked...

    Continue reading about Richard J. Mouw


"[Mouw] discusses topics as wide-ranging as contextualization and the doctrine of sin, church unity (and disunity), and the importance of mystery, even including a whole chapter on hymnody. But, like tea with an older saint, moments that at first seem like digressions are often where treasure is found, and they all wind back to the book's main theme: why Mouw remains an evangelical, by name and belief--and why he is 'restless' about it. . . . Instead of lobbing arguments at ideological enemies online, he cultivates embodied relationships and stakes out thoughtful positions without a trace of snark or smugness. . . . Even as someone who strives to practice the same virtues, I caught myself hoping he'd take the gloves off to pummel my most hated heresies. But, no, Mouw remains kind to the end, calling certain beliefs false yet always engaging them with curiosity, humility, and good cheer. . . . Though his book is not a takedown, it is not a blind defense either. Mouw remains among the vanguard of evangelicals calling the movement back to both theological depth and a passion for social justice. . . . Not everyone will identify with evangelicalism precisely as Mouw does. But we would do well to watch how he engages Scripture, theology, culture, and those around him, learning from his example as we work toward a more faithful evangelical movement."

Tish Harrison Warren,

Christianity Today (5-star review)

"Exceptionally well written, organized, and presented, Restless Faith: Holding Evangelical Beliefs in a World of Contested Labels is as informative and insightful as it is inspired and inspiring. A welcome and enlightening contribution to today's ongoing discussion about the role and nature of evangelical Christianity today (especially given today's divisive secular climate) Restless Faith is very highly recommended to all members of the Christian community."

Midwest Book Review