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The title of this book is misleading since it characterizes the author, pastor of a Boston-area Pentecostal church, as an ex-atheist. But as Schmelzer recounts in the book, his atheism was a teen phase, and adolescent explorations are generally not cited on one's intellectual résumé. The title also sets the reader up to expect some apologetic rejoinder to trendy bestselling polemical atheists. This book, however, is much broader (and better) than that, and almost antipolemical. Schmelzer has a disarmingly low-key way with words, a refreshing change from the fighting terms so often employed in battles over religious truth . His self-deprecating tone is persuasive even while he makes bold statements about the power of faith. He asserts, for example, that prayer can bring about physical healing, a statement he backs with evidence from his own family and a few other instances. Yet he's honest enough to admit he has no answer to the question of why God permits suffering. Schmelzer's mild-mannered theological humility is winning. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.