In our journey with God, sometimes it takes years for something to go from being merely head knowledge, to being heart change. And consequently, life change. A few weeks ago I agreed to do a book review, not knowing how God was going to use that book to turn on a light bulb.
Five years ago God began to reveal a deep seeded pride in my heart that was affecting the way I looked at my brothers and sisters in Christ. Once I saw the ugliness of the sin, I became desperate to change, yet I could not take what God was teaching me on an intellectual level…and make it real in my heart.
In other words, I could see the problem and work on the outward manifestations; I just didn’t know how to change the inner attitudes.
And then along came Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith by Larry Osborne.
I think the best way for you to get a glimpse of the kind of impact this book has–is simply to share a few choice quotes. (It was very hard to put this book down, although I wavered between loving it and hating it at times.)
Stab me in the gut. How many times have I done that? Too many to count. Later on he talks about the curse of comparison:
Now brace yourself, because here is where the real confusion and entrapment comes in. In comparing black-and-white commands of Scripture vs. areas of freedom, Osborne writes:
Osborne then draws the reader’s attention to several examples of this happening in the New Testament to drive home his point.
Later on in the book, he addresses how we ought to deal with one another when the time DOES come to critique, rebuke, or exhort one another:
He describes three temptations when we survey the landscape of unhealthy churches and unhealthy Christians:
He goes on to address subjects like, “Why Evangelists, Missionaries, and Bible Teachers Make Us Feel Guilty.” And “The Money Police.” Yeah. More slicing right to the core.
If you read this book, and I think every Christian could benefit from it, be prepared to have your pet beliefs stepped on a bit if they are out of balance or causing you to have disdain for your brothers and sisters in Christ. I suppose those parts of the book will be different for all of us, but I assure you, when you read them, you’ll be tempted to think, “What a HORRIBLE book! This book encourages Christians to have an “anything goes” mentality! Why, folks will just TAKE ADVANTAGE of God’s grace after reading this book!”
You will be tempted to throw the book away.
He wraps it up this way:
Accidental Pharisees unexpectedly ended up being the “book of the year” for me in 2012. The following short film beautifully illustrates why. God has finally gotten through to me…letting me know I am free to enjoy His good gifts without having to work to earn His love and favor. (Please note: you’ll have to click through to the blog to view the short film if you are reading this in an email.)