Book Review Accidental Pharisees
The Pharisees generally get a bad rap in Christianity today, and it’s not hard to see why since they were subject to Christ’s hardest and harshest words. Having grown up in the Church, I have seen modern Pharisees parade around like they know everything as if “knowing” everything was the essence of what biblical Christianity is. What is often missed in all of this is the fact that the Pharisees were one of the most if not the most well-educated group of Jewish believers trained thoroughly in the Hebrew Scriptures. While they “knew” a lot about the Bible even they got things wrong as they paraded around what they “knew” instead of being humbled by how God has revealed His Truth to His people in and through His Word. As Christians we can fall into the trap of pretending like we “know” everything also, but when we do so we aren’t just Pharisees intentionally but “accidental Pharisees”, Pharisees “who despite the best of intentions and a desire to honor God, unwittingly end up pursuing an overzealous model of faith that sabotages the work of the Lord we think we’re serving” (17). In his helpful new book seasoned Pastor Larry Osborne writes Accidental Pharisees Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, And the Other Dangers of overzealous Faith to take on six of the most common dangers of overzealous faith and then shows how to avoid these mistakes.
In high school I acted like a know it all even though I didn’t think I did. I’ve had many people who knew me in high school who’ve I’ve stayed in contact with tell me that in high school I would jam the Bible down their throats with what I “knew”. What I described in the first paragraph of this review isn’t just some hypothetical or theoretical piece of information I fit the bill in every way, and often still do (pride is very subtle!). Being an “accidental Pharisee” may not be intentional, but it’s as easy as using the Bible to “judge” someone while at the same time not having all the information about the person or the situation and thus not only bear false witness against a brother or sister but also dishonoring the Lord of glory. In this and many other ways, Pastor Larry Osborne holds up the Truth of God’s Word in this insightful book to shine the light of Jesus Christ before our eyes so that we would behold Jesus as more precious than our sin and truly delight in Him alone.
Accidental Pharisees is a much needed book in the American Church today. This book is likely to generate a great deal of conversation in the blogosphere and rightly so. Some will accuse Larry and likely question his motives but the truth of the matter is Larry has been a Christian leader for a long time and as such has been there and done that in the Christian life and ministry. As a seasoned man of God and Pastor, Larry has learned what it means to stand on the edge and proclaim the difficult truths of God’s Word to God’s people. Every single one of us has religion in us, and a there is a lot of it in the church. This book will help expose the religion in our hearts, and in our lives which is why I recommend this helpful resource for recovering Pharisees like me.
This book is biblical, and will likely be controversial as it steps on people’s toes by confronting their religion and pride, but as it painfully exposes people’s sin; the book rightly points people towards the truth and beauty of Jesus Christ. This book will help us to give pause to examine our motives, and ministries in light of Scripture and to live out the gospel in fresh and liberating ways.
Author: Larry Osborne
Publisher: Zondervan (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”