The Sin of Certainty

Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs



"I had never openly explored my thinking about God, because I was taught that questioning too much was not safe Christian conduct--it would make God very disappointed in me, indeed, and quite angry. So dangerous thoughts lay dormant, never entering my conscious mind. . . . But a common and ordinary moment worked unexpectedly to snatch me from my safe, familiar, and unexamined spiritual neighborhood and plop me down somewhere I never thought I'd land. It was a forced spiritual relocation."--The Sin of Certainty

When did being "right" with God come to mean believing the right things about God--believing the right doctrines, reading the Bible the right way, holding the right views? For many Christians, this idea is at the very center of their religious lives. And that's a problem. Because this focus on being correct can actually distract us from faith and from God. What happens when the security of "knowing what you believe" gets disrupted--as it does sooner or later? What if once-settled questions--like "What is God really like?"--suddenly become unsettled?

These are some of the questions that teacher and scholar Peter Enns addresses in The Sin of Certainty. Here he explores what goes wrong when we have "believing the right things" at the center of our faith and what, instead, should be standing there. For those who have experienced their once rock-solid beliefs beginning to falter, Enns offers hope and guidance for finding a more trustworthy anchor. By exploring scripture and reflecting on his own journey, Enns reveals that challenges and crises of faith may be opportunities for deepening our faith and that God may be the one encouraging us to face those dangerous questions--in order for us to move from needing to be right to trusting God instead.

Why "Having the Right Beliefs" Is Not the Same as Having Faith

Many Christians have gone off course by putting belief and certainty at the center of their faith instead of simply following and trusting Jesus.

"Seldom have I read a book that I so totally agree with! This is a very fine, very readable, often humorous, and much needed analysis of what Western Christianity is up against."--Richard Rohr, author of Falling Upward

"Enns is brilliant. This book is accessible, freeing, empowering, and beautiful. I underlined almost every page. I'm deeply thankful for Enns's work and his new book is right on time for many of us."--Sarah Bessey, author of Out of Sorts and Jesus Feminist

"If you're afraid that your theological questions and doubts disqualify you from being a person of faith, theologian Peter Enns has good news for you. Really good news. And it's a delightful read, too!"--Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity

"Readers will welcome his puckish affirmation of the buoyant, sometimes outrageous, boundary-breaking capacity of biblical faith."--Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination


Peter Enns, Author

Enns, Peter: -

Peter Enns is the Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania. Enns speaks at schools, churches, and seminars across the country and is a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias. He is the author of several books, including The Sin of Certainty, The Bible Tells Me So, Inspiration and Incarnation, and The Evolution of Adam.

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