Book Review: The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns

 

  • 1Enns-780x1024Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (April 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006227208X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062272089
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

 

Many thanks to HarperOne for a review copy of Peter Enns The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs.

An Overview

Mr. Enns begins anecdotally, how while watching a Disney movie he had one of those God moments–a moment that would challenge his own thinking. In a way, The Sin of Certainty is autobiographical of Enns’ own faith journey–a journey of disillusionment with the pursuit of certainty at the expense of simply trusting God.  “The problem is trusting our beliefs rather than trusting God.”  Enns also explores how we got into this mess of “trusting our beliefs rather than God.”  Mr. Enns then demonstrates from Scripture how those we hail as heroes of the faith wrestle with doubt and uncertainty, leading them to simple trust in God.  And from his own life–loss of professorship over his writings and family challenges–Mr. Enns shares how they led to cultivating simple trust in God.

Critique

While I generally enjoy reading The Sin of Certainty, I wish Mr. Enns had done more with the “boundaries” of Christianity.  Mr. Enns mentions that there are “boundaries” in the Christian faith but does little in demonstrating that even where there are doubts and uncertainties, we need these boundary markers to remain Christian.  A high point of Enns The Sin of Certainty is the need for a kind of mysticism in the journey of faith.  According to Enns, the Jesus we encounter in the Gospels is more of a mystic.  I quite agree.  Mr. Enns is also correct that we need to explore and learn from other traditions in our own journey of faith.  But even here I think Mr. Enns got a bit carried away.

Conclusion

“Church is too often the most risky place to be spiritually honest.  What a shame.”  We’ve gotten into a mess, where we put more trust in “correct” beliefs rather than God.  I believe Peter Enns’ The Sin of Certainty is a step in the right direction, for it challenges the reader to rethink and revisit what the Christian faith and following Christ is all about.

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