The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires our Trust More than our “Correct” Beliefs
Paperback, Ebook, 230 pages.
Published by HarperOne, April 2016.
Peter Enns has come under fire a few times, even literally being fired from his position at a prestigious seminary. He is a Bible professor, author, speaker, and founder of The Bible for Normal People, an excellent resource website and podcast.
Why all the controversy? Well… in part… this book and the ideas behind it.
WHAT IF our need to have all the answers is actually idolatry of intellect? What if God is more interested in our hearts and humility than in our theology and understanding? What if accepting mystery and paradox is vital to trust? What if God invites our questions and embraces our honest doubts as a vibrant part of our sanctification?
Through examinations of Scripture and glimpses into his own spiritual journey, Enns gives readers permission to delight in their questions and be assured that God can even increase our faith and intimacy with him through our uncertainty. We can explore faith in all our humanity: uncertain, messy, flawed, and even doubting.
Why I recommend it:
Having grown up in a legalistic, fundamentalist community, I was deeply afraid of admitting my questions and doubts. We were told that 1 Peter 3:15 meant we always had to have to an answer for everything! (In context that verse really just means you should have a testimony — not that believers must possess all-encompassing knowledge.) I felt like a failure if I ever didn’t have the answer or couldn’t answer the questions unbelieving friends might pose.
This book offered me several gifts.
- It gave me the FREEDOM to ask questions without shame.
- It showed me how being a spiritual know-it-all actually exalts me and my knowledge rather than God. That’s idolatry.
- It gave me PEACE and permission to be okay not having all the answers.
- It showed me that, while seeking understanding is good, not knowing everything exhibits HUMILITY and invites TRUST in God in deeper, more authentic ways.
An unexpected consequence: People are far more willing to engage in spiritual conversations with me now. And it’s no wonder! No one likes hanging out with a know-it-all, much less a defensive fearful one.
As I grew more comfortable admitting what I don’t know, what I don’t understand, and what I question, people grew more comfortable admitting the same themselves. Our conversations grew richer and deeper. It has been so beautiful and liberating! And I’ve seen in each of these relationships, our questions have spurred on greater wonder of and delight in God and his majesty.
Caveats & Criticisms:
The only criticism I have is that this book gets a little redundant.