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Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith [Kindle Edition]

Larry Osborne
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $7.69
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing

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Book Description

Zealous faith can have a dangerous, dark side. While recent calls for radical Christians have challenged many to be more passionate about their faith, the down side can be a budding arrogance and self-righteousness that “accidentally” sneaks into our outlook.


In Accidental Pharisees, bestselling author Larry Osborne diagnoses nine of the most common traps that can ensnare Christians on the road to a deeper life of faith.  Rejecting attempts to turn the call to follow Christ into a new form of legalism, he shows readers how to avoid the temptations of pride, exclusivity, legalism, and hypocrisy,


Larry reminds us that attempts to fan the flames of full-on discipleship and call people to Christlikeness should be rooted in love and humility. Christians stirred by calls to radical discipleship, but unsure how to respond, will be challenged and encouraged to develop a truly Christlike zeal for God.



Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Larry Osborne is a teaching pastor at North Coast Church in northern San Diego County. North Coast is widely recognized as one of the most influential and innovative churches in America. Osborne speaks extensively on the subjects of leadership and spiritual formation. His books include Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, and Spirituality for the Rest of Us. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Oceanside, California.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1418 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 9, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JJE09C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,880 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zealous, but not Over-Zealous October 10, 2012
Format:Paperback
Accidental Pharisees is a book that calls us back from the extreme. We have a tendency as Christians to swing wide from absolute to absolute, without achieving balance. "God is loving and compassionate and full of mercy" or "God is holy and hates sin." "We only need liturgy" or "We need no liturgy in our worship." "Salvation is about faith and depends on grace" or "True salvation has to show up as works." Always Either/Or.

We're experiencing a new wave of what Larry Osborne terms "over-zealousness" in our churches that is having the unfortunate effect. It's transforming the modern church into a group of pharisees, albeit accidental ones. We've begun to judge and criticize, add works-based expectations onto salvation, and insinuate that in order to REALLY love Jesus, you need salvation PLUS.

His argument took some convincing for me and there were times I put the book down and actually said aloud, "I just don't know what to make of this book." There are elements of truth in each of the movements he talks about and their books are extremely persuasive and convicting. But the problem isn't being zealous, it's being OVER-zealous. The problem isn't obedience. It's when we expect God's call on every one else to be the same He's given us.

I myself have reviewed book after book after book by every bestseller author out there it seems, all saying the same thing--we have to do radical, crazy, life-changing things in order to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. At the end of each book, though, I've felt frustrated and more than a little disillusioned because God didn't call me to move my family oversees to be a missionary or sell my house and live on a commune or adopt from Ethiopia.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Contains some wisdom but overall it's not clear... March 27, 2013
Format:Paperback
I must say that I think what Larry Osborne constantly brings to the table in his books is the reminder to stay balanced and not swing to extremes. This tendency in modern Christianity, as he notes in Accidental Pharisees, is to swing wildly from emphasis to another. I do think this is helpful to keep us from jumping from one "this is key" to the next "this is key".
His premise that there is something about the current emphasis on the danger of extreme expressions/expectations of Christianity is very helpful. His warnings against using words like "radical", "sold out", "reckless", "crazy" and other descriptions serves as a great reminder that our use of hype or extreme language is problematic. In using such language it can have the effect of feeding pride and exclusivity leaving a sense of either you are one of the sold out or you are mediocre.

But here's my critique of the book. Right out of the gate, I'm not sure if the word Pharisee is the best word. It's an old word that has a particular meaning in a particular context and maybe it's overused today. It's kind of like the word "Nazi" where the use of the word means more than what historically it meant. I think there are other words to use that describe what Larry is getting at without any of the other baggage. But to call someone even an accidental Pharisee, in my opinion, is not very clear.

Second, in highlighting the extreme language of some proponents, maybe the goal was not to "out" people but there is only one quote from David Platt as representative of this position. It would be helpful to cite references where extreme language is used. I also take a bit of an issue with painting all people concerned with being gospel-centered and missional as representative of this new Phariseeism.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for everyone October 27, 2012
Format:Paperback
The Pharisees

What were they thinking?

The Son of God himself shows up full of grace and truth, and all they wanted to do is argue over weekends and hand washing! Glad I'm not like those sinners. I wouldn't have been so foolish. It just goes to show that some people, just don't get it!

Wow, I'm starting to sound a little Pharisaical myself. It seems that even when we have the best of intentions to love and obey God, we can sometimes end up fighting against him.

This is exactly the sort of thing Larry Osborne discusses in his book Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith. It seems that it is often those who earnestly seek God the most, that succumb to the same errors that have made the Pharisees infamous.

I'm not going to lie. At times, I found myself becoming a little uncomfortable while reading this one. Osborne takes on some of today's most popular ideas, explaining how that by taking even "good" ideas too far, they can lead us into the life of the Pharisees. He covers the topics of pride, exclusivity, legalism, idolizing the past, the quest for uniformity, and gift projection. Each of these are approached with a loving, yet critical eye through the lens of scripture.

To highlight a few points, his treatment of exclusivity was rather well done. It seems we can sometimes be more preoccupied with thinning the herd as opposed to expanding the kingdom. Another topic Larry Osborne expounded upon, was the difference between unity and uniformity. As Christians we find our unity in our belonging to and life in Christ. The problem arises when we insist on uniformity instead of unity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Never had quite so much fun getting my toes stomped on
Never had quite so much fun getting my toes stomped on. Started reading so I could spot "those guys", only to discover I was one of those guys. Read more
Published 6 days ago by charles wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars The product arrived in good condition with no issues at all
This one in a series of audio dramas. It is very well done and exciting to listen to. The product arrived in good condition with no issues at all.
Denis C.
Published 15 days ago by Crink
4.0 out of 5 stars The good quality I have come to expect from Larry Osborne
The good quality I have come to expect from Larry Osborne. Exposed the Pharisee inside of me and pointed me to Jesus for forgiveness. Happy with the book.
Published 26 days ago by Daniel Solofra
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely one of the next books you should read
Through reading this book, I was impressed upon the power of grace. It is so beautiful that Jesus loves us when we fail. We all will. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Josh Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars The painful truth. I am going to read it again!
While most of us read the title to this book and immediately think of someone else, be forewarned. Somewhere in this book you will recognize yourself, and it won't feel good. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anne Ricketts
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
No one should read this book. They all should be burned.
Published 1 month ago by Ronald W. Fortune
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be Required Reading
There are a handful of books which should be required reading for Christians. This is one of them. Great reminder to prevent what too often happens to Christians over time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Falls
5.0 out of 5 stars Accidental Pharisees
I truly loved this book. It was easy to read. It flowed smoothly. It is life changing. I recommend it.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advise on how not to become a Pharisee.
This book pulls no punches! It is far too easy for us to point the fingers at others to make themselves feel more superior and fill ourselves with pride. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Music Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Very well written and point well made as well as taken.
Published 3 months ago by Grandmother
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More About the Author

Larry Osborne is one of the senior and teaching pastors at North Coast Church in Vista, California. Under his leadership, weekend attendance has grown from 128 to over 10,000. Recognized nationally as one of the 10 Most Influential Churches in America and one of the most innovative, North Coast Church pioneered the use of video worship venues and is one of the leaders in the multi-site movement with more than 31 local worship options each weekend-each one targeted at a different missional demographic. More than 90 percent of North Coast's average weekend attendance participates in weekly sermon-based small groups, a concept that is spreading across the nation as an alternative to traditional small group methodologies. Osborne's books include Innovation's Dirty Little Secret, Accidental Pharisees, Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, Mission Creep, The Unity Factor, A Contrarian's Guide to Spirituality and 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe.

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