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Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith Paperback – October 13, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310494443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310494447
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


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.

Customer Reviews

I just finished reading this book for the second time and have recommended it over and over again.
Ozzie
If we're only doing things because we think we "should", or because we feel like others "expect" us to, then those things become to us like the rules of the Pharisees.
Kezziah June
So, recognizing the ways we judge gives us the freedom to get out from under the heaviness of judgement and love others the way Jesus calls us to love them.
J. Rowan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Heather King on 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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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Nitta on 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 By Brandon P. Lehr on 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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