Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs Hardcover – April 5, 2016
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Enns is an acute reader of texts. His readers will welcome his puckish affirmation of the buoyant, sometimes outrageous, boundary-breaking capacity of biblical faith.” (Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary)
“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 D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity)
“Enns is brilliant at taking the big topics, those Christian ideas that usually scare us or intimidate us or worry us, and then make those very places a meeting place with a God who is bigger and wilder and more wonderful and trustworthy than we ever could have guessed.” (Sarah Bessey, author of Out of Sorts and Jesus Feminist)
“This book is accessible, freeing, empowering, and beautiful. I underlined almost every page. I only wish I had it in my hands fifteen years ago! 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)
“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)
“The idea that at all times you must know what you believe, Enns writes, leads to having a closed heart to trusting God. I commend this book to you.” (Faith Matters)
“Peter Enns’ new book, The Sin of Certainty, will make you reflect on your life and question what you believe. That’s a good thing.” (Joel Anderson, Resurrecting Orthodoxy)
“Blending personal stories with Scripture, the book offers a new look at how the Christian life truly works.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Enns has delivered yet another to-be-read-frequently volume to my library.” (Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice)
“Virtually every page offers pithy and profound insight and wisdom… packed full of enough spiritual reflection, historical context, and biblical insight to keep me thinking about it long after I finished reading it.” (Patheos)
“I couldn’t put this book down - twice. Peter Enns writes with an engaging style that makes the challenging ideas accessible to the average reader, even those who do not normally read non-fiction.” (#PopChrist)
“Enns asserts that Christians can focus so much on the angst of uncertainty that they place God inside a stifling mental box. . . . A fine work for believers of all stripes.” (Library Journal)
“What is so compelling about Enns’ approach for Christian readers is that he writes about his own deep faith in God . . . refreshing. He’s a remarkable storyteller.” (Read the Spirit)
From the Back Cover
“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
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
While his primary argument against certainty is well-done, I found his arguments for the sort of faith that might sustain us in the post-certainty age to be somewhat lacking. Yes, God wants our trust not our certainty and yes, we should be learning to live without fear, but Enns is fairly brief in his comments about where we go from here, and he doesn’t show much imagination for what exactly this might look like in day-to-day life. For instance, a good deal could be said about the role of the local church community in providing a degree of stability in the post-certainty era – via something like the “hermeneutics of peoplehood” (Yoder), or the intersubjectivity of Polanyi, or the community as the bearer of tradition (MacIntyre). Although certainty has failed us, I believe that God continues to provide for our intellectual and emotional frailty as humans, and I wish Enns would have explored possibilities like these in greater depth.
My qualms aside, the most pressing issue today is for us to recognize our idolatry of certainty and the fear and hatred that it incites in us. Enns is a wise and sensible guide on this first leg of the journey we must travel into deeper faith and trust in God, our creator and sustainer.
To quote the author, “This book is about thinking differently about faith, a faith that is not so much defined by *what we believe but in *whom we trust. In fact ... we have misunderstood faith as a *what word rather than a *who word—as primarily beliefs *about rather than primarily as *trust in.”
I really enjoy Dr. Enns' writing style. I appreciate his use of humor: "if anyone tells you Christianity is a crutch, you should take one of those crutches and beat him over the head with it (in Christian love, of course, making sure to tell them you will be praying for a quick recovery)."
In this book he is especially vulnerable about his personal journey and how he has struggled to have "the right" kind of faith. I learned a lot from what he shared about his personal self-discovery, especially the times he lacked self-awareness. I can relate!
It is kind of an unexpected follow-up to "Incarnation and Inspiration' but it is a logical move. If after growing up assuming the Bible has all the answers is free of error, has no historical inconsistencies, etc., and then you get educated to a more realistic view of the Scriptures, you are immediately faced with the question, 'why then bother with the Bible?' I think his answer is that the Bible is a door to a world where God is relevant but in ways we might not have thought of.
Pistus is trust in God. God is the object of our trust, not propositional truth claims about reality.
After years of taking inventory, I've thrown out much of the cultural clutter that had become indistinguishable from my core convictions. However, reassessing and reasserting one's core convictions can be most disorienting and leave you wondering what is and isn't dependable footing.
Enns has done a masterful job disentangling what amounts to the defense of a thought system vs. the more open, always vulnerable path of trusting God, even - especially - in the midst of uncertainty. This resonated deeply with me on both an intellectual and experiential level. I'm indebted to this author for helping me identify what can stay and what can be jettisoned. Funny how little certainty has to do with the firmer footing of trusting God.
Most recent customer reviews
I have an open offer to my circle of family and friends: if you will read it, I will buy this...Read more