Format: Trade Paperback
Page Count: 196
Publication Date: 2012
List Price: $14.99
“Is it possible to be Too Zealous for God?” This is the question posed by Osborne in his book, Accidental Pharisees. Utilizing twenty-one chapters divided into seven parts, Osborne unpacks the legalism, pride-driven practices of the Pharisees and makes some uncomfortable comparisons to modern-day Christianity.
In Part 1, Osborne provides the reader with an explanation of who the Pharisees were. Then in the remaining parts, he looks at different practices for which we condemn the Pharisees but turns the mirror upon ourselves to reflect on how we have, at times, moved down that slippery slope.
Parts 2-7 delve into the areas of pride, exclusivity, legalism, idealism, uniformity, and gift projection. Osborne, through Scripture, provides insight into areas that we all probably need to work on. For example, we might not think of ourselves as legalists, but we tend to practice a new legalism by performing a spiritual litmus test on those we meet to see if they conform to our definition of high-commitment Christianity. Consciously or sub-consciously do we feel that everyone should be as radical, missional, theological, or fill-in-the-blank as we are or they are not committed Christians.
Osborne closes each part with discussion questions designed for a small group study. He also provides numerous Scriptural references for each point made. Make sure you have a Bible handy.
This book was hard to wrestle with as we all have tendencies to want to project our form of Christianity on others and condemn, judge, and criticize those who do not “measure up” to our standards. I recommend this book highly to all believers, particularly ministers and lay leaders in the church. Make sure you read it with an open mind and heart and be prepared to have light shined on parts of your life that God wants to work on.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Cross Focused Reviews as part of their Accidental Pharisees Blog Tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”