The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our

The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs

by Peter Enns


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The controversial evangelical Bible scholar and author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy.

With compelling and often humorous stories from his own life, Bible scholar Peter Enns offers a fresh look at how Christian life truly works, answering questions that cannot be addressed by the idealized traditional doctrine of “once for all delivered to the saints.” Enns offers a model of vibrant faith that views skepticism not as a loss of belief, but as an opportunity to deepen religious conviction with courage and confidence. This is not just an intellectual conviction, he contends, but a more profound kind of knowing that only true faith can provide.

Combining Enn’s reflections of his own spiritual journey with an examination of Scripture, The Sin of Certainty models an acceptance of mystery and paradox that all believers can follow and why God prefers this path because it is only this way by which we can become mature disciples who truly trust God. It gives Christians who have known only the demand for certainty permission to view faith on their own flawed, uncertain, yet heartfelt, terms.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062272089
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Peter Enns is Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has taught courses at several other institutions, including Harvard University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. Enns is a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias and is the author of several books, including Inspiration and Incarnation and The Evolution of Adam. His popular blog The Bible for Normal People can be found at

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 I Don't Know What I Believe Anymore

Thanks for Nothing, Walt Disney 2

Can We Just Be Honest for a Second, Please? 7

Okay, I'll Go First 11

What's So Sinful About Certainty? 16

Thinking Is Good 20

Chapter 2 How We Got into This Mess

Know What You Believe (or Else) 28

Oh Great, We Came from Monkeys 34

Seriously Weird Stories from Long Ago 37

The Germans Are Coming (Like We Need This Right Now) 40

Slavery: Whose Side Is God On? 43

Again with the Germans 47

Why "Defenders of the Faith" Are Raising White Flags 51

Chapter 3 "You Abandoned Me, God; You Lied" (and Other Bible Lessons)

Parts of the Bible We Don't Read in Church (but Should) 56

God Is a Liar 62

The World Makes Perfect Sense Without God 66

Chapter 4 Two Miserable People Worth Listening To Trust God Anyway 74

Don't Even Try to Understand What God is Up To 81

Chapter 5 Believing in God: So Easy Even a Demon Can Do It

Who, Not What 92

Amen 95

Faith Isn't Something in Your Head (or Heart) 98

"All to Jesus! Surrender" 103

There Goes Jesus Being Jesus Again 107

But, But… What About…? 113

Chapter 6 Uh-Oh: When Certainty Is Caught Off Guard (and Why That Might Not Be Such a Bad Idea)

When Life Happens 118

God Did What, Now? 121

Our Pale Blue Dot 125

Falling Branches 130

Meeting New People 135

When Christians Eat Their Own 140

God Is Not My Father 144

When "Uh-Oh" Becomes "Ah-Ha" 150

Chapter 7 God Wants You Dead

The Lie: "It's All Your Fault" 156

The Truth: "God Wants You Dead" 160

Down the Mine Shaft 166

Let's Bring This Aboveground 171

Chapter 8 Cultivating a Habit of Trust

Ever Have One of Those Decades? 174

Live Strong 177

August 1, 2008 182

Honoring Your Head Without Living in It 187

The Long Haul 195

Being Like Jesus 198

Chapter 9 Beyond Trust

No Fear 204

Go and Sin No More 207

Acknowledgments 213

Notes 217

Scripture Index 229

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