Recommended Book: “The Sin of Certainty” by Peter Enns

Several years ago, I posted a list of resources that contained truths, which were—at the time—useful for setting me free from the shackles that fundamentalist evangelical Christianity placed on my mind and soul. One of those books was “Prisoner in the Third Cell.”

If you were helped by that book, then allow me to recommend another title that is quite similar but will take the concepts of “trusting anyway” to the next degree… and comfort anyone, who is still trying to navigate a post-evangelical, authentic Christian faith.

“The Sin of Certainty” is a bold yet seasoned exploration of what it means to know Jesus in the fellowship of His suffering, to trust God (beyond the stricture of our neatly compartmentalized and even more guarded thoughts about God), in order to actually meet God amid all the mystery of what are often labeled “trials of faith.” Only a Christianity that embraces the mystical can survive the untamed and uncontrollable blowing of the Holy Spirit. In this way, Enns is a bit reminiscent of Søren Kierkegaard.

In addition to my recommending “The Sin of Certainty,” I’ll tell you Peter Enns provides a chapter preview for an upcoming book, and in that preview, he takes time to describe both The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of Certainty.

To end this recommendation, I’ll share a personal story I have with regards to the works of Peter Enns. In the course of my undergraduate Bible degree work, I attended (for 1.5 yrs., 2001/2002) a fundamentalist evangelical university that adopted the use of a Peter Enns theology text. That text adoption was perhaps quite out of character for the university, which all but denied the subjective, relationally interactive relationship of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. To me, such a theological stance was very odd and detrimental for Trinitarians to keep.

So, I transferred to another even more fundamentalist evangelical school, but which boasted its embrace of a Christian life richly interactive with the Spirit. [Unfortunately, that was not true, seeing their legalism (the letter kills) completely distorted any genuine relation to the Spirit.] Early on, during the transfer process, the Holy Spirit gave me a warning of sorts about the “dead right” world into which I was about to further enter. The registrar asked about the text used in courses at the school previous. When I alluded to Enns’ work and pulled it out of my bag, the registrar grimaced, reached for it, and shook his head in repudiation.

My thoughts went something like, “If the last place rejected the Holy Spirit but held to this text; but this place “embraces” the Spirit but rejects this text, then I fear I’m making a mistake.” I did make a mistake in 20/20 hindsight. Had I known then what I know now, or had I but listened to the prompt of the Spirit (as I desired for myself), then I never would have walked the long & painful journey through and out of staunch fundamentalist indoctrination. But, I did. And, I’m still trusting God anyway.

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