Thursday, August 1, 2013

Book Review: Accidental Pharisee

The title of this book attracted me immediately and, because of events going on in my life, I knew this would be a book I'd want to review.  Immediately, I was drawn into this book by Osborne's easy writing style.  Without it's own tone of judgment, Larry Osborne leads his readers into an introspective journey about how we all have a pharisee living inside of us; the voice that wants to judge another's decisions or actions, even though those decisions or actions do not fall out of line with God's word.

In Accidental Pharisees, we look at a variety of biblical people that didn't "fit the bill" of a devout Christian, yet, in the end, God accepts them, welcomes them and calls them His own.

Osborne gets right to the heart of the matter with defining the actions of a Pharisee, " they pile on heavy burdens (by way of extra rules) and lots of guilt.  But they don't lift a finger to make things easier."  These are Jesus' words (parahprased, of course) from Matthew.  Further, Osborne addresses the "extra biblical" rules that we desire to place on other people because they don't measure up to our definitions, our personal convictions or our spiritual comparisons.  He states, "My kids' T-ball teams taught me how powerful our innate urge to compare is and how quickly we categorize people as winners or losers, based on the flimsiest of reasons."  And this doesn't just happen on t-ball fields.  He's talking about our churches.

Speaking the truth in love, Osborne shows us areas where we may take information we know about our fellow Christians and use it to justify looking down on them.  He tackles the touchy subjects of Pride, Exclusivity, Legalism, the need for uniformity around you, money police and gift projection (you know, when MY calling becomes ((or should)) everyone else's calling).

The Accidental Pharisee is a must-read book for all church attendees, in my opinion. This is a wake-up call to the Christian church about how we treat each other; how we inaccurately and inappropriately judge others we call brothers and sisters in Christ.  Osborne does an excellent job of treading this tender subject without adopting a tone that is condescending or patronizing.  We'd do well to learn from Osborne's heedings and turn our focus back onto Jesus instead of it being on those sitting down the pew from us.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. 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.”