When smart Christians are dumb


Just Because “Everyone Believes It”Doesn’t Make It True

People don’t set out to build their faith upon myths and spiritual urban legends. But somehow such falsehoods keep showing up in the way that many Christians think about life and God. These goofy ideas and beliefs are assumed by millions to be rock-solid truth . . . until life proves they’re not. The sad result is often a spiritual disaster—confusion, feelings of betrayal, a distrust of Scripture, loss of faith, anger toward both the church and God.

But it doesn’t have to be so. In this delightfully personal and practical book, respected Bible teacher Larry Osborne confronts ten widely held beliefs that are both dumb and dangerous. Beliefs like these:

1. Faith Can Fix Anything
John’s faith and Susan’s cancer – Why positive thinking can’t change anything – The big problem with faith in faith – How the English language mucks up everything – How faith sometimes makes things worse – One story you can bet the kids in Sunday school will never hear – The one thing faith can always fix – What a geographical moron and a GPS have in common with a life of faith

2. Forgiving Means Forgetting
Four goofy ideas about forgiveness – The myth of a forgetful God – The two realms of forgiveness – Are justice and forgiveness mutually exclusive? – The strange math of score keeping-why it is nearly always inaccurate – The power of a good mirror – Something for Calvinists and Arminians to fight about – The prayer of Permission – Why you might want to take a sin walk-and how God will meet you there

3. A Godly Home Guarantees Godly Kids
Why Don and Sharon hate it when their friends pull out the pictures – Mike and Rhonda’s head-in-the-sand optimism – The one promise lots of parents count on that isn’t really a promise-and why it doesn’t say what most people think it says – How B. F. Skinner snuck into our churches – Mitch’s foolish pride – How Ten Rules for Raising Godly Kids became Three Suggestions for Surviving Parenthood – Why bad kids often make great adults

4. God Has a Blueprint for My Life
Why does the search for God’s will feel like an Easter egg hunt? – Why a blueprint is a bad metaphor for God’s will-and why a game plan is a great metaphor for God’s will – Is there a reason why the New Testament ignores the kind of decisions we typically stress over? – Why God doesn’t do consulting, and what happens when we think he does – How obedience makes everything (even some pretty lousy decisions) better

5. Christians Shouldn’t Judge
How to get your non-Christians friends to quote the Bible – Why “Do not judge” doesn’t mean what most people think it means – When and how the idea of tolerance changed from “You have the right to be wrong” into “Nobody is wrong” – Log-in-eye disease – Did God really forget to put some important stuff in the Bible? – Why it’s a bad idea to judge non-Christians by Christian standards – Are judgment and grace incompatible?

6. Everything Happens for a Reason
Nancy’s cancer ¡ Happy talk and other stupid things people say – How Romans 8:28 became the most misunderstood and misquoted verse in the Bible – Two conditions most people don’t seem to notice – Are self-inflicted wounds God’s doing? – Why Murphy matters – Can a bad thing be a good thing? – Why we might want Jesus to wait a while before coming back – The power in a path called obedience

7. Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide
The one type of person I’ve never been able to help – The musings of a tax dodger -A Jiminy Cricket code of ethics-why so many people trust it and why that’s not a smart thing to do – How our conscience is more like a thermostat than a thermometer – Blind spots and bad software – What heart disease does to our conscience – The one thing everyone’s conscience does with unerring accuracy.

8. God Brings Good Luck
Why I worry when someone angles to be last in line – Tim’s rather “unusual” choice of words – The high price of unrealistic and unfounded promises – Job’s wife and Asaph’s journal ¡ Eddie Haskell Christians-do they really think God is stupid? – Do we? – Why it’s never a good idea to judge a king’s banquet by the finger food – One cliché that’s not only wrong but flat-out absurd – Why an abundant life might not be so abundant.

9. A Valley Means a Wrong Turn
Why my Dark Years had nothing to do with a wrong turn. – How extended valleys can make our friends’ advice nearly worthless – Three simple but profound fog-cutting questions – The kind of valley we never want to leave prematurely – Shortcuts we don’t want to take, even if they work – The day a bunch of guys with iron chariots proved to be stronger than a bunch of guys with God on their side – What to do when God says, “Get someone else to help you”

10. Dead People Go to a Better Place
How to start a mini riot – The truth about wicked Uncle Ernie – Funeral assurances and the frantic search for a nod-to-God – Blame Jesus – The myth behind the myth – A rather testy e-mail – How and when did obedience become an extra-credit assignment? – Why Mickey Cohen couldn’t be a Christian gangster – The big difference between struggling and setting up camp – The one tell-tale sign of whether or not we love God


I’m a husband, father, pastor & author. Since 1980 I’ve had the incredible privilege of serving the congregation at North Coast Church in Vista, CA. It’s been a ride far beyond anything I ever imagined. I’m married to an amazing woman named Nancy. We have three great kids of whom I’m incurably proud. All their good traits are hers.


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