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Pete Enns & The Bible for Normal People

“believing in God” or “believing our belief about God”?

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.

“When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God–it is only believing our belief about Him. . . . If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled.”

The above quote is from a post entitled  “Gracious Uncertainty” at the Oswald Chambers website My Utmost for His Highest. (See also here, TSOCwhere I posted on this same quote nearly two years ago when The Sin of Certainty was barely a whisper in the back of my mind.)

Chambers has, as always, a deep perspective to share. It’s a very short piece, so please read what he has to say there.

At a couple of points I thought there might be some distance between his thoughts and what I try to say in The Sin of Certainty, because Chambers speaks of being “certain of God.”

But after reading the quote more carefully, what he means is not an intellectual certainty, but a deeper trust in God where we abandon the need for certainty in our lives in general.

Chambers’s challenge is to be open to a future that cannot be controlled by our “beliefs.”

By trusting God, we are opening ourselves to a life “full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy” where we are “gloriously and graciously uncertain” about what God is up to next.

That sounds a bit risky, but it beats thinking our lives follow a set, clear, and certain script.

 

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