10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe: Are Urban Legends And Sunday School Myths Damaging Your Faith? by Larry Osborne
The title of this book grabbed my attention, and Larry Osborne did not disappoint. It is a well-written book. The ten ‘dumb’ things are also dangerous things. People have wreaked their faith and/or walked away from the faith because they have had unrealistic expectations or thought God had promised things that He has not promised. It is not fair to expect God to do things He never promised to do…and then blame Him for not doing them!
Where do these ‘Christian’ Unban Legends come from? Often they come from Scriptures that are taken out of context or our wishful thinking of how we would like things to be. If it sounds good and just to us, it must be right. Right? Wrong. Our finite minds, corrupted by sin, cannot be the final judge. We must search the Word of God in context. Paul commended the Bereans because they were willing to check out what even the Apostle Paul was teaching with Scripture - Acts 17:11. Yet how many times do we accept what a respected preacher or writer says without checking it out? I can think of several Christian writers who are excellent on some topics and in serious error on other topics. This is how urban legends are born. Something is taken out of context, taught, accepted, and passed on so often that it just becomes a ‘self-evident fact’.
One of the points in 10 Dumb Things That Smart Christians Believe that I appreciated was when he pointed out that Proverbs are not promises. Proverbs are a look at how life was designed to operate and how it generally does. This does not make them God’s guarantee of how things are going to work out in every case. While the diligent generally prosper and the lazy usually suffer, we know that is not always the case in this life.
One of the proverbs that is often taken as a promise rather than a general observation is Proverbs 22:6, which states, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This can lead to two dangerous extremes. First, Godly parents who have compliant children may have undue pride in their parenting skills and be judgmental of parents who struggle with unruly children. Second, parents of strong-willed children or children who, as teenagers or adults, abandon the faith may have undue guilt. They may feel like they were terrible parents because of the choices their older children make. They may have been just as good as the other parents. Children are not robots, and they stand before God for the choices they make.
I do recommend you get this book. It is well worth reading to see if you have fallen for any of the dangerous, false ideas that are commonly accepted as ‘facts’ in Christianity. Don’t fall for disillusionment or heartache because you have been believing the wrong things about God and how life works.
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