9 Common Lies Christians Believe

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It is amazing that some Christians believe things about the faith that are not really in the Bible. They may have been preached by a well-meaning pastor yet there is no Biblical support. I have heard a few myself such as "Cleanliness is next to godliness." Not sure where that came from but we do not see that in Scripture. Sure living a godly life will keep you from sin which is what leads us to holiness. 

Shane Pruitt confronts these so-called beliefs, which he calls common lies, in his book, 9 Common Lies Christians Believe. There are nine chapters in the book, after a brief introduction, which he addresses these issues:

God Won’t Give Me More Than I Can Handle

God Gained Another Angel

God Just Wants Me to Be Happy

I Could Never Forgive That Person

Follow Your Heart

God Doesn’t Really Care

Well, _____ Will Never Change

I Don’t Think God Likes Me

Believe in Yourself

Some of these I have heard in the church, but there are some I have heard from the world especially believing in yourself. Pruitt tells a story in each chapter as a way of introducing then uses the Bible to defunct these lies that some Christians have believed over the years. 

I think Pruitt does a good job addressing these teachings some Christians have embraced and looking at them through a Biblical point of view rather than a worldly one.
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As a pastor, church planter, evangelist, and denominational leader, Shane Pruit has seen and heard from Christians in all walks of life and stages of maturity.  Along the way, he's learned that some things Christians say and believe are flat wrong.  In his book 9 Common Lies Christians Believe, with wit and grace he disabuses his readers of notions that they may have been holding on to.  

Each chapter introduces one of the nine ideas, discusses the impact these ideas have on the way we live and believe, and offers a right way of thinking about each flawed idea.  For example, how many times have you heard, when someone passes away, "God gained another angel."  A nice sentiment (I guess), but Pruitt points out that angels and humans are different by nature, and that "it's actually better for you to be human than to be an angel."  When someone dies, a better note of comfort is that "God does not gain another angel.  Rather, God calls another worshipper to come home."

In another encouraging chapter, Pruitt challenges the notion that some people never change.  He writes, "No one is too far gone.  There is no human still alive who is outside the possible reach of God's forgiving and transforming grace."  I need this reminder all the time.  It's easy for me to dismiss people without remembering that everyone is in need of a savior and the the power of the gospel can transform even the most hardened sinner (or annoying neighbor).

As Pruitt runs through his list of nine lies, there are probably some that you never have believed.  I would bet there are some that you have, unconsciously if not consciously.  And I'm certain that people sitting in the pews around you each week embrace some of these.  With love and a pastor's heart, Pruitt points us in the right direction, reminding us to be sure that what we believe is in line with scripture.  

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
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Sometimes, as Christians, we say things not out of the truth of the Bible, but out of the foolishness of the world. Sometimes it’s extremely hard to realize which we are spreading. Why? Because we have heard one-liners from other Christians for our entire lives and we think: surely if ______ said it, it has to be true. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. This is the phenomenon that Shane Pruitt is attempting to counter in his upcoming book, 9 Common Lies Christians Believe (pre-order now; releases February 19).

What are these lies he’s talking about? In my opinion, his strongest example comes first. Chapter 1 takes on the common refrain “God won’t give me more than I can handle.” This is a tricky one because it sounds like a paraphrase of something the Bible actually says. But here’s the verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.
We often say to others “God won’t give you more than you can handle” as a way of saying that the suffering they’re feeling won’t increase beyond what they’re able to bear. But that’s not what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians. He is speaking specifically of temptation, and God is providing the way out of that temptation. In other words, God won’t put us in a situation where the only option is to sin. We are twisting God’s words.

Pruitt takes down these lies that Christians say to themselves or to each other, but he does not leave it there. He always provides the truth of God that is so much better than these lies. For example, here is an excerpt from Chapter 1, again about the idea of God “not giving us more than we can handle”:

One of the greatest promises that God gives us in Scripture is not that He will keep us out of difficult situations or that He will make sure we never experience suffering. Rather, He promises to be with us in those difficult situations and be an ever-present help in time of suffering. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
Isn’t that so much more comforting and edifying than “Eh, God won’t let it get too bad”? As an added bonus, it’s the truth. It allows you to rest:

Relying on Jesus means you don’t have to figure out how to be victorious over rough times, because His victory will be your victory. Rest in that truth. Walk in that freedom.
Rachel Hollis, are you listening?!? You don’t have to try harder or be better, because God is better. And He doesn’t have to try hard because He is God. God is with you. His victory is your victory.

What other lies to Pruitt counter with the truth of God?

“I could never forgive that person.”

“Follow your heart.”

“Believe in yourself.”

“Well, ______ will never change.” (For anyone that believes this one, I urge you to look at the life of Chuck Colson.)

He takes on each one lovingly but bluntly, not shying away from pointing out the lies in the message. And for each one, he explains (as the subtitle rightfully claims) why God’s truth is better. I urge you to look into this book. It is needed in the church to make sure that our advice to both ourselves and others comes from the truth of the Bible and not the folly of the world.

I received this book as an eARC courtesy of Waterbrook & Multnomah and NetGalley, but my opinions are my own.
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This is not a theological commentary. Although there is no deep exegesis, Bible verses are examined in context and explained why it doesn't support the common lie.  There are so many stories, it feels like I'm reading a devotional. Too many stories. I just want to get to the point - why are they lies? We determine if something's a lie, not because all the sad stories in the chapter makes us feel it. It's determined by logical interpretations of the Word of God. So this book 
would be better without all those stories.
I don't agree that all 9 are common beliefs. For example, although I know some Christians who cannot forgive themselves, I don't think it's common that many Christians believe that God cannot forgive them. Here's a few points that were presented in the book.
1: God won't give me more than I can handle
All of life is more than we can handle; we need God's help to handle it.
Yes, God gives you more than you can handle. It's actually, God won't give you more than He can handle.
3: God just wants me to be happy.
This is a weak chapter. He pretty much says God wants us to have joy, there's a difference. OK then, is it "God just wants me to have joy?" That's also a lie. There's a greater purpose than just having joy. Life isn't about me. I was hoping he would approach the lie in this way, but he doesn't.
5: Follow your heart
Don't follow your heart. Follow God.
9: Believe in Yourself
Yes, I admit it's a common lie, even among Christians. But I think every true disciple can defeat this lie of the self-esteem movement.
 Moderately recommended.
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9 Lies Christians Believe
By Shane Pruitt
“The common superficial lies that we believe as Christians and pass off to one another as truth were not the least bit helpful when things got really hard. They were like sand to a thirsty man.”
This self-help book addresses 9 lies we Christians get caught up in while following our faith. The lies shared are a great start to what I am sure others struggle with. It is easy to read the titles and feel that they are unrelatable, or that you are beyond needing help in those specific areas. Once you begin reading though I believe you will find yourself relating more then you’d thought you would. I did at least. Pruitt brings to live these 9 points by sharing personal experiences and stories of others followed by Gods truth on the matter as well as questions for thought.
“The clichés we hear may seem harmless, innocent or even cute in the moment. However, we need to realize what they are- lies. And if they are believed for too long, they may become a very dangerous virus to our faith.”
Lie 1: God won’t give me more than I can handle
Lie 2: God gained another angel 
Lie 3: God just wants me to be happy
Lie 4: I could never forgive that person
Lie 5: Follow your heart
Lie 6: God doesn’t really care
Lie 7: Well, _____ will never change
Lie 8: I don’t think God likes me
Lie 9: Believe in yourself
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Its so easy to look at the lies brought up in the book and think that it's not something that applies to your life but as you dive into the chapters, you realize how many lies you have either once believed or still hold on to as true! One truth bomb that was laid out and so convicting was "the ultimate reason we want God to like us is because we think if He likes us, He will do what we want Him to do." This is a good read easy to understand and I was able to see the personal application. The examples were great and helped to illustrate the concept. I enjoyed this! There are plenty of funny moments (the boxing incident was hilarious) to lighten what could easily be heavy subject matter. A must read!
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The lies are rather well explained and posed in a way that allows you to come to your own conclusion. However, while discovering what the lie was and how it was explained was the reason for me requesting this book, I actually gained more from the introduction that put the lies into context. So intimate and insightful, its hard not to feel invested.
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Throughout the history of Christianity, pleasant sounding sayings have come into common use. One the surface, they can sound harmless, even Biblical. In reality, they are lies that have misled even mature Christians.  Shane Pruitt addresses a selection of these lies in 9 Common Lies Christians Believe.

The lies addressed cover things in this life and in Heaven, such as God will not give you more than you can handle and people become angels in Heaven. Though they are meant to help comfort and guide people, they will actually cause Christians to believe and follow the wrong path, often away from God.

Each chapter includes a story to introduce the lie that will be addressed. They come from both Pruitt's life and from other people. He then tells what the Bible really says about the subject and explains what we should believe instead of the lie. Though he gives detailed information, the book is easy to read.

Many of the lies addressed in the book have been spoken by well-meaning Christians for a long time. Even if you knew they were lies, you might have been at a loss for how to deal with them. 9 Common Lies Christians Believe can help give you the information you need to lovingly correct others who have fallen into these traps. I believe this book is something that can help clear the air of ideas that lead us off the path God wants us to travel.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy to review. Christians, read this book! Deep truths are shared in a conversational, very readable voice, full of personal examples and scripture references. The chapter on forgiveness itself is worth the price of the book! So many times we say things, or believe things, just because we’ve always heard them. We don’t stop to look for the truth (or lack there of) in the Christian-ese that flows readily around us. This book takes words and phrases that many Christians have grown to accept as truth and shows us what the Bible actually teaches about these things. This is a great book for new believers as well as for those who have walked with Him for a long while, as either new truths or reminders of lessons previously learned. It will help everyone grow in faith. With the questions at the end of each chapter, I think it would also make a great small group study and be a good initiator of discussion and personal sharing. I highly recommend this book. Oh, and I will be praying for Titus and his loving family.
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