Extreme Righteousness

Seeing ourselves in the Pharisees.

Ayla Cosh | September 2014 - Highfields Book of the Month
By Tom Hovestol -  (2008) Franklin: Authentic

Extreme Righteousness

The author implores us to develop our love relationship with Christ and to pursue him passionately and deeply. This book is massively challenging and could change your life.

You may think 'why read a whole book on the Pharisees?'  Tom Hovestol shows us that the number one reason to understand the Pharisees is that they are personally relevant to each one of us. Zealous for the scriptures, scrupulous in their giving, dedicated to living untainted by the world, fervent in anticipating God's deliverance and conscientious in obedience to God's commands. These words describe the Pharisees but also describe our churches.  A contemptuous view of others, a shallow sense of forgiveness, a wrong sense of grace and fairness, an unhealthy view of failure. These symptoms of self righteousness describe the Pharisees but may also describe our churches. We are not that dissimilar.

Each chapter gently challenges the common mistaken practical theology of salvation by grace but sanctification by works.

This book takes the reader through the background of the Pharisees and amongst the different chapters seeks to answer questions such as Why do good spiritual roots sometimes produce flawed fruit? Why is there a difference between the public and the private persona of many Christians? Why does tradition seem to dominate church ministry? Why do rules and regulations proliferate in a faith that promises freedom? Each chapter gently challenges the common mistaken practical theology of salvation by grace but sanctification by works.

The Pharisees serve as a mirror for us, showing us our religious selves as we truly are.

The Pharisees serve as a mirror for us, showing us our religious selves as we truly are. This is painful, deeply uncomfortable and hard to face, but thank The Lord that by His grace we can find freedom from legalism. Hovestol goes on to encourage us to escape from the prison of pharisaism, urging us to beware of false religion, to have no confidence in our own works and to recognise the spiritual wealth we have in Christ. He implores us to develop our love relationship with Christ and to pursue him passionately and deeply. This book is massively challenging and could change your life.

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