The Seven Deadly Virtues: Temptations in Our Pursuit of Goodness, By Todd E. Outcalt alt
The Seven Deadly Virtues
  • Length: 160 pages
  • Published: March 07, 2017
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 8100
  • ISBN: 9780830881000

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Our virtues can become our vices.

Faith. Love. Family. Power. Success. Goodness. Generosity. Who among us wouldn't want to exhibit strength in these areas in our lives? It's hard to imagine this list being similar to the "seven deadly sins" that we strive to avoid, such as greed, lust, and slothfulness. But even so-called virtues can be harmful to our souls if we're not careful about how we pursue them in our lives.

Todd Outcalt explores the fine line between virtues and vices, and he helps us to discern the difference between the two. Using biblical insights, classic and contemporary illustrations, and thoughtful commentary, he uncovers ways our flawed priorities and values can masquerade as healthy religious practices and goals. He opens our eyes to misconceptions of what true character is in the eyes of God and shows us how to reorient ourselves toward virtuous living.

Pursuing God with clear motivations and pure hearts is not always as straightforward as it sounds. The Seven Deadly Virtues will help you recognize and remove the everyday stumbling blocks in your Christian walk that keep you from true spiritual growth and vitality.

"Todd immediately turns the reader upside down. Don't expect old clichés and language of faith. This is about, in his words, 'living out faith instead of sharing a set of beliefs'—yes, a warning about virtues! It is compelling in style, rich in personal examples, informative in research, and creates desire to become more like Jesus in the twenty-first century."

Jo Anne Lyon, ambassador, general superintendent emerita, The Wesleyan Church

"Is it possible some of the virtues we seek as followers of Jesus are actually hindering our relationship with him and our witness to the world? In The Seven Deadly Virtues, Todd Outcalt answers with a resounding yes! This book is a must-read for all of us comfortable Christians who need to be made a little less so."

Kurt Johnston, pastor to students, Saddleback Church

"The default response to problems, global or personal, is to bring out an agreed-upon list of sins and link our failure with these sins. What if, instead of our sins, our best practices got us to this undesirable place? In The Seven Deadly Virtues, Todd Outcalt questions some of our most strongly held virtues. Our commonly held list of virtues may be delivering unintended consequences, be logically flawed, or even be unbiblical."

Bob Walters, author of The Last Missionary

"Leave it to Todd Outcalt and his gift of discernment to help us see the shadow side of virtue. The Seven Deadly Virtues is for everyone who wants to live beyond platitudes, values the road less taken, and isn't likely to confuse the shine of brass for the luster of gold. A primer for mature people of faith and all those who aspire to be."

Philip Gulley, Quaker pastor, author of If the Church Were Christian

"Could it be that virtues we've admired, like goodness and generosity, aren't what God is actually seeking from us? Todd Outcalt, with clarity and wisdom, shows us a more excellent way."

James C. Howell, senior pastor of Myers Park UMC, adjunct professor of preaching, Duke Divinity School

"This book would be great for readers who want to take a spiritual check-up to make sure they are living their lives with the correct scriptural motives."

Skip Holman, the Baptist Standard, March 27, 2017


1. Keeping Your Faith Without Destroying the Faith of Others
2. From Loving Our Way to God's Way of Love
3. From Focusing on Our Family to God's Family First
4. The Power of One or the Power of the One
5. The Lure of Success or the Allure of Grace
6. When Good Isn't Good Enough, God Is Still Good
7. Generous to a Fault or Overflowing with Gratitude
For Reflection or Discussion


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Todd E. Outcalt

Todd E. Outcalt (MDiv, Duke University) is senior pastor at Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, Indiana. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Other Jesus, Common Ground, and Before You Say "I Do," and has written for many magazines including The Christian Century, Preaching, YouthWorker, and Ministry Matters.