Getting Jesus Wrong

Getting Jesus Wrong: Giving Up Spiritual Vitamins and Checklist Christianity by Matt Johnson promises to be a manual correcting our theology and turning our ideas about church, religion, and Jesus on their heads. The back cover says:

"If you met Jesus today, and he asked, “What do you want from me?” what would you say? When Jesus asked that question long ago, he got a variety of answers. Some wanted a miracle, some a theological debate, some a sign that he was the Messiah, some wanted power, some wanted just to see him, and others wanted to get rid of him. We are much the same aren’t we? We all want something from Jesus. We are just hoping for a little help to get through life—a new direction, a purpose that will get us up in the morning, an exercise plan, a way to get organized. But that approach to Jesus doesn’t result in real faith or love.

The real Jesus doesn’t give us just a little help. He turns our world upside down. Getting Jesus right means a whole new way of thinking (the way up is down) and a whole new way of life (daily dependence on the one who knows the beginning from the end). Instead of a blueprint for living or a new workout plan, we get a rich life where the simple truths of the gospel inform our everyday life with each other. Where we daily remember our deep need for forgiveness, the joy of being forgiven, and gradually become those who receive grace and share grace with those around us.

Aimed at a young adult audience who has drifted from the church, by unpacking the ways the author got Jesus wrong, with a strong call to meet the biblical Christ.
An easy–to–read introduction to the living God for those who say they have tried Christianity and it doesn’t work.
A call to a radical, robust discipleship based on a biblical view of who Christ is and who he calls his people to be."

Honestly, I have very mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I was a little put off by Matt calling himself a "crappy Christian" multiple times, several uses of profanity throughout the book, and his proclamation that he developed his theology over beers with friends. However, I kept an open mind as I read the book. There were some great things throughout this book - I really enjoyed and could relate to the first part of the book, where he describes "Life Coach Jesus", "Motivational Speaker Jesus", etc. and told stories from his own life and his transitions through different "types" of Christianity. However, after this the book kind of fell apart for me. He goes on to develop the thought that "Christianity isn't about morality", which, while on the surface sounds true (Christianity is about Jesus), when you delve a little deeper into it, it's a bit unsettling and just doesn't hold water. Jesus came to become sin for us, lead a sinless and completely moral life, and be sacrificed so we could be saved and go to heaven. The point of being a Christian is to become more and more like Jesus, and Jesus was sinless. Jesus, and the other writers of the New Testament, had a lot to say about morality and the life of the believer. I felt like this book was way too heavy on "we don't have any obligations to uphold any laws or rules" and way too light on sanctification and why we are saved in the first place. However, there were some good things to pull from the book.

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in order to provide an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.


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