Jan 18, 2014

Jesus vs. Religion

What does is mean to be a Christian? There are a lot of different views about what it means to be a Christian. Most of the time it involves a set of beliefs and specific practices that people use to define Christianity. Jefferson Bethke, who gained internet fame with the video “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus,” wants to define Christianity in one way and one way alone. He defines Christianity by Jesus. It seems so simple, but many of us make Christianity way more difficult and, in Bethke’s terms, “religious.” We set up rules and regulations, determine beliefs that we have to be for or against, and create lists of people we like and people we don’t like. Often times, when we do that, we lose one important thing, Jesus. Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion (read Jesus is Greater than Religion), is an encouragement to get back to the teaching and actions of Jesus and to get away from the man made religion that has been built up around Him.

For the most part, I enjoyed Bethke’s book. His writing is very approachable and he’s straightforward about his life and experiences. There were a few times in the early chapters his writing almost came off as an arrogance or pride that he wasn’t like those “religious” people. He of course is not trying to be that way, since that is one of the attitudes he is trying to combat with this book. Also, I felt a little frustrated by the fact that he uses the word religion without ever really defining it. In James 1:27, we find religion being used as an acceptable term and being defined as caring for orphans and widows. I think he would have helped his cause to define how he is using the word religion and how culture uses the word in contrast to this verse. I know what he means, but it’s always important to define the key terms that you are writing about. Overall, I appreciate that his book is down to earth and he is just trying to be an honest and straightforward follower of Jesus. I love the reason that he is writing and the point he is making. While it’s not my favorite book, it is certainly worth and read and will cause you question how you define your faith.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson through netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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