A few years ago I was sitting in a class room when the visiting professor threw out a challenge – the winner of which would receive a free book. Having a bad case of bibliophilism, I took up the challenge and ultimately won it – after chasing the professor out to his car where he was getting ready to leave (I told you, I have a very, very bad case of bibliophilism!).
The book he gave me that day in the parking lot ended up (along with some other factors) changing the way I talk, the way I view others, and basically shifted both my life and Emily’s life. This book was Carl Medearis’ first book, “Muslims, Christians, and Jesus.”
It is no wonder then that I snatched up Carl’s newest book within a week of it being published.
I was not disappointed.
“Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism” is a phenomenal book that calls Christians back to their first love, Jesus of Nazareth. It is a call back to the person of Jesus rather than the idea/beliefs of Christianity or the doctrines of the Church.
Here an example: What is the Gospel?
Seriously, stop for a moment and answer the question, “what is the Gospel?”
When you are done, think about your answer – did it include things like: free gift from God, eternal life, freedom from sin, righteousness, grace, healing, redemption, faith in God? How about the person of Jesus? Did you remember that?
Or how about this one – can you describe your salvation using only Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? How about WITHOUT using the words “atonement,” “justification by faith,” “eternal life,” “sinners fallen away from God,” and/or “saved”?
If you were able to pass those litmus tests, congratulations – you are rare soul. I dare say that most self-professing Christians would not able to do so. Instead of talking about Jesus and their (daily) relationship with Him, they would quote Paul, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley or, perhaps, John Wimber (lots of Johns there…but sadly no St. John).
In reaction to this, Carl is calling followers of Jesus to do just that – follow Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Love Jesus. Obey Jesus. Live like Jesus.
“I don’t want to redefine salvation. I don’t want to redefine the gospel or even Christianity on the whole. I suppose I want to undefine them. I want to strip away the thousands of years of graffiti painted onto the gospel, turning it into a reasonable code of doctrines. The gospel is not an idea. It is not a belief. It is not a favorite verse. The gospel does not live in your church, it cannot be written down in a simple message, and it is not the sinner’s prayer. The gospel is not a what. It is not a how. The gospel is a Who. The gospel is literally the good news of Jesus. Jesus is the gospel.” – Carl Medearis