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Jesus Greater Than Religion (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. Oktober 2013

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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Jefferson Bethke is the author of New York Times bestseller Jesus > Religion. Bethke s message connects at a heart level with an audience ranging from atheists to nationally recognized religious leaders. He lives in Maui, Hawaii.


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A book full of truth. Real practical christianity. I enjoyed and sucked up every word of it. I completely agree to Jefferson and loved his blunt and forthright writing. More of God's pure grace and His love and less fabricated, man-made, and hypocritical religious attempts. Super awesome. Thank you so much for this book Jefferson, definitely what today's world needs!
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a really good book, it gives a really different view of Jesus in a positive way, and the writer writes it in a very practical and not complicated manner.
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Von Kaitlyn am 10. November 2013
Format: Taschenbuch
Thank you so much, everything went fine, even the shipping to Europe was faster than expected, just great! Thank you!
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa3570744) von 5 Sternen 920 Rezensionen
129 von 139 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0xa23c9b10) von 5 Sternen A Gritty, On-the Ground Look at Why Jesus Matters Today 7. Oktober 2013
Von K. Freeman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I've been paying a lot of attention to Jefferson Bethke the last year or so. Having a few years on his 23, I'm blown away by the man of God he is and by what he's already accomplished at his young age. He is cranking out a lot of great content. He's relevant. He knows how to connect with his culture and generation. He's artistic. He does what he does well: very well. He's got a lot of insight. Sometimes people like this end up turning you off and leaving you bummed out by just how good they seem. How can you be so courageous? How can you read so many books? How can you be influencing so many people etc?

Enter Jesus > Religion. You soon realize Jeff's entire life isn't filled with sainthood. Throughout the book Jeff shares his story. It's honest, raw, and at times very dark. And yet it's a beacon brightly blazing on Jesus. As we often hear, the one thing people can't argue is our personal testimony. What I love about this book is that Jeff has been through the motions of trying to be good, of trying to find fulfilment in sin, and ultimately being captured by grace. It might be easy to roll your eyes at a cute, rich pastor's kid raving about how great God is - but Jeff's story is hard to argue with. It's not pretty, but it's glorious.

I'm not going to go over every chapter, since you should read the book yourself. The title tips you off on the angle of the book. Here are a few things that stuck out to me that I wanted to mention about this book.

#1 The book addresses the topic of sin head-on
In Jeff's words:
"God doesn't hide sin. In fact he put it on display two thousand years ago in a splintered T-shaped piece of wood. Jesus came down to earth, live the perfect life we never could have, and died the death we should have. And every drop of blood that poured from him was another drop of love falling on us."

"He took your shame. He took your sin. He took your filth so that God could be both just and justifier of those who put their trust in Jesus. He doesn't just let you off the hook; he put Jesus on the hook for you. Stop working to do something Jesus has already done. It is finished. If you trust him, your faith is counted as righteousness."

#2 Jesus deserves more glory than we're inclined to think. Another quote:
"God should get a lot more glory for things than we give him. If we only give God glory for explicitly Christian things, we are thieves. He wants all the glory. When we bite into food, we are to let him know how awesome he is for making food. When we listen to great music, we are to do the same. When we don't we are stealing. There is glory God deserves that he is not being given."

#3 We can be who God created us to be - and that doesn't always mean pastor!
I love that God made us different, to do different things, to be different parts of the body. But that's hard to accept sometimes, so I'm glad for the reminder Jeff gives us. In my own words, when Jeff became a Christian he quit the baseball time to study the Bible. He felt he needed to go to seminary - become a pastor or a theologian, because that's what great Christians did, so he thought. Looking back, he realizes that he wouldn't have enjoyed or been very good at that. Now, instead of studying how to parse Greek verbs he's making a huge impact doing what God created him to do, making amazing Youtube videos that are reaching millions of people. How cool is that?

#4 Christians should be great at creating
He hammers on music, but the spectrum is even bigger than what we think of as art. While we're not all overly 'artistic', we shouldn't always be lagging 10 years behind our culture. As he says:

"The problem with trying to be relevant is it makes us copy what culture is already doing. To be relevant, you have to copy what is cool. So we put our mouths on the tailpipe of secular culture in hopes we can recycle some of it and use it for ourselves."

Jeff's story is a testament to the fact that God can use you and your gifts for his glory - whatever they are. He's using social media well. He's helping make Jesus famous. He's a modern day missionary.

#5 Jesus Rules.
Really, there's nothing better.

In conclusion: this is a great, easy read filled with personal testimony, scripture, and solid reason. Instead of trying to amaze us with the knowledge he's accumulated from a lot of study, or how he managed to get millions of Youtube views, he brings us to Jesus - the real Jesus. This is a book of great news for sinners and saints alike. Love it.

I received a review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher. For more of my reviews and musings, check out papermovementblog.wordpressdotcom.
106 von 124 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0xa23d2f0c) von 5 Sternen Helpful Resource 7. Oktober 2013
Von Lawson Hembree - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I'll admit: I had mixed feelings when Jefferson's YouTube video came out. As Kevin DeYoung put it, "There is so much helpful in this poem mixed with so much unhelpful." However, it is evident that Jefferson has matured a lot since posting the initial video (thanks to the discipleship of Christian leaders and his humility in accepting their constructive criticism).

In order to flesh out his views on Jesus, Christianity, and religion, Jefferson has written the book Jesus>Religion. The book uses the contrast between Jesus and religion to accomplish the dual goal of addressing false perceptions of Christianity while presenting a true picture of what followers of Jesus look like.

Before we go too far, let's define some terms. When Jefferson speaks about religion, he means "what one must do, or behave like, in order to fain right standing with God" (pg. 27)-in other words, depending on our own works to be on God's "good side." Of course, Christianity itself is a religion, but in the sense that it is "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe" (pg. 27). What distinguishes real Christianity is that it "centers on Jesus' righteousness-what he has done and how good he is" as opposed to other religions that "center on people's righteousness-what we do and how good we are" (pg. 28). The possible confusion stemming from the way Bethke defines religion is why I would have preferred for Chapter 2 to be Chapter 1 instead (for more on the negative definition of "religion," see DeYoung's article). Throughout the rest of the Jesus>Religion, Jefferson contrasts Jesus (aka true Christianity) with religion (aka self-righteousness/hypocrisy).
Jesus>Religion begins with Jefferson's life story in which he, like many Americans, was a "Christian by default." He went to church, did good things, and didn't do bad things. As Bethke puts it, "I thought if I did enough Christian things, it would bring peace to my life. It didn't work. I realized I was following... a fake version of the real [Jesus]" (pg. 8).

He goes on to say: "[Christians] have lost the real Jesus-or at least exchanged him for a newer, safer, sanitized, ineffectual one....We claim Jesus is our homeboy, but sometimes we look more like the [hypocritical, self-righteous] people Jesus railed against....We're often judgmental, hypocritical, and legalistic while claiming to follow a Jesus who is forgiving, authentic, and loving" (pg. 9) and "Are we really getting it? Have we made stuff more important than Jesus? How come American Christianity is so different from the Bible's vibrant, uncontrollable, and unpredictable Christianity? The reason we aren't fulfilled or satisfied by our version of Christianity is because it isn't Christianity" (pg. 12).

With that as the premise, the rest of the book goes on to call out false teachings that have seeped into American Christianity, distorting the saving message of the true transforming gospel into a religion closer to what sociologist Christian Smith calls "Moral Therapeutic Deism." Bethke discusses the three false Christian stereotypes mentioned above (what he calls "fundies, fakes, and other so-called Christians") and refutes the false doctrines of works-based salvation, the health/wealth/prosperity movement, abuse of Christian liberty, materialism, idolatry, and easy believism.

Throughout Jesus>Religion, Jefferson does a great job of pointing the reader to a true picture of who Jesus by referring to biblical texts (unfortunately he does close the book with The Message's version of Matthew 11:25-30, which totally butchers the meaning of that text, but that is the only contextual misstep I noticed in the book). He profiles a Jesus that requires men and women to repent of their sinful, idolatrous, and self-righteous and to pursue Him as their Lord and Savior who gradually molds His children into His image through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. In the book, Christians and non-Christians alike are challenged to rethink their perception of Jesus by studying the Bible and how it presents Him.

In the final chapter, Jefferson encourages readers to not forsake the church: "Come to Jesus, and then come to his body. Trying to live without community is like trying to live without oxygen. We weren't created to do it" (pg. 195). Though there is no such thing as a "perfect church," the author stresses the importance of regularly gathering with other Christians to glorify the name of Jesus through preaching and music, encourage each other in our mission, practice the ordinances, and keep each other accountable. This is an important ending clarification for a book with a title like Jesus>Religion that would seemingly discourage participation in organized Christian religion (without first defining what the author means by "religion"). Jefferson realizes the importance of the church in the life of a believer and stresses involvement in it for the long-term spiritual growth of Christians.

All in all, Jesus>Religion is a helpful book for anyone interested in Christianity. It doesn't matter if you've never set foot inside a church or were practically born in the sanctuary, you will be challenged by this book to examine Jesus more deeply and pursue Him more passionately. The book also includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter that you can think about yourself or talk about with others. So, if you're looking for a book that will help you talk with your classmates, coworkers, friends, or family about what it truly means to follow Jesus instead of a list of rules, then Jesus>Religion will be a valuable resource for you.
18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0xa23d24b0) von 5 Sternen A Good, Well-Balanced Presentation of the Gospel 15. Oktober 2013
Von J. Luis Dizon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I didn't really know what to think when Jefferson Bethke first came out with the hit YouTube video Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus. The video highlights flaws in many institutional churches in America--what is referred to as "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism" in some circles. At the same time, the way Bethke defines "religion" has not gone uncriticized (on this point, I highly recommend reading Kevin DeYoung's review article, "Does Jesus Hate Religion? Kinda, Sorta, Not Really"). While he still promotes the same general message, he has learned from his critics and from his personal studies to become more nuanced in his presentations, as seen in other videos he has put out since then. The culmination of his thought as it stands now can be best seen in his recently released book, Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough. The book is an extended commentary of sorts on the ideas that were laid out in the original video (plus a few of the more recent ones). This is where Bethke lays out his personal theology, which centers around the theme of how the message and redemptive work of Jesus Christ still shine forth in the Gospel stories despite the many misconstructions and misapplications (which he groups together under the umbrella of "religion") that have muddied the waters in the past. A very Christocentric theme, and one that I hope to be able to examine herein.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
But first, it's worth looking at the kind of individual Jefferson Bethke is. I must admit that he is the type of person that I would probably be able to relate to pretty well. Age-wise, I'm only a couple of years younger than him. We belong to the same generation--the Millennials (in Sociological circles, this term refers to everyone born between 1983 and 1999). We have a distinctive culture and ethos that is characterized by flashy-soundbites and a heavy reliance on social media. We are the generation that is apt to put out YouTube videos then write books based on said videos (assuming that the individual who put out the video has writing ability, which is not always the case). True to form, Bethke employs many pop culture references, writes in a narrative style that meshes well with this generation's mindset, and he never fails to amuse with quips such as "some of the most self-righteous people I have ever met have been twenty-year-old hipsters" (p. 50), and "if you can replace God's name with your girlfriend's name in the song, it's probably not all that deep or theologically dense" (p. 160--Worship leaders, take note: If you had to take just one thing from this book and nothing else, let it be this one.). His charisma and ability to make creative presentations of his thought will go a long way towards changing the hearts and minds of youth, and believers should pray that the change will always be in a positive, God-honouring direction.

THE GOOD STUFF:
Now, about the book itself. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when this came out. I actually quite enjoyed reading Bethke's life story and how he uses his life experiences as object lessons to communicate biblical truths. He is quite careful and nuanced about the way he presents his ideas, which is why I was able to agree with most of what he said. Anytime it seemed that he was about to veer off the wrong direction, he puts the appropriate qualifiers, which dispel any misgivings I may have had otherwise. An example that appears many times in the book is the heavy emphasis on salvation by grace. Bethke is very much dead-set against Legalism of any form (you don't even have to read the book to know that, as the cover alone gives away the premise). The potential pitfall of this is that it is easy to veer off the other extreme into what Michael Brown refers to as "Hyper-Grace," or more classically known as Antinomianism. But rest assured: Bethke is no Antinomian. He is clear that Christians are to be identified by their ongoing striving after holiness, and not some decision that they made at some point in their past (pp. 46-50). He hits the nail on the head when he says, "if you care more about flaunting your Christian freedom than promoting Christian unity, you're probably not free. You are actually a slave to your so-called freedom." (p. 53).

In addition to this, he also has a wonderful picture of what true freedom in Christ is like: If someone has a true relationship with Jesus, they will feel the irresistibility of His grace, and cannot help but want to obey Him because we will see that He is infinitely better than the dead-ends of the world (pp. 146-150). We can have genuine assurance without turning that assurance into a licence to do whatever we want. And lest anyone thinks Bethke is giving people an excuse to throwing away the Law and the Church, he doesn't: He affirms that the Law is good as long as it is used rightly--as a moral standard to demonstrate our imperfections and need for a Saviour, and not as guide for how to get right with God (pp. 29-32). He also affirms the necessity of belonging to a church, arguing that we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater and abandon the Body of Christ just because we perceive imperfections among those who comprise it, since God intends for it to be a place where broken people can find healing together (pp. 194-196).

THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF:
So far, so good. There is very little to disagree with Bethke. But there is one thing that keeps popping up, and that is how he defines "religion." Now, he is clear how he defines the word, and that he's not referring to religion in the generic sense of "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe," but rather, to a more specific definition, which is "what one must do, or behave like, in order to gain right standing with God" (pg. 27). Sounds good, but then here is the problem: By playing semantic games with the word "religion," anyone can load anything negative they want onto it and use it as a verbal punching bag. But then, why should "religion" be used to highlight only the negatives? I have noticed that the people who define religion this way are those who insist on a dichotomy between relationship and religion dichotomy. And yet, I and many others have never had the relationship/religion dichotomy. As far as I can tell, it is a false dilemma to say that Christianity is either one or the other. It is both: It is a religion (in the historic sense of the term) and a relationship, with the religion defining the terms of the relationship and ensuring that we do not simply define "having a relationship with God" according to our own follies. The Bible never uses the word "religion" with a negative connotation (Case in point: In James 1:27, it is used quite positively), and "religion" has a long track record being used to express what is positive in Christianity, whether it is Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, or Jonathan Edwards' A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. There is a risk that this loading of negative baggage onto "religion" would create a discontinuity between our generation and previous ones, making it hard to relate to them or see the good that they have to offer to us.

Also, an observation that is often made regarding Millennials is that there is a marked tendency towards Libertinism and an eschewing of the work ethic of previous generations. While Bethke does clearly state that he does not espouse or condone these views, I fear that a generation of itching ears will still misconstrue his words as a green light to live in ways that are clearly in disobedience to God. See, Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:8 that "the Law is good if one uses it properly." This implies both a proper and an improper use of the Law. It is improper to use the Law to win brownie points with God--a point Bethke thoroughly brings home. But it is perfectly proper to use the Law for three things: 1) To reveal the sinfulness of human hearts, 2) to restrain evil, and 3) to reveal what God regards and pleasing in His sight (for the theologically-savvy, I am referring to The Three-Fold Use of the Law). Of these three, only the first is mentioned in the book (pp. 29-32). Unless this proper use of the Law is highlighted, it is easy to take the denunciation of works-righteousness and turn it into a wholesale rejection of the Law, which in turn leads to a reinforcement of the do-as-you-please ethic that is all too prevalent among this generation.

SUMMARY:
Having said all of that, Jefferson Bethke's insights are certainly well thought out, and the Body of Christ is made all the more enriched by his talents in communicating biblical truth to this new generation. He properly warns against many pitfalls that plague the modern Church (whether it is Legalism, Antinomianism, Tribalism, Separatism or using the Gospel for material gain), and steers a path that is both balanced and biblical accurate. This book is specially helpful to those who are wrestling with one or more of the issues just mentioned. Also, I highly recommend that those who read this book should take the scripture passages that are referenced in the endnotes and study them for oneself. The various authors that he cites can be potentially fruitful to look into as well, provided that one exercises discernment in knowing which ones are reliable spiritual guides and which ones are not (In p. 125, Bethke cites Sex God by Rob Bell, which just left me wondering, "But Why?"). Overall, I commend Bethke for having produced this helpful volume. He's got a long way to go, and Lord knows how he might be used to impact this generation in years to come. It is my prayer that not only he but everyone who follows him (myself included) will continue to grow and be conformed in our thoughts and in our actions to the Jesus to Whom we look up, and upon Whom we place our hopes and allegiance.

(Originally posted on The Aristophrenium)
44 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0xa39420fc) von 5 Sternen Worth It 7. Oktober 2013
Von Amber Scott - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Have you ever met a new friend, with whom you were like "YES! Someone who understands!"
It's like hearing your heart and thoughts echoed back to you...

That's what Jefferson Bethke's book, Jesus > Religion (Being released Oct 7) was like for me.

Jeff shares pure grace. How we don't have to do (nor CAN'T) do anything to earn or lose the Father's love for us.

"God broke me to fix me because He loved me." -pg 6
"Religion says do,Jesus says done." - pg 28
"When Jesus told the first disciples to love their enemies,he didn't add " as long as they look like you,talk like you,and act like you". Loving your enemies means loving THEM ." -pg 63
"We don't want to take advantage of it{grace} because because there is nothing better out there to take advantage of it for." -pg 152

This is an encouraging,challenging book that will provide fresh revelations of the Fathers love toward you! It will change how you view yourself,your relationship with the Father,and how you view others around you! WELL worth the time and investment!
19 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0xa39422ac) von 5 Sternen Not just another "religious" book! 7. Oktober 2013
Von Lainey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Jefferson Bethke has been blessed by God to be a tremendous communicator of philosophy and spiritual topics. In his first book Jesus>Religion, he opens the reader's mind to a whole new viewpoint and stance on religion and Christianity. He is a fantastic writer and this easy read will change the way you view your relationship with Jesus Christ if you open your heart and mind and allow it! :)
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