Why Books About Following Jesus Annoy Me (and a few exceptions)

I finished reading a book about following Christ. It was weird.

There was nothing inherently wrong with the book. Everything was fairly standard.

It just didn’t make any sense.

Most of the chapters told you some verses and then a handful of examples of people who “applied” those verses. The result of applying the verses was one of the following:

–their church grew phenomenally
–they saved tons of people
–they saved one person, but that was OK, because that one person saved tons of people
–they made tons of money but gave some of it to someone who saved tons of people
–they were burned at the stake

Most of the book was about how successful you’ll become by following Christ. It was all very happy and cheery. Oh sure, there was mention of people suffering persecution in China, but that was an afterthought.

The last chapter was about picking up your cross. It contained many examples of Christians being killed in other countries. So, picking up the cross consists of going to another country and being killed.

I know who the author of this book is. I’ve met him. You’ve heard of the place he works. Life has gone really well for him. He lives a nice suburban lifestyle. This is the kind of book I’d expect of him.

There are few books about following Christ that actually help you follow Christ. Most are as contradictory and odd as this one. They always take the edge off. They’ll mention the downside, but most of their stories contradict the downside.

The best way to learn to follow Christ is to read what Christ said and go do that. Don’t let comfortable authors tell you how to follow Christ. They won’t call you as far as Christ does.

Start with Matthew 5-7, then move on to the rest. Let the mind of Christ dwell in you. Know his Word and then follow it. Don’t worry about how many people you save; just follow Him.

There are some books that are exceptions:

Martin Lloyd-Jones “Studies on the Sermon on the Mount” is a phenomenal exception. “The Fact of Christ” by Carnegie Simpson. “The Cost of Discipleship” by Bonhoeffer. “The Moral Glory of Jesus” by J. G. Bellett are a few. They’re out there; they’re just hard to find, and most of the authors have been dead for about 100 years!