Abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and embrace the promise of being truly known and deeply loved.
Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate, provocative poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” The four-minute video of Bethke’s spoken-word performance literally became an overnight sensation, with seven million YouTube views in its first forty-eight hours (and 24+ million within a year). The message hit like a blizzard on social-media sites and in forwarded e-mails, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouraged to enraged.
In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks the stark contrasts that he drew in the poem - contrasts between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. With refreshing candor, he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning with the unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based, fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path of destructive behavior.
Bethke is quick to acknowledge that he’s not a pastor or theologian, but simply a regular, twenty-something, soul-starved searcher who cried out for a life greater than the one for which he had settled. Along his journey, Bethke discovered the real Jesus, who beckoned him beyond the props of false religion.
©2013 Thomas Nelson (P)2013 Thomas Nelson
This book is life changing. I had seen Jeff's videos, and knew that he was on to something different than what I had learned growing up in a Christian home/Christian schools. I have always felt like I needed to "get right with God" before I could really be a Christian and "get into heaven". It was always about not having sex, not drinking, not cussing, etc. --and I was never good enough. Jeff's simple way of explaining the grace of God has completely changed the way I see God and how I want to live my life. I will continue to listen to this book over and over, it has sparked a new desire within me to seek God.
"Reestablished My Calling"
His purposeful and unashamed portrayal of grace and the Gospel were riveting. After Jefferson Bethke came and spoke at Liberty University this past fall semester (fall 2013), I HAD to get his book. Truthfully, I bought this audiobook after reading the actual book, which was the first book I had read for pleasure in years, and I read the whole thing in less than two days (during the hectic beginning of my first semester of college)!
I now know what the phrase "couldn't put the book down" means!
Soon after reading this book, I re-realized my calling to be a pastor. Now I am studying the Bible intensely in college as I prepare for ministry.
This book is incredible and really helps in so many ways in your walk with Christ, and even for those seeking or curious about Christianity.
I would say that, before coming to Liberty University, I had a particularly closed mindset about homosexuality and same-sex attraction. After coming to Liberty, my mind was opened to the actual struggle that this is, and the circumstances surrounding it. Jeff Bethke awesomely establishes what homosexuality is, along with the homosexual lifestyle, and shows how we can love them like Jesus without being the mean Christians that they are used to interacting with. It really helped me in that area.
"A must listen for all people."
This book is a breakthrough in Christian living books. I know it changed my life and saved my beliefs. I was looking at Christianity all wrong. It's not what you can do for Christ, it's what He did for you. You only need one thing on your heavenly resume and that is "I believe". If you've been a follower of Christ all your life or two minutes, listen to this book. If you don't believe in Christ, listen to this book. If you are a monkey riding a unicycle juggling bananas, listen to this book.
Loved it! whether you are bogged down in the mire of religiosity or just want a reminder of how beautiful Jesus truly is this is a fantastic book.
"No other words, but simply amazing!"
Absolutely. Not only is Jefferson amazing to listen to, but his story and testament is one that should be heard by all. His break down of the love of Jesus and how it applies to all of us, is phenomenal. It's easy to understand, to get, to relate to. This book is a great way to start the conversation and to share the gospel. For new and old Christians alike.
Every part of it! He was able to verbalize my views on homosexuality and basically my entire world view. He gets it. Finally a person that isn't bogged down by the ties of religion.
Only book he has. I've listened to many of his spoken words on YouTube. He has amazing presence.
Amazing book. I hope Jeff continues to share his story and his thoughts. As long as he stays true and continues to preach the love of Jesus, I will continue to support him through the purchasing of his books.
Thank you for this book, Jeff. And thank you for your candor. I will have to buy the print book. I had too many AHA moments that need revisiting, and that's not easy to do with an audiobook.
"This book really opened my eyes and heart! "
I really enjoyed listening to this book! I know that I will keep relistening to it because Jeff talks about things that you normally do not think about. I definitely learned a lot from this book. I definitely recommend it to every one, Christians and non-Christians!
"Very transparent and raw"
Really loved the author's transparency and authenticity. It challenges the comfortable church goer and offers hope to those disillusioned with church. Very well done.
"Loved this book"
As a new Christian I expected more how to and rules and what I got was a wonderful relatable and overwhelmingly joyful introduction to a relationship with Jesus. I then introduced this book to my book group of long time Christians and they loved it. They said it brought a needed relatedness to them of Jesus that they had lost touch with. They said it was relevant and thought provoking. With the questions at the end of each chapter our weekly meetings lasted 30-45 minutes longer than usual because it caused such powerful conversations each week. Loved it and highly recommend to new and seasoned Christians and to young and old.
"There is no love like Jesus's love for us"
I loved learning more about Jesus and that he still loves me even though I am not perfect.
Jefferson Bethke is a young adult similar to myself and I can relate to his story more so than other stories.
I used to judge others based on their appearance and whether they followed the ten commandments. I had never read the Bible before for myself and always used to just take for granted what other people would teach me about the bible. I could say I was a religious hypocrite because I would judge others for not following the ten commandments, but I myself would hide my slip ups as I struggled to follow the ten commandments. After reading this book and reading the Bible for myself I have learned so much more about Jesus for who he is personally and how he lived his life. I trust in Jesus lifting up his name more now with confession as a way of life rather than trying harder, doing more, and being good enough.
This book by Jefferson offers a true reflection of what following christ is and should look like.
Amazing book, was completely gripped by it. moving onto his next book!
Inspiring stories that were very applicable to everyday life. Brilliant book! Will definitely listen to it again!
"buy it !"
as a new christian this book spoke to my heart , amazing listening. always struggled with religion absolutely love jesus .
"wow! what a book! you are a inspiration Jefferson."
I really lovedit. Thank you for honesty,you've giving me so much hope. Stay blessed Jefferson.
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