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Most Christians are living a distorted Christian life. You don't have to be one of them.
Imagine a church where 84% of Christians are completely unfamiliar with the essential tenets of their faith, with a crippling misunderstanding of the word righteousness and, in turn, the gospel of Jesus.
According to a recent survey conducted by Chris Seay and Barna Research Group, this ...
Most Christians are living a distorted Christian life. You don't have to be one of them.
Imagine a church where 84% of Christians are completely unfamiliar with the essential tenets of their faith, with a crippling misunderstanding of the word righteousness and, in turn, the gospel of Jesus.
According to a recent survey conducted by Chris Seay and Barna Research Group, this is not just speculation; it's the reality for the church today.
The Gospel According to Jesus takes an in-depth look at this research study, which examines our understanding of the command, "Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness." Most Christians define righteousness as morality. This means that what's being preached by the church is not at all the gospel Jesus intended for His followers.
Through personal stories, interviews with today's church leaders, and a detailed study of the book of Romans, Chris uncovers a staggering disconnect between the gospel according to Christians and the gospel according to Jesus—the redeeming, restorative gospel that a broken world so desperately needs. Our role, he says, is to join Jesus in restoring the world. Will you?
1 Righteousness or Righteousness? 1
2 Kingdom Without a King 19
3 What Is the Gospel? 41
4 Imago Dei 65
5 We Fell, but Can We Get Up? 87
6 Set Your Heart 107
7 Justification: Rise or Fall? 123
8 Shalom, the Fruit of Justice 145
9 The Ten Commandments of a Shalom Life 163
Appendix: Analysis of Barna Research David Kinnaman 203
About the Author 211
Posted April 8, 2012
Chris Seay is a very good writer and a progressive church leader in many ways. In picking up this book, I expected to have some eye-opening new ways of thinking about the Gospel. When reading Seay, you expect to get some hard lessons that strike home. While there were points of that here and there, overall, the book was a little short on what I would call real breakthrough moments of clarity. Also, the interviews at the ends of chapters were real low points in terms of my personal interest level.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2011
A perfect description of how the distorted christian life lead by so many believers in our culture is not at all what Jesus intended when He said, "Seek First the Kingdom and His Righteousness." If you want to continue being a "good person", sitting in your favorite seat on Sunday morning so you can check that off your list and remain in your comfortable life then you should probably leave this one on the shelf. On the other hand, if you want to come face to face with the Real Jesus in this life, get yourself a copy of this book! It will challenge you!
Favorite Quote: "This is the beauty God has called us to participate in. Not a life of perfection but a journey. One that will send us all the way to the gates of hell and allow us to see God redeem all things and make all things right. This is not a stale, mind-numbing religious existence. This is a quest into the depths of darkness to shine the light of life and join God's transforming work in this beautifully broken world.
Posted February 4, 2011
Pastor Chris Seay puts forth a good work using personal stories, interviews with current church leaders, and a study of the book of Romans to show that what people might think about righteousness (that it is about good morals) may be missing the mark intended when Jesus talked about it so long ago.
This book is a good read and very thought-provoking. I would suggest that you give it a try and see how your definition of righteousness mathches up.
Posted January 5, 2011
Chris Seay is a pastor and a church planter who presents a book that teaches the gospel message in a contemporary manner. He posits that Christians today are missing something, that we are off the mark of the truth of the gospel. He presents survey data that shows that many Christians don't have a proper understanding of what true righteousness is. With our flawed understanding of righteousness, he suggests, we cannot truly understand the gospel according to Jesus.
And so the book unfolds, looking at what the gospel truly is and how it should impact our lives. The book includes written prayers to aid the reader with meditation and application of the material. In addition, after each chapter, there are interviews with other pastors and authors offering their perspectives and experiences.
After reading this book, I was pleased with the straightforward nature of Seay's writing. I appreciated his presentation of the gospel, but recognize that this is something that's been done before (i.e. C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity). Therefore, it is not a book that will turn the heads of theologians. However, this would be a great book to remind the stagnant or lukewarm Christian of the truth of their faith. This would be a great book for the contemporary seeker. Many thanks to Seay for his heart for the church and for calling us to examine the gospel with fresh eyes.
Posted December 30, 2010
I have been sitting on this for a while and decided to knock it out during the holidays.
Chris Seay is a planter and pastor in Houston. This is the first book I read of his but not my first encounter with Chris. Following him on twitter has lead me to believe he is living out what he believes in life changing ways.
To the book, in The Gospel According to Jesus Seay outlines a clear definition and explanation of the biblical doctrine of Justification. He asserts that most people claiming to follow Christ have no real concept of what it means to 'seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.'
Chris' writing and explanation is top notch. He is clear to understand and provocative. I favor the third chapter in which the author in a semi-N. T. Wright sort of way explains the Gospel. In short the Gospel is - God created, man falls, Jesus redeems and the church (through Jesus) restores. God's restoration in individual people, communities and cities is the driving thrust of Chris' passion and that passion is contagious.
One of the more interesting features of this book is the interviews of leading Christian thinkers such as Don Miller, Gabe Lyons and Mark Batterson at the end of each chapter.
Personally, I found the information to be so similar to Wright's Simply Christian and Lyons' The Next Christians that I wished I had not read all three back to back. Perhaps that was God's plan but I would suggest you skip one if you have read the others. Which one would be your choice. Either way this is an excellent read and I suggest it for anyone.
Posted December 21, 2010
I love a book that takes me to another level in my understanding and comprehension of truth especially biblical truth. Furthermore, the enjoyment increases substantially when I am challenged to enter a new place of adventure. That is exactly what I found in this book. I was able to hear Chris speak at Catalyst 2010 which further reinforced the challenging truths of this book. I would estimate this to be one of the best books I have read in 2010. The format is different that most books. Not only do you get the insights from Chris but also others sharing in a Q&A format. I promise you will walk away seeing words like "righteousness" in a new and engaging way.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 13, 2010
When I was looking for my next book to review, I was intrigued by this title. Often we Christians are so caught up in being "Christians" we forget to love how Jesus loved. It's always been something that is heavy on my heart even as I participated in that type of attitude. The book is plainly written. Almost anyone should be able to pick up the book and understand the truth written in it. Although there are interviews in between chapters that I didn't feel flow very well with the book.
I was surprised that the book is more about righteousness rather than Jesus himself, as the title led me to believe it would be.
Chris Seay did a great job at telling us what righteousness is not. Most importantly though, for every point he makes there is scripture behind it. It is well thought out and researched. This would be a great book for a new Christian that wants to avoid being caught up in a legalistic lifestyle. Something important to note is that there isn't an in depth explanation of what righteousness is.The truth is laced throughout the book, but it isn't in bold letters and in a numbered chapter.
Overall it was a good read. As always, the bible is the guide to all other books. It's important to look to the source of the life we live rather than books written by other people.
This book was given to me free to review by booksneeze. I am not required to give a positive review.
Posted December 12, 2010
The Gospel According to Jesus is a well researched and yet thoughtful look at the meanings behind the words we bandy about in our day to day faith. Justice and Righteousness. The book opens with research into what the modern church believes the definition of these words are, and why knowing the definition is important. Then through commentary, interviews, artwork and presentation of the authors thoughts on the issue, helps the reader to begin to find their own definition for these words.
I read through this book a few times so that I could get a good feel for what the author is trying to get across. There are many themes in the book that I identify strongly with, as well as seem to be reoccurring themes I have been seeing in books such as these as well as in the direction my generation is moving with there faith. In the book the author calls us to delve into the meaning of the word righteousness, a word used a lot in faith circles, but not always well understood according to the research done in this book. The author does a good job of presenting these arguments for why this is important to even think about, the process the author went through in finding his own definition with those close to him, as well as ways the author feels any person can integrate this thought into his or her life.
I enjoyed the book for the most part. The author makes his points quite clearly while leaving room for the reader to come to their own conclusions about certain things. It presents a new thought process and definition without rigidly outlining some new dogma or doctrine that must be adhered too. Also the author includes at the end of each chapter excerpts of conversations and interviews he had for this book with friends and some beautiful and thought provoking artwork in the middle.
My only problem with this book is the tone the author takes. Many times he comes across as both patronizing and/or snarky. In the interviews and the book as well, he comes across somewhat arrogant almost as if he had come up with this idea and influenced all these people he is talking to to by himself. But I don't believe this distracts too much from the argument he is making. This book is definitely a thought provoking read for anyone who considers his or herself to be a follower of Christ.
This book was provided for me through Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze dot com
Posted November 30, 2010
In recent months, I have been saturating myself with reading focused on Jesus. When I was offered The Gospel According to Jesus in exchange for a review for Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze, I jumped at the possibility of extending my recent repertoire of the lost centrality of Jesus Christ in our gospel.
This book is not a 'Jesus book' in that it is not a break down of the person of Jesus. In an overly blunt description, this book is about righteousness.
It is not a historical breakdown of Jesus or his teaching, but this book is still necessarily soaked with Jesus Christ as it reminds us of the true understanding of righteousness and justification as only Jesus has defined for his followers.
This is the first reading of Chris Seay for me, and I was able to really follow his writing. At the end of each chapter, he documents a conversation with various Christian leaders including Don Miller, Alan Hirsch, and Mark Batterson. It was a refreshing icing at the end of each chapter to blow each conversation wide open.
A short section of artwork in the middle is a pleasant touch, but not necessary.
If you do not have a strong understanding of righteousness, as it is not a topic we spend an ordinate amount of time to study, this is a great book to pick up. It will walk you through the misunderstanding of righteousness most of us have or have had, and it reveals the true wholeness (shalom) which comes with an accurate understanding of the righteousness which is only gift from Jesus Christ.
Posted November 29, 2010
I've been a fan of Chris Seay for years. So much so that that when I had the opportunity to follow him as a speaker at a university convocation service I simply walked to the podium and said, "I agree with whatever Chris said" and sat down.
However, "The Gospel According to Jesus" comes up a little short as related to the title. A book with a title like that should rock my world, instead it gave me some semi-decent tweets. It definitely deserves a read, but only after reading David Kinneman and Gabe Lyons "unChristian" or a little John Piper or Lesslie Newbigin.
If you only have time for a few chapters I recommend chapters four, eight and nine. "The Ten Commandments of Shalom" is rather clever as a concept, but is a bit lacking in depth.
Knowing that Chris is an avid reader of Lesslie Newbigin (I first learned of the Newbigin Gauntlet from Chris) I posit that the high point of "The Gospel According to Jesus" is what I will term the "Seay/Claiborne Gauntlet." Each chapter in TGATJ concludes with a prayer and interview with individuals from what I'm going to call "Chris' Tribe" (not to be derogatory). Chapter Six concludes with an interview with Rick McKinley of Imago Dei and Shane Claiborne of The Simple Way. It's in this interview that the "Seay/Claiborne Gauntlet" presents itself in a statement by Shane, "'So we're just going to create a safe place for everybody and not tell each other how to live - to find this murky liberalism that perpetuates brokenness so that we don't end up seeing healing and wholeness.' We have to be very careful. I see a lot of communities and church plants and things like that being radically inclusive - which I think is a beautiful part of Jesus - but also we have to be radically disciplined, because disciple shares the same word as discipline."
"The Gospel According to Jesus" is worthy of a quick Kindle read. I enjoyed it, but only underlined two passages.
Posted November 28, 2010
When I saw this book pop up for review, I thought I'd give Chris Seay another try (I wasn't too impressed with The Gospel According to Lost). There seems to be a major push in Christianity to get a Christ centered gospel. This is another in a long line of books that attempts to re-focus Christianity on Christ.
The Good: Seay seems to have a good grasp of Hebrew and Greek. Often, he will not only give the standard definition of a word, instead he will delve into the deeper meaning of the word using exegetical methods (such as doing a word study). This is a strength of the book as English translations of the Bible cannot grasp the full meaning behind the word.
I found the interviews at the end of each chapter to be relevant to the material at had and found the discussions to be interesting.
I enjoyed chapter four the most. The piece that really stuck out to me was when Seay discusses going to a yoga class. As Seay entered into the class, he was greeted by the instructor, who said, "Namaste (the divine within me greets and meets the divine within you.)" (67) Instead of running away, or calling yoga 'of the devil' (a la Mark Driscoll, Al Mohler, the Sola Sisters, etc), Seay clarifies his understanding of the divine spark comes from before moving on. It seems to me that Seay is not as concerned with the "Christian v. Culture wars", something that I find to be a breath of fresh air in the current climate.
The Bad: Early on, Seay makes reference to Peter being called the Rock and then Satan (Matthew 16:13-23) Seay writes, "[O]ne minute he's the Rock with the right answers, and the next minute he's Satan - I imagine Peter did one of those classic double takes, eyes bulging in disbelief." (32) What I would push Seay on here is to clarify what he means by Satan. Is he equating Satan to the Devil or is he equating it with the Hebrew ha satan (literally the accuser)?
The Ugly: None
Overall, I found the premise of the book to be interesting. It's not a particularly difficult book to read and I read it pretty quickly. Seay and I come from different traditions, but I think he made some pretty good points, especially regarding what I call "the Christian wars." This book is definitely worth reading at least once.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expressed in this review 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."
Posted November 20, 2010
received this book from Thomas Nelson as part of their Booksneeze program. Seay sets out to combat what he sees as a misunderstanding of Jesus and a dangerous focus on tallying up our rights and wrongs. I must admit before I started going to church that's what I thought Christianity was all about. I was fortunate that my introduction to church in my early twenties was at a church and with a group of people that had really grasped the grace of God and knew what it was to live it. I guess that's what grabbed my attention in the first place.
Chris Seay writes in an easy to understand style and covers quite a few important areas over the course of the book as he looks into the question, what does it mean to seek God's righteousness. These include the difference between relying on our own good works instead of God's work in us. Our tendency to label people and things as good and bad instead of admitting their brokenness and God's ability to redeem them. And also what it means to be human and created in the image of God. I felt some of the chapters finished just as things were getting interesting but I guess that leaves some room for further thought and study.
One little thing, I did feel the title is a bit presumptuous, my Hubby walked past while I was reading and commented "What does Jesus have to say". There were a couple bits where I think he pushed his point a little too far. At one point he concludes that the world is such a mess because the church is ignorant when it comes to justice and righteousness. For me that's just a little too close to the secular utopian view that most of our mess is caused by ignorance. That being said, I definitely agree that the church as a whole and the world in general would be in a much better shape if we understood and cooperated more fully with God's redemptive plans.
Posted November 13, 2010
I Also Recommend:
In his book The Gospel According to Jesus, Chris Seay--pastor of Ecclesia church in Houston--responds to a survey which shows that 84% of Christians are unfamiliar with central tenets of their faith. The book's theme centers on the meaning of Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these tings will be given to you, too." (The Voice) Using passages from The Voice, a Bible version compiled by scholars, writers, and artists, Seay emphasizes relationship and restoration, rather than a checklist of rules.
The book includes personal testimonies, prayers, and conversations with Christian leaders, such as Mark Batterson and Alan Hirsch. Chris Seay addresses the need for the church to take a leadership role in fighting poverty and healing the creation. He discusses the definitions of words such as "righteousness" and "shalom", and features an enlightening examination of the nature of sin. With the emphasis on relationship with Jesus, every act of compassion glorifies God and His Kingdom.
Reading this book has already transformed and strengthened my faith. This book encourages me to make my relationship with Jesus paramount in my life, and to heed those inner promptings to follow God's purpose. Seay's comments on the tragedies of "factory farming" and the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico particularly resonated with me. I highly recommend The Gospel According to Jesus to Christians who want to understand the tenets of their faith.
Posted November 8, 2010
Chris Seay has written a superb and insightful book that asks us to reflect deeply on what it means to be a Christian in our current postmodern milieu and what the gospel means amidst the diversity of theologies that come from the various megaphones that surround us.
In this book Chris Seay, who is also a wonderful pastor, explores topics such as: The Kingdom of God, Imago Dei, The Fall, The Gospel, Salvation, Shalom, Justification and other Christian teachings and expounds them in a simple way but in a way that challenges any complacency in the Christian life. Throughout the book Chris invites us into conversations with various Christian leaders and pioneers, such as, Gabe Lyons, Shane Claiborne, Rick McKinley, Alan Hirsch, Mark Batterson, and Dan Kimball.
I can't help but read Chris's book and be challenged to continually dwell on the love of God and his desire for not only mercy but also justice in the world. A type of justice that seeks to make things right. A justice that looks to love, with Christ's love, the brokenhearted, the misfits, the poor, homeless, marginalized in such a way that we are, "putting aside our own personal agendas because God has inspired us to pick up what is broken and form it into something new." A challenging and wonderful read.
I received this book free from the publisher through the Booksneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted November 5, 2010
In the book, The Gospel According to Jesus, Chris Seay discusses some common misunderstandings of the gospel and its effect on modern Christianity. According to cited research, modern Christians misunderstand the basic tenets of their faith. This misunderstanding leads to a gospel that doesn't clearly reflect the gospel of Jesus.
Although the book starts out on a path leading to an understanding of the gospel of Jesus, one quickly finds that he is assaulted with the gospel of Jesus as interpreted by Paul to the church in Rome. Seay suggests that 84% of Christians don't fully understand the meaning behind the word "righteousness" and this leads to distorting the message of Jesus. In chapter 3, What is the Gospel?, Seay never quotes from any of the gospel writers. Instead he serves up the gospel according to Paul and some loosely connected quotes a set of diverse figures.
To be fair, Seay does make some good efforts. The chapters, "Imago Dei" and "Shalom, the Fruit of Justice" show that he is at least thinking in some helpful directions. If only he would have fleshed these ideas out more.
Posted October 28, 2010
In the book, The Gospel According to Jesus, Chris Seay examines the common misunderstanding of the gospel and its effect on modern Christianity. Modern Christians, according to recent research, misunderstand the basic tenets of their faith; the faith of modern Christians resembles little the gospel according to Jesus. In an attempt to help bring Christians back to the gospel of Jesus, Seay explains basic terms, such as "righteousness" and "gospel." Through interviews with religious leaders and personal stories, Seay provides readers with a greater understanding of their own beliefs and urges an active, vibrant faith for modern Christians.
In The Gospel According to Jesus, Chris Seay provides readers with challenging insights into their own faith. Rather than a comfortable, insular faith, Seay encourages one that reaches into the heart of the troubled. Not just a call to social action, this book gives insights into some of the most basic-and often misunderstood-parts of the faith. Personally, I was surprised at the thoughtfulness of the text even as it maintained readability. While readers may not agree with all of his commentary, I believe that this is a book that should be read by all Christians. By focusing on Jesus in his faith and his life, Seay has come to a life that exemplifies his own beliefs. He challenges us to do the same, to look beyond our own misconceptions toward the gospel of Jesus, thus finding a truer faith that is active in our lives and in our community.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted October 27, 2010
The Gospel According to Jesus, by Chris Seay, published by Thomas Neslson publishers is a response to many common misconceptions about the bible and Jesus, held and perpetuated by many modern, liberal churches today. In fact the philosophies and teachings of many churches and popular Christian teachers/ preachers have drifted so far from the actual biblical teachers that they bear little if any resemblance to biblical teaching. For the listeners, without any knowledge of the biblical account of Jesus and the teachings, such indivduals have no basis for comparison to recognise any errors or inconsistencies. This is a timely book in response to the distorted poular misconceptions that so many have of the bible. After all, how many of us heard someone claim that Jesus said this or that, or the bible says such and such, when in actuality it does not say what the speaker purports. I have not yet recieved this book, but I anticipate its arrival. As a booksneeze blogger I am posting this review.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2010
I just finished Chris Seay's latest book The Gospel According to Jesus: A Faith that Restores All Things. In it Seay explores ignored, distorted and misunderstood important tenets of theology in the gospels, doing so without using hard-to-grasp theological words while not talking down to the reader, either. He attempts to get the church back on track through explaining what we've been misunderstanding from Jesus' teaching.
I entered into the book a little skeptical of finding something biblically worthwhile from someone as young as Seay (though he's probably not too much younger than I). But I found what he had to say to be worthwhile, relevant and something that could change Christianity for the better (getting it back to what Christ intended). Sadly, he shows (through Barna research) that the church has been off track with it's understanding of God's Kingdom. Fortunately, Seay helps get us back on track.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. 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."
Posted October 15, 2010
The Gospel According to Jesus discusses the commandment, " Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness." The author uses the word of God to help Christians grow in righteousness and faith. Most Christians do not fully understand or put into practice this commandment. Chris Seay says," Imagine a church where 84% of Christians are completely unfamiliar with the essential tenets of their faith, with a crippling misunderstanding of the word righteousness and, in turn, the gospel of Jesus." This is why Chris wrote this book, to share with others the essentials of being a Christian.
This book is a must read for every Christian, because it discusses the importance of the commandment, "Seek first the kingdom". The book challenged me to "Seek first the kingdom of God" and have His righteousness. I really learned a lot more about righteousness and living as a Christian. The book conveyed biblical truths successfully and would challenge any reader to live a better Christian life. If you are looking for a book that will grow your faith and challenge you then this is the perfect book.
Posted October 13, 2010
Whenever I hear the name Chris Seay, I always think of the Robbie Seay band. Maybe someone can tell me if they are related, because if they are not - they should be. (I'm just saying.) But Chris is actually the Pastor of Ecclesia Church in Houston, the President of the Ecclesia Bible Society and Translator of The Voice bible.
Chris' newest book "The Gospel According to Jesus" (not to be confused with John MacArthur's book) offers a fresh look into the theme of righteousness. In this book, Chris writes that Jesus came to bring new life into the darkest areas of life and that the "true gospel" means wholeness and healing to the world. Being "saved" isn't just some ritual law code that Christians follow to have pious lives, but that the gospel is a movement of rebuilding that transforms the lives of individuals from within.
Chris offers this quote from Leslie Newbigin.
"I think we've used the word gospel without giving as much attention as we need to the question of what actually we mean by that word. We don't mean Christianity. Christianity is what generations of us have made the gospel and we know we have often made a mess of it.The specific responsibility which has been given to the church and to nobody else is the responsibility to bear witness to the reality of Jesus victory."
But what often happens is the church becomes the "inside" and the rest of the world is the "outside."
Those on the inside are the "chosen frozen" (as an old mentor of mine was fond of saying) and the outside are the "dirty sinners."
Chris writes, "Many Christians see the world this way, and are blind in their point of view. It's time to stop categorizing one another and call this line of site what it is: heresy, specifically Gnosticism. Our broken ideology can be rescued when we forsake the "sacred versus secular" labels and see what has been redeemed and what is in need of redemption. People are not good or bad; they are simply broken, and God has either restored them to shalom or is seeking to restore them." (page 148)
I really enjoyed this book, it often reminded me of Andrew Farley's book, and some of the other Jesusy gospel books I have been reading. At times, I felt this book was a "hey we all gotta do something" book. In some places it's a call to arms to pick up that shovel or piece of bread and in other places its an extensive look at the Roman road.
An interesting part to this book is that at the end of each chapter there is a brief interview with other pastors and writers concerning the chapters previous topic. You get to hear from great voices like Shane Claiborne and Mark Batterson, Dan Kimball and others.