I Knew Jesus Before He Was A Christian…

andyallen —  June 24, 2011 — 25 Comments

I Knew Jesus Before He Was A Christian…and I Liked Him Better Then

Now there’s a book title!

To be honest, I was a little cautious diving into this book. I wondered if it would be another one of the “I love Jesus but I don’t like church” books that Christian publishers have been churning out over the past couple years. It wasn’t. I was pleased to find the author’s approach and tone to be fair, conversational and engaging.

The heart of the book is a compare and contrast of the Jesus that is described in the Bible -vs- the Jesus that a great deal of modern Christianity presents. I found myself very intrigued by the discussion of Christian faith and religious expression in the pre & post Constantine eras. Shelly contends that there is a clear distinction of the church that grew organically pre-Constantine and the church that has grown organizationally post-Constantine.

A good portion of the book looks at what church could be like if we approached it in the way Jesus modeled it. In an honest assessment of the modern American Church, I agree that we see many flaws and ways it has failed in living out the true message of Jesus in our world today. Within institutionalized or establishment religiosity there are gaps between the Gospel message of scripture and living a relational faith that is compassionate and authentic.

So long as church is a place or a series of events on certain days and at certain times, it will continue to have minimal-to-decreasing influence for changing the world.

I am still processing a lot of what I read in this book…I like a book that makes me think. I appreciate that it isn’t a ‘bash the church’ book and that a balanced look is given to the reasons the church is where it is today, as well as some of the ways we can be different as we look to the future.

You can buy this book at Amazon.com HERE.

*I was given this book to review by Leafwood Publishers. The opinions in this review are mine alone and are not the opinions of the publisher.

The contest for 5 FREE copies of this book has ended. Here are the winners:

  • Krys VanSlyke – Mesa, AZ
  • Barry Wiseman – Glen Rose, TX
  • James Allerton – Tucson, AZ
  • Stu Herried – Rocklin, CA
  • Melissa Hetzler – Powhatan, VA




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25 responses to I Knew Jesus Before He Was A Christian…

  1. Allen,

    Sounds like a thought provoking book, which is what Jesus did.


  2. Rebecca Thorngren June 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    oops. error message, apparently I posted comment too quickly, and was asked to slowwww down.

    This book looks like one that I would absolutely love. I am fairly young in my faith, and have a lot of catching up to do. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. I hope you will concider me in the give away. Btw, I liked you on facebook a while back. But liked you first, when you led worship at my home church Eagle Brook of Spring Lake Park, MN. I enjoy your posts & blogs, and hope you and your family are doing well.

  3. Rebecca Thorngren June 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    This books looks like one I would absolutely love. I am fairly young in my faith, and have a lot of catching up to do. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. I hope you will concider me, in your give away. BTW, I liked you on fb, alreday, but liked you first when you lead worship at my home church, Eagle Brook of Spring Lake Park, MN, about this time last year. Hope you and your family are doing well. And I enjoy keeping up with your posts, and blogs.

  4. Great interactive blog page! Miss your family in CA… Can’t wait to hear what is next for you!

    Hope I win a copy of the book!!

  5. Oh, and I “liked” you on Facebook. Not “Like” like. Just like.

  6. I want to win, but probably not as badly as Melissa. Wow!

  7. Hey!


    HEY! Yo! I wanna win! Okay??!?!


    Thank you for your attention.

  8. I don’t tweet, and I don’t facebook….it’s too bad you require this. I understand your
    reason for doing this; spread your blogsphere, but, I am not joining these social

    • OK Ray…we can make an exception for you man! Just make sure you fill out the Giveaway Entry Form tho.

  9. The quote about the church not being relevent when it sticks within it’s own walls intrigues me, I wanna win so I can explore that statement further. Sounds like a good book…I posted on Facebook, but Stu don’t tweet…

    • But how cool would it be if you were known as the @TheUberStu :: That would be a rockin’ Twitter handle.

  10. Lost my entire library in a hurricane force windstorm in Alaska! Would love to win to begin rebuilding my library! It sounds like a very interesting book.

  11. Andy,
    I have been very intrigued by the effects of Constantine on the church since I became aware of the vast differences in pre and post Constantinian Christianity. My doctoral mentor Skip Moen has made several written comments on this. I’m intrigued by your review of the book since it seems to move in the right direction but I’m also leery of anything that smacks of “the church reinvented.”

  12. I wanna win!!! This book looks very interesting and I was actually just having a discussion about this very concept at applebees the other day with some friends… Pick me pick me pick me!!!!

  13. Thanks for this offer. I’m currently re-reading ReJesus by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost, and am interested in the comparisons, contrasts, and calls to action presented in the two books.


  14. i would really like to win the book. im interested in it.

  15. Andy, thanks for mentioning this book especially the delineation between pre and post Constantine worship. It sounds like a deep book and thoughtful contribution. I’d be happy to have a copy as well.

  16. I… wannawin.


  17. Barbara Brandt June 24, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Sounds like a book I’d like to read — I’d like to win!!

  18. I loved what you said and I wanna win it!

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