Jesus Plus Nothing
by Tim Timmons
Embers Press, 2013. 239 pages.
Big thanks to my friend who recommended this book to me. In many ways these thoughts were how I was leaning – they seem like a natural outgrowth of universalism – but I’d never seen it articulated quite this way before.
Here are some questions from the Prologue:
What if Jesus alone is really all we need? What if Jesus is the gospel and not the many things we make it?
Could it be that Jesus wasn’t a Christian, wasn’t the founder of Christianity, and isn’t owned by Christianity?
How could Jesus’ simple invitation “Follow me” be his most revolutionary words?
What if God has planted seeds in all the world’s cultures to prepare people for recognizing Jesus as someone special?
What if Jesus never commanded us to convert people to a religious system?
Is there any chance that it might be possible to be a genuine follower of Jesus and still be a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, animist, or agnostic? Is it possible that Jesus is the name above all names and not limited to any socio-religious community – not even yours?
This book’s premise is that those last questions can be answered with Yes. And the book explains why and what the ramifications are.
That idea alone – that’s what shook me up. The rest of the book wasn’t as striking to me, but it did renew my desire to simply follow Jesus.
Honestly? This book doesn’t motivate me to want to change churches until I find a group who believes exactly the same things I do. I attend a church full of followers of Jesus. I like the songs we sing and the form our worship takes and the sermons preached and the small groups who speak into my life. I don’t agree with every point of theology that the senior pastor makes. But he is a follower of Jesus and encourages me to follow Jesus, and that’s enough.
This book looks at the ways that we forget that Jesus trumps everything, and he needs to be my end game.
Please listen carefully to this statement: Unless Jesus is your end game, then your life amounts to nothing. Jesus said it himself: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” The apostle Paul agreed, saying that his entire life and his accomplishments were a pile of rubbish (actually manure) compared to knowing Jesus. Without Jesus as your end game, your life will be filled with frustrations in your religious experience. You will have disappointments with life’s expectations, anxiety over whether your children will follow in your religious traditions, concern over the lifestyle decisions of your children and grandchildren, fears for your future security, terror over immediate financial concerns, and discouragement with life’s results.
This book encourages me to not try to convert people. Tell them about Jesus, but let them keep their own culture. And to stop expecting other people to jump through hoops to please God.
It’s all lovely and liberating and reminds me what’s actually important.
Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.
Source: This review is based on a book I purchased via Amazon.com.
Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.
What did you think of this book?