Getting Jesus Wrong

Getting Jesus Wrong

Getting Jesus Wrong (New Growth Press, February 2017)

Jesus is not a life coach, a movement leader, a cultural visionary, or a blessing dispenser—but you might not know that by listening to many Christians talk about their faith.

Feel-good slogans promote a caricatured Jesus made in our own image who cannot save us and leave us feeling guilty for not saving ourselves. Following the wrong Jesus disappoints us and produces anxiety, pride, and despair.

The first half of Getting Jesus Wrong recounts pastor and author Matt Johnson’s personal encounters with a string of false saviors—false saviors that many, especially young adults, will recognize. Johnson’s humor and transparency in recounting his own painful experiences will appeal to those who have tried a “brand” of Christianity and found it lacking.

The truth is, we all want something from Jesus. Some are just hoping for a little help to get through life—a new direction, a purpose that will get us up in the morning, an exercise plan, a way to get organized. But that approach to Jesus doesn’t result in real faith or love.

Whether we’ve followed a false Jesus or attempted to coopt the real Jesus, Getting Jesus Wrong ultimately offers us hope because it helps us see Jesus as he is. Getting Jesus Wrong shows that the message of the Bible is about Jesus coming to us as we are—which is good news for exhausted and disillusioned disciples. It shows us that getting Jesus right means a whole new way of thinking (the way up is down) and a whole new way of life (daily dependence on the one who knows the beginning from the end). Getting Jesus right gives us more than spiritual vitamins or a blueprint for living; it gives us a full, rich life spent exploring the depths of gospel love together.

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  • We might very well create images of Jesus we like, such as a Life Coach Jesus. Johnson bought into some of those false images and writes a very personal and honest account. He reminds us that God is not out to “help” us but to make all things new. I was impressed with Johnson’s book and recommend it to those who know something is off in what they are hearing but cannot identify it. This book is worth thoughtful reading by all Christians.

  • Getting Jesus Wrong by Matt Johnson is thought-provoking, though it’s not quite what I was expecting. I wish it had more of a focus on who JESUS is and less of a focus on how churches screw up. Yet, at the same time, it’s clear from reading this book that Jesus is Savior, even when WE screw up. And that is so refreshing. A message the world needs to hear. A message I need to hear. A message I need to tell.

  • Getting Jesus Wrong was a great read. It sure wasn’t what I was expecting that was for sure. It turned out very surprising​. I think every christian need to read this book it has a wonderful message for us and even while getting Jesus Wrong we know he is always there for us and is our savior.

  • We forget that grace is sticky, as in it sticks to us and doesn’t let go. Grace gives us grace to get things wrong. It allows us to ask some tough questions and go some routes that may seem scary as we grow in this journey of sanctification, justification, and every other big theological word you can think of.

    I am thankful to authors like Matt Johnson who are willing to put themselves out there and ask hard questions that sometimes we are shunned in our straight-laced Christian communities for even bringing up.

  • Matt Johnson has one thing to tell you, “You got the wrong of Jesus”. In his new book Getting Jesus Wrong: Giving Up Spiritual Vitamins and Checklist Christianity, published by New Growth Press, Johnson explains how we have taken the Son of God and made him into a farce, one who we have changed to fit our ways, our desires against that which we see in scripture.

  • I went into reviewing this book thinking that I’d find a lot of issues with it, and maybe that’s just because I’m a little overly critical, but the message and core of the book was amazingly solid. I’d highly recommend it.

    The Book is Not: A different way to view Christianity. The Book Is: Biblical Theology in Personal, Imperfect, Practice. The Book Could Be: Confessions of a Mars Hill Pastor. You’ve got to read more.

  • Johnson makes theology approachable and understandable. I often felt while reading GJW that I was sitting across from him at Starbucks with a cup of coffee, or even at one of his Sunday services – it was that comfortable. Don’t get me wrong; GJW will convict the reader like nobody’s business. It is, though, a welcome conviction – much like Aslan ripping the dragon scales off Eustace in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

  • Matt Johnson presents a very frank and honest assessment of his own walk with the Lord over the past 20+ years. I appreciated the fact that he wrote this book as a means of documenting his own journey and experiences as a believer making it very readable and relatable.

  • I found the book encouraging, convicting, and helpful. It is so easy to get wrong ideas of Jesus, even for we who grew up in the church. I know I needed to read this book. I am sure Johnson didn’t cover the issues as extensively as they could have been, but he did a great job of addressing it in the short 160 pages that comprise this book. I highly recommend it.

  • There were some great things throughout this book – I really enjoyed and could relate to the first part of the book, where he describes “Life Coach Jesus”, “Motivational Speaker Jesus”, etc. and told stories from his own life and his transitions through different “types” of Christianity. However, after this the book kind of fell apart for me.

  • Getting Jesus Wrong by Matt Johnson is one of those books that will probably make you mad before you reach the last page! Johnson is able to take readers on a journey to the recesses of their hearts to see which view of Jesus they’ve been tempted to follow since they began their spiritual walk with the Lord.

  • Daddy4ms says:

    I highly recommend Getting Jesus Wrong. From beginning to end, Johnson keeps your attention as he highlights several issues within the church. He also shares insights for how to see Jesus differently and what this looks like for him now. Johnson does not claim to have it all together, but his understanding of God’s love, grace, and mercy toward us will draw you to want to connect with God in a deeper way.

  • `Getting Jesus Wrong` is a Christian Living/Spiritual Growth book written by author Matt Johnson. Matt Johnson is an armchair student of theology. The main argument of this book is that of Christ and Him crucified for our sins and Salvation. The approach to this subject is descriptive. The author tells about his life experiences as a Christian and then tells what true Christianity is.

  • Noveltea says:

    There were a lot of Bible verses in Getting Jesus Wrong – something I always appreciate in books, so I was thankful for that. The author also used examples from his own life, another thing that makes me happy when I’m reading. And, there were bits here and there of good information. Overall though, I didn’t connect with the book or get a lot out of it.

  • Johnson should be commended for his efforts to debunk false gospels. For some, this may be exactly the message that needs to be received. If someone is tempted to believe a works-based salvation, then Johnson’s account of his spiritual journey may jostle them out of their beliefs.

  • Getting Jesus Wrong by Matt Johnson is an interesting read—one that I needed right now. We all want Jesus to be the person we need Him to be, but as humans we tend to focus on the aspect of Christ that we see ourselves needing most. And because of that we tend to limit Him by putting Him into a “box” of our own making. After a time we wonder what went wrong, why Jesus isn’t doing what we want Him to do.

  • If you like to read and ponder things from other’s points of view, like Matt Johnson shares here, then I believe you would enjoy this book. He works his way through the chapters sharing some ways some Christians or Churches he has come in contact with perceive Jesus and his relationship to us.

  • I feel like the author is expanding the realm of possibility in faith, which is great because it helps otherwise stricter religion to open up. The book deals with topics that are faith based and do get to the heart of some people’s way of thinking. It will be an interesting read for anyone who has a belief in God and wants to feel better connected.

  • Moments says:

    “Getting Jesus Wrong” is such a thought-provoking read.  It will have you thinking about your beliefs and your personal walk with Jesus throughout this book while at the same time think ah I have never thought about this or that in that light before. 

  • The author shares what he has learned on his journey through this life and following Jesus. While he didn’t always get it right, he admits that he doesn’t always get it right but we can’t give up–we have to keep trying. Fantastic read!

  • Matt Johnson dispels all of the wrong ways we portray Jesus in “Getting Jesus Wrong”. Depending on how we’ve been raise or what we’ve been told about Him, we have an idea of who we want Jesus to be. But Jesus is not as predictable as we would like Him to be. He doesn’t dole out blessings based on our good behavior. Sometimes we do what God wants us to do, but we don’t get what we want.

  • Pray Species says:

    Getting Jesus Wrong is a frank and honest narrative about how the author grew to be comfortable in his own faith.

  • In general, I expected it to be more about how people as individuals or part of groups get Jesus wrong, but it felt like it was all about the different churches approaches (that are wrong) and how people are drawn to those approaches and thus get it wrong. It might be an interesting book to use as part of a book club or a good conversation starter for a Bible Study group.

  • Matt tells the story of how his life was and is in a church setting.  I didn’t really get this book, it was a book that I had a hard time to get through. 

  • The author’s brokenness is appealing, and his message is freeing — both for himself and the reader. He has been wowed by a rediscovery of the free Gospel, unhindered by law. He has left behind a legalistic view of Christianity and found solid ground on which to stand. His insights into contemporary Christianity’s infatuation with morality (“law-lite”) and his prescription for struggling legalists makes this book invaluable.

  • A well written, solid, & thought provoking book. It’s easy to read, & Johnson expresses himself with honesty and clarity. Best of all, it’s a book for everyone – from seeker to those who grew up in the church.

  • I would recommend this amazing book to anyone who is ready to explore the false saviors and they are ready to learn about the real Jesus. This book massively looked at the theology of Christianity and what we believe about Jesus and how many of us have it wrong. I liked how Matt Johnson wasn’t afraid to explore the topics of Jesus as a life coach, movement leader, cultural visionary, checklist Jesus, and more.

  • This book wound up being different than I thought it would be, though still interesting and insightful. I appreciated how the author shares his personal journey of growing comfortable with his faith. I thoughts he has some excellent thoughts on how Jesus is our Savior, He is the period, not a means to an end. This book is an excellent reminder to be read and allow Jesus to come to us in our messy places.

  • This is an excellent book addressing some issues people struggle with when trying to follow Jesus. I love how down to earth and humorous the author was, very to the point and doesn’t beat around the bush which is refreshing. This book is great as it appeals to young and old deal deftly with people from all walks of life. Filled with rich insight and warmth this bool was an exceptional read.

  • This is a book that will make you think, rethink, and question in a good way how you perceive things you think you already know. It would be a great discussion book for groups!

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