Getting Jesus Wrong

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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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Reviews

  • 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!

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