IVP - Behind the Books - Why I Wrote My Book

February 20, 2009

Why I Wrote My Book

Why does an author decide to undertake writing a book? In this blog Todd Hunter talks about his motives for writing.

I wrote Christianity Beyond Belief for two important reasons. First, I am convinced the low level of discipleship in the American church is not in spite of the gospel Christian leaders have been teaching and preaching, but precisely because of it. I know that may be a counterintuitive, even subversive thought—so let me explain.

A gospel that has only to do with sins being forgiven so that one can go to heaven when they die cannot produce and sustain and life of spiritual transformation for the sake of being God’s people. We need a larger view of the Good News of what God is up to in and through human beings. We need Jesus’ Gospel: the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Jesus’ Gospel includes forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but—and this is crucial—it cannot be reduced to it. The gospel of the Kingdom has to do with becoming, through grace and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the cooperative friends of Jesus, who live constant lives of creative goodness for the sake of others through the power of the Holy Spirit. That story, unlike the story of going to heaven when you die, can produce a new life—which is of course an eternal kind of life.

Second, my decades long practice as a pastor tells me that we Christians tend to misunderstand the nature of community and its essential connection to both evangelism and serving others. Driving 20 to 30 minutes across town to go to church for an hour or so does not constitute community. Neither does adding a drive 20 to 30 minutes in the other direction mid-week to attend a home group.

Community, by definition, means unplanned, routine contact. Community is what you have at work, school, recreation or neighborhood. Those are the places in which we learn to follow Jesus for the sake of others. My Three is Enough groups are a way to help get going with a vision for discipleship and mission within the already existing rhythms and routines of your life.

Posted by Cindy Bunch at February 20, 2009 9:40 AM Bookmark and Share

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