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In His Steps

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  15,529 ratings  ·  381 reviews
A classic short Christian novel about the events that ensue when a preacher challenges his congregation to ask themselves, in their decisions about daily life, the simple question, "What would Jesus do?"
Mass Market Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Barbour Publishing (first published January 1st 1896)
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Stephen Escalera
Rarely have I come across a book that I am so torn over as to how to rate it. Usually a book will be obviously good or bad, making the ultimate conclusion in rating it a fairly easy process. While a good book may have some detractors, overall the good outweighs the bad, with the reverse also being true of bad books. However, I'm having a hard time making such a distinction in reviewing Charles Sheldon's classic, In His Steps. There are many good things about the book, but there are also many not ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Werner rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christian fiction readers
Shelves: classics, books-i-own
If you've ever seen anyone wearing a WWJD? (standing for "What would Jesus do?") bracelet, this is the novella that first popularized that question in some Christian circles. First published in 1896, it still challenges readers to a more serious application of Jesus' principles in their daily lives. The idea of asking ourselves that question, when we make decisions about behavior, continues to strike even professed Christian readers as novel and revolutionary. (That this should be the case, of c ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Princesskelly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Princesskelly by: Julie
I must confess that all of my life I have heard the phrase “What Would Jesus Do,” but was rather clueless about where it came from or what it meant. I’ve seen those words while stuck in traffic on quite possibly thousands of bumper stickers over my lifetime, but honestly never understood what the heck “WWJD?” actually meant. It never occurred to me that it stemmed from an amazingly popular book written in the 1800’s, or that it ignited a revolution in the way that people viewed Christianity and ...more
My favorite verse for several months now has been 1 John 2:6: "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." Charles Sheldon shows in In His Steps what serious attempts to constantly "walk as Jesus did" might look like in real life. It was inspiring to read about what happened in the lives of the characters who agreed to do nothing for a whole year without first asking what Jesus would do in their situation, or how he would do it. I think it would be neat to write a book modeled after I ...more
This book was given to me by a friend, and I think I told her I would read it. Otherwise, it probably would not have taken long for me to put it down. I found it badly written, and I disagree with its central message, namely that the Christian church would be revolutionized if it's members each made an honest pledge to do as Jesus would do. (I may be way off here, but I bet the WWJD movement started with this book.) The problem with this idea is that there is a real danger of subjectivism in doi ...more
Joshua M
Feb 01, 2008 Joshua M rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any serious christian
I just reread this classic for the third time, and just as always it shook up my view of christianity. It is a novel about a pastor that challenges his church not to do anything without first asking "What would Jesus do?" As each of the doctors, buisnessman, authors, newspapaer editors, etc... do this very thing, it begins to shake up not only their lives but the enviroment of the town in which they live. Ultimately, the movement begins to spread to other cities and states. I wonder what would ...more
In His Steps has long been one of my favorite Christian novels. Upon reading it for the first time in my teens, I tried for a long time to live by the question asked of its characters: “What would Jesus do?” While I don’t remember the results of my attempts, I do recall having long conversations with my dad about how as a Christian I should approach writing fiction. Thus, I felt both apprehensive and excited at the chance to read In His Steps again for our family book discussion. Anytime I rerea ...more
This book's message is far more important than the work itself. It is the latter then that I am critiquing, not the former. As a piece of fiction, it is disillusioning to read. 'What Would Jesus do?" is the central question that all the characters have tasked themselves to asking and to make a comparison to their own actions-inspired by their pastor's words, and the words of a wandering tramp. Why this is disillusioning is that none of the characters really ever act as Jesus would act. Obviously ...more
it's about a pastor who challenges his congregation to take a pledge to ask "what would Jesus do?" before every decision they make, then follow through regardless of the consequences.

to me, the book was a little too preachy and unrealistic. i felt the choices the characters were making, for the most part, were extreme. there was also a lot of talk amongst the characters about suffering, and bearing the burden of the cross. almost like the author was telling us that unless we are suffering we are
Dan Glover
This is a "classic" of Christian social gospel, Finneyesque, religion. From the pretty young woman in the dimly lit tent meetings whose beautiful haunting singing makes hardened alcoholics break down weeping and come forward for an altar call to the crusading church folk whose efforts get local saloons shut down, this is the original WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? But that is the wrong question to ask. The questions disciples of Christ ought to ask are What Did Jesus Do? (in his life, death, resurr ...more
An interesting and thought provoking read, though I'm not sure I agree with its definition of Christian discipleship.

As a Latter-day Saint, I believe the family is central to the plan God has for us on earth. I believe we are expected to follow Christ, while raising our families as best we can. This means our day-to-day lives are filled with nurturing our children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs, rather than devoted to humanitarian aid. (Though, I'd argue that caring for ch
Tessa 『弓子』
I read this book for my English course, and really I have nothing I like about it. The whole time Maxwell and the people who have taken the WWJD challenge with him are nothing like I believe Jesus was like. They go into the slums, but never really level with the people there, it's like they still believe they are above them in some holy way. Instead of going in and hanging out with the people there, they go and preach at them, but never really listen to themselves. I believe that Jesus was what ...more
This book is written in the late 19th century and is set in the US probably a town close to Chicago and involves a church community. A beggar comes into their midst and the pastor comes under conviction as to his conduct towards this beggar. He asks himself, “What would Jesus do? and he asks his congregation to take a year long pledge to live their lives by this question.

The story was entertaining, well read by the narrator but a better word would be inspirational. I was really shocked to reali
Classic tale of Christians actually trying to follow Christ. What a concept.
Alex Stroshine
"In His Steps" is an immensely important book in terms of Christian literature in North America. The novel, published in 1896, has sold 30 million copies and its repetitive exhortation, "What would Jesus do?" continues to be a popular phrase today.

The novel concerns Henry Maxwell, a small town pastor who, affected by a vagabond's death, challenges his church to commit before every action to think "What would Jesus do?" as a way to further their own discipleship. Charles Sheldon spends the first
Charles Sheldon wrote In His Steps in 1897 during the Social Gospel movement. He began writing stories as sermons for his church, which led to a published book and widespread success. His book begins in an upscale church when a homeless man walks in during a service and confronts the church’s hypocrisy. He dies later that week in the pastor’s house, and the pastor vows for change. The pastor then asks any members of his church who would be willing to pledge to change their life and live as Jesu ...more
Adam K.
I hated giving this one a low review, but I had to. First of all, my copy appears to be a first edition. I could be wrong, but I can't imagine an older edition of it still in existence. It's a little pocket-sized thing with a cameo on the cover (which has nothing to do with the contents of the book--I think it was purely an aesthetic nuance). I was surprised by how easily it read. The book was old enough to be late-Victorian era, when prose was especially flowery and would no longer pass muster ...more
D.M. Dutcher
This is a badly written book that manages to become a classic through a powerful idea: that if people took a pledge to live like Jesus would if He lived their lives, everything would change.

Henry Maxwell is a well-to-do preacher who is accosted by a tramp looking for work as he composes his sermon. Soon it's Sunday, and he is preaching that sermon in front of his rich and successful congregation. But he is interrupted by that same tramp, who is determined to have his say before he dies.

That tr
Finished listening to this as a book on tape. Excellent story, curious narrative style, sometimes a bit formulaic and meandering in its thought threads, but the message is a good one intended to challenge readers to take up the mantle of responsibility for interacting with others in godly compassion. Worth reading.
Steven Henry
Sep 30, 2007 Steven Henry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
The main thinking in this book is "What would Jesus do?" It one of the most important questions we can ask! It has become a fad and drifted off with the rest of the fads. But, the questions importance still remains, because one day we will all stand before God and give an account for EVERY IDLE WORD, for those who are in Christ! So, this book not only asks the question, but illustrates it through the presentation of real-life-like situations in a small fictional town. Great book - effective appl ...more
This was given to me by a student with the one request that I pass it on. It's a fictional story written by a nineteenth century preacher, addressing the question: "What would Jesus do?" I'd be interested to know if this novel preceded, instigated, or was unrelated to the WWJD movement several years back--in any case, this premise, to do what Jesus would do in your position, regardless of the consequences to oneself, obviously had far-reaching percussions in the book. I particularly related to t ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Again a famous read that many love. This is a pretty good book, I found it a little heavy on the legalism. I read many Christian books where in discussing Grace the writer seems to be afraid that the reader might take the proclaimation of complete grace (That we find in the Bible) for license so the "moderate" it. That happens a little here. Still, read, enjoy...understand the works we do don't earn us a place with Christ. They flow from that relationship.
Matt Carpenter
It's a great idea to ask, "What would Jesus do?" But this book mixes up what Jesus did (speak boldly to Pharisees, turn water into wine, etc.) and what 20th century sentimentalist Christians think He would do.
Michael Miller
There is so much truth in this book. A simple truth that is often lost: those who claim to be disciples of Jesus should follow his example. They should ask, “What would Jesus do?” That’s the premise of this novel by Charles Sheldon. But his characters’ answers to this question are often disappointing as are the consequences of their decisions.

Though they make momentous decisions to do what Jesus would do, they don’t explain why they think this is what Jesus would or wouldn't do; they merely pos
Stephanie Allen
Mar 21, 2009 Stephanie Allen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephanie by: Julie Fields
I read this book for the first time in 8th Grade and loved it then. I have re-read it a few times and, each time, I am convicted in my own walk with Jesus Christ. Am I living as a true follower of Christ should? Am I following as closely in His steps as I should? It's a question I must ask every single day.
March 31st
What if we weighed everything we did in light of "what would Jesus do?"- in every situation? That's exactly the challenge of this book and what a group of people decided to do. I highly recommend this book, it totally changed my perspective on life!

A must read for anyone that calls themselves a Christian.A book that examines the possibilities of a challenge to follow Christ and do as he would do. It was written a hundred or so years ago, but is still relevant today. I think Christ wants us to have a good life, but not to the point that we ignore the pain and suffering of others. Jesus made it clear that we would suffer for His name sake on Earth, but also that He is always with us and will be rewarded. It is a challenge to be "in the world
Inspiring, thought-provoking and convicting, that's how I would describe this classic...
A simple little book about how a congregation becomes inspired to live life as Christ would, and the changes that it makes for them.
let's leave the premise of the book on one side - though I agree with the reviewer that a better question is,- What would Jesus have me do, - and focus on the actual text. Firstly, the plot: full of holes (what about the other hundreds of people who took the pledge, what did they do?), why does the action shift towns as it does, and are we take the 'vision' at the close of the book as reality? And then, the characterisation: utterly implausible, from the rich girl who doesn't actually give it al ...more
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Charles Monroe Sheldon was an American minister in the Congregational churches and leader of the Social Gospel movement. His novel, In His Steps, introduced the principle of "What Would Jesus Do?" which articulated an approach to Christian theology that became popular at the turn of the 20th Century and had a revival almost one hundred years later.
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“We must know Jesus before we can imitate Him.” 4 likes
“Must Jesus bear the cross alone And all the world go free? No, there's a cross for every one, And there's a cross for me.” 1 likes
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