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Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,732 ratings  ·  230 reviews
Some of us fear moments when we need to defend our theology. Some of us seek them out. But we are seldom ready the way Jesus seemed to be ready. So how do we draw others to God in the midst of these ordinary conversations the way Jesus did?

 In Speaking of Jesus, Carl Medearis draws on his experience of international reconciliation between Muslims and Christians to remind u
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by David C Cook
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Denes House
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Dear Carl,

I am writing to you because I know you're a true friend, and will not hold back when giving me your advice. I'm in a bit of a bind. You see, a good friend of mine just wrote a letter to my wife, and I don't know what to do about it. In the letter, he says wonderful things about me, praising me to no end. But at the same time, he keeps saying nasty things about her. He says he likes her, but he tells her she's ugly, that she talks funny, and that she doesn't really love me but only hang
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of books out there right now that are trying to separate Jesus from right-wing politics (because, in America, the two are almost always linked). Medearis approaches it from a fresh angle, talking about his time in Beruit and how people there thought Westernization and Christianity were the same thing, and how Jesus totally got lost in the mix. And I loved it — definitely one of the best books I’ve read on this subject in a while.

So, basically, he tells Christians to shut up—espec
Stephen Proctor
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated this book.

There were times he made me squirm (as he said he would) but as I continued reading I understood his point. I think Medearis' method is useful and powerful. We should certainly be more concerned with Jesus than with Christianity. However, throughout the book the author's theological knowledge base creeps in, making it apparent that he knows his doctrine and his beliefs well. Knowing this is helpful, because if read from the wrong perspective the book sounds very universal
Josh Hopping
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a phenomenal book that calls Christians back to their first love, Jesus of Nazareth. It is a call back to the person of Jesus rather than the idea/beliefs of Christianity or the doctrines of the Church.

Here an example: What is the Gospel?

Seriously, stop for a moment and answer the question, “what is the Gospel?”

When you are done, think about your answer – did it include things like: free gift from God, eternal life, freedom from sin, righteousness, grace, healing, redemption, faith in Go
Brad Kittle
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Schleier
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, some fantastic stuff in this one. The whole premise of the book could be summed up with this:

If Jesus were here, who would he be hanging out with? Christians or everyone else? Obviously, the convicting answer is that he’d be pissed with the Christians (today’s Pharisees) and he’d be loving the struggling/sick-ones of today (gays, atheists, Muslims, etc.). Christians spend far more energy today trying to grow the religion and preventing anything opposing the religion, than actually talking
Jared Totten
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Some people try to course-correct Christianity from within (reformers, etc.). Others try by distancing themselves from it ("follower of Jesus", etc.). Medearis is of the latter sort. If you are inclined that direction, you may enjoy his book more than I did.

I feel, for all the mistakes, misunderstandings, and misuses of Christianity, somewhere inside her is still the bride of Christ. And if I'm going to love the church, if I am going to call others into the body of Christ, it seems much harder t
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed the book. It was a breath of fresh air in an arena that is often filled with formulas, tips and tricks. As a follower of Jesus myself I have often felt the tension of wanting to introduce my friends to the Good News I have found, yet also not wanting to stuff anything upon them that doesn't make sense. Really glad I read this book and am sharing it with friends. ...more
I read to 25% and was so upset I stopped. While I like the basics of what Carl was saying, it really bothered me that he said Christianity and Jesus were separate things. While I will be the first one to stand up and say a lot of the traditions we have are not based on the Bible and that our faith is about relationships with Jesus, it IS a religion.

I could rant for longer, but I won't.
Steve Lundh
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most thought provoking, insightful book on following Jesus that I have ever read. Carl knocks down many preconceived paths that Christians seem to automatically follow and does this by sharing his own experiences with Muslims in the middle east as well as here in the states and with many non-believers through his many years. His straight forward questions such as "What do you think of when you hear the word Christian" and "What do you think of Jesus" was extremely telling. Th ...more
Jacob Runyon
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An great reminder/discovery of viewing the world. Too many times as Christians we think of the world as us vs them (gays, liberals, Muslims). Instead of using terms that have loaded connotative meanings behind them, our message should be be simple: point to Jesus.

Carl does a great job explaining the simplicity yet complexity of making followers Jesus. I disagreed with a few things and even thought things like the Holy Spirit deserves mentioning, but overall well-done.
Rachel Little
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
It's always a little annoying when authors give examples of what you should say, using stories of when they've said the right thing as evidence. Despite that, he was definitely upfront about his flaws in a rare way, so it balances out. This book inspired me to love Jesus more, so you can't lose with that. ...more
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Pretty neat book about changing the focus of evangelism from making converts to simply sharing one's love for Jesus. The author does not say he is a Christian, but rather tells people he tries to follow Jesus. He has observed that many people who are offended/turned off by Christianity remain interested in the person of Jesus (I thought of Gandhi, though he's not mentioned in the book). The author is an expert on Muslim/Christian relations, and a lot of his observations come from his experience ...more
Colin McKay Miller
May 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Donald Miller
Carl Medearis’ Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Non-Evangelism is a book with as much appeal to those outside the church as in it.

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line, an unofficial Christian conservative council formed to judge all things pop culture. If your book is approved by this unofficial council—made up of writers like John Piper—you’ll sell to Christians (and nothing but Christians). Often times, reaching for people outside of the church with your book or movie (or
Nicolas Valin
Carl Medearis discusses how to share your faith in such a way that we aren't "making Christians" like a cloning machine, but instead followers of Him. He explains why the "us aginst them" way of approaching people is way off Jesus message. It is not a "our religion against theirs" message the one we have to preach. Jesus message is all inclusive, He wants everything in, it is not up to us to decide who's in and who's out, God is the judge, not us. Rather than defending ours system of beliefs, we ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: evangelism
It is an interesting call to make Jesus the focus of evangelism, though in many regards I find it oversimplifying the message of the Gospel. The author gives examples of successful stories of being able to break through the obstacles such as Chrisitian lingo, controversial event in church history, etc. The premise if that christens need to focus on preaching Jesus rather then their understanding or version of Christianity. Though it is true that there is a need to be aware of issues that are an ...more
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Read this at the recommendation of a dear friend who has shared my journey of working through a bundle of church baggage. Like her and the author of this little number, however conflicted I may feel about the church and Christianity, when it comes to Jesus himself--I just love the guy. And I'm not alone. What's that Gandhi quote? "I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians?" According to Carl, this is pretty universal--from the many of us who have been through the wringer with the chu ...more
Michael Peters
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book has been humbling. At first I didn't like it, but the more I read it the more I loved it. The author expressed ideas that I've been afraid to say in public for years. The book seems very similar to teaching I received under Dr. Darrell Whiteman in class years ago.

The author calls us to ask people to follow Jesus instead of a church, Christian cause, or a pastor. Simple! Brillant! True! Christianity and the Gospel are not the same.

I hope in the not too far future that my evang
Jim B
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
This book was recommended to me by a friend who said he read it a couple of times to reflect on it. I can see why. The author makes a convincing case for sticking to talking about Jesus (and not Christianity or Bible or any of our Christian words which are loaded with negative meaning for unbelievers. The book was consistent and convincing - even delightfully clarifying when dealing with very difficult Christian conversations. I learned a great deal!
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jesus
I love this book, I have not finished reading it yet but this is the first book in a long time I haven't put down since I got it. Shifts focus from religion and puts it back on Jesus as it ought to be!! ...more
Stephanie Sheaffer
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Although the author's delivery is not particularly eloquent or fresh, he presents an important message about keeping JESUS the focus when talking with others. A good reminder to "quit defending Christianity." ...more
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. His perspective on Jesus and how we are supposed to share Him, was refreshing and encouraging.
Derek Harvey
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has changed my life. The way I see Jesus and the way I see "evangelism" has totally changed. I strongly recommend every believer read this. ...more
Nicholas Seders
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Let's Take This One Step Further
While I agreed with the premise, I feel like Medearis didn't take it far enough. Had he done so, perhaps he wouldn't be so dismissive of teaching ministries that address the Trinity, baptism, tithing, etc. Surely his intention (and perhaps his own disposition) is not to discount the importance of these discussions, but that's the impression his writing leaves. A healthy church talks about these, because Christ is central to and glorified in all of them. Furthermor
Rocky Woolery
Intriguing. Though I don't fully agree with everything, there are quite a few good points about the starting point for fulfilling the mission of making disciples that Jesus has given us. The problem is the Medearis does not even point to the fact that Jesus needs to be understood in context. Even Peter, Stephen, and Paul when speaking to their fellow Jews explained Jesus by starting with his historical context. Once the context was given the teachings and signs and wonders of Jesus could be unde ...more
Erin Christopherson
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you’ve grown up in church, or been in ministry, or have a fish on your bumper then Speaking of Jesus should be required reading. Some of you will have to take off your Make Jesus Great Again hats first.

You’ll most likely get through the first handful of chapters easily, fist pumping Jesus and reveling in your spiritual superiority for even picking up this book to begin with. But by the time Carl starts in on Paul, your head will start to spin and your stomach will feel like it does after a l
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book will surely ruffle feathers. When was the last time you had a good ruffle? Carl Medaris strips away the baggage that comes along with religion to show you what really matters- Jesus. People are interested in Jesus, he was an amazing teacher and healer whose words are relevant today, but they are so put off by Christianity. Can you blame them? Do all Christians you know follow Jesus? Definitely not. Carl shares several stories of people from all kinds of backgrounds who are turned off b ...more
Rachel Redding
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I wanted to hear more of how we don’t tend to talk enough about Jesus. I wanted more encouragement on how to share my love of Jesus without “preaching” at people who may not know him. The author, however, seemed more interested in putting down Christianity as a whole rather than building up the church and Jesus-followers. He claims we do not need to defend Christian history because it is riddled with hypocrites and negative associations. I would agree with this but wh ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carl Medearis's Speaking of Jesus is a refreshing reframe about what it means to talk about Jesus. While most books on evangelism focus on getting those who are "outside" the Christian circle into the "inside" of the Christian circle, Speaking of Jesus is far more concerned with teaching the reader how to talk about Jesus without the baggage of Christianity.

And that leads Medearis (and the reader) to some interesting places. While some people of more theologically-inclined circles may balk at so
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it

In the tradition of Donald Miller, Rick James, Bob Goff, and other typically more liberal (theologically, rather then politically of course) Christ following writers, Medearis advocates a relationship with Jesus rather than religious rigor. He makes some phenomenal points, specifically that evangelism tends to revolve around a logic based argument, attempting to push seekers into belief, rather then an extolling of the person and character of Jesus. This has been an issue I have long had wi
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Carl Medearis is an international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations.

He acts as a catalyst for a number of current movements in the Middle East to promote peace-making, as well as cultural, political and religious dialog leading toward reconciliation. He is the author of the acclaimed book on these issues, Muslims, Christians and Jesus.

Carl, his wife Chris, and thr

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