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Christianity Beyond Belief: Following Jesus for the Sake of Others Paperback – May 4, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Without bashing the church and by avoiding the controversies that divide the church, Hunter teaches seekers how to live a new way and how to invite others to do the same." (BM, Libraries Alive, Winter 2010)

"Hunter challenges that new converts are left wanting true spiritual transformation if we reduce the gospel to forgiveness alone. In response, Hunter offers a kind of new "four spiritual laws." Some great illustrations and solid nuggets worth underlining here." (Tony Myles, Youth Worker Journal, September/October 2009)

"A really important book by a frontline leader in contemporary church planting on a discipleship model." (Dallas Willard, Christian Retailing, July 6, 2009)

"Christianity is not just about getting people "saved" - it's not thy kingdom come later, but thy kindfom come now; about living the kindgom today, not just getting heaven later. The goal of Christianity, he proposes, is spiritual transformation into Christlikeness in the here-and-now." (Jim Miller Book Review, June 3, 2009)

"Todd Hunter says eternal life starts now, so he poses a different series of questions: "If we knew we were going to live tomorrow and eternally, what would we do? Who would we follow? Around what narrative would we organize the various aspects of our life?" Hunter's answer is spelled out in four simple phrases that he fleshes out in this helpful book: "God intends for the followers of Jesus to be his (1) cooperative friends (2) seeking to live in creative goodness (3) for the sake of others (4) through the power of the Holy Spirit." (Susan Olasky, WORLD, April 11, 2009)

"This book was very inspiring." (Jason L., Book Bargains and Previews (bookbargainsandpreviews.com), April 2009)

"Refreshing in the theology that it offers us. Hunter offers a new and corrective view of the Christian faith for those who are dissatisfied with evangelicalism. Hunter offers what I believe are some essential critiques but he does so in a gentle and engaging way." (The Englewood Review of Books (erb.kingdomnow.org) 2, no. 12)

"Hunter calls believers to reframe their discipleship to focus on life, not just the consequences of death. He encourages pastors and leaders to disciple new Christians to follow Christ in this life; to go beyond making sure they don't go to hell when they die." (Pulpit Helps, February 2009)

"Christianity Beyond Belief will change your religion. And that's a good thing." (Sally Morgenthaler, one of the authors of Emergent Manifesto of Hope)

"There is a distinct yet distant drumbeat emerging in the church. It is calling Christ-followers to get in step with their Lord by going beyond simple belief into a participation now in the future kingdom life of the triune God, and thus to become players now in God's story. In Christianity Beyond Belief, Todd Hunter, a seasoned prophetic voice and a lover of the church, has sounded this kingdom cadence. With both clarity and passion he challenges the church, for its own good, to march to this ancient but newly emerging beat." (Berten A. Waggoner, national director, Vineyard USA)

"I have great respect for the leadership and wisdom of Todd Hunter. This book reflects Todd's friendly spirit and down-to-earth communication style, and it also reflects Todd's radical commitment to digging deep to truly 'get' the good news of the kingdom of God. By the time you're done reading this book, you'll be immersed in one of the most important conversations taking place in the Christian community today." (Brian McLaren, author of Finding Our Way Again)

"You hold in your hands a compelling invitation to actually experience--not simply learn about--what it means to be a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ. Packed with wisdom and insight from a leader who has been on the frontlines of planting, growing and leading dynamic churches across America for the past thirty years, you have here a clear and gracious presentation of life as God intends for it to be lived here and now. Whether you consider yourself a doubter, a seeker or a fully committed believer, give yourself a gift and read this book." (The Rt. Rev. Charles H. Murphy III, missionary bishop, and chairman of The Anglican Mission in the Americas)

"I thank God for Christianity Beyond Belief. It is an authentic witness to what life can be like when lived in the presence of Jesus . . . here . . . now. Christianity Beyond Belief will stir your heart, engage your mind, enlarge your soul and reshape your imagination." (Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and coauthor of Longing for God)

"If we truly understand that following Jesus is not about ourselves, the potential of what could happen for the gospel is absolutely incredible. But it means some very significant readjusting of the lenses of how we view our lives and the world around us. Todd lays out very practical ways of not only understanding this, but actually implementing this in our lives--for the sake of others." (Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church)

"Todd Hunter has provided a concrete and practical strategy for twenty-first-century Christian living and witness. He rethinks central concepts of Christian life in terms of contemporary experience, but ties them solidly to biblical teachings and the history of Christ's people. Best of all, what he says to do is congruent with where the Holy Spirit is moving in our times and can be verified in experience. Put it to the test and you will find that a lot of 'Christian stuff' that never worked for you before actually does work. One just has to get to the reality of it, which Hunter does." (Dallas Willard, author of Hearing God)

"Todd is part of a movement to rediscover the true message of Jesus and how we are to respond to it. Christianity Beyond Belief is good news!" (John Ortberg, pastor and author of The Life You've Always Wanted)

"Todd Hunter is someone who cares deeply about evangelism in contemporary culture. His huge experience in studying models of church growth give him a unique insight into this subject." (Nicky Gumbel, author of Questions of Life and other Alpha books and videos)

"Todd Hunter's tenacity as an agent of Christ's kingdom, his integrity of life as a church leader, and his constancy of focus on reaching and touching lives with the love and truth of Christ--all recommend attention to his words and work." (Jack W. Hayford, president, International Foursquare Church, and author of Worship His Majesty)

"Here is a gentle guide at work. . . . Hunter writes with a grace-filled hand as he sets notions of Christian life, belief, community and mission into a new imagination, a Christianity rooted in the large sweep of the biblical story and expressed in the paths of actual life. This is a seasoned voice worth listening to!" (George R. Hunsberger, coordinator, The Gospel and Our Culture Network, and professor of missiology, Western Theological Seminary)

Review

"I have great respect for the leadership and wisdom of Todd Hunter. This book reflects Todd's friendly spirit and down-to-earth communication style, and it also reflects Todd's radical commitment to digging deep to truly 'get' the good news of the kingdom of God. By the time you're done reading this book, you'll be immersed in one of the most important conversations taking place in the Christian community today." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830832564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830832569
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
It is a serious, for-good perspective changer!
wayne purdom
I've just begun to read this book and I'm so inspired I had to write a short review.
John Loppnow
If you appreciate their teachings and writings, you will enjoy this book.
Michael Dalton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dalton VINE VOICE on April 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I did not need to look beyond Todd Hunter's opening acknowledgements to find something that I could appreciate. His broadmindedness was evident (no small thing) in his claim of indebtedness to viewpoints as diverse as Greg Laurie and Chuck Smith on the one side and John Wimber on the other. Along with others, I have had reservations about the latter's teachings, but I see in Hunter's writing a maturity that has drawn from the best of his influences while avoiding the controversial. His gallery of mentors includes Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson and N. T. Wright. If you appreciate their teachings and writings, you will enjoy this book.

In the foreword, Eugene Peterson sets the stage for what is to follow: "Story - the Jesus story, the king story, my story - take priority over information and argument in the way we go about following Jesus." Without denigrating the need for right belief, Hunter emphasizes that Christianity is a way of life. He defines eternal life as "the quality of life derived from and lived within the kingdom of God. It is personal, intimate communion with the Trinity."

Hunter places the doctrines of sin, forgiveness, heaven and hell within the context of humanity (and creation) being restored to fulfill God's purposes. This keeps Christianity from being reduced, as it has been in our day, to just a personal relationship with God. This is a much broader view of salvation than just "inviting Jesus into your heart" and escaping hell. He argues that this makes "the forgiveness of sins the sole plot line."

He sees forgiveness as not the finishing line, but the starting point for "forming a new life, a cooperative friendship with God." This is one of four pivotal phrases that summarize his understanding of what it means to be a Christian.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By xofweber on March 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hope to write a proper review in several weeks.

I'm about half way through the book and am so excited by what I've read so far that I am planning a sermon series (I'm a pastor of a small church in Virginia) titled "Beyond Belief." For the last three months I have been preaching through the Apostles' Creed and have been trying to draw out the "So what?" of our belief. What difference does believing (all that we state we believe in the Creed, through a statement of faith, or even in our personal slate of beliefs) make in our lives? How are we different (or are we?) because of our belief? I may say, "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth ..." But, how am I different (how am I transformed) by that belief? I think Todd Hunter's "Christianity Beyond Belief" will help me to further flesh this out to the congregation I pastor.

But I am a biased critic. I first met Todd (I call him Todd like we're buddies even though he wouldn't know me from Adam) at a small conference held at a Vineyard church in Southern California back in about 2000. Also at that meeting were guys like Spencer Burke and Doug Pagitt. I had never even heard of Todd Hunter when I came to the meeting. At this point in my life I was all but burnt out on church and had an especially low view of most Christian leaders/pastors. I was tired of corporate church and pastors that seemed to act more like CEO's than servant leaders.

So I walked in to this gathering with fairly low expectations. I had arrived a bit early and thought I'd see what I could do to help those who were preparing the room for the meeting. I asked a man who was stacking the tables with sodas and bottles of water and other goodies if I could be of assistance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Loppnow on February 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just begun to read this book and I'm so inspired I had to write a short review. I feel that Todd put to words in an organized fashion things that I've been wrestling with the past 10 years.

He helps me think about how to articulate what it means to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength with language that is accessible to today's culture.

I highly recommend this book. I've been sharing what I'm reading with friends and they are interested and want to read the book so we can talk about it together. Actually, I'm going to use this book for the next section of my 3 is enough group.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By wayne purdom on February 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Although the message is not new, Hunter's ability to articulate the centrality of the Kingdom of God and it's impact on EVERYTHING (discipleship, mission, life-perspective, etc.) is fantastically fresh and needed. I'm recommending this book to everyone I know. It is a serious, for-good perspective changer!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. Clay Knick on May 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book by Todd Hunter. As I read it I heard echoes of Dallas Willard & Richard Foster, but the book has a voice of its own. I love Hunter's definition of a disciple: "a cooperative friend of Jesus."
I enjoyed his conversational evangelism style which asks seekers to consider the kind of life they really want to live. The chapter on the Holy Spirit is worth the price of the whole book. There are certain things we Christians believe, but they are worthless unless they are lived out in real lives of service and love to others. A book worthy of all the endorsements it has received.
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