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Jesus Without Religion: What Did He Say? What Did He Do? What's the Point? Paperback – July 12, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 143 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; English Language edition (July 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830836071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830836079
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rick James ends up thinking a lot about evangelism, about how to present Jesus responsibly to college students. In his dual role as a speaker for Campus Crusade and publisher of CruPress, Rick is constantly looking for, collecting and creating literature that communicates the Gospel in a truly relevant way. Rick's two degrees, theology and advertising, have convinced him that good communication is nearly as important as good theology. And his Likewise book Jesus Without Religion reflects both, as Rick joins his concern for biblical substance with a care for style, humor, and metaphor. Rick reads Atlantic Monthly, social trend writers like Malcolm Gladwell, and design magazines like Communication and Print. He also enjoys Wes Anderson films. To see some of the evangelistic resources Rick has written and delevoped, visit

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By on July 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm going to go out on a very short limb here and speculate that no one in history --- no one --- has been more misunderstood, more subject to misinterpretation, and more burdened with layers of distortion than has the person of Jesus Christ. This is not to suggest that there is but one crystal-clear image of Him that we can consider to be accurate. But most of us have to admit that our perception of Jesus is clouded by add-ons, a host of cultural and religious elements that serve as barriers to seeing Him as He truly is.

Writing primarily for seekers and new believers, Rick James helps remove those barriers by presenting Jesus' words and actions in the ever-important context of the culture in which He lived. James strips biblical stories of their distortions, lays them bare and then clothes them with insights into the meaning that would have been clearly understood by the people of Jesus' time.

Example: the parable of the Good Samaritan. Seekers --- if they've ever heard the actual account at all --- may come to the story with some vague understanding that Jesus was making a point about how we should treat each other. Good point, but not the main one. The main point, as James describes it, was an "insulting kick in the groin" to the priests and Levites scattered among the crowd that was listening not to a morality tale told by Mr. Rogers but to a scathing indictment leveled by the King of kings. The priest and Levite in the parable ignore the victim on the road due to their blind allegiance to the Law; by contrast, the Samaritan, so despised by the Jews, goes above and beyond in helping the man. James's point is clear: this is a picture of Jesus without religion. And its meaning was not lost on the Jewish religious leaders who heard the parable.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on September 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
The subtitle of this book is "What Did He Say? What Did He Do? What's the Point?" This is an excellent summary of what this book is about. I give this book 5 stars because the author set out to answer those questions, and that is exactly what he did.

This book is an introduction to Jesus, to the real Jesus, the one you meet in the pages of the Bible. It isn't about the latest alleged discovery. It isn't yet another expose on who Jesus really was. It is a clear, readable presentation of what the Bible says about Jesus, and an observation that the story we find there is actually pretty persuasive. There is no denying the impact Jesus has had on the world. Who hasn't heard his name? Who doesn't at least have some idea that he was some great religious teacher who lived long ago? Get rid of the vague notions you have about Jesus and get introduced to the Jesus of the Bible. If you haven't met the real Jesus, or if you aren't sure that you have, then this book is for you.

One last tip: read the preface too. And the appendix.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chris VINE VOICE on January 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was given this book when I passed by a table on campus hosted by the "Campus Crusade for Christ." The Campus Crusade is basically a group trying to generate religious discussions among students without pushing any particular religious tenets...a sort of lower pressure forum for students to think about religion. This book takes that same tactic. It looks at the Bible's treatment of Jesus Christ and evaluates the messages presented by the gospels as well as some of the writings from the Old Testament and New Testament. The book tries to take the stance of just presenting a portrait of Jesus and Christianity without the overhead of any particular beliefs or doctrines taught by any formal religion. In essence, it's exploring the roots of "Christianity."

The writing style was very accessible. The author uses very conversational language and references many contemporary objects and themes. He also lets his personality come through as he narrates the subject matter, filling it with humorous asides and anecdotes. The tone of the book is light and easy to read even though the material itself is definitely treated seriously and with respect. It's a book about Christ that's not going to be heavy and intimidating to a casual reader.

Being fairly religious myself and having taken formal scripture courses over the years, I found a lot of what is presented to be things I'd already learned. There were a few things that he presented in a new light and with interesting insights that I hadn't thought about. There were a few points that seemed contrary to things I'd learned and as such I'm now motivated to do my own study to set myself straight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Musser on February 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
Recently, I finished reading Rick James' book Jesus without Religion. It was a quality read. The purpose of the book is to provide an entry level introduction to the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth without the religious politicking. It attempts to look at the narratives about Jesus contained in the Gospels of the Bible. Most commentary on those stories is left to the status of explanation and application. This is what Jesus did and said. This is what those words and actions would have meant at that time. This is a current cultural analogy for our time. With that being the purpose I believe that Rick James is successful with this short book. The book without reading the Appendix or Preface is only 125 pages. Although I think the author's suggestion to read it in one sitting may be a little ambitious, it is a quick read. He writes in a style that is enjoyable and easy to understand. Rick has had a ministry career connecting with college students so his choice of phrasings, examples and illustration communicates better the closer you are to that age bracket, which was perfect for me. I liked the book. It will probably become a "go to" resource when recommending an entry level introduction to Jesus for college students who are willing to read up on Him independently.

The book ends with asking the question, "What was the point?" He highlights the theological concepts of redemption and grace. Although, his treatment of these concepts were adequate I felt the chapter was lacking. I think it may have been intentionally lacking. As I imagine recommending this book to those trying to figure out who Christ is, I always intend there to be a follow-up conversation to unpack what was read. The last chapter gives ample room for unpacking.
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