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Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides Paperback – March 1, 2015
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Scott seamlessly weaves together theology, cultural critique, Christian ethics, and character formation. The result is a picture of Christian living that should be attractive to believers and to many skeptics as well.
Scott has written one of the most needed books of our times, one that I fervently believe should be in the hands of every single Christian without exception.
As people who have wrestled muchwith God's habit of redemptively "coloring outside the lines" in our own livesand experience, we are so grateful for the wisdom, care, and honesty with whichour friend and pastor Scott Sauls has approached this subject in this book.
Steven Curtis and Mary BethChapman
The kind of voice weincreasingly need to help guide deep and respectful conversation around theclaims of Jesus is one of humility, kindness, and humor. Judging by this book,Scott Sauls is beginning to emerge as one of our best voices.
Scott Sauls is a refreshing voice. He tackles topics that have long created division with such heartfelt hope that I'm more encouraged than ever about the future of the church.
Choosing sides in cultural conflicts has left us feeling stereotyped and caricatured. With theological insight, cultural astuteness, and the compassionate tone of Jesus, Scott has painted a way for the church to have influence without coercion and put the brilliance of Jesus on display in a pluralistic world. A worthy read. (Jon Tyson)
Scott seamlessly weaves together theology, cultural critique, Christian ethics, and character formation. The result is a picture of Christian living that should be attractive to believers and to many skeptics as well. (Tim Keller)
A compelling vision for how to follow the real Jesus in real life. Jesus Outside the Lines is a guide that helps followers of Jesus love God and the world around them. (Darrin Patrick)
Scott Sauls is a refreshing voice. He tackles topics that have long created division with such heartfelt hope that I’m more encouraged than ever about the future of the church. (Rebekah Lyons)
As people who have wrestled much with God’s habit of redemptively “coloring outside the lines” in our own lives and experience, we are so grateful for the wisdom, care, and honesty with which our friend and pastor Scott Sauls has approached this subject in this book. (Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman)
In Jesus, my friend Scott Sauls sees a power that frees us to be bold without being brash, confident without being cocky, smart without being sassy, engaged without being enraged. Thank you, Scott, for saying what you say. It is much needed in our day. (Tullian Tchividjian)
Scott Sauls has given me fresh hope in this thoughtful and lively book. He gives us a new way of relating to each other―especially on divisive topics―in hopes of sweeter aroma to those who don’t know Jesus. (Katherine Leary Alsdorf)
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Top Customer Reviews
“Jesus Outside the Lines” jumps out, both in title and introductory chapter, as a corrective to Christians taking sides in political, theological and social debates. Sauls challenges believers about “outrage porn,” the lust many have for becoming offended and infuriated. He rightly offers a corrective, asking are “we known by what we stand for instead of what we are against” (xix). And his underlying contention is that when “the grace of Jesus sinks in, we will be among the least offended and most loving people in the world” (xx), because the “more we move outside the lines of our own traditions and cultures, the more we will also be moving toward Jesus” (xxii).
Then the book heads off in earnest, and surprisingly it doesn’t go where a reader might have expected it to go. The author, instead of following the trajectory the introduction seemed to be heading, moves in a different way. Sauls addresses how Christians should deal with politics, abortion and poverty, church and unchurch, greed and contentment, critique versus criticism, the Day of Judgment and hell, hypocrisy, chastity and libertinism, pain and suffering, and pride and humility. Though I had a few beefs with the author on occasion, one of which I mention further down, nevertheless I was pleasantly pleased with what Sauls addressed and where he came out. Seriously, if an author can affirm the relevance of the local church, as well as confirm hell and the Day of Judgment, while keeping the Gospel in the center, then that author is likely coming at things pretty soundly! It seemed clear to me that Sauls didn’t back down from the tougher subjects and consistently ended up making the right conclusions. Finally, “Jesus Outside the Lines” concludes back at where the introduction began, but with a twist, “I wrote this book because I’m tired of taking sides. But sometimes taking sides is unavoidable” (189).
So where’s the beef? Of the few statements Sauls made that I would like to ask him to re-think, the one that really sticks out had to do with Christians and the Day of Judgment. The author heartily states that for “those who believe in Jesus, the Cross moves their Judgment Day from the future to the past” (112), and then shows that in Christ’s death on the cross for his people, their condemnation is removed altogether. My beef may be from my own misreading, and I want to say that up front. But the idea that the Christian’s Judgment Day is moved from the future to the past seems to fly in the face of Scripture. In at least three New Testament passages (2 Corinthians 5.10; Romans 14.11-12; Hebrews 4.12-13) it is specifically stated that Christians will face the Judgment Day to give an account of what they have done in the body, whether good or evil. Rightly, Sauls notes that there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8.1), nevertheless we will still have a day of accounting and reckoning. And thank God that in Christ and because of Christ we will now be addressed on that Day as children of God, and be openly acknowledged and acquitted (Westminster Shorter Catechism 38; see also the Westminster Confession of Faith XXXIII).
From front to back “Jesus Outside the Lines” was an enjoyable read. The author handles his subjects well, and gives a solid, faithful presentation of Christian morality and the Gospel. This might make a good source for an adult Sunday School or discussion group. It would also benefit most anyone desiring to think through the ways we sometimes blind ourselves to certain subjects while overemphasizing others. And lastly, it could be a good resource to hand to someone who is not a Christian, but is asking questions. Without any qualms I gladly recommend the book.
As we head into what looks like yet another divisive election year in the US (possibly even more so than in the past) and face a lot of important social issues, this book can be an important part of moving toward greater peace both inside the church and in the church's interaction with the world.
Sauls highlights where popular sides on current issues/topics each fail to align with Jesus' vision for the world, and encourages all of us to acknowledge the humanity in others, especially others who see things differently than us - while humbly admitting the hell that lurks within ourselves.
This books is a breath of fresh air which says not only is this loving, grace-filled space possible, but it is precisely how Jesus lived and called us to live. I so appreciated the directly applicable points by which to strive to live this more.
Well done Scotty Sauls. This book is going to quickly become my go to book to give to others.
In this age of outrage and bluster, this is a timely, needed message for the church ... and for me. It's a compelling call to let the gospel of Christ shape our hearts and passions instead of being driven by the political and popular appeals of the world. I nodded along and underlined even as I was frequently and deeply challenged.
Not only are the book's ideas strong, the writing itself is thoughtful and enjoyable. Good points are made clearly and attractively, effective stories are told in support, wise quotes and perspectives are employed, and the pages flow by smoothly.