1. Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human
    Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human
    Judah Smith
    Thomas Nelson / 2013 / Trade Paperback
    $9.49 Retail: $16.99 Save 44% ($7.50)
    4.5 Stars Out Of 5 29 Reviews
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  1. Cleveland, TN
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Awesome resource
    October 2, 2013
    Cleveland, TN
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Very pleased with the service and quick delivery of this item.
  2. Ph
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Must read!
    September 5, 2013
    Archie Isib
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: male
    Quality: 3
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Great book!

    This book will change the way you see God. It will help you understand how much God really loves us, all of us, because he loves us all. This book totally eradicates all of the negative religious dogma attached to Christianity... Once you pick it up you won't want to stop reading it. If you are looking for a book about the Person of Jesus Christ that is easy to read, definitely pick this. If you really want to know who Jesus is, read this book. You won't regret it!

    I did receive this book for free from BookSneeze.com in exchange for a fair review. I have received no compensation or pressure to give this book a positive review; I have done that on my own free will. I would give it three and a half stars out of five.
  3. Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 14, 2013
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I loved this book,

    I think everyone should read it, Christian or non Christian it's an easy read, I love his writing style because it reflects today's conversations. Maybe I enjoyed it so much because I am also ADD like he seems to be haha! But I enjoyed it so much, I have already passed it on and already have a line up waiting to read it after:)

    Share this book!
  4. Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 24, 2013
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Awesome book! It is a great and easy to understand word from a great pastor.
  5. Michigan
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Jesus Is should point to scripture not us
    June 17, 2013
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 2
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 3

    "I'm not a very linear person." - Judah Smith

    When I review a book there are three things I have to settle in my head before I make any judgments about the book. Who is the audience? What is the author trying to say to that audience? Was he successful? After reading "Jesus Is __" I'm still not sure how to answer those questions, except that a lack of being able to answer would be an answer to the last question. If you have no way to measure success than you are, by definition I would think, not successful.

    So, from the get go, although late in the introduction, Smith gives us an idea of what to expect. "I'm not a very linear person," he says and that is one of the clearest statements in the book. Even for being non-linear I discovered a pattern to every chapter: tell a personal story, make a claim about Christianity, back pedal to explain the errors of the claim.

    The Premise

    The book was born out of a campaign that Smith and his "media team" developed. In Judah's words, "[He] just wanted people to think more about Jesus." Out of that though was born the "Jesus is {you fill in the blank}" campaign. They put up billboards, bus signs, Facebook ads, and, of course, a website. You get to fill in the blank with whatever you think about Jesus. At some level, maybe a brainstorming session among people trying to spread the gospel, there's merit to asking this question. Unfortunately to throw it out to the world at large doesn't really do any good by itself and Judah unwittingly proves this point at the beginning of the introduction.

    Judah points out a whole bunch of stereotypes about pastors and by extension Christians and Christianity. Here's what you need to understand about stereotypes; they are developed by people outside of the group being stereotyped. This means that the people Judah wants to get thinking about Jesus have already made up their mind about how to fill in the blank; with the stereotype.

    "If we could get people to think about Jesus, we reasoned, Jesus was more than able to reveal himself to them." - Judah Smith

    Judah's right that Jesus is more than able to reveal himself, but he misses a key point in how Christians are supposed to get people to think about Jesus. It's not to throw out a fill in the blank question that they are going to fill in with what they already mistakenly believe. Instead, as Paul the Apostle said in Romans

    14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-17 ESV)

    Jesus-is-orgBy speaking from the Bible we are assured that at least they are hearing the right things about Jesus rather than simply making up what they want about Jesus. If you visit Jesus-Is.org you'll see on the main page what people are actually filling in the blanks with and many of the non-Christians are not being kind.


    Judah Smith's style of writing is so disorderly that at times I think he's on the right track, only to derail himself and end the chapter in a muddled and confusing mess. If I put the best construction on it I can sometimes get there. The problem with that is you can only put the best construction on it if you already know what he's talking about and if you don't know what he's talking about you'll put the wrong construction on it. In my view, unclear statements about Christ and the Bible are as bad as wrong statements.

    With regard to "Jesus Is ____ " it runs the gamut of good, unclear, bad and outright wrong.

    The Good

    The chapter Friend of Sinners, contains all of the good points.

    "If justice must be served, we are all in trouble because we all have sin. Maybe we haven't ordered the deaths of thousands because they are a different ethnicity, maybe we haven't raped anyone, maybe we haven't killed anyone—but we are all sinners. On some level, we've rebelled against God." (Jesus Is pg 44 digital edition)

    Although he will muddle it later, Judah accurately calls sin what it is here; rebellion against God.

    "No sinner is irreparable or irredeemable. No sin is so great that the blood of Jesus cannot cover it. His love is so deep and wide that he can, in one moment of our faith, forgive our past, present, and future sins. Sin is simply not a problem for God." (Jesus Is pg 46 digital edition)

    This is even well said and a rare moment of clarity for Smith. There is no sin we can commit that Jesus cannot cover with his sacrifice on the cross. Only our rejection of Jesus will separate us from His grace and forgiveness. Sadly, Smith does not take the time to explain how God's kindness leads us to repentance which is a message that Jesus preached often (Matthew 4:17, Romans 2:4).

    "Church is a place where a bunch of people who realize they need help get together to love Jesus and encourage each other." (Jesus Is pg 47, digital edition)

    This is a good point although lacking in some content. What does it mean to love Jesus? What does it mean to encourage each other. Jesus gives a better answer in Matthew 22:37-39 which you would need to know to make sense of Judah's answer.

    And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39 ESV)

    The Bad

    The list of bad points was so long and so needing a longer treatment that I boiled it down to these three stand alone statements.

    "[Jesus] came down to their level because they could never rise to his. He wasn't out to prove how good he was or how bad they were. He just wanted to offer them hope." (Jesus Is, pg 42, digital edition)

    This is one of those statements where you start out thinking he's going to nail it on the head and then he loses his grip and hits his thumb instead. It is true that Jesus came to our level because we couldn't rise to His. If we could rise to His level we wouldn't need a savior. Jesus, knowing that we need a savior because we are dead in our sin, came to this earth to live a perfect life and die as the perfect sacrifice and pay the debt we owe God that we could never repay. Three days later He rose from the grave proving that He is God, death has no hold on Him, and we can be forgiven. In other words, just being here he was pointing out how bad we are (Matthew 9:12, John 2:25, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:18, Matthew 4:17, Romans 6:23, Romans 1:18) and how good He is (Mark 10:18, John 3:16, Colossians 1:19-20, John 1:1-18, John 1:29-34, 1 Peter 1:13-16, John 8:58).

    Frankly, Jesus is always reminding people about how bad they are and that he can save them because of how good He is. Without that understanding the Gospel simply doesn't work.

    "That is the gospel: God is with us." (Jesus Is, pg 158, digital edition)

    This is simply not true. "God with us," is what Emmanuel means. It was one of the names given to Jesus and it refers to God, Jesus, descending from Heaven to become a man and speak to us. However, that's not the Gospel. The Gospel, the good news, is that Jesus forgives sinners and reconciles us with God through his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.

    Frankly, for Smith to miss this really makes me wonder if he understands the Gospel at all.

    "The first mention of sin in the Bible is in Genesis 4:7." (Jesus Is, pg 191, digital edition)

    I mention this because it is truly a silly mistake, but it pertain to the gospel which he has already misrepresented.

    The first time the word "sin" is used is in Genesis 4:7 however, this is not the first sin. The first sin in the Bible is Genesis 3:7. Genesis 4:7 is the murder of Abel which Smith then talks about it. So this is not a typo, he's just wrong. In fact, he's so wrong that by claiming that Cain and Abel committed the first sin he invalidates one of the basic points of Jesus death and resurrection.

    "Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. (Romans 5:18 ESV, but see Romans 5:12-21 for the complete context).

    The Wrap Up

    I cannot recommend this book. In fact, I'm only scratching the surface of the problems with it.

    Smith's message is man-centered. It's more about what God can do for me than giving the glory to God. The book is filled with quotes like, "God is more concerned about our happiness than our holiness" and "[Jesus] just wants to love us." He boils down the death and resurrection of Jesus to, "[God] was willing to make real sacrifices to build real relationships."

    Smith belittles repentance, misunderstands the purpose of the Law, and believes that Jesus didn't preach at "bad" people, but instead he was "sitting around a table telling jokes and enjoying life together" with them. This is where I have to throw up my hands because the gospels are filled with descriptions of Jesus preaching to the lost, but not one single instance of Jesus telling them jokes.

    Agree, or disagree, I'd be interested to hear from those who've read the book, or follow Smith's teaching.

    Read more of my book reviews.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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