December 15, 2017

Recommendation: “I’m OK- and You’re Not”

oknot.jpgUPDATE: Here’s the whole and entire introduction to this book.

In I’m Ok– And You’re Not, John Shore has a big idea. Jesus gave the Christian movement two major pieces of instruction: The Great Commission to reach all people with the Gospel and the Great Commandment to love one another. In Shore’s opinion, American evangelicals have saturated our culture with the facts of the Gospel to the point that non-Christians are often filled with astounded dread that we keep telling them Jesus died for their sins and they must believe the Gospel to be saved. If that is the case, then Christians need to stop being annoyingly repetitive communicators (i.e. pressure sales, manipulation, rudeness, etc.) and start showing love, respect, concern, friendship and compassion to the non-Christians (“Normies”) they know.

That this premise will make a lot of pastors mad says volumes, doesn’t it?

Shore is a humorist whose work is more comedic than Donald Miller, and his appeal to Christians is more direct. Shore is preaching and teaching under the comedy, and he’s very effective as a critic and motivator. Shore turns evangelism upside down and engages in just enough hyperbole to effectively make the point. Readers of this web site will recognize many of the same critiques I’ve made in posts like Wretched Urgency. The problem in evangelism isn’t what we think. The information is there; the credibility of the Christian community isn’t.

Shore ends each chapter with sets of extended comments from unbelievers on what they want to say to Christians. Shore calls these sections “Ouch,” and that’s what they are. These unbelievers are articulate, thoughtful and way out in front of many Christians on the subject of love, respect and dialog.

Shore appeals to Christians to ponder the nature of love, the importance of honest and mature Christian character and how relationships with non-Christians really look. Shore speaks so much common sense, and skips so much Christian-ese and predictable rhetoric that some Christians will be offended immediately. Younger, thoughtful, humble Christians who know something is very wrong will find Shore saying exactly what they’ve been thinking.

This is a great book for a discussion group, and it has questions to stir up those discussions. If you let this book loose “in church,” however, the response may be explosive, which would be a lot of fun.

I do have some quibbling with Shore on the two “Great” instructions that dominate the book. Look at them both.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in [2] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20)

The emphasis was never on “salesman” type content communication. The emphasis was on making disciples, which is a process that starts with a believer, or a learner or a seeker. Unbelievers only become disciples when they say “I want to know the way.” I believe the idea that the Great Commission was about praying a prayer to “buy” the product was always wrong. Disciple-making is a community project that takes beginners and moves them forward into the Christian way. We do proclaim Christ, but I don’t think the Bible ever tells us to go out and be rude salesmen types.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

And, of course, this is also a command to the Christian community. The larger context cues us to love everyone as Jesus loves people, but the Great Commandment is directly to the community of disciples. Loving people isn’t a special commandment; it’s the clear result of being made in God’s image, hearing his word, and imitating his son. We were made to live in loving relationships. Christians that don’t understand that they are to love their non-Christian neighbor with the love of Christ have missed the whole story.

Outstanding book to stir up thought and conversation. And a good book to show to a thoughtful unbeliever.

Visit Shore’s web site for more material on the book.

Comments

  1. Sadielouwho says:

    Thanks for the rec. This book is right in line with some of the teachings my husband and I have been getting from several sources. What do you think of Way of the Master?

  2. I have never watched or listened to WOM. I appreciate Ray Comfort. I have some disagreement with the idea that evangelism is primarily argumentation. Very individualistic.

  3. Sadielouwho says:

    Yes. I agree. There was a time where I was really into listening to WOTM radio but then my husband started showing me that this method simply can’t work on everyone–the way they try to make it seem. Relationships with unbelievers are the way to go–when you have the opportunity,
    John Shore visited my blog after I linked up to you?
    I’m going to have to check on that–*chuckle*

  4. Sadielouwho says:

    Hey, now I know it was the *real* John Shore. I’m glad you guys were able to email each other.
    I just ordered a book from Amazon and I hope you’ll pop over to my blog after I do a review?
    Thanks Michael.