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In His Steps: By Charles M. Sheldon : Illustrated & Unabridged (Free Bonus Audiobook)

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In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook When Rev. Henry Maxwell asked the members of his small church to pledge not to do anything, whether significant or mundane, without first asking themselves the question "What would Jesus do?" he had no idea what the next year would bring. Neither did those who agre In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook When Rev. Henry Maxwell asked the members of his small church to pledge not to do anything, whether significant or mundane, without first asking themselves the question "What would Jesus do?" he had no idea what the next year would bring. Neither did those who agreed to this seemingly easy task. One by one, their lives would change. But what they never anticipated was how their entire town would be affected. Now the novel that has changed millions of lives can change yours as well. Discover this classic story for yourself and find out why the words penned more than a century ago are more powerful than ever.


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In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook When Rev. Henry Maxwell asked the members of his small church to pledge not to do anything, whether significant or mundane, without first asking themselves the question "What would Jesus do?" he had no idea what the next year would bring. Neither did those who agre In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook When Rev. Henry Maxwell asked the members of his small church to pledge not to do anything, whether significant or mundane, without first asking themselves the question "What would Jesus do?" he had no idea what the next year would bring. Neither did those who agreed to this seemingly easy task. One by one, their lives would change. But what they never anticipated was how their entire town would be affected. Now the novel that has changed millions of lives can change yours as well. Discover this classic story for yourself and find out why the words penned more than a century ago are more powerful than ever.

30 review for In His Steps: By Charles M. Sheldon : Illustrated & Unabridged (Free Bonus Audiobook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Escalera

    Rarely have I come across a book that I am so torn over as to how to rate it. Usually a book will be obviously good or bad, making the ultimate conclusion in rating it a fairly easy process. While a good book may have some detractors, overall the good outweighs the bad, with the reverse also being true of bad books. However, I'm having a hard time making such a distinction in reviewing Charles Sheldon's classic, In His Steps. There are many good things about the book, but there are also many not Rarely have I come across a book that I am so torn over as to how to rate it. Usually a book will be obviously good or bad, making the ultimate conclusion in rating it a fairly easy process. While a good book may have some detractors, overall the good outweighs the bad, with the reverse also being true of bad books. However, I'm having a hard time making such a distinction in reviewing Charles Sheldon's classic, In His Steps. There are many good things about the book, but there are also many not-so-good things. The book centers primarily on a few members of the affluent First Church of Raymond in the late 19th century who have been faced with the question of how Jesus would act if He were in their place. (In His Steps can be credited with the origin of the popularized question of "What would Jesus do?" or WWJD). A call is made for volunteers to ask the question, "What would Jesus do?" before making any decisions for one whole year. Among those who volunteer are the pastor, the local newspaper owner/editor, a gifted singer, a wealthy young woman, a writer, and an employee of the local railroad. The book follows their efforts during the course of the year as they attempt to live out their pledge of asking, "What would Jesus do?" This leads them to make decisions that aren't the most popular or even understood by some family members and the general public. It also leads them to undertake a greater involvement in their city, both in evangelical outreaches and for the good of society in general. For a book that was written over 100 years ago, it cuts to the heart of our current culture in the majority of the Western world of materialism and even more so among Christians. Perhaps the hardest hitting teaching comes towards the end of the book when the pastor asks a congregation, "How much is the Christianity of the age suffering for Him? Is it denying itself at the cost of ease, comfort, luxury, elegance of living? What does the age need more than personal sacrifice?....The Christianity that attempts to suffer by proxy is not the Christianity of Christ." Here is found perhaps the main and best thrust of the entire book. The call to Christianity is a call to suffer for Christ. "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." (Mark 8:34-35) The decision to follow Jesus, to do what He would do, is not played out in the characters' lives as something that turns out rosy. One man loses his job and as a result, his wife becomes bitter toward him. The newspaper owner/editor watches his subscribers and advertisers leave in droves because of his decision not to allow certain kinds of content. Yet another turns down what some may consider the "opportunity of a lifetime" to serve in a more humble ministry. This is no health, wealth and prosperity gospel. Wearing a bracelet that says "WWJD?" simply won't cut it. All through the book, the element of personal suffering and sacrifice is continually presented as the ultimate test of following Christ. In His Steps gives an example of Christianity in action - how Christianity looks in the nitty-gritty, everyday stuff of life. The characters realize that Christianity is not simply an abstract idea, full of wise sayings and doctrines designed only to stimulate the intellect. Christianity is lived out Monday through Sunday. It's not only making decisions based on what Jesus might do, but telling people the reasoning behind the decision. It's getting involved in the community, reaching out to those in need, using the resources that we've been blessed with to help change a life. This is Christianity in action. This brings me to the issues that have given me pause and not just a little concern. First, a few minor points. The writing style is very poor. Superlatives abound in the descriptions of the effects of various decisions. "For the first time ever..." or "he had never..." or "Nothing had ever..." or "Such a thing had never..." - these overused phrases become old and trite in their use. Additionally, the plot becomes rather predictable. However, that being said, this book is perhaps rarely read for its fictional and linguistic prowess. While the characters in the narrative are seeking to follow Christ's example, much of the decisions are based very much on personal interpretation with little to no Biblical basis for their reasoning. In one sense, the subjective nature of the question at hand makes the decision one that should be and can only be decided by the person ultimately responsible. In this, the author rightly puts great emphasis on prayer and the personal nature of the pledge. However, this lends somewhat of a relativistic mindset if the decision is not based on what Scripture says. For example, the newspaper editor decides that printing a Sunday edition is not what Jesus would do since Jesus would not publish something that caused a reader to read anything else but the Bible on Sunday. While to be commended for making such a difficult decision and following his conscious, this makes me wonder what in Scripture teaches such a notion that reading anything else but the Bible on Sunday is contrary to Christ's teachings. The biggest issue I have with the book is why the Christians go about seeking to follow Christ's steps or do what Jesus would do. Set during the heyday of the Temperance Movement, much emphasis is placed on the poorer citizens of the city and the effect that alcohol played in many of the problems that class of society faced. Further, while there seems to be much emphasis on evangelization, the improvement of life in general for the class is seen as the ultimate end of this evangelization. Oddly enough, this message of "accept Christ and everything well get better" goes against the message for the upper class citizens that Christians must suffer. The gospel that is proclaimed in In His Steps is not a gospel that comes by means of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Instead, it is a gospel that points to Christ as the ultimate example of how to live and reform society, but not the source of the strength to bring about that reform. And Christ's example in this case is to help the poor. Where a conflict arises is in dealing with the question, If helping the poor in bettering their society is what the gospel offers, how does this affect how the poor themselves live? This question is asked point blank of several of the pastors by a man out of work for many days and not one of them can provide an answer. One pastor ponders the question in his heart as "a question that brings up the entire social problem in all its perplexing entanglement of human wrongs and its present condition contrary to every desire of God for a human being's welfare. Is there any condition more awful than for a man in good health, able and eager to work, with no means of honest livelihood unless he does work, actually unable to get anything to do, and driven to one of three things: begging or charity at the hands of friends or strangers, suicide or starvation?" Nowhere in the book is a person's sinful condition addressed, but only the social condition. When reform comes, it should not, it cannot come through the betterment of a person's economic wellbeing. I'm not denying that we have a responsibility to minister to others, especially those in need. I think even my own tendency is to try to ignore others' condition, like the condition of the man on the corner holding the sign. But in helping those in need, we should not do it simply for the sake of our own suffering nor in trying to help them make a better life for themselves. We should be pointing them to Christ, not as the example of who we are following, but as the source of the strength to do what we do, the source of the righteousness to overcome sin. Without Christ, without repentance, we can improve society to the last person but will not change the root of the problem and will find them just as bad as before. As John Owen so aptly puts it in The Mortification of Sin: "Poor soul! It is not thy sore finger but thy hectic fever that thou art to apply thyself to the consideration of. Thou settest thyself against a particular sin, and dost not consider that thou art nothing but sin." In His Steps is certainly a step in the right direction of encouraging believers to challenge the way we live and think and interact with the world around us. But the reader should always keep in mind that the gospel of Christ is not an example simply to be followed in order to better society, but rather the gospel is solely and completely about Christ Himself and the righteousness we have in Him. In following Him, a person's social standing may not improve in the slightest, but his eternal standing in the sight of God will. And that's what matters.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book was given to me by a friend, and I think I told her I would read it. Otherwise, it probably would not have taken long for me to put it down. I found it badly written, and I disagree with its central message, namely that the Christian church would be revolutionized if it's members each made an honest pledge to do as Jesus would do. (I may be way off here, but I bet the WWJD movement started with this book.) The problem with this idea is that there is a real danger of subjectivism in doi This book was given to me by a friend, and I think I told her I would read it. Otherwise, it probably would not have taken long for me to put it down. I found it badly written, and I disagree with its central message, namely that the Christian church would be revolutionized if it's members each made an honest pledge to do as Jesus would do. (I may be way off here, but I bet the WWJD movement started with this book.) The problem with this idea is that there is a real danger of subjectivism in doing what Jesus would do in any given situation. What ends up happening is people do what they THINK Jesus would do. If I remember correctly, at least one character says, "I don't think Jesus would do that." For instance, one of the things some of Sheldon's characters concentrate on is the "liquor interests." Besides the fact that alcohol per se is not sinful, the author is concentrating on the symptom, not the disease, which primarily lies within the alcoholic, not the industry. To be fair, the characters do get other things right, like ministering to the poor and outcasts. The church doesn't need a call to make pledges. If we are Christians, we are already pledged to follow in the steps of Jesus. We need the truth of the gospel to be preached and taught in churches. Then Christians can ask themselves, "Based on what the Bible teaches, what would Jesus have me do?"

  3. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    If you've ever seen anyone wearing a WWJD? (standing for "What would Jesus do?") bracelet, this is the novella that first popularized that question in some Christian circles. First published in 1896, it still challenges readers to a more serious application of Jesus' principles in their daily lives. The idea of asking ourselves that question, when we make decisions about behavior, continues to strike even professed Christian readers as novel and revolutionary. (That this should be the case, of c If you've ever seen anyone wearing a WWJD? (standing for "What would Jesus do?") bracelet, this is the novella that first popularized that question in some Christian circles. First published in 1896, it still challenges readers to a more serious application of Jesus' principles in their daily lives. The idea of asking ourselves that question, when we make decisions about behavior, continues to strike even professed Christian readers as novel and revolutionary. (That this should be the case, of course, is itself a sad commentary on the state of the modern church, and on our general pigheadedness and egoism as a species.) That points up the issue of the historical context of the novel, coming after a process of some two centuries of gradually increasing loss of interest on the part of many Christians in practical, Monday-through-Saturday applications of biblical principles to daily life, withdrawal from social interest or concern, and reduction of concrete Christian ethics to observation of a few man-made asceticisms and avoidance of a short list of obvious major sins. The book also comes from, or was readily associated with, the late 19th-century "Social Gospel" movement, which was complex and not monolithic, but which basically sought to buck the afore-mentioned trend. Professed Christians who were quite content with that trend found Sheldon's novella threatening; those who saw the whole Social Gospel movement as an embodiment of liberal apostasy instantly dismissed the book as Satan-inspired propaganda from the enemy. Those perceptions still shape some fundamentalist criticism of the book, such as that of Raymond St. John in American Literature For Christian Schools, which I personally find (based on actual reading of the book) to be unfair and unconvincing. From a theological standpoint, a crucial consideration here is that the book is consciously written for Christian readers. It assumes the Christian gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ's redemption, and gratitude for this as the basis of obedience to God's wishes, and presupposes that the readers likewise assume it; so the focus isn't on convincing unbelievers of these points. Rather, the focus is on convincing professed believers to actually act in accord with their professed beliefs. That accounts for what some critics and reviewers regard (incorrectly, IMO) as a denial by implication of the need for initial Christian conversion, or a promotion of legalistic salvation by works. (This also, of course, tends to limit the book's appeal; a lot of fiction by Christians can engage both believers and nonbelievers, but it's hard to see many of the latter being much interested by the central question here, or feeling that they can relate.) If I would pose a theological criticism, it would be that the practical applications of Christian faith in the novel tend to be too tame, not radical enough. But in the context of 1896 evangelical Protestantism, they at least lay a basis to start with. Some might quibble about Sheldon's total-abstinence stand on alcohol (this was in the era that led up to the imposition of Prohibition); but where you're dealing, as some of his characters are here, in ministry to people who are basically alcoholics, total abstinence IS the only practical approach to advocate. From a literary standpoint, this is very much a message-driven novel of ideas, and Sheldon succeeds somewhat better at articulating ideas than at creating involving fiction. While his characterizations aren't quite cardboard, I wouldn't call them sharp; dialogue is often devoted to delivering a message, and the book as a whole can have a tract-like quality. I think the author can be placed in the Realist tradition, but he's not one of its first-rank practitioners. That said, I found the message strong and vital enough to make the book worth a read. (Those with lower expectations for fictional quality might give it more stars.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    "What Would Jesus Do?" Yes, this book is where that phrase comes from. This book is a classic, and the Kindle version is available for free. 4.5 stars 8/10/19: I read In His Steps as a teen. My father was an investor in a bargain bookstore, and I enjoyed purchasing books there. I delighted in the section of Christian fiction, which jived really well with my Grace Livingston Hill fixation. I found several pretty glossy hardcover GLH books. With that same glossy appearance was the book In His Step "What Would Jesus Do?" Yes, this book is where that phrase comes from. This book is a classic, and the Kindle version is available for free. 4.5 stars 8/10/19: I read In His Steps as a teen. My father was an investor in a bargain bookstore, and I enjoyed purchasing books there. I delighted in the section of Christian fiction, which jived really well with my Grace Livingston Hill fixation. I found several pretty glossy hardcover GLH books. With that same glossy appearance was the book In His Steps, so I no doubt thought it was another Christian romance. It wasn't, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book regardless. So here I am enjoying it again because my husband bought an Audible copy. Near the beginning, the congregation of a local church is asked what it means to follow the steps of Jesus. The pastor poses a challenge to anyone in his church willing to take it on: don't take any action until first considering what Jesus would do... and then do it. No matter what. This is quite a challenge. What if God wants you to do more than (or differently than) you want to? The answer, of course, is to do it anyway. He's God, after all. But to commit to ALWAYS obeying Him takes guts. 8/11/19: If a person has a to-do or not-to-do decision to make, determining what Jesus would do is a challenge if both possible decisions are not sins. In that type of situation, one must consider Christ's character as revealed in the stories recounted in the gospels. 8/13/19: The story lines are entertaining enough to get me to keep reading, but is obviously a a moral tale. But I'm okay with that! I avoid nonfiction because I don't want to relax with "nothing but the facts." So if I can be encouraged and/or educated while reading a fiction story, all the better. In fact, my favorite books are Christian historical romances, which enrich me with a bit of history and a bit of Biblical food for thought. Modern readers might not relate very well to some of choices the characters make based on their perception of what Jesus would do in their shoes. However, this was published in the late 1800s, so if the reader can keep this in mind, it will serve him well. Again, this didn't bother me, because in general, I'm pretty conservative. 8/16/19: I'm at chapter 27 out of 31 chapters. A couple of chapters ago, I thought the book was going to end, but instead it seemed to reboot in a new location with new people. Unless I missed something, (which is possible due to my deafness) I don't think the author transitioned very well. It's a minor complaint, though. 8/18/19: I finished this yesterday, and am really glad I re-read this classic. I'd like to try another by this author, perhaps Born to Serve. ------------------------------------------------ “The greatest question in all of human life is summed up when we ask, 'What would Jesus do?' if, as we ask it, we also try to answer it from a growth in knowledge of Jesus himself. We must know Jesus before we can imitate Him.”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Book2Dragon

    I read this book as a young adult and reread about some years ago. It still rings true. Your actions every day show your commitment to live as Jesus lived, as closely as possible. Morally, with empathy, with forgiveness, with Love. Then, when you make the effort, you are a Christian. If you don't want to call yourself by that name, it is a good moral and ethical code to live by. I read this book as a young adult and reread about some years ago. It still rings true. Your actions every day show your commitment to live as Jesus lived, as closely as possible. Morally, with empathy, with forgiveness, with Love. Then, when you make the effort, you are a Christian. If you don't want to call yourself by that name, it is a good moral and ethical code to live by.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    My favorite verse for several months now has been 1 John 2:6: "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." Charles Sheldon shows in In His Steps what serious attempts to constantly "walk as Jesus did" might look like in real life. It was inspiring to read about what happened in the lives of the characters who agreed to do nothing for a whole year without first asking what Jesus would do in their situation, or how he would do it. I think it would be neat to write a book modeled after I My favorite verse for several months now has been 1 John 2:6: "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." Charles Sheldon shows in In His Steps what serious attempts to constantly "walk as Jesus did" might look like in real life. It was inspiring to read about what happened in the lives of the characters who agreed to do nothing for a whole year without first asking what Jesus would do in their situation, or how he would do it. I think it would be neat to write a book modeled after In His Steps but to change the setting to the present day, as some of the issues the characters faced in the 1890s are a bit hard to relate to. Nonetheless, Sheldon presented a lot of the timeless struggles of Christian living: How do you spend not just your money (which is relatively easy to give away), but also your time and your talent? How does your faith affect the way you do your tasks at work? How does it affect your relationships? I was especially provoked to thought by Sheldon's ideas on getting involved in politics...though I would do so--am doing so--to fight for peace, freedom, and the Constitution (yay Ron Paul!) instead of for getting rid of saloons, as Sheldon's characters did. : )

  7. 4 out of 5

    Princesskelly

    I must confess that all of my life I have heard the phrase “What Would Jesus Do,” but was rather clueless about where it came from or what it meant. I’ve seen those words while stuck in traffic on quite possibly thousands of bumper stickers over my lifetime, but honestly never understood what the heck “WWJD?” actually meant. It never occurred to me that it stemmed from an amazingly popular book written in the 1800’s, or that it ignited a revolution in the way that people viewed Christianity and I must confess that all of my life I have heard the phrase “What Would Jesus Do,” but was rather clueless about where it came from or what it meant. I’ve seen those words while stuck in traffic on quite possibly thousands of bumper stickers over my lifetime, but honestly never understood what the heck “WWJD?” actually meant. It never occurred to me that it stemmed from an amazingly popular book written in the 1800’s, or that it ignited a revolution in the way that people viewed Christianity and society. Waves of embarrassment for my own ignorance washed over me when this book appeared on the syllabus for a graduate school course I am taking this semester as I thought to myself, “Wow, there’s a whole book about this?” Decades of self-inflicted naiveté were about to come to an end. “In His Steps” was written in 1897 by Charles Sheldon, and quickly catapulted to the top of Bestseller Lists while simultaneously launching a cultural and religious phenomenon. The book examines what the world would be like if everyone paused to ask the question “What Would Jesus Do” before they went about their daily lives, with the goal of following the steps that Jesus might take if he were faced with the same issues and dilemmas. “In His Steps” is a story about the tiny American town of Raymond, where members of the posh First Church undertook a revolutionary pledge that transformed their understanding of Christianity, discipleship, and humanity. Under the leadership of their pastor, Henry Maxwell, the lives of some of the most prominent members of town are turned upside down in their quest to be better Disciples of Christ. Sheldon craft fully weaves the stories of several compelling characters that grapple with their understanding of what it means to imitate Jesus. First, we meet the creator of the movement, Henry Maxwell, the pastor at First Church. At the beginning of the book, Maxwell emerges as a tightly wound snob who is only interested in his own agenda. After committing to ask the question “What Would Jesus Do,” and following the course of action, Maxwell undergoes what his friends and colleagues call “a crisis of character” that takes him on a spiritual journey to the poorest part of town where he tackles the ills of society: poverty, crime, and drunkenness. On his way, he counsels and guides his congregation as they embark on their own spiritual journey and struggle with the meaning of such a commitment. With each character, Sheldon unveils a glimpse into how the movers and shakers of society would conduct their business or industry as Jesus might: the media, the artist, the heiress, the playboy, the merchant, the big businessman, the academic, and the wealthy clergy. Sheldon covers almost every facet of industry with intricate characters that are easy to understand. We meet Edward Norman, the wealthy editor of “the News” who tries to run his newspaper as he believes Jesus would. Norman takes some heat for getting rid of the smut and sensationalism in the media, while the reader worries for his suffering and cheers for his success at revolutionizing the media. Sheldon introduces two artists, Rachel Winslow the singer, and Jasper Chase the author. Each artist takes on their own understanding of what Jesus would do with an amazing talent; would he use the gift for monetary gain, or use it for the benefit of mankind? Sheldon shows us the elite of society in Virginia and Rollin Page. Virginia, the heiress, grapples with what Jesus would do with a million dollars, while Rollin, the playboy, questions how Jesus would spend his time if he never had to work. As each character sets off on their own unique journey, the reader gets a sense of the personal and spiritual transformation that each character experiences. While these characters face minimal suffering as a result of their commitment to take the pledge, Sheldon unfolds an uglier side of the movement through other characters. Alexander Powers, the wealthy and powerful “Superintendent,” thinks his journey begins with the question of how Jesus would treat his employees, but quickly faces an even bigger question: what would Jesus do if he had evidence that illegal activity was going on in his own business? Sheldon shows the reader the amount of suffering Powers faces when he loses his job, his family, and his status in society in his effort to walk with Jesus. It is this kind of suffering that the characters in the book reveal to be the pinnacle of Christian discipleship. It is truly Sheldon’s ability to create such wonderfully complex yet seemingly generic characters that make this book so fun to read. Sheldon masterfully weaves each character’s individual storyline back into the main plot of the story, reminding the reader that are own lives are often entangled with the people we see every day but never truly know well enough to form a bond or common identity with. Sheldon is a dynamic storyteller who doesn’t fail to spice the story up with romance, suspense, drama, crime, or emotion; traits you wouldn’t expect in a religious book written in the 1800’s. Sheldon entices the reader to keep turning the page with well-placed cliffhangers and vivid foreshadowing as to what might happen next. Ironically, Sheldon’s biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. He takes such care in crafting such amazing characters in the first eight chapters of the book, only to completely abandon them for the last three. For the last few chapters of the book, Sheldon moves his story to the big city of Chicago where a new cast of characters emerge with the resolve to take the pledge. While these characters are certainly lovely and reveal compelling stories, they seem very rushed and lack the same attention to detail that the earlier characters have. It’s almost like Sheldon “got stuck” and didn’t know how to wrap up the book without completely changing things up and taking on “the big city” or “insider” perspective. I really enjoyed “In His Steps,” and am so glad that I finally understand what all those bumper stickers mean! I am truly stunned at the worldwide audience that has embraced this book written over a century ago. It’s rare to find anything that people are still talking about a century later; much less one that still inspires people to put a sticker on their car or buy a t-shirt bearing the words. While this book does not provide the answers for living a better life, it does make you stop and think about how the world would look if everyone took a minute to live more morally and ethically. If you’re looking for the answers to deep Christian questions, you will not find them in this book. However, what you will find is a great little book with some really fun characters traveling on a spiritual transformation that causes them to open their eyes to society, which compels them to burst out of their bubbles and do something better for the world instead of themselves.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Fauchelle

    The story itself was ok, I did find it took me a long time to read, it wasn't a hard read it just seemed a long read. The lesson and challenge at the forefront of the story was the thing that got me and will keep me thinking about for the rest of my life and that is : What Would Jesus Do? to ask that question in every part of your life, for everything I have belongs to God and really I should be sharing that with those around me. There is a cost in following Jesus and that is I need to die to se The story itself was ok, I did find it took me a long time to read, it wasn't a hard read it just seemed a long read. The lesson and challenge at the forefront of the story was the thing that got me and will keep me thinking about for the rest of my life and that is : What Would Jesus Do? to ask that question in every part of your life, for everything I have belongs to God and really I should be sharing that with those around me. There is a cost in following Jesus and that is I need to die to self daily. This book should make us uncomfortable and challenge our thinking and change our daily choices.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Angela Watts

    3.5 stars for how much I enjoyed it as a novel, 4 stars for the great lessons. Overall, it was thought-provoking, moving (not in the ways it *should have been* moving, always? I probably should have *felt* more often than I did... but I didn't really connect with anyone, ever), and a great read for any Christian. Christians in America could really use the lessons and themes in this novel. 3.5 stars for how much I enjoyed it as a novel, 4 stars for the great lessons. Overall, it was thought-provoking, moving (not in the ways it *should have been* moving, always? I probably should have *felt* more often than I did... but I didn't really connect with anyone, ever), and a great read for any Christian. Christians in America could really use the lessons and themes in this novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    it's about a pastor who challenges his congregation to take a pledge to ask "what would Jesus do?" before every decision they make, then follow through regardless of the consequences. to me, the book was a little too preachy and unrealistic. i felt the choices the characters were making, for the most part, were extreme. there was also a lot of talk amongst the characters about suffering, and bearing the burden of the cross. almost like the author was telling us that unless we are suffering we are it's about a pastor who challenges his congregation to take a pledge to ask "what would Jesus do?" before every decision they make, then follow through regardless of the consequences. to me, the book was a little too preachy and unrealistic. i felt the choices the characters were making, for the most part, were extreme. there was also a lot of talk amongst the characters about suffering, and bearing the burden of the cross. almost like the author was telling us that unless we are suffering we are not being as christian as we should be, or aren't dedicated enough to emulating Christ. i don't think Jesus has asked us to choose as if we were Him living in His circumstances. i do however know He has asked us to learn His gospel and the principles He taught, then make our choices applying those principles, striving to be like Him, and working towards aligning our will with our Heavenly Father's. i also don't think suffering and following Jesus go hand in hand. i think we should be willing to sacrifice. sometimes sacrifice is necessary, and sometimes it's harder than others. but i think there is more joy, than suffering, in following the Savior and serving one another. there were a couple things i did like about the book. through the course of the story you hear about four different church congregations who are affected by this proposition. at least three of them were of different religions, yet they worked together for a common goal. i think it's important for us to remember that we can interact and work together with others who may not believe everything we believe, and still accomplish a lot of great things. one of the main characters was a girl who sang, very well. her story intertwined with almost every other character, even if it was just that someone heard her sing. during book club we discussed how powerful music is. it crosses boundaries, such as language barriers, economic classes, or cultural differences, and can influence us all. overall, i didn't love the book. but i thought many times while reading that it would make for great discussion. and when we got together, it did just that. another great book club!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dan Glover

    This is a "classic" of Christian social gospel, Finneyesque, religion. From the pretty young woman in the dimly lit tent meetings whose beautiful haunting singing makes hardened alcoholics break down weeping and come forward for an altar call to the crusading church folk whose efforts get local saloons shut down, this is the original WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? But that is the wrong question to ask. The questions disciples of Christ ought to ask are What Did Jesus Do? (in his life, death, resurr This is a "classic" of Christian social gospel, Finneyesque, religion. From the pretty young woman in the dimly lit tent meetings whose beautiful haunting singing makes hardened alcoholics break down weeping and come forward for an altar call to the crusading church folk whose efforts get local saloons shut down, this is the original WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? But that is the wrong question to ask. The questions disciples of Christ ought to ask are What Did Jesus Do? (in his life, death, resurrection and ascension and ongoing reign) and then What Would Jesus Have Me Do? It is not a legitimate question for a 32 year old house wife and mother of 3 or a 81 year old retired business man or a 7 year old to ask them selves that, if Jesus were in their shoes at this particular moment and faced with their particular circumstance, what he would do. He never was and never will be in their shoes and they never are and never will be in his. He is God's own Son, the Messiah set apart for the mission of the redemption of the world from before the foundation of the earth, the second person of the Trinity, the one who bore the sins of all his people in his body on the cross and then rose again so that the power of sin, death and hell could be broken and the curse ultimately undone as he works through the Church, his Bride, to make all things new. He is, in a word, rather unique. So the proper question to ask is what the Lord of the universe would have us do as his followers, his disciples, his ambassadors and preachers. We are to be imitators of Christ, yes, but that is not truly what the characters in this book are doing. They are turning an immoral town into a moralistic town largely through "seeker" manipulation techniques invented by Charles Finney and other worksy evangelists rather than preaching the gospel and letting the Holy Spirit use the Word of God to convict and regenerate sinners and turn them into disciples. The gospel of Sheldon was too much of the "don't drink, don't chew and don't go with the girls who do".

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    An interesting and thought provoking read, though I'm not sure I agree with its definition of Christian discipleship. As a Latter-day Saint, I believe the family is central to the plan God has for us on earth. I believe we are expected to follow Christ, while raising our families as best we can. This means our day-to-day lives are filled with nurturing our children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs, rather than devoted to humanitarian aid. (Though, I'd argue that caring for ch An interesting and thought provoking read, though I'm not sure I agree with its definition of Christian discipleship. As a Latter-day Saint, I believe the family is central to the plan God has for us on earth. I believe we are expected to follow Christ, while raising our families as best we can. This means our day-to-day lives are filled with nurturing our children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs, rather than devoted to humanitarian aid. (Though, I'd argue that caring for children could certainly be characterized as "clothing the naked and feeding the hungry.") There really aren't any good examples of families, as a whole, following Christ in this book and I found that frustrating. Another thread in the book is the necessity to "suffer" for Christ. I'm not certain that the suffering should be the focus. Sacrifice is certainly a part of discipleship, but so is happiness and joy. Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joshua M

    I just reread this classic for the third time, and just as always it shook up my view of christianity. It is a novel about a pastor that challenges his church not to do anything without first asking "What would Jesus do?" As each of the doctors, buisnessman, authors, newspapaer editors, etc... do this very thing, it begins to shake up not only their lives but the enviroment of the town in which they live. Ultimately, the movement begins to spread to other cities and states. I wonder what would I just reread this classic for the third time, and just as always it shook up my view of christianity. It is a novel about a pastor that challenges his church not to do anything without first asking "What would Jesus do?" As each of the doctors, buisnessman, authors, newspapaer editors, etc... do this very thing, it begins to shake up not only their lives but the enviroment of the town in which they live. Ultimately, the movement begins to spread to other cities and states. I wonder what would happen to this country if all of us that claim to be christians, would start acting as Jesus would act?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Madelyn

    Wonderfully well written book. It changed my walk with the Lord, it made me question if I was doing enough, if I was actually walking in His steps like He would want me to. I also love the fact that it is partially a true story. The characters are also very well developed. Overall, it was an excellent book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elliott

    This book's message is far more important than the work itself. It is the latter then that I am critiquing, not the former. As a piece of fiction, it is disillusioning to read. 'What Would Jesus do?" is the central question that all the characters have tasked themselves to asking and to make a comparison to their own actions-inspired by their pastor's words, and the words of a wandering tramp. Why this is disillusioning is that none of the characters really ever act as Jesus would act. Obviously This book's message is far more important than the work itself. It is the latter then that I am critiquing, not the former. As a piece of fiction, it is disillusioning to read. 'What Would Jesus do?" is the central question that all the characters have tasked themselves to asking and to make a comparison to their own actions-inspired by their pastor's words, and the words of a wandering tramp. Why this is disillusioning is that none of the characters really ever act as Jesus would act. Obviously none can turn water into wine, or feed a thousand, but all the deeds are mere half examples-great stretches to those individuals perhaps, but they do not significantly impair their own economic status. No one forsakes a life of plenty to devote themselves completely to healing the sick, or alleviating the misery of the poor-as Jesus would do, and did for that matter. They involve themselves politically to destroy a saloon, and open a break room to give lectures to workers on how to better spend their free-time and money. Considering that Jesus was ambivalent to traditional and local politics, and did not engage in any capital investing, or factory labor it's hard to create a workable analogy from this novel. The dialogue itself is rather clunky and reads as a melodrama more than anything. A novel that urges its readers to do as Christ without making any real sacrifice.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jesseca Wheaton

    I had read the younger version of "In His Steps" when I was younger, but I had never read the adult version. Well, this year it was required for my English literature course, so of course I read it. Wow. I was not expecting to enjoy it half as much as I did. The story really brought the question "what would Jesus do" to life. It made me stop and think. What would I do differently, if, before I did anything, I asked "What would Jesus do?". It was kinda hard to connect with the characters, primari I had read the younger version of "In His Steps" when I was younger, but I had never read the adult version. Well, this year it was required for my English literature course, so of course I read it. Wow. I was not expecting to enjoy it half as much as I did. The story really brought the question "what would Jesus do" to life. It made me stop and think. What would I do differently, if, before I did anything, I asked "What would Jesus do?". It was kinda hard to connect with the characters, primarily because they all seemed to have a lot of money they could pour into their work, but it was a book that made me stop and think none the less and definitely one I would recommend!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Again a famous read that many love. This is a pretty good book, I found it a little heavy on the legalism. I read many Christian books where in discussing Grace the writer seems to be afraid that the reader might take the proclaimation of complete grace (That we find in the Bible) for license so the "moderate" it. That happens a little here. Still, read, enjoy...understand the works we do don't earn us a place with Christ. They flow from that relationship. Again a famous read that many love. This is a pretty good book, I found it a little heavy on the legalism. I read many Christian books where in discussing Grace the writer seems to be afraid that the reader might take the proclaimation of complete grace (That we find in the Bible) for license so the "moderate" it. That happens a little here. Still, read, enjoy...understand the works we do don't earn us a place with Christ. They flow from that relationship.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I stumbled across this title while looking through my library's audiobook collection. Immediately it brought to mind the 1970s book cover my mom had on her shelf which, naturally, made me nostalgic. I decided to give it a listen and within moments it felt like a comfort read as you know I am fond of pointed tales of extreme 19th century morality and doctrine. I felt like Anne of Green Gables reading the stories from my Sunday school serial. I stumbled across this title while looking through my library's audiobook collection. Immediately it brought to mind the 1970s book cover my mom had on her shelf which, naturally, made me nostalgic. I decided to give it a listen and within moments it felt like a comfort read as you know I am fond of pointed tales of extreme 19th century morality and doctrine. I felt like Anne of Green Gables reading the stories from my Sunday school serial.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charity

    Finished listening to this as a book on tape. Excellent story, curious narrative style, sometimes a bit formulaic and meandering in its thought threads, but the message is a good one intended to challenge readers to take up the mantle of responsibility for interacting with others in godly compassion. Worth reading.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Josie

    If I didn't have to read this for school, I wouldn't have finished. It was hard for me to even skim. My main issue with this book is that as Christians, we pledge to follow Jesus's steps from the day we get saved. It's not just a year-long challenge. It's something we should be (and should have been doing) every day. I won't even touch on the writing issues. If I didn't have to read this for school, I wouldn't have finished. It was hard for me to even skim. My main issue with this book is that as Christians, we pledge to follow Jesus's steps from the day we get saved. It's not just a year-long challenge. It's something we should be (and should have been doing) every day. I won't even touch on the writing issues.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Classic tale of Christians actually trying to follow Christ. What a concept.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt Morgan

    A very thought provoking book. Based in the early 1900's, a church congregation is challenged to ask 'What would Jesus Do?' before each decision they make for an entire year. You get to know specific members who give up large amounts of money, comforts, and temporal luxuries in order to walk in His steps. Reading this book, you can't help but analyze your own life. You start to understand that you cannot judge others (as much as you want to). Because, 'what would Jesus do?' is a very personal qu A very thought provoking book. Based in the early 1900's, a church congregation is challenged to ask 'What would Jesus Do?' before each decision they make for an entire year. You get to know specific members who give up large amounts of money, comforts, and temporal luxuries in order to walk in His steps. Reading this book, you can't help but analyze your own life. You start to understand that you cannot judge others (as much as you want to). Because, 'what would Jesus do?' is a very personal question. It should be more like, 'What would Jesus do (in my situation)?' - and only you can answer that as moved upon by the spirit of Christ. With a heavy focus on career and money, the accounts in this book motivate me to give up some of my temporal happiness to gain richer spiritual happiness through serving the poor and seeking after eternal riches (coming to know my savior more fully and spending my days serving Him as opposed to seeking after temporal riches and experiences through the ever moving target of earning more and more $$). A true Christian dedicated their life to following Christ and coming to know Him better. This book has inspired me to try harder to better understand what Jesus would do if in my situation - though I think it is a life-long journey to truly know the answer to that question. Some notes and quotes from my reading: "What would Jesus Do? - suppose that were the motto, not only of the churches, but of the business men, the politicians, the newspapers, the working men, the society people - how long would it take, under such a standard of conduct to revolutionize the world? What was the problem with the world? It was suffering from selfishness. No one ever lived who has succeeded in overcoming selfishness like Jesus. If men followed Him, regardless of results, the world would at once begin to enjoy a new life." It seems to me there's an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn't exist if all the people who sing such songs (all for Jesus, all for Jesus, ...) went and lived them out I am a little in doubt as to the source of our knowledge concerning what would Jesus do. Who is to decide for me just what Jesus would do in my case? It is a different age. There are many perplexing questions in our civilization that are not mentioned in the teaching of Jesus. How am I going to tell what he would do? - there is no way that I know of, except as we study Jesus through the medium of the Holy Spirit "But we need to remember this fact: after we have asked the Spirit to tell us what Jesus would do and have received an answer to it, we are to act regardless of the results to ourselves." "I think perhaps I find it specifically difficult to answer the question on account of my money. Jesus never owned any property, and there is nothing in His example to guide me in the use of mine. ...what would Jesus do with a million dollars? ..I confess that I am not yet able to answer it to my satisfaction." - it required a knowledge of Him and an insight into His motives Newspaper owner: Did not print news on the fight Stopped the Sunday paper End relationship with tobacco & alcohol ads ....ppl bought less papers, employees were angry, advertisers withdrew Started only running political stories that discussed right and wrong no matter that the political party Turned the paper into the Christian News as this was the only way it was going to "pay" - but mainly because that's what Jesus would do In beginning to understand that I cannot interpret the probable action of Jesus until I know better what his spirit is. To my mind, the greatest question in all of human life is summed up in 'what would Jesus do'. If we ask it, we also try to answer it from a growing knowledge of Jesus himself. We must know Jesus before we can imitate him. - I have asked it daily and will continue to do so and abide by its results Reporter boy: Would not go work on Sunday - was fired Store owner: "My sins of commission have not been as many as those of my sins of omission." What Jesus would probably do in Milton Wright's place as a business owner?: 1. He would engage in business with the purpose of glorifying God, and not for the primary purpose of making money 2. All money that might be made he would never regard as his own, but as trust funds to be used for the good of humanity 3. His relations with all the persons in his employ would be the most loving and helpful. These are all souls to be saved- this thought would always be greater than that of making money 4. He would never do a dishonest or questionable thing or try in any remotest way to get the advantage of any one else in the same business 5. The principle of unselfishness and helpfulness in all the details of the business would direct its details 6. Upon this principle he would shape the entire plan of his relations to his employees, to the people who were his customers, and to the general business world to which he was connected **"intelligent unselfishness ought to be wiser than intelligent selfishness, don't you think? If the men who work as employees being to feel a personal share in the profits of the business and, more than that, a personal love for themselves on a part of the firm, won't the result be more care, less waste, more diligence, more faithfulness?" Railroad shop owner: Made lunch room for employees (comfort) Brought in speakers to nourish their soul Found illegal practice going on - he resigned Church singer: Offered lots of money to go sing on tour commercially - decides that's not what Christ would do (seek most money possible with talent) *very interesting dialogue with her mother about - "Do you presume to sit in judgement on other people who go out and sing in this way? Do you presume to say that they are doing what Christ would not do?" - "..I judge no one else. I condemn no other professional singers. I simply decide my own course. As I look at it, I have a conviction that Jesus would do something else." "...what? Something that will serve mankind where it most needs to service of song. ...I have made up my mind to use my voice in some way so as to satisfy my own soul that i am doing something better than please fashionable audiences or make money, or even gratify my own love of singing. I am going to do something that will satisfy me when I ask, 'what would Jesus do?" **after deciding she was going to start going and singing with church volunteers in the slums every week: "..I want to do something that will cost me something in the way of sacrifice. ...I am hungry to suffer something. What have we done all our lives for the suffering, sinning side of Raymond? How much have we denied ourselves or given of our personal ease and pleasure to bless the place in which we live or imitate the life of the savior of the world? Are we always going to do as society selfishly dictates, moving on its narrow little round of pleasure and entertainments and never knowing the pain of things that cost?" Virginia (rich girl): She wanted to spend more time in the rectangle and the sinners and less time with the rich Christians. - she took her rich friends on a tour of the area and stopped to help a drunk. *what I find so different here is just the direct black and white/ right and wrong correlations. It is easy for everyone to see that hanging around in this area and falling drunken out of the saloon is bad. The girl even says "I belong to hell." And Virginia responds - "no, you belong to Jesus." - in our world today it isn't about saving people from the strip clubs and bars and bringing them to church. It's about being an example in many many many gray areas... She brought the homeless girl home and drove her grandmother out because of it Put up $500,000 for the paper to become the Christian News The pastor: As he wrote his sermon, it was no longer about the dramatic effect on his audience - but always "would Jesus say that?" He decided he needed to speak out against the saloon - politicized this and got all the Christians out campaigning against it Sent a family from the rectangle on vacation instead of taking his annual trip Jasper - the write Took the pledge but struggled with the 'entertaining' novel he wrote that was not using his talents to convert of lead into Christ *Two months had gone by and an outward observer would not have seen any difference in the old conditions although there was an actual change in hundreds of lives Chicago: Rose to Felicia: - there have always been poor and rich. So why do anything about it? It's always going to be that way. Bishop Bruce- these Christians don't like it to be hard - "can't imagine many taking that pledge and actually keeping it" The concept of sacrifice: "Each individual Christian, businessman, citizen, needs to follow in His steps along the path of personal sacrifice for Him." - like when the disciples left all to follow Christ - We have, unconsciously, lazily, selfishly, formally, grown into a discipleship that Jesus Himself would not acknowledge. *But if our definition of being a Christian is simply to enjoy the privileges of worship, be generous at no expense to ourselves, have a good, easy time surrounded by pleasant friends and comfortable things, live respectably, and at the same time avoid the world's greatest stress of sin and trouble because it is too much pain to bear it - if this is our definition of Christianity, surely we are a long way from following in His steps

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joy Gerbode

    Oldie but goodie Although this book is quite dated in terms of society it does touch a spark of conscience as the reader considers the question “what would Jesus do”. It has challenged me to make a comittment to better know and understand what Jesus would do by studying Gods word and getting to know Him better

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Beals

    Take caution not to let this lead you into legalism, but for the most part this is a convicting perspective on Christian living, sacrifice, and evangelism. It really shows how little we NEED, and how much we are able to GIVE if we allow ourselves not to be swallowed up in pride, greed, and selfishness.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Addison S

    This book will change your life! It has changed mine! I never understood what the WWJD movement meant until I read this book! What would Jesus do? That question has been on my mind almost constantly! Every Christian should read this book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michal

    I love this book! Maybe not great as a read aloud with an 8 year old. Need to find a children's version. I love this book! Maybe not great as a read aloud with an 8 year old. Need to find a children's version.

  27. 4 out of 5

    AlegnaB †

    Warning: This review contains information that some people may consider to be spoilers. I listened to an eaudio of this. There are some good things about it. As the book says, Christians should be doing more to lessen suffering in this world. However, it’s not so that we can usher in heaven on earth, which is what the author seems to have believed. The most important role of the church is to share the gospel with others. Ministering to others in Christ’s name can give us the opportunity to share Warning: This review contains information that some people may consider to be spoilers. I listened to an eaudio of this. There are some good things about it. As the book says, Christians should be doing more to lessen suffering in this world. However, it’s not so that we can usher in heaven on earth, which is what the author seems to have believed. The most important role of the church is to share the gospel with others. Ministering to others in Christ’s name can give us the opportunity to share the gospel with someone who is willing to listen, since they’ve had love shown to them. One of the things that bothered me was that the author implied that anyone who chooses to write a book without a Christian message or anyone who chooses to go into a secular career in which there is a possibility of fame and fortune isn’t a true Christian. Also, anyone who drinks alcohol can’t be a true Christian; all alcohol is evil. I’ve never drank so much as a drop of an alcoholic beverage, since my mom and my church taught that it was sinful and I’ve never felt a desire to drink any, but I no longer believe that’s it’s sinful to drink it (getting drunk , on the other hand…). Jesus drank wine (although my mom believed it was just grape juice), and Paul told Timothy to drink wine for his stomach. Throughout most of history, drinking alcohol was much safer than drinking water. The author was all about Christians eliminating opportunities for unsaved people to sin. The author said or strongly implied (since I was listening while doing things, I didn’t jot down location in the eaudio so I could refer to it later) that if a person is not suffering for Christ, he isn’t really a Christian. He said or implied that a person has to intentionally look for ways to suffer or he’s not really a Christian. The author mentions the “gospel” at times, but he seems to put forth a gospel of works-righteousness. I don’t recall hearing anything about trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and repentance. There’s nothing about receiving a new nature, which causes us to want to live righteously and changes lives. There’s lots about helping people with our time and money (although he condemns those who just give money and don’t give of their time and efforts). Here’s a quote: “What was the trouble with the world? It was suffering from selfishness. No one ever lived who had succeeded in overcoming selfishness like Jesus. If men followed Him regardless of results the world would at once begin to enjoy a new life.” Selfishness is not the trouble with the world; the trouble with the world is sin. We all have sin natures, which cause us to be selfish. Conditions in this world could be made better through efforts of do-gooders, but that will never change hearts and therefore is not lasting. New life can only come through Jesus, one person at a time, and that’s what can change the world for the better. Since I quickly noticed problems with the story, I decided to see if others saw red flags like I did. It didn’t take me long to see that the author was big into the social gospel movement. Ah ha! That explains it. I then started doing some research and found out from various sites that the author may not have believed in the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or the resurrection. See http://cicministry.org/commentary/iss.... I agree with what some other people have stated. We shouldn’t be asking WWJD but instead ask, “What does Jesus want me to do?” Aside from the theological problems, I thought the book was somewhat boring.

  28. 5 out of 5

    D.M. Dutcher

    This is a badly written book that manages to become a classic through a powerful idea: that if people took a pledge to live like Jesus would if He lived their lives, everything would change. Henry Maxwell is a well-to-do preacher who is accosted by a tramp looking for work as he composes his sermon. Soon it's Sunday, and he is preaching that sermon in front of his rich and successful congregation. But he is interrupted by that same tramp, who is determined to have his say before he dies. That tr This is a badly written book that manages to become a classic through a powerful idea: that if people took a pledge to live like Jesus would if He lived their lives, everything would change. Henry Maxwell is a well-to-do preacher who is accosted by a tramp looking for work as he composes his sermon. Soon it's Sunday, and he is preaching that sermon in front of his rich and successful congregation. But he is interrupted by that same tramp, who is determined to have his say before he dies. That tramp punctures the balloon of their comfortable lives and forces Maxwell to evaluate his faith. After the tramp's death Maxwell challenges his congregation to take a one year vow to live like Jesus would in their lives, and many of them answer that call. The book is preachy, hectoring, often shallow in it's character motivations, follows a dated idea of "demon rum" which seems absurd to modern people, and isn't structured well as a book. I'd give it one star if I weren't a Christian, and I think it would deserve it. It does have some flashes of skill: the character of Rollin Page is very well done, as is the reactions of Felicia's sister Rose. The prose can be clear, and doesn't read like a nineteenth century novel most of the time. But these flashes are few and far between. However the idea shines through, and if you are a Christian, it forces you to be thoughtful and consider it closely. For a Christian, one of the great goals in life is to emulate Jesus and his submission to God's will. When this desire comes into contact with the desire to have a modern comfortable life, the latter is often the one that wins. Even our genuine submission isn't done to our discomfort. We are good to a limit. This book reverses that and asks what would people do otherwise? Of course, this is being asked through the mindset of wealthy people who believe in a social gospel and changing the environment as well as ministering to people. The answers each character must face can seem silly: the editor of the local paper decides not to cover boxing or put out a Sunday edition, soul-crushing decisions indeed for a modern person. They may even be harmful. There's a bad undercurrent of loving suffering, and that is worrisome. You can't love suffering in itself; the point of Jesus's sacrifice on the cross is that because of love and duty, He suffered. He didn't go around hoping God would crucify Him early. Still, the earnestness and often thoughtful nature of the idea shines through. Rollin Page was a dissolute young man who lost the love of his life only to regain her. He felt real, especially when he said that his cross was to stay in the same high society and minister to the fey, educated, debauched friends he used to have. Felicia's sister Rose is a cynical young woman, and her reactions are to the point. The questions have even more power now, when we live under the 1%. What would happen if that 1% found Jesus and tried to live as He commanded? You can see this same thoughtfulness in the reviews here. Whether they love or hate this book there are suprisingly thoughtful reviews and responses to it, and it's a credit to a book as bad as this that it forces people to look at it enough to do so. You might suffer through bad preaching and some dated ideas from pre-Prohibition life, but you might find little things in it to make you think. It's worth reading at least one or twice for a Christian.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Charles Sheldon wrote In His Steps in 1897 during the Social Gospel movement. He began writing stories as sermons for his church, which led to a published book and widespread success. His book begins in an upscale church when a homeless man walks in during a service and confronts the church’s hypocrisy. He dies later that week in the pastor’s house, and the pastor vows for change. The pastor then asks any members of his church who would be willing to pledge to change their life and live as Jesu Charles Sheldon wrote In His Steps in 1897 during the Social Gospel movement. He began writing stories as sermons for his church, which led to a published book and widespread success. His book begins in an upscale church when a homeless man walks in during a service and confronts the church’s hypocrisy. He dies later that week in the pastor’s house, and the pastor vows for change. The pastor then asks any members of his church who would be willing to pledge to change their life and live as Jesus would asking the question, “What would Jesus do?” A group of members come forward to live as Jesus would. One is a newspaperman. Another is a lady millionaire. Another is a talented female singer. And there are other leading successful citizens who come forward. The book then tells each of their stories and how they sought to live as Jesus would. They make sacrifices and suffer the consequences of their decisions, but they remain steadfast to their vow. They eventually go to a poor and downtrodden part of town and try to make a difference in that community. Amidst drunkenness and violence, they sing and sacrifice to help to solve social problems. The book is more of a challenge to Christians to get them out of their comfortable ways of living than it is a solution to the social problems of the 19th and 20th centuries. This book should have an impact on Christian readers to reevaluate their own life to see how closely his or her way of living resembles the life and teachings of Christ. The strengths of the book are that it has a modern feel to it as Christians of the 21st century can well relate to the themes and issues written in this late 19th century novel. The opening of the book is the strongest part of the book when the homeless man walks in and prompts change. The main weakness of the novel is the fact that the main story with the main characters ends about two-thirds through the book. At this point new storylines emerge in Chicago, which is outside of the book’s central city. The news of the church has spread to other cities and another pastor asks his church to follow the lead of the main church where the movement started. This is good that the church’s task spreads, but as a novel, the book becomes redundant and the main characters fade off with new characters emerging. The other weaknesses of the novel are problems with the literary craft. Since the book was written over a hundred years ago, the author’s approach to the craft of writing fiction is different than today’s standards. He uses an omniscient point-of-view going from character to character to display each life. This gives a broader view covering many characters, but it does not allow for one main viewpoint character to emerge for the reader to follow through the story. I believe that this is a book every Christian should read as it challenges Christians of any era to reevaluate their lives as Christians. Arguments have been made for and against both the Social Gospel and also the slogan, “What would Jesus do,” but in the end how a Christian lives his or her life is a matter of individual conscience and the person’s relationship with God.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ayden Osman

    This book had a very great message, and one that should always be on our mind, but I disliked reading it. I’m not into the style, or the genre, and sometimes found the story hard to follow. It is also written a while ago, so it’s written in older language, and there were a lot of conversation, which made it hard to focus at times, but it was a great book and well written. I did like how he wrapped up the story at the end. All in all, I would probably recommend this book, because it has a very up This book had a very great message, and one that should always be on our mind, but I disliked reading it. I’m not into the style, or the genre, and sometimes found the story hard to follow. It is also written a while ago, so it’s written in older language, and there were a lot of conversation, which made it hard to focus at times, but it was a great book and well written. I did like how he wrapped up the story at the end. All in all, I would probably recommend this book, because it has a very uplifting and encouraging message.

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