5 Reasons to be Cautious about reading “Speaking of Jesus”

The book’s been out for almost 11 months now.  I think I have all the reasons why some have not liked the book (about 3% of all readers have been very critical).  I have tried my best to listen and now boil it down to their main issues/concerns.  Here they are in order:

1.  Seems like there’s no closure to the stories.  You told great stories about conversations with people, but where did they lead?  Why didn’t you tell us the outcome?

Fair point.  Not much defense needed here really – I could have been clearer though by making it VERY clear (I thought it was clear) that since this book was about the art of NOT evangelism….  That telling how the “deal was closed” would actually lack integrity.

Also, I’d point out that the Bible seldom tells us the end of most of Jesus’ encounters as well.  We rarely know what happened.

2.  Why don’t you say anything about the church? Leading the reader to believe you don’t like the church.

Fair point – I don’t say anything about the church. This is not a book about the church.  I should have been wiser though in how I explained what I didn’t say. Seriously.  I love the local church. Have always been part of one and believe in its power.  (I think they are often a mess, but who cares, so am I).

3.  Where’s the cross?  We don’t see much about the cross.

Fair point.  No cross in the book. This is about having conversations with people about Jesus. It’s the art of NOT evangelism.   I’m a huge fan that the cross happened – even more that there was a resurrection that happened. The cross and resurrection and what they stand for is hugely important. I probably assumed that goes without saying – I was wrong. I should have said it….

4.  It seems you don’t like the Apostle Paul.

Oh so not true. It seems like that only because I pointed out (fairly I think) that many Christians get hung up on Paul and forget to get to Jesus.  Paul encouraged us to follow Jesus, but we get sidetracked and end up in love with Paul and his writings more than Christ – who he was attempting to point us to.  So I think this critique actually isn’t fair.

Paul’s awesome. Jesus is better.   🙂

5.  You seem at times to be just a tad fuzzy in your theology.

Fair point.  My theology is a tad fuzzy.  Not because I don’t care or don’t like theology. I’m a theologian.  I love theology. It’s almost all I read. But I’ve noticed that Jesus was fuzzy in some of his theology too, so….  Does that surprise you? Think about it. Even Jesus didn’t know everything.  He said “only my Father knows that” a couple of times.

My theology takes major shifts every 10 years or so. I think SO differently now at 50 years old than I did at 20. And I hope when I’m 70 I’ll think differently again. I don’t want my relationship to be static.  I want to change. To grow.  If my theology is hardened and rigid – where does that lead.

So, I’d say read Speaking of Jesus with caution.  It might confuse you or change your thinking.


  1. LightByGrace says:

    I love this post. I sooo feel the same way about Paul. He’s great. But he’s not Jesus.

    And I am loving your book! Thank you, by the way, for the free copy on Kindle! 🙂 🙂

  2. ericknac says:

    Yes Carl, thanks so much for the free copy of the book. Got a couple friends reading it…

    As far as Jesus and theology… I am teaching through the Gospel According to John and am trying to read it without all my preconceived ideas (almost impossible I know).

    I am amazed at how little is explained and how much JUST HAPPENS…and how much I read into what is there. There so many passages I feel like I am seeing for the first time.

    Don’t be discouraged. You are ministering to lots of folks.

  3. joeklasko says:

    Very ‘real’ Carl. I want to live free too. Gonna purchase the Kindle version and exercise extreme caution while reading. Knowing I may question my ways of thinking and be tempted to set free old imprisoned attitudes.

  4. KathyM says:

    We are involved in a book study using Speaking of Jesus. It has been an amazing and eye-opening experience. I read the entire book before we decided to do the study and I loved it. The group, however, is split about 50/50 for and against and those who do NOT like the book are quite heated about it. Then one day someone (on the “against” side) discovered via your blog what your political views are. In some minds this was enough to prove their point that the book should be dismissed wholesale. We did manage to argue against that view saying they should not follow Carl Medearis but Jesus Christ and what Carl wrote is true no matter who he’s voting for. LOL. I did challenge them to find something in the book that is in direct opposition to the Bible. So far no one has. It’s been exhausting, illuminating, and inspiring. And we are only on chapter five!

    I was stunned at the strong reactions brought out by the book; these reactions have convinced me that there is major truth in those pages. The kind that messes with preconceived notions and takes us out of our comfort zones. And I’m constantly reminding myself that it really is all about Jesus and not proving my own point.

  5. […] to Buy It: Read the author’s cautions to reading his own book here then buy […]