Christianity Beyond Belief
What If You Knew You Were Going to Live Tomorrow?
You've prayed the sinner's prayer. You know that if you die tonight, you'll go to heaven. But Todd Hunter believes Christianity is a life, not merely a secure death. Which means that eternal life--abundant life--begins on earth, as soon as we become a follower of Jesus.
Drawing from his leadership and ministry experience as president of Alpha USA and from his own study and life experiences as an ordinary Christian, Hunter calls us to reframe our salvation and discipleship to focus on life, instead of just heaven and hell. God's intention, he says, is for us to become God's cooperative friends, seeking to live consistent lives of creative goodness for the sake of others. These pages lead us into this abundant way of living, offering
Jesus came that we might have life--not just in heaven, but here on earth where he walked and lived among us. And your friends who are hurting, hopeless or hungry for something real need to see what difference life in Christ makes. This timely, biblical paradigm from Todd Hunter will inspire and equip you to live your days with intention, participating in God's work in the world today. It just might change the way you look at life forever.
"Christianity Beyond Belief will change your religion. And that's a good thing."
"There is a distinct yet distant drumbeat emerging in the church. It is calling Christ-followers to get in step with their Lord by going beyond simple belief into a participation now in the future kingdom life of the triune God, and thus to become players now in God's story. In Christianity Beyond Belief, Todd Hunter, a seasoned prophetic voice and a lover of the church, has sounded this kingdom cadence. With both clarity and passion he challenges the church, for its own good, to march to this ancient but newly emerging beat."
"I have great respect for the leadership and wisdom of Todd Hunter. This book reflects Todd's friendly spirit and down-to-earth communication style, and it also reflects Todd's radical commitment to digging deep to truly 'get' the good news of the kingdom of God. By the time you're done reading this book, you'll be immersed in one of the most important conversations taking place in the Christian community today."
"You hold in your hands a compelling invitation to actually experience--not simply learn about--what it means to be a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ. Packed with wisdom and insight from a leader who has been on the frontlines of planting, growing and leading dynamic churches across America for the past thirty years, you have here a clear and gracious presentation of life as God intends for it to be lived here and now. Whether you consider yourself a doubter, a seeker or a fully committed believer, give yourself a gift and read this book."
"I thank God for Christianity Beyond Belief. It is an authentic witness to what life can be like when lived in the presence of Jesus . . . here . . . now. Christianity Beyond Belief will stir your heart, engage your mind, enlarge your soul and reshape your imagination."
"If we truly understand that following Jesus is not about ourselves, the potential of what could happen for the gospel is absolutely incredible. But it means some very significant readjusting of the lenses of how we view our lives and the world around us. Todd lays out very practical ways of not only understanding this, but actually implementing this in our lives--for the sake of others."
"Todd Hunter has provided a concrete and practical strategy for twenty-first-century Christian living and witness. He rethinks central concepts of Christian life in terms of contemporary experience, but ties them solidly to biblical teachings and the history of Christ's people. Best of all, what he says to do is congruent with where the Holy Spirit is moving in our times and can be verified in experience. Put it to the test and you will find that a lot of 'Christian stuff' that never worked for you before actually does work. One just has to get to the reality of it, which Hunter does."
"Todd is part of a movement to rediscover the true message of Jesus and how we are to respond to it. Christianity Beyond Belief is good news!"
"Todd Hunter is someone who cares deeply about evangelism in contemporary culture. His huge experience in studying models of church growth give him a unique insight into this subject."
"Todd Hunter's tenacity as an agent of Christ's kingdom, his integrity of life as a church leader, and his constancy of focus on reaching and touching lives with the love and truth of Christ--all recommend attention to his words and work."
"Here is a gentle guide at work. . . . Hunter writes with a grace-filled hand as he sets notions of Christian life, belief, community and mission into a new imagination, a Christianity rooted in the large sweep of the biblical story and expressed in the paths of actual life. This is a seasoned voice worth listening to!"
"Without bashing the church and by avoiding the controversies that divide the church, Hunter teaches seekers how to live a new way and how to invite others to do the same."
"Hunter challenges that new converts are left wanting true spiritual transformation if we reduce the gospel to forgiveness alone. In response, Hunter offers a kind of new "four spiritual laws." Some great illustrations and solid nuggets worth underlining here."
"A really important book by a frontline leader in contemporary church planting on a discipleship model."
"Christianity is not just about getting people "saved" - it's not thy kingdom come later, but thy kindfom come now; about living the kindgom today, not just getting heaven later. The goal of Christianity, he proposes, is spiritual transformation into Christlikeness in the here-and-now."
"Todd Hunter says eternal life starts now, so he poses a different series of questions: "If we knew we were going to live tomorrow and eternally, what would we do? Who would we follow? Around what narrative would we organize the various aspects of our life?" Hunter's answer is spelled out in four simple phrases that he fleshes out in this helpful book: "God intends for the followers of Jesus to be his (1) cooperative friends (2) seeking to live in creative goodness (3) for the sake of others (4) through the power of the Holy Spirit."
"This book was very inspiring."
"Refreshing in the theology that it offers us. Hunter offers a new and corrective view of the Christian faith for those who are dissatisfied with evangelicalism. Hunter offers what I believe are some essential critiques but he does so in a gentle and engaging way."
"Hunter calls believers to reframe their discipleship to focus on life, not just the consequences of death. He encourages pastors and leaders to disciple new Christians to follow Christ in this life; to go beyond making sure they don't go to hell when they die."
Foreword by Eugene H. Peterson
Part One: A New Understanding of What It Means to Be a Christian
1. What If You Knew You Were Going to Live Tomorrow?
The Problem with Getting "Saved"
2. Jesus' Surprising Gospel
It's the Kingdom Now, Not Just Heaven Later
3. It's Our Life That Counts
Aligning with God's Story
4. The Role of the Church
Jesus Is Not Just Your Personal Savior
Part Two: A New Way to Live
5. Cooperative Friends of Jesus
Maybe Jesus Didn't Intend to Start a World Religion
6. Consistent Lives of Creative Goodness
Apologetics of Another Kind
7. For the Sake of Others
Jesus Could Have Done Backflips on a Donkey
8. Through the Power of the Holy Spirit
No Big Hair, No Bizarre Behavior, Just Power for a Purpose
9. Inviting Others to Live a New Way
A Fresh Approach to Sharing Our Faith
10. Three Is Enough Groups
A New Way to Live
1 Triads: The Theoretical Basis for Three Is Enough Groups
2 The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
3 The Message: A New Testament Tour of Life