Faith Without Illusions: Following Jesus as a Cynic-Saint, By Andrew Byers

Faith Without Illusions

Following Jesus as a Cynic-Saint

by Andrew Byers

Faith Without Illusions
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: March 03, 2011
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3618
  • ISBN: 9780830836185

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Call it burnout. Call it enlightenment. Call it whatever you like--it's plaguing the contemporary church. Andrew Byers calls it cynicism--the state we all too easily arrive at after passing through disillusionment. Too many saints in the making are having their wings clipped in this painful process.

But wait--there's hope. Disillusionment is, at its heart, the dispersal of illusions, pointing us toward what's really real--a great cloud of hopeful realists who have gone before us and welcome us into their number. There is a way beyond cynicism, and if we follow Jesus through it, we'll find faith and life at their fullest.

"Andrew Byers asks, 'Can anyone justify being a cynic if Jesus was not a cynic?' Indeed, Faith Without Illusions confronts our tendency to forsake the example of Jesus and give up on the church in disappointment. Read the book and discover a better way, marked by 'hopeful realism.'"

Collin Hansen, editorial director, The Gospel Coalition, and co-author, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir

"Cynicism has spread to outbreak proportions--particularly in my generation--and many of us too easily succumb to its sickness. Faith Without Illusions is exactly the shot-in-the-arm antidote we need to remain mercilessly realistic and yet still cling onto hope."

James Choung, author of True Story and national director of InterVarsity's Asian American Ministries

"Andrew Byers takes a hard look at the broken, bitter and jaded in the church who are at a fork in the road. He offers a path of faith paved with hope and healing in the footsteps of the best models of Scripture. Byers is a humorous, unassuming and sympathetic guide, one worth following down the better road."

Nijay K. Gupta, School of Theology, Seattle Pacific University

"Cynicism is the natural outcome of a culture whose idols have crashed and burned. The pop Christianity of our time is a narcotic but not an answer to the deepest yearnings of the rising generation. Andy Byers surveys this landscape with a sharp analytical mind and with sails trimmed to the biblical gospel. An important and timely book of hopeful realism."

Timothy George, founding dean, Beeson Divinity School, and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

"Cynical anger being replaced by prophetic anguish is, according to Andy Byers, the way of the prophet. It's also the way of Faith Without Illusions. With wisdom and grace, Byers inspires discerning Christians to move beyond cynicism for the purpose of challenging the church, instead, with love. Right now, it's where Byers's work is moving me."

Margot Starbuck, author of The Girl in the Orange Dress and Unsqueezed

"Byers does a wonderful job explaining that disillusionment is 'the dispersal of illusions' and can actually be a form of illumination."

Aaron Wilkinson, Books Culture, November/December 2012

"This is an enlightening book, which would be a good addition to any church library."

Libraries Alive!, Fall 2011


1 Cynical Between the Edens
2 Checking into the Cynics' Ward with a Fever of 360°

Part I: Pop Christianity: What Makes Us Cynical
3 Idealism
4 Religiosity
5 Experientialism
6 Anti-Intellectualism
7 Cultural Irrelevance

Part II: Biblical Alternatives to Cynicism
8 The Way of the Prophet: Prophetic Anguish Instead of Cynical Anger
9 The Way of the Sage: Biblical Wisdom Instead of Cynical Intellectualism
10 The Way of the Tragic Poet: Worshipful Lament Instead of Cynical Complaint
11 The Way of the Christ: Sacrificial Embrace Instead of Cynical Rejection
12 On the Roads to Emmaus and Damascus: Resurrection, Paul and Hopeful Realism



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Andrew Byers

Andrew Byers (PhD, Durham University) works as the Free Church Tutor and Teaching Fellow at Cranmer Hall, St. John's College, Durham University. He has spent twelve years in pastoral ministry, most recently serving as the Chaplain of St. Mary's College, Durham University. Andrew is the author of TheoMedia: The Media of God and the Digital Age, and Faith Without Illusions: Following Jesus as a Cynic-Saint.