❴BOOKS❵ ✭ In His Steps Author Charles M. Sheldon – Transportjobsite.co.uk

❴BOOKS❵ ✭ In His Steps Author Charles M. Sheldon – Transportjobsite.co.uk chapter 1 In His Steps, meaning In His Steps, genre In His Steps, book cover In His Steps, flies In His Steps, In His Steps a225a339dd272 The International Best Selling Christian Fiction Novel That Has Sold OverMillion Copies It Has Launched Social Movements And Brought About Change I Want Volunteers From First Church Who Will Pledge Themselves, Earnestly And Honestly, For An Entire Year Not To Do Anything Without First Asking The Question, What Would Jesus Do The Reverend Never Dreamed That Among Those Who Responded Would Be The Most Influential Members Of The Congregation What Happens Next Changes Lives And The Town For Good

10 thoughts on “In His Steps

  1. says:

    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 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 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 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 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. says:

    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. says:

    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 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 stars.

  4. says:

    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 politicsthough 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.

  5. says:

    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 naivet 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 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.

  6. says:

    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

  7. says:

    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

  8. says:

    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.

  9. says:

    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 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

  10. says:

    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.

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