Author: Kyle Idleman
Publisher: Zondervan ISBN: 9780310331933
There have a been a large number of books released lately that have challenged the consumer driven church in North America recently; Not a Fan, written by Kyle Idleman, is one of the latest in this genre to hit the market. As I have read a number of these challenging books over the past couple years, I was drawn to check out this latest offering to see if there was anything new being shared or a different slant on a familiar argument. I don’t think I was surprised by the content, but I wasn’t disappointed in the read either.
I think what I appreciated most of Idleman’s approach was the outline format for the flow of content through the book. For instance, the book is divided into three parts with part one devoted to a diagnostic. Idleman calls his diagnostic tool “DTR” or defining the relationship. It is in this section (part 1) where he posits questions and presents scenarios to help the reader to examine their relationship with Jesus—aka Fan or Follower. Personally, I found the questions and examples fairly accurate. As I moved through this part of the book, I was engaged in the read asking myself the questions and examining my relationship with Christ. I consider this part of the book a success.
The second part of the book puts the entirety of the Gospel’s challenge on the table for the reader. There is no doubt that while the gift of Christ is free, it is not without a high cost. Idleman makes this clear with his presentation that Jesus’ invitation to follow is open to anyone… but equally clear is the call to “all or nothing” pursuit. Christ calls us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is illustrated with no-holds-barred in chapters nine through ten where Idleman writes that only a passionate pursuit of total surrender which results in dying to self daily will qualify a person as a true and totally committed follower of Jesus Christ.
Finally, the author addresses the potential follower where he or she lives and presents the call for commitment. As part one helps define the relationship and part two presents the cost of the relationship, part three asks for the commitment to the relationship presenting a series of new and costly scenarios: “Where are you willing to go?” “When are you willing to go?” and “What are you willing to do?” With these questions Idleman pressures the reader to ask themselves if they are still in control of the relationship or if they are willing to unconditionally obey the real Master of the relationship, Jesus Christ. Ultimately, it is this series of questions that determine whether or not the reader is a Fan or Follower.
I liked the book. I found it challenging and fairly easy to read, it wasn’t weighted down with a lot of theological speak with an arm-length list of Bible references. The gospel and the call to follow Christ were presented clearly and fairly incontrovertibly. It’s up to the reader to give an honest report of where and how their own relationship is defined. I think the book can be helpful for readers young and old as well as Christians or non-Christians; I also think the book could be eye-opening for new Christians or “mature” Christians. While Not a Fan is sufficient as a personal or individual read, it might be best used in the context of a group where discussions could be joined and perhaps help to facilitate fans becoming committed followers.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing as part of the Advanced Reading / Review program through Amazon Vine to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”