Published by Moody Publishers on May 4, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Theology
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Is trying to be “the best you” actually ruining you?
From “living your best life” to “self-actualizing,” “finding your destiny,” and “waiting on the best to come,” the contemporary messages of the world exhort us to believe that we are promised and entitled the biggest and best life can possibly offer. But is that actually what Jesus promises? Is that even close to the message of the gospel?
Getting Over Yourself is a call for Christians to reject these hollow messages of personal prosperity and to return to the humble truths of the gospel. You’ll learn how to identify this insidious, popular theology in culture and churches and examine its devastating effects. And, perhaps most importantly, you’ll learn how to combat it with gospel truth that leads to the abundant life Jesus actually desires for His people. Discover the beauty in losing yourself—and ultimately in gaining Him.
This straightforward, well-written book helps Christians recognize and understand the phenomenon of what Dean Inserra calls “pop Christianity” or the “new prosperity theology.” In this worldview, God exists to help us maximize our lives, fulfill our dreams, and become our best selves, and the story of Christ becomes a motivational speech about how God will help us achieve fulfillment and accomplish our goals. Inserra shows how this message diverges from a biblical understanding of the gospel, and he evaluates the damage that this ideology is doing. In response, he clearly articulates the truth of the gospel, the hope that we have in Christ, and the freedom that we can find when we stop looking inward and find our identity in purpose in God, not His perceived support for our dreams and self-improvement goals.
Clear and Even-Handed
Getting Over Yourself: Trading Believe-in-Yourself Religion for Christ-Centered Christianity can help pastors and laypeople understand the worldly, secularized distortion of Christianity that they see around them, and it’s also great for people who are in the midst of this teaching, see its insufficiency, and are looking for more. Inserra writes with civility and fairness, repeatedly emphasizing that he doesn’t think that all new prosperity preachers or their congregants are “raging egomaniacs” who intend to distort the gospel. He acknowledges that many people genuinely don’t know better, are just repeating the best advice they’ve heard, and don’t know what a Christ-centered faith would look like.
Inserra clearly wrote this out of loving motives, not a desire to create controversy or get attention. This is for people who need to understand what’s going on in the larger American church outside of their healthy congregations, and it’s for people who are tired of bootstrapping, consumerist, self-focused faith. It’s not about shaming celebrity pastors, and even though Inserra occasionally mentions problematic influences by name, like when he writes about the Girl, Wash Your Face phenomenon, he affords people anonymity whenever possible. He often shares anecdotes or quotes without providing identifying details about the people or churches involved, and he dismantles the wrong ideas without ever attacking the people presenting them.
Because of Inserra’s kind and even-handed approach, this book is a great option for people who are willing to rethink their beliefs. This book won’t shame them or make them feel defensive, but provides clear explanations of why self-help Christianity can never satisfy, offering a Christ-centered gospel as the freeing alternative to the stress, pressure, and unmet expectations of a self-centered faith that demands material prosperity, an adventurous life, big dreams, and self-fulfillment in Jesus’s name. This is also a great resource for pastors and church members who want to better understand the draw and impact of popular teachings so that they can clearly communicate with and help people who have bought into an American Dream faith mentality. Overall, this is an incredibly gracious, thoughtful, insightful, and gospel-centered guide to a major issue facing the Western church today.