What Jesus Intended
Finding True Faith in the Rubble of Bad Religion
by Todd D. Hunter
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Pub Date 18 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 17 Aug 2023
Have you lost your footing in church? Or has the church lost its footing?
Many of us feel unsteady, disoriented, even crushed after an endless string of scandals within the walls of a place meant to offer compassion and safety. Others feel forced to draw back or distance ourselves from the church. All the while, our instincts tell us this is not what Jesus wanted for his people. But what did he intend?
After four decades of ministry, Anglican bishop Todd Hunter is no stranger to betrayal and pain in the church. Still, he has hope. He believes more than ever that Jesus is who the world needs and that Jesus has plans for his followers. In What Jesus Intended, Hunter offers a vision for emerging from the rubble of bad religion and rebuilding faith among a community of sincere believers. By unpacking the purposes of Jesus, we can expose twisted, toxic religion for what it is and embrace the true aims of the gospel.
Come for a fresh hearing of Jesus—one that offers us the healing and goodness we've always longed for.
"In an age like ours, when people and groups claiming to be Christian do not ostensibly appear to look, think, act, or sound like Jesus, there can be nothing more important than the recovery of the absolute centrality of Jesus for the life of the disciple and for the church that claims his name. In this book Todd Hunter does precisely that—he calls us to a recalibration of our lives to our magnificent Founder so that we might be authentic witnesses in a watching world."
-Alan Hirsch, author of Reframation and founder of Movement Leaders Collective
"Like a horrific scene from a war zone, we are walking through the rubble of our failed churches. From here Todd Hunter speaks. Refusing to smooth over the grievous sins of the church, Hunter leads us steadfastly on a course to reconstruct our approach to church by going deep with Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, the one constant amid the ruins of failed religion. A gifted thinker, compassionate pastor, and seasoned leader, Hunter guides us through our pain. For all those besieged by the hurts of a failed church, What Jesus Intended arrives at this most crucial of moments to be the balm for our wounded souls."
-David Fitch, Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary
"Reading this book feels like having a calm yet vital conversation with a wise friend. Recognizing how bad religion causes traumatic wounds, Todd Hunter does a great job of pointing us to Jesus and faith that heals. Like all books, this one uses words. But coming from Todd, they're not empty. In the thirty-plus years I've known him, he has consistently lived good religion and has shown what he is writing about. That's why I recommend this book, because in it you'll hear Todd's heart of encouragement, and you'll realize that you're not alone on your faith journey."
-Brian Doerksen, songwriter and recording artist
"It is easy to turn to tried-and-true slogans and excuses in an era when the church seems to be caught on the shoals of sexual, racial, and cultural failure. 'Aren't we all sinners?' 'There is so much negativity, we just need to be more affirming.' Trite solutions are often the result of a superficial diagnosis. Todd Hunter wisely and with unflinching honesty exposes the legitimate heartache and confusion felt by many who have departed the faith. He invites us, amid our struggle, to reengage the wild, unpredictable, and table-turning Jesus whose kindness can comfort any suspicious and confused heart. This is a profound work of wisdom and love."
-Dan B. Allender, professor and founding president of the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and author of Redeeming Heartache
"With compassion and humility, Bishop Todd Hunter offers a lifeline to the many people who have been hurt in and by the contemporary church, by inviting us to see with fresh eyes the person and mission of Jesus. As it turns out, Christ spoke against the 'bad religion' of his day and invited his original hearers, and us, into his kingdom where questions are welcomed, dignity is restored, and goodness is tangibly evident in our world and among our neighbors. If you're intrigued by Jesus but skeptical of the church, this book suggests you're in the right place."
-Katelyn Beaty, author of Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church