Guest / Limited Access /

Brand Jesus: Christianity in a Consumerist Age
by Tyler Wigg Stevenson,
Seabury Books
234 pages, $16.

Christianity in America is more or less a well-advertised and well-marketed lifestyle by now. In fact, your church may very well try to increase attendance by employing demographic digging, zip-code-to-income-level correlations, and psychographic research — precisely the same strategies secular marketing uses.

This commodification of the gospel has caught the attention of writers and publishers. Among the many books on commercialized Christianity published in the last couple of years, there is nothing less than a cornucopia of responses. Choice is good! Cha-ching! Jesus was a salesman! Cha-ching! All these choices are killing us! Cha-ching!

Tyler Wigg Stevenson's candid and reverent Brand Jesus: Christianity in a Consumerist Age makes the best argument of the crop. It is a book of common sense, humble inquiry, and painfully resonant observations about our misuses of Jesus.

What would you think if you were in a modern auditorium and heard the presenter make "The wild claim that the messiah had arrived sometime in the mid-seventies; that he had been an undocumented Filipino migrant worker who spoke about the inbreaking kingdom of God; that, while working in Guam, he had been brought in by the local ecclesiastical authorities on trumped up civil charges; that the local governor had caved to their demands and executed him for treason; and that his life and death changed everything we thought we knew about God, the world, and ourselves"?

That would be no more bizarre than what Paul said in his letter to the Romans. But the gospel isn't strange or shocking to modern Westerners. Brand Jesus argues that the fact that Jesus seems ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Strange Legacy of Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg
The Strange Legacy of Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg
He vehemently defended the Resurrection but denied the Virgin Birth. He was hugely influential but leaves few disciples. What you need to know about the German giant who died this month.
TrendingLecrae Brings Reformed Rap to Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show
Lecrae Brings Reformed Rap to Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show
(UPDATED) Performance with The Roots was the first by a Christian rapper on late-night TV.
Editor's PickStudy: Where Are the Women Leading Evangelical Organizations?
Study: Where Are the Women Leading Evangelical Organizations?
That's the mystery the Gender Parity Project, whose results debut this weekend, sets out to solve.
Comments
Christianity Today
Consuming Faith
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.