#EmptyShelfChallenge Book Review: Not a Fan


Months ago (years ago?) I purchased and downloaded Kyle Idleman’s “Not a Fan”.  For whatever reason, it took the #EmptyShelfChallenge to “pick it up” and start reading.  Once I did, I couldn’t stop.

Idleman’s writing is quite funny, while his heart and message are sincere.  I had read some negative reviews that claim he’s pushing legalism and works-based salvation, but goodness – I couldn’t find that in what I was reading.  In the book, he calls us to examine whether we are “fans” or “followers” of Jesus.  We are challenged to look at whether our relationship with Christ has cost us anything, or if we expect to live comfortably and fit Him into our lives where we would like.

It’s challenging.  Unsettling.  Idleman calls churches out for their propensity to become stadiums where people cheer for Jesus instead of sanctuaries where we worship him.  He distinguishes between knowing all about Jesus and truly knowing Him.  Asks whether He is our “one and only”, or “one of many”.

There is some criticism of the book that it stops with the gospel, leaving out important stories of grace and lessons from Paul’s letters to the early church about what the rest of our journey will look like.  What happens when we slip into seasons where we are more fans than followers.  The critics aren’t wrong, but I think they’re making unnecessary claims.  The Bible is pretty good at covering all aspects of life :) but I don’t read other books expecting them to.

For me, “Not a Fan” is a great, convicting call to look at whether we are in a relationship with God that is changing us.  I found it really good for that, and an enjoyable read in general.  Kyle Idelman seems to be a fun, cool, transparent pastor I can relate to – but one that pulls no punches when it comes to the harder-to-hear messages of the Bible.

Have you read this one?  What did you think?  Is it on your list?


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  1. says

    I’ve read it about 4 times. I had not read any of the reviews for though. To me it was what I expected by the title. I felt that I was going to be told whether I was a fan or follower after reading it. I loved it and found it very spiritually challenging.
    dilemmamike recently posted…Back To Louisiana

  2. Ritchie Price says

    Jennifer….’Not a Fan’ is a great book and a definite thought provoker. We did this study as a Life Group last fall and now, we are doing another study of his “Gods at War” book. This follow-up book talks about the ‘gods’ that try to unseat the true God from the throne of our hearts.
    Like you say…his writing is very funny and keeps your attention. But…he does NOT pull any punches with his message. We are loving the ‘Gods at War’ study. Highly recommend it!

    • Jennifer Kaufman says

      Thanks so much for your comment, Ritchie! It really is a good one – and I’ve added “Gods at War” to my list. It sounds great (if totally convicting) as well!

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