In His Steps

by Charles M. Sheldon

Paperback, 1985





One hundred years ago Christians read Charles Sheldon's In His Steps with runaway enthusiasm. Sheldon's story traces the account of the fictional Reverend Maxwell who challenges himself and his congregation to constantly ask, "What would Jesus do?" This question puts all of life's circumstances in a new light. Those characters in Sheldon's book who take the challenge of this question seriously live dramatically changed lives. // But a changed life responding to Jesus' example of compassion and grace does not always make things easier. People in Sheldon's story learn that acting like Jesus can alienate others who prefer status quo comfort and social respectability. The real challenge of the question, "What would Jesus do?" is not the initial fervor it evokes but the sustained devotion it can produce.… (more)


Barbour Publishing, Incorporated (1985), 256 pages


½ (168 ratings; 3.7)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ToddPeperkorn
I hate this book. The kitsch is appalling, but it is the false theology that drives me bonkers. It works with the premise that one can keep the Law. St. Paul reminds us that by the law is the knowledge of sin. I find this book offensive to the Christian faith.
LibraryThing member Kristelh
This book is written in the late 19th century and is set in the US probably a town close to Chicago and involves a church community. A beggar comes into their midst and the pastor comes under conviction as to his conduct towards this beggar. He asks himself, “What would Jesus do? and he asks his
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congregation to take a year long pledge to live their lives by this question.

The story was entertaining, well read by the narrator but a better word would be inspirational. I was really shocked to realize that this saying “what would Jesus do” or WWJD (worn as jewelry, etc by Christians) was so old. I then proceeded to ask the question, Is this book relevant today, what is the author trying to get across through the use of this story and how does it fit with today's church. Essentially, this is a book about discipleship and there is a strong movement in todays church (at least the one I attend) to make disciples. The story is simple, the struggles were hinted at but nothing was developed in depth. Was this a simpler time, was it easier to be a disciple in the 19th century than it is now? How does this book fit today.

The book stated that if Christians took this to heart they would change the world. I think one of the basic premise was that government and social change could not do what the church could do for social change (help for the poor, cleaning up the tenements and ridding the environment of the saloon).

Is today’s Christian willing to give up money, position and family to do what Jesus would do or are we content to let government and organizations do the work and just give our support without getting personally involved. I hope I am very wrong, but I think that today’s average Christian is not living by this principle. We haven’t taken up our cross, we haven’t sacrificed or suffered and we are willing to let the government take care of the poor and downtrodden. Its easier to pay our taxes (and complain) that invest our time and energy and our money.
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LibraryThing member kwmcdonald
An excellent book about what the world would be like if we all thought about what Jesus would do in our situation. Written before WWJD was a fad slogan that people wore on jewelry instead of putting into practice.
LibraryThing member onefear
I don't know how many times I've sat down to try to read through this book, but I just can't do it. Even when I first purchased it back in high school, it was just too much kitsch for me. --rwj
LibraryThing member Jeyra
Christians in a small town take a challenge to do only what they believe Jesus would do, and the results are life-changing.
LibraryThing member MrsLee
I love this book. One of my all-time favorite Christian fiction books. It reminds me that a Christian's mark on the world should be love.
LibraryThing member revslick
the book takes you on a journey of one church's struggle to live out 'What Would Jesus Do?' While there are several tidbits that wounldn't match up today since the book was written in the height of the temperance movement, it still provokes some good wholesome thought on how we live the gospel.
LibraryThing member ThriftyMorgana
This novel had a truly wonderful message that is important for any and every Christian to hear and to think about. The story involves a small church in a railroad town taking the pledge to always ask the question, "What would Jesus do?" before making decisions in both their personal land business
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lives. One thing that the reader needs to be aware of from the get-go though is that this novel takes place in the late 1800s and the syntax/language as well as some of the cultural norms are extremely foreign to the modern reader. Another issue I had with this story was the hardcore attack of "the saloon" as it refers to any establishment that provides alcohol. Well, we all know what happened when Prohibition actually did occur about 2 decades later, rampant crime of all sorts to keep the continued production of alcohol under wraps. So, with hindsight, this aspect of the book just seemed a little ridiculous to me. Besides that though, the focus on getting one's hands dirty to help those who are less fortunate than you was truly powerful and it was heartbreaking to see the way so many of the upper class citizens saw the poor. I can only hope that our views on the less fortunate of today are FAR different from those held over a century ago. Definitely an eye-opening and enjoyable read.
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LibraryThing member Chris_El
Classic book from 1887. This is where WWJD came from. Story follows several different people as they try to live by the question: "What would Jesus do?" Fairly well written with believable and sympathetic characters who sometimes suffer and sometimes become more successful in life because of the
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changes they make following the WWJD mantra.
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LibraryThing member krista.rutherford
The original story about a community that pledged to live by asking the question "What would Jesus do?" Good idea, but the story is pretty boring.
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