Len Sweet and Frank Viola have teamed-up to firmly plant the “Only Jesus” flag in the midst of a post-Christan post-modern generation. Setting aside potential differences on a variety of theological, philosophical, and political issues they…”have sought to present a vision that has captured our hearts and that we wish to impart to the body of Christ – we have said in unison, “One thing [we] know...” and that “one thing” is Jesus the Christ.” (p. 172)
If you’ve come of age in the modern church you have about had your fill of program-based ministry that reads like the course offerings at your local parks & rec. There is something for everyone! We have programs for weight-loss, parenting, finding work, improving your marriage, spending your money, charting the end times, and connecting with people with similar interests! But what have we done with Jesus? We’ve moved him out of the room and down the hall to be stored with all the other church relics.
What we’ve ended up with is a Christ-less Christianity that exists to make us feel better. Sweet & Viola quote John MacMurray: “The maxim of illusionary religion runs: ‘Fear not; trust in God and he will see that none of the things you fear will happen to you’; that of real religion, on the contrary is: ‘Fear not, the things that you are afraid of are quite likely to happen to you, but they are nothing to be afraid of.'” (p. 117)
There is a new and fresh call to the Christian’s first love that permeates Jesus Manifesto. It’s a call that counters the long-standing expectation for Christians to “be like Jesus.” On page 72 they write:
But the “good news” is that Jesus doesn’t want us to be “like” Him. He wants to share His resurrection life with us. He doesn’t want us to imitate Him; instead Christ, the Unspeakable Gift, wants to live in and through us.
The Gospel is not the imitation of Christ; it is the implantation and impartation of Christ. We are called to do more than mediate truth. We are called to manifest Jesus presence.
That “we” means you.
And it means me.
Jesus Manifesto will be one book that I will come back to frequently, reading again and again, in order to absorb the full impact of its message and its implications on my life.
Jesus Manifesto is available at Amazon.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”