I just got a copy of Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola’s newest book, “The Jesus Manifesto” and wanted to share a few thoughts along the way. I really appreciate the way they frame the discussion as not a way to move more to the right or the left but a way to move forward (xv). They immediately frame the problem that this book is going to address, a Christ-less Christianity. “Something is wrong when it’s easier for some Christians to think of the world without Christ than the world without Bach or the Beatles or Bono.” (xviii). They point out that it may be true that the world likes Jesus but not the church while the church likes the church often more than they like Jesus. That one stung!
The thing I am struck by first with this book is how focused it is. They are laser-beam focused on giving a fresh, biblical view of Jesus Christ and how living in connection with him should reorient our lives in everything. I am appreciative that they aren’t trying to draw us to themselves but to Christ. This book isn’t some new fad spirituality but a real appeal to scripture.
When I read their claim that this book would present Jesus with a “razor-sharp” and “cut-glass clarity” I started thumbing through its pages for scripture references. I didn’t see very many of the stock (John 3:16)’s in the text. So I flipped to the end notes. There were nearly 500 scripture references in there for a 179 page book! This is a book you will read and absolutely need to have your Bible open while you work through it. Sad to sad many Christian books don’t require that of the reader.
I will be writing more about this book this week. If you want to read more right now, have a look at the links at the bottom of this post over at Frank Viola’s blog.