Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have teamed up to write Jesus Manifesto--a declaration that Jesus Christ is supreme and sovereign. It is obvious that the Church can easily get swept up in and distracted by programs, strategies, doctrines, and plenty of other "good things," and this can cause us to forget that Jesus truly is our all in all. We can get so caught up in talking about Him and doing things for Him, but we might not actually be getting to know Him--He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Sweet and Viola challenge us to know Jesus and follow Him, not actually to try to be like Him, for none of us ever can be. They say, "There is a pervasive theology of 'likeness'--'O God, make me more Christlike'--that cheapens the gospel and depresses the spirit. Christlikeness is too small a dream, too shallow an ambition, for a Christian. The call to Christlikeness is also not 'good news' . . . [T]o be 'like Christ' often implies that you don't really need Christ, since you already have the ideas and teachings of Christ . . . The fall of humanity was all about women and men assuming the posture that they don't need anyone to tell them what to do. They would decide for themselves what's good and what's bad. They would be self-sufficient and self-determining . . . We can try as hard as we wish to be like Christ, but human effort will never touch the hem of that garment."
These words were probably the greatest summons to me as I read this book, because I greatly struggle with feeling self-sufficient--not simply resting in the promise that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. There is nothing I can do--or need to do--to add to my salvation. He is the Author and Perfecter and Completer, not me.
I found the message of this book to be both challenging and freeing. And even though I felt that some parts of it, particularly in the first half of the book, were a bit choppy, the overall message is quite clear. In a world where our minds and hearts are being summoned to give devotion to so many things, it is a relief and a pleasure to be reminded that Christ is more than sufficient. Thank you for this powerful reminder through Jesus Manifesto.
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*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.”