Have you ever wondered why there are so many different Christian religions? Have you ever tried to put a finger on the differences and, if so, could you explain the what and why of each one? Do you find the many different types of theologies and the endless versions of each confusing?
If these questions leave you scratching your head join the crowd.
I doubt anyone is brave enough to suggest they have all the answers and since “religion” is not static the answers are always changing anyway. The more time Christian history consumes the more varieties there are that develop.
If these questions plague you like they do so many others then “Jesus Manifesto” is the book you need to read next.
The authors, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, probably haven’t mastered all the information or answered all the questions either but what they have done is focus on the one thing that counts most: the supremacy of Christ. Rather than dig through all the “stuff” qualifying one religion as different to another – and join the fracas over hairline issues – they feature the one truth than can correct them all and bring the various segments in line or at least closer: Christ, the Person, is the way, the truth and the life.
The problem, they suggest, is that Christian religion can be mentally analyzed, dissected and arranged like any other religion, Christian or not. The solution is to focus on Jesus, the Person. He is who He is not what we perceive Him to be. Theologies, systematic or otherwise, break down at some point – self-defeating. That is why new ones are replacing old ones at a rapid rate. But Jesus never changes.
The authors communicate several significant ideas:
- Our lives should be the biography of Jesus.
- Codified Christian formats must be replaced with relational Christian living.
- The only way to be “a people of the Book” is to be occupied with the Person who gave it.
- Pursuit of Denominational-theological idiosyncrasies, which breeds a closed minded sectarianism, should be replaced with a devotion to following Jesus personally.
- Service for Christ stems from the love of a Person, Christ, not devotion to religious activity and is done by “friends” not “servants.”
They don’t deny popular concepts – justice, leadership, charity, missional, doctrinal, core values – but they don’t encourage anyone to make any of these issues primary. The most important matter is making Jesus manifest by following Him rather than imitating Him, incarnational living. We must live WITH Him not LIKE Him. Where He is, there we must be also.
To substantiate their point the book is riddled with Scripture references but, not too worry. The book reads more like an -ography than an -ology. Its more personal than technical.
So, before you start your next ministry, make sure you’re following the Savior.
Don’t miss this read. You’ll probably find a statement or two you question or don’t quite understand but the main point, relating to Jesus personally, makes the disagreement insignificant.
Read it! THINK!AboutIt.
This book was provided free of charge by BookSneeze in return for which I have provided the preceding review. No additional remuneration was given and no controls were imposed on my opinions. All the ideas expressed here are entirely my own.