Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jesus Manifesto: Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

First published on

This is one of the best books I have read in my life. Not because of all the new insights but because of the central truth. This is much more than a book but an outpouring of love for Jesus.
The truth is, I agree with perhaps 90% of the book–especially the central thrust–that Jesus Christ is a living and active presence here and now–and that we, by extension, are called to manifest Jesus' presence into the world. This idea might seem like a "no duh" to many Christians. However, as the authors point out, "the reality and experience of an indwelling Lord has been almost lost to the Christian faith."
Jesus Manifesto serves as a helpful reminder that Jesus isn't some long-dead sage who showed us a new way to live. Nor is he a theologically abstract principle or idea. One needn't look too long to see that most of Christianity assumes a sort of deadness to Christianity–that it is a religion of principles laid out by someone who is no longer present. This has certainly been my own experience of Christianity, for the most part.
Rather, Jesus dwells in us and, therefore, the important question isn't "What would Jesus do?" but "What is Christ doing through me…through us? And how is He doing it?"

There are huge implications to such a shift in our thinking. If being the embodiment to Christ to the world is much more than simply living out good principles, then all bets are off. Our faith becomes a terrifyingly beautiful journey with Christ in the world.
Since Christ's abiding presence in his Church is central to our life together, Frank and Len set out to challenge those things that set themselves as the engine for our faith…like conservative morality, church growth, miracles, movement-building, social justice, evangelism, leadership principles, prosperity, spiritual warfare, systematic theology, etc.

Christians have made the gospel about so many things—things other than Christ. Religious concepts, ideas, doctrines, strategies, methods, techniques, programs, and formulas have all eclipsed the beauty, the glory, and the reality of the Lord Jesus Himself. On the whole, the Christian family today is starved for a real experience of the living Christ. We know a lot about our Lord, but we don't know Him very well. We know a lot about trying to be like Jesus, but very little about living by His indwelling life. "Jesus Manifesto" presents a fresh unveiling of Jesus as not only Savior and Lord, but as so much more. It is a prophetic call to restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Christ in a world—and a church—that has lost sight of Him. Read this book and see your Lord like you've never seen Him before.
LEONARD SWEET occupies the Chair of Evangelism at Drew University in NJ and weekly contributes to and a podcast, "Napkin Scribbles." He is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Fox University and has authored numerous articles, sermons, and forty books.
Len's Website:
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FRANK VIOLA is a best-selling author, international conference speaker, and church planter. His books include Reimagining Church,The Untold Story of the New Testament Church,Pagan Christianity (with George Barna), Finding Organic Church, and the best-selling From Eternity to Here.
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