May 31, 2010

Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

By Nate LaClaire

What is Christianity? It is Christ – nothing more and nothing less. Unfortunately, the church has lost sight of this simple fact, say Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola in their new book, Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ. We focus on Christianity and not on the living Christ. We are meant to be living epistles – “Jesus Manifestos” – in our world, but we are instead trivializing the gospel by practicing religiosity rather than fostering relationships with our Savior. It’s time for a change.

The book starts off very slow. Although the introduction caught my interest, the writing style didn’t keep my attention. Also, while extensive endnotes are included, I didn’t like the fact that most of the scripture references are found in the endnotes rather than in the book’s text.

After the first few chapters, though, the book improved. I found myself questioning, checking references, confirming the validity of the statements, and moving on, thoroughly enjoying seeing scripture in a new light. The book presents the case for where the church is lacking and how an authentic application of Christianity should look. It challenged me to examine scripture more closely and was both inspiring and enlightening.

I encourage you to read this book and to keep a Bible by your side when you do.