[NOTE: From time to time, I’ll be reviewing books on this site, in addition to the regular post for the day.]
The point of Christianity is not to feed the poor, preach the gospel to the lost or even be imitators of Christ. The point of Christianity is Christ. It is the indwelling of Christ in us that accomplishes all these things, and not the other way around. This is the premise of Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola.
The book begins by asking the same question Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” and proceeds to explore and dissect many of the answers modern Christianity has come to offer. By focusing mostly on what Paul told the early church about Jesus and on what Jesus told the world about Himself, the authors address so many of the doctrines and theologies I have been hearing my entire life. It was not until I read this book that I realized these doctrines and theologies are often in danger of changing the focus of the church from Christ to the church itself.
Sweet and Viola rightly use Scripture as the basis for their arguments, constantly reminding the reader that Jesus is the Word of God. As I read, I found myself saying “yes, but the Bible also says…” only to find my argument addressed Biblically in the next sentence.
While the book is fairly repetitive, it is repetitive with a purpose: to drive home the idea that when we put “good” things like service, justice, and even studying the Bible above Christ, we remove Him from His proper place as the Head of the Church, the sovereign Ruler of all and the Word made Flesh.
I would recommend this book for pastors, teachers and other church leaders because it serves as a good reminder that in all things, we preach Christ. It reminds us that the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation is about Christ and not about Moses, Jonah or Paul. It reminds us that only when Christ holds the highest place in His church will His church ever truly be His.