Friday, June 11, 2010

Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ: Jesus Manifesto

Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ

I recently received a review copy of Jesus Manifesto through a review program for Thomas Nelson Publishers. I am very impressed with this book given its content and its timeliness. The Christ of Scripture and the Christ of History are trying to be pulled at both ends by liberal scholars and the typical skeptics alike. Skeptics and even so called believers would dethrone Christ. Viola and Sweet, however, do a thorough job in Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ: Jesus Manifesto. They proudly proclaim that Christ is the “Rosetta Stone of the Bible.” (pg. 11)

In the opening pages Jack Hayford praises Jesus Manifesto and suggest it “calls us to Jesus' person and position as Lord of the restore the “saltiness” that will keep His church alive.” Dr. Kenneth Ulmer from The King's College says it “brings us back to center.” Steve Brown from Reformed Theological Seminary say that “Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have a radical and Biblical solution” for our Christ-less culture.

Indeed, a solution is needed. Viola and Sweet tap the pulse of the modern drift and says “If the church does not reorient and become Christological at its core, any steps taken will be backwards.” (pg. Xiv) They draw our attention quickly to J.D.D. Or the Jesus Deficit Disorder. Our culture and the church have made the gospel about so many things other than Jesus Himself and it is time we embrace, know, and seek Christ! The ultimate question for anyone in any generation since Christ is “Who do you say that I am?” This question is required of every generation.

Viola and Sweet sum up Christ as the “melody, the harmony, the rhythm, the tempo, and the music behind all things. The heavens and earth sing His song and play His tune.” This is the argument of Jesus Manifesto. In fact, if you wonder if this is an “emergent' text by liberal thinkers, guess again. On pg. 23, they say “we are arguing that Christianity is Christ—nothing more, nothing less.”

They go on to write, “the only address where anyone can find Him [Christ]!” (pg. 56) Christ died, resurrected and ascended yet He dwells in us today. When the world looks for Christ they will see you and I as His followers as His body on the earth today. We must make room for Christ to be sovereign and supreme in our lives! Viola and Sweet beautifully sum up the Incarnation by saying, “In the incarnation, the beating heart of the universe became a human heart.” Christ is the aperture of God whereby men see the glory of God. Through Christ, however, the “clearest image of the whole can be seen.

In the conclusion Viola and Sweet retell the story of Pope Ratzinger, who was a Cardinal at the time, and his sharing a venue with Bob Dylan in 1997. Ratzinger is still not so sure if him and Dylan made a great pair but the Pope did utilize the lyrics of Dylan in a song at the meeting. Ratzinger says, “You ask me how many roads a man must walk before he becomes a man? I answer: there is only one road for a man, and it is the road of Jesus Christ, who said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life”

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