My friend David Bryant helped to persuade me some years ago that we Christians, and especially we evangelical Christians, had come to the place where we no longer treasured Jesus Christ above all. His book, Christ Is All, makes this point so powerfully that it became an instant classic on the subject. The problem here is rather simple. Most people do not read real classic. In this case I urge you to read Christ Is All. David shows that religious concepts, ideas, strategies, doctrines, techniques, formulas and methods had all worked to push Jesus to the periphery of our life and practice. I would have said, for more than thirty years, that we had pushed doctrine to the side in favor of all of these other pragmatic concerns but frankly I too had failed to see that even in recovering doctrine, at least in most of the contexts where I labored, we still had not recovered Jesus himself. In some instances we had even recovered solid Christology but the two, loving Jesus as supreme and knowing Christology, are not synonymous. This comes as a surprise to many preachers that I have known over the years. As odd as it may seem Christians have lost what they should be starving for—the very person of Jesus Christ himself.
Thomas Nelson is releasing a new book called Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ by well-known authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. I have read the book and cannot commend it too highly. My good friend Steve Brown wrote an endorsement for the book which includes these words: “Read this book and you’ll find your heart ‘strangely warmed.’ That warmth is Him . . . Jesus. This book could change your life and the lives of everyone who cares about the church. I rise up and call the authors blessed!”
I call these two authors blessed for this new book. I count Len Sweet a friend. I do not know Frank Viola personally but I have found some of his work on the church less than compelling to be truthful. But regardless of whether you like these two authors, and any of their previous books, do not allow that to stop you from reading this compelling new book, Jesus Manifesto.
The true testimony of all of sacred Scripture is Jesus. The early church understood this and confessed it with their lives. He is the sovereign Lord who reigns supreme over all. No true Christian should have any doubt about this fact but far too many of us live as if this was no longer true, or at least not all that important in our daily living. No one compares to Jesus, no one. If you believe that then this book will thrill you. It may well bring you back to your first love. It is a prophetic, courageous and deeply moving work. I could hardly put it down once I began reading it on a recent flight. I expect, like seeing a good movie again, that I will soon read it again.
The book will be released today, June 1. Be sure to get a copy. In fact, I suggest you get several and make sure that every important leader in your church gets one as soon as possible. This book is really that important.
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Michael Spencer’s upcoming book (release is this month) should add greatly to this conversation.