I picked up the Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ (perhaps the length of the title should have given me pause on this book) through BookSneeze as a free book as long as I review it. The last book that I picked up through them was very interesting so I thought I'd give it another shot. JM, as it shall now be referenced, piqued my interest as a Christian. I agree that too many churches stick to the, "Life is Abundantly Happy - The End" type of message, and that the meat of the belief in Christ is not always taught to the body. I found out that we didn't agree on a lot after that point.
When I opened JM, I was thinking this seems to be starting OK. After the first chapter, I was disappointed with how they appeared to be marginalizing God and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. They didn't come out and say that they weren't as important, but they definitely limited the role of God and Holy Spirit; sort of the cheerleaders of Christ. But that little shove kept the ball rolling throughout the entire book! This wasn't a focus on Christ and the importance to the Church body, but a complete mangling of the faith! I would consider the Bible, the Word of God, the end-all-be-all of what Christ is to us. Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, the authors, felt that it was not enough. We started seeing quotes about how we must "understand ourselves" before we can "understand Christ" and other psycho-babble that doesn't belong in anything referencing Scripture. I am only marginally surprised that I did not see a quote from Freud or Richard Dawkins to help explain Christ-centric theology. And out of this fountain of human knowledge comes the idea that we are not to be like Christ but we must become Christ! Can you believe that? I certainly can't!
""We have learned a lot from different perspectives of Jesus: feminist theology, creation theology, process theology, liberation theology, narrative theology, postliberal theology, emergent theology."
Quote Talk: JM doesn't go into detail on any of these items, but any non-denominational Bible-believing Christian will find no solace in the aforementioned theologies. If the authors found these theologies to be enlightening and expressive of who Christ is, then that's enough to throw this book down as heretical. You can go look up some of those and find out that they stand in direct contention to what/who God/Christ is. You'll find things such as God is not omnipotent, God is not unchanging, the Goddess movement, and even expansion into other religions. Would anyone care to point out where these concepts are proven in the Scriptures.
In summation, I cannot recommend this book to a believer (new or old) or non-believer for any purpose whatsoever. And I barely scratched the surface on what's horribly wrong with this book! It comes down to the fact that incorrect theology of God the Father, God the Son, and The Holy Spirit is to be thrown out. This is not a good piece of teaching material. It shows the extremes man can go to to explain what's already been explained fully in the Word of God - The Bible. When one has an issue, one goes to the Bible. When one seeks the Lord, one goes to the Bible. When one needs to explain Christ and Salvation, one goes to the Bible. You do not go to a psychologist that directs you to seek what's inside you and to revel in it. Man is not Christ. On top of that, I am actually going to throw this book away. I'll keep many things - blurry pictures that I have duplicates of, books that I'll only read once because I didn't care much for them, or movies that I purchased that were alright. But heresy is worth getting rid of.
This has been a frustrating book to read and review. There is anger that it has the ability to steer folks away from the Truth. The Word of God explains it all. You don't add to it or fundamentally change what Scripture says to attempt to awaken the Church. It's unnerving that the authors ability to state that Christ is the center of the church, but then go outside the Church to find so-called answers to the greatness of God. And it's sad that there are people that truly believe what's being said in this work of fiction and will go down a path that doesn't lead to the true image of Christ.
Rating: 0 - well written garbage is still just garbage - especially when it can lead someone away from what the Scriptures say.
P.S. - My wife is also reading the book so if you want even more in-depth coverage of this you'll be able to get it within the next week or so. I'm also not including this book as part of my yearly challenge. Oh, and I'm going to now write a book called "The Gunslinging Christ: How Christ is Manifested in The Dark Tower Series and the Revelation of Heresy to Explanation".
P.P.S - Check out this Blog for another review of the same book. I'm not including this for another perspective on the theology but for some additional insight. I like Chris' negative comments. Not only is more well written than I am, he also explains some items that I didn't breach. Good blog.