Review: “The Jesus Manifesto”

“So what is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology or a philosophy. Neither is it a new type of morality, social ethic, or worldview. Christianity is the ‘good news’ that beauty, truth, and goodness are found in a person. And true humanity and community are founded on and experienced by connection to that person.” (xvi)

Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola partnered to write the Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Sweet wants his readers to see Christ not as central to Christianity, but equal to Christianity. The book is written to combat a common Christian problem relayed in a simple story. Christians were touring Leningrad before the fall of the Berlin wall. The tour guide said, “You Christians have a great message, but we Communists will win the world. Christ means something to you. Communism means everything to us.”

I’d rate this book at five stars out of five if Sweet and Viola stuck just to that message. I’ve heard that every age tends to focus on one part of the Trinity. When you focus only on God the father, you end up emphasizing God’s justice and ending up at legalism. If you focus only on Jesus, you tend to end up at the opposite extreme of antinomianism. If you focus on the Spirit alone, you end up…Pentecostal?

Sweet and Viola do well to remind us to re-focus on Christ. We need to hear that call! At the same time, the book would have been more helpful if it had shown us how to do that without the neglect of the rest of the godhead. With that in mind, I give it 4 stars out of 5. It’s a good, quick read that is thought-provoking and should lead you into deeper study and thought about Jesus.

(Oh yeah — I reviewed this through BookSneeze. They gave me a free copy to review — but they don’t get angry if I don’t like their conclusions…)