JESUS MANIFESTO vs. ReChurch & Michael Spencer (the iMonk)

I’ve been answering questions about Jesus Manifesto lately on this blog. The last post was titled, Why Jesus Manifesto is Not a Recipe Book. Summarizing that post, I tweeted this the other day:

JESUS MANIFESTO is deliberately “show” rather than “tell.” It attempts to deliver a vision rather than a recipe. A song rather than a system.

Another question I’ve been axed recently is, “How does Jesus Manifesto fit in with your other books on the church, in particular your rechurch series?”

For those of you who may not know, my ReChurch series is made up of 5 books:

  1. The Untold Story of the New Testament Church
  2. Pagan Christianity
  3. Reimagining Church
  4. From Eternity to Here
  5. Finding Organic Church

You can think of these five books as 5 spokes in a wheel. Jesus Manifesto is the hub of the wheel as well as the rim. (Thank you Joey Beaher for the graphic.)

To be more specific:

The Untold Story of the New Testament Church tells the story of Jesus Christ expressing Himself through His body in chronological order from A.D. 30 to A.D. 70.

Pagan Christianity attempts to clear away much of the common clutter that has obstructed and subverted the Headship of Jesus in His church.

Reimagining Church paints a picture of church life where Jesus is in charge as the Head of His body.

From Eternity to Here narrates God’s eternal purpose in Christ Jesus from Genesis to Revelation.

Finding Organic Church is a biblical treatise showing how the first-century churches were planted on nothing but a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Manifesto gives us a glimpse into the message that Paul preached and upon which the first churches were founded – churches that ended up shaking the Roman Empire to its core.

Consequently, Jesus Manifesto is the hub and the rim that ties all of my previous books together. Or to use another metaphor, the message of Jesus Manifesto is the common thread that runs through all of my previous works.

Finally: I’d like to say a few words about my friend, Michael Spencer (the iMonk). I never met Michael in person, but we corresponded regularly, became good friends, and strongly supported one another’s work.

His blog was among my favorites. One of the long posts he wrote was called The Frank Viola Project (And Why You Should Take It Seriously). When he wrote that post, I felt quite honored. Today, I feel beyond honored by it.

Unfortunately, Michael passed away this past April after battling cancer. But before he did, he finished his first book, Mere Churchianity, which officially released this week. Michael kindly asked me to endorse the book, and I was honored to do so. Here’s what I wrote:

As someone who has been writing for years on the supremacy of Jesus Christ and its relationship to his church, I found the Christ-centeredness of this book to be profoundly refreshing. We have lost a choice servant of God in Michael, but heaven is the richer. I’m thankful that he left us this excellent contribution.

Before Michael passed, I was corresponding with his wife and asked if he would like to endorse Jesus Manifesto. He wanted to, but he was just too ill. But here’s what he wrote about the online essay that preceded the book:

Sweet and Viola, who are hardly theological twins, have detected something seriously amiss in the post-evangelical/emerging church understanding of the Gospel: the centrality of Christ. I think I have a nose for this sort of thing, and I know it can be very rhetorical, but Sweet and Viola are crucially and significantly right. And not just about Christianity becoming politics, but about theology that puts Jesus into an assigned “place” in someone’s version of Christianity and doesn’t make him the “all” of the Gospel. As I will say in one chapter of my book, unless you do great damage, there’s not going to be any escaping the narrowness of Jesus when it comes to putting the focus onto himself rather than anyone else’s agenda. So whatever we have to say about “narratives,” or “sources” or “confessions,” we must be a people radically identified with Jesus. No “Jesus Disconnect” allowed. July 24, 2009, www.theinternetmonk.com

And of my book, From Eternity to Here, he had these kind things to say:

I was taken aback with how much I liked this book [From Eternity to Here]. I read it quickly, and I’m going to read it again. Why? Because if there is a book on the Jesus-shaped church that I could recommend to everyone who identifies with my description of that journey, this has easily cleared the bar as my first choice. Not because I would sell all that I have and follow Frank Viola into the organic church movement, but because the way in which Jesus Christ dominates the ecclesiology is exactly what so many of us are searching for in the evangelical wilderness. February 27, 2009, www.theinternetmonk.com

All that to say that Michael and I had the same vision when it comes to the supremacy of Christ.

I’ll miss him. The body of Christ will miss him more. Get his book today, and write a review for it on Amazon.

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Comments

  1. says

    As God looks at people He sees them through the lens of Jesus. So many churches today have a vision statement something like, “We see a church of 10,000 people”. Such statements ignore the centrality of Christ and reduce vision to something that only 1 person sees. Jesus must be restored to His rightful position as the focus for everything that God shows, and that people are to see. Then, and only then, can people and His church begin to grow into wholeness. Ken Miller @JesusIsTheFocus

  2. says

    My copy arrived today (ordered Sunday while still at the discount).

    I buy about two ‘new’ books per year (and lots of used books). There’s something about this thing, I’ve been a little irrational, and I hope I like it as much as ‘the Spirit’ said I would!

  3. Kathy says

    I bought extra books and the people who I have given “Jesus Manifesto” to, say it is very, very interesting. The look on their faces is a look of complete shock! They expected the same Jesus that the world presents and had no idea that the Lord Jesus Christ is SO much more. They have never heard any of this before! How truly wonderful! Thank you both for the book(s).

  4. John Wilson says

    I like the spokes, the hub, and wheel analogy! Makes sense! How life is short to fool around with talking about Jesus. Let us live by His life…Give me revelation, give us Jesus!

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