The following is a sampling of reader responses to Jesus Manifesto that articulate why Len and I wrote the book. You may also read endorsements by over 30 influential Christian writers and speakers here.
There are few books in my life that have truly changed my life . . . This is one.
After reading this book, all I could say was, “wow.” Every Christian and non Christian alike should grab a copy of this book for a great read. It’s a daily study in your walk with the Lord, but it will also appeal to non-Christians simply because of how the authors explain who Jesus actually is in everyday language. Once I read the book once, I had to go back and pull out all the stuff that you need for life and write everything down. If you thought you knew who Jesus is, you’ll find out how wrong you might have been after reading through this book.
Honestly, this has GOT to be the best Christian book I’ve read in quite some time. Grab a copy for all of your friends too — they’ll love you for it. Highly, highly recommend!
In this book Leonard Sweet teams up with Frank Viola to write what I would call the only must read book of the year.
Jesus Manifesto is a spiritual masterpiece.
While it is a bit like trying to get a drink of water out of a fire hydrant, it is worth getting soaked.
It has a unique way of being both timeless and timely.
It reminds me of a great restaurant. You keep coming back to taste the whole menu.
I challenge you to taste and see that the Lord is good!
To be transparent with you, the Holy Spirit really humbled me through this book.
As a Christian communicator, I put so much effort into helping people experience the true love of God. And this book reminded me that it is not my painting of Christ, but Christ painting through and on me that makes the difference.
Don’t get this book if you want to stay the same, unchanged, selfish, powerless person.
This book shows you that when you live a Christ-centered life, then all things are possible through Him.
Excellent. Radical. Challenging. Brings us face to face with Jesus Christ the center, source and end.
Top 1% of all the books I have read. Just get it, it will change your life!
I’m a “retired” missionary and have loved and served Jesus all my life but it was about 10 years ago that His Spirit began to open my eyes to how the traditional models of church life and practice (under which I grew up and have served) have obscured the beauty of this God-Man. I’m grateful for all those He has used over the years to influence me in my journey to know Him, and now more recently I am particularly grateful for the writings of Frank Viola and others like him who have a passion for Jesus to be seen as He truly is. Viola’s material is giving me language for what has been in my heart for many years. When I saw this book (“Jesus Manifesto”) advertised, I knew I would want to read it and bought two copies of it knowing I would want to share it with others. I wasn’t disappointed!
If you want a book that is really about the Person of Jesus (as opposed to being about theological systems around Jesus), I recommend “Jesus Manifesto”. The authors continually insist on Jesus being the theme of the book. I’m grateful for the ministry of Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet through this book and pray that the Lord Jesus will increasingly be the Song of His bride as we move towards His return.
Thanks to Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet for writing a book that calls us back to our First Love. Can’t think of a time the church needs to hear this more. I am adding this book to my list of essential reading for Christian formation.
The detail and call of this book is undeniably the call of Jesus to come back to Him. I know this book has enriched my spiritual life and helped me see the “youniverse” I had created. I am recommending this to all my friends.
Len and Frank have done a great job of fulfilling their mandate in this writing. The flyleaf description gives you the gist of what they want to say.
JESUS MANIFESTO presents a fresh unveiling of Jesus as not only Savior and Lord, but as so much more. It is a prophetic call to restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Christ in a world– and a church– that has lost sight of Him. Every revival and restoration in the church has been a rediscovery of some aspect of Christ in the process of answering the ultimate question that Jesus put to His disciples: “Who do you say that I am?”
I was immediately struck by the devotional high-tone in their writing. Instead of the dull rumbling of correction, there is a brilliant voice calling us to Christ worship. This may become a classic in devotional literature. This is a book rich in vibrant quotes and solid Christology. It presents the Jesus who is more important than our best laid plans and causes in His Name.
On a personal note, I’ve been preaching my way through the red letters in the Gospels. As I’ve spent the last year in the spoken words of Jesus, I’ve found a refreshing alignment with the Person of Jesus. From the platform of His words, I’m rediscovering that Jesus Christ clearly is the central theme of all Scripture. This book was helpful in reminding me that everything in life and the universe comes back to Him.
I heartily endorse this book for its ‘first love’ focus.
Currently I’m listening to Jesus Manifesto, which is written by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. As I’ve been listening, I’ve been finding myself having a desire to more and more get back to the simplicity of the magnificence of Christ. I want to know who He is to me.
Quite literally, over the past few hours, God’s been doing a lot in me … I’ve been reading Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola (PLEASE GO BUY THIS BOOK. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I‘M NOT EVEN JOKING.), and it’s been completely opening my mind and spirit to what I thought about Jesus, who He is, what He’s building (His Church), the part that I play … and I haven’t even finished reading it yet. But I’ve just pondering over all these things and have this intensely renewed anticipation and expectation for all God wants to do in and through me over these next 9 months. It’s a bit out of my grasp to articulate what I’m trying to explain, but it’s a good thing.
It is so refreshing to read a clear and concise argument about what is truly the only thing that actually matters; Jesus Christ. This book takes Christ, places Him on a throne, and worships Him while reminding others of the sweetness, relief, and goodness that comes from following that Biblical model. Page after page, chapter after chapter, Sweet and Viola present the person of Christ in an eloquent way and encourage others to look not for Him, but at Him, as He is truly everywhere. I found myself not wanting this book to end. This book is a manifesto that declares that my worship, my life, my study, my whole, will be dedicated to one task, seeking Christ so that I may present Him in His greatness to others as the Bible proclaims I should. I did not want this book to end. As I neared the end I found myself wishing there was more. I never say that I wish a book would have been just a little longer, but I wish this book would have been just a little longer. I would recommend this book to anyone, believer or not. This book is as worshipful an experience of Christ as you can find. It is beautiful. He is beautiful
So when I saw this book, I thought, “Brilliant. This will be a great book to recommend. That’s exactly what people need to hear.” But as it turned out, that message was exactly what I needed to hear as well. The writing is wonderfully simple, honest and direct, and the point was clearly driven home again and again. I actually started to get a little annoyed at the book, as it seemed like it was saying the same thing over and over. “Ok I’ve got it already,” I thought. “Give me some new insights.”
But I hadn’t got it. As I read more and more about Jesus, it slowly started to get under my skin, and it was weeks before I even noticed the change. I started to feel more uncomfortable with where Jesus was in my own life. I began to realise that Jesus was too often just a side-point even for me, a pastor – like the interesting analogy that illustrates the real point (or even worse: a footnote).
So here I am in one of those infrequent moments of greater clarity, and I hope and pray this fragile seedling of faith continues to grow.
I would love for my life to be more centred around Jesus, but more than that, I would love for Jesus to live more in me. Not my life but his. Not my ways but his. Not my thoughts, insights, or perspectives, but his…. Christ in me, the hope of glory
Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ is the collaborative effort of authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola.
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “A mind stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.” Thanks to these two authors, the collective mind of the church won’t go back to her original dimensions either.
They both have reputations as being rubber-bands in the Church. Len Sweet often stretches us forward while Frank Viola often stretches us back. They’ve helped the Church rethink and return to what it means to be the Church and in this latest work, they take us to the one who is the point of it all: Jesus.
The book is radical in the purest sense of the word. Returning us to the author and founder of our faith. There are no new ideas, only fresh expressions of ancient truths.
Their aim is straight-forward:
“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.”
What I appreciate about this book is that it’s about the Who rather than the what. So many works of theology are filled with propositions (what’s) that fit nicely into spreadsheets and Sweet and Viola paint with an artists’ touch that illuminates the revealed Christ (the Who) while still leaving room for mystery (see Chapter 5).
This book is saturated with scripture. From the get-go, Sweet and Viola invite us to journey with them and see how Christ is the point of both the Old Testament and the New. They lead us to the cross and remind us that God incarnate loved us enough to “become sin incarnate.” They hold up the victory of the resurrection, the hope of a new humanity, and how to God the Father, our life is wrapped up in Christ.
They challenge readers to not just imitate Christ, but share in his life. To not just fend off idolatry by trying harder, but by grasping the grandeur of Christ. To not ask Jesus to get into our wagon, but for us to hop into his. To not simply see Jesus as simply another “cause”, but to see Jesus (period).
If there was one minor hiccup in the book it would be the lack of flow. This is bound to happen with two established authors. Sweet and Viola have such distinct writing styles, and sometimes it can be difficult to follow the bouncing back and forth between the authors. They don’t always identify who is writing what section, but readers of their previous works (like me) will identify their voices quickly. I’d recommend reading a chapter at a time if they want to maximize your experience.
Otherwise, this is a a fantastic book that makes much of Jesus. It’s clear they want us to know him, not just know about him. They care more about Who you believe in, not just what you believe. They don’t merely present Jesus as a means to an end, but herald him as the means and the end.
All arrows point to Jesus and it’s for this reason that I highly recommend Jesus Manifesto!
Thank you, Len and Frank. You clearly love the Lord and have given the Body of Christ a real gift.
Sweet and Viola have done something wonderful here. In what is truly a great devotional work, they call Christians not to repeat the same tired “we can fix it” mantra with a spiritual veneer, but to ponder deeply the nature of Jesus Christ.
Their hope is that by encouraging Christians to reclaim a vision of the risen Christ (or perhaps see it for the first time), they might be moved to let go of the accumulation of spiritual stuff that serves only to weigh people down, rather than apprehend the freedom and reconciliation to God that comes from knowing Jesus.
This is no repeat of a cookie-cutter self-help book. It is a devotional masterpiece.
The book Jesus Manifesto will help you fall in love with Jesus….all over again (or for the first time).
It may be the best book I’ve ever read. In a breathtaking way reminded me that I should worship Christ and Christ alone. Mind blowing! Heart stopping!
“Genuine church life is born when groups of people are intoxicated with a glorious unveiling of their Lord. Jesus Christ is the only foundation upon which an authentic church can be built” — Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, Jesus Manifesto page 143.
I have just finished reading Jesus Manifesto and many times I nearly signed in and offered some thoughts along the way. I waited to complete the reading to gain a full understanding of the perspective the authors offer to us. The above quote is one of two which have captured my heart and mind. The other I will write on later.
I have spend years studying, going to seminars and conferences, picking the brains of those around me, and any other way to gain information about this thing called the church. Over the years I have come across some really great programs, and have used many of them. I have a long list of things which “successful” churches must do if they are going to be great churches. I have to confess there was even a time when I did the whole Rick Warren Hawaiian shirt thing. With all this information out there, and with a number of churches who seem to be successful at drawing numbers of people it seems the whole church thing should be simple.
One problem, anyone who has ever worked to see the church become all that it can be knows this is not easy work. Often the programs come up short and the church no matter the size seems to fall short of being the embodiment of Christ. Perhaps the goal is too lofty. Maybe it just is not possible to experience the genuine church as described by none other than Jesus himself. What if the problem is not the possibility, rather the problem is us. A quick study of the New Testament would reveal there was not a set of programs, or even conferences to attend. I am not sure there were even Hawaiian shirts in those days. Yet the church of Jesus Christ exploded onto the scene. What was it that caused the church to be the church in such a way? The people of the church had an all out intoxication with Jesus Christ. Jesus was the center of peoples every moment. There was no division of life, church and Jesus. I guess today we might say they were an organic whole.
Not a program. Not a technique. Simply Jesus. In the Western world we have become so intoxicated with all kinds of things. Unfortunately Jesus is often left off the list of intoxicants. We will never experience the fullness of Jesus, the genuine church, unless the people who would be identified by Jesus Christ return Jesus to the intoxicating center of their being.
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
There might be a temptation to sent this along to someone in a church. Perhaps you might send it along to your pastor. Before you send it to anyone do your work first. Wrestle with the place Jesus has in your life. Are you intoxicated with Jesus?
It has been a while since I have read a book that did what the cover promised. Jesus Manifesto has helped restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus in my life. Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have a unique writing style making some of the most thick areas of theology very palatable. Their illustrations and metaphors help to bring the content to life. Their careful and diligent research notes are peppered throughout leaving plenty of opportunities for further study and reading. Their book is a manifestation of Jesus simply calling others to do the same thing. It was a refreshing and challenging read. This is the book you go back to again and again no matter your experience or knowledge.
The two authors have penned a masterpiece. The book unveils a glorious Christ! While reading my heart was burning with a deeper desire to know the Lord. Chapter after chapter Christ is revealed from different angles. I was especially drawn to the chapter the House of Figs. May the Lord not be a guest but the master of His own domain. Is He not looking for a Bethany where He can rest His head, where He is Lord and Christ? After reading the book I felt like one of the disciples on the Emmaus road when the Lord was revealed in the breaking of bread. My heart burned with a greater appreciation of Him. So if you venture in reading Jesus Manifesto come with an open heart with no presumption or bias or ulterior motive. Approach the book in seeing Him and you will not be disappointed.
I tip my hat to Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. No, they deserve much more. The best I can do is give them a deep, heartfelt thank you. In writing Jesus Manifesto Sweet and Viola have begun to right a problem that has plagued the Western Church for millennia.
Years ago, as a rather insignificant young pastor in a large denomination, I fearlessly (too fearlessly, as it turned out) stood before some 10,000 delegates to propose we change the order of our denomination’s statement of faith and move our No. 3 article of faith, “The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ,” to the top of the list and the then No. 1 article, “The Scriptures Inspired,” to the No. 3 slot. was not interested in changing the language of the articles, just their order. My motive was pure, I thought. I believed that Christ, as the Bible said, should “have the preeminence in all things”; especially, one would think, in a Christian creedal statement. To my shame, I was jeered off the floor. One colleague later scolded me and said he was “ashamed” of me. It took years for me to live down a reputation of being “renegade” and “liberal” (I was neither).
Yet here I am, some thirty-plus years later, more convinced than ever that my proposal was a good idea and I have just found vindication in a new book by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola: “Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ.” (Where were these guys when I needed them?)
Occasionally, despite all my pious religiosity, I get the uneasy feeling that Jesus has left the building. I, like you, have a tendency to become wrapped-up, even obsessed, in whatever my pet issue is at the moment. It may be anything from evangelism to the environment to end-time prophecy. This is understandable since every year hundreds of titles flood the Christian market dealing with every topic imaginable and we sometimes find ourselves swept up in the current hot topic. But in the end it all comes back to that elemental question Jesus once asked Peter: “Who do you say that I am?” When Christ ceases to be the nexus of our faith and we become absorbed in all the stuff “about” Jesus, and not in Christ himself, we lose our focus.
“The Christian life properly conceived and experienced,” affirm the authors, “is simply a reproduction and a reliving of the life of Jesus.” But Christianity is not just a matter of striving to be “like” Jesus. If that is our sole aim, we are doomed to failure. No one has done or can do it. Rather, we must “be” Christ. Don’t jump to conclusions by that statement. The authors go on to say, “Jesus doesn’t want us to be ‘like’ him; he wants to share his resurrection life with us, [not just] imitate him. Christ wants to live in and through us. The gospel is not the imitation of Christ; it is the implantation and impartation of Christ. We are called to more than mediate the truth. We are called to manifest Jesus’ presence.” Or, as George MacDonald prayed, “O Christ, my life, possess me utterly. Take me and make a little Christ of me.” Quoting Bishop Ryle, with whom the authors agree, “Christ is all. Those three words are the essence and substance of Christianity. If our hearts can really go along with them, it is well with our souls. If not, we may be sure we have yet much to learn.”
I believe this book was inspired by God. Len and Frank’s book is certain to become one of the cornerstone books on what it means to be a Christian in today’s world.
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola hit the spot. They seek to give us Jesus and not some watered down version of Him. If one could erase all their brain has stored about who they think Jesus is, and let this book guide them through the Scriptures they might end up in a different place in their belief system. Take the time to read this book and be challenged in your life as it relates to Christ.
Both Leonard Sweet, professor of evangelism at Drew University, and Frank Viola, perhaps best known for his commitment to church restoration, believe the church has lost its way, and the answer to one simple question may convince you that their premise is valid: How often has your pastor made Jesus Christ the focus of a sermon? If your experience aligns with theirs, your answer will likely be on the order of “Not very often at all.” And that, the authors contend, is exactly why the wheels have come off the church.
The only hope for restoring the lives of Christians and the life of the church is awakening to the “supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ” — a truth that has been lost as followers of Christ have turned their attention to social, moral, political and psychological issues, to trite, misguided and inaccurate images of who Jesus is, to their own comfort, blessings and “goodness,” and to so much more that distracted them from that truth.
In 10 chapters and 200 pages, Sweet and Viola brilliantly and clearly reveal a truth that has been forgotten by — or never fully understood by — several generations of Christians: that their life is Christ, that in Him they “live and move and have their being,” that He is “central and supreme.” To lose sight of the glorious Christ who indwells them is to miss the point of the gospel. To truly see Christ, to be fully occupied with Him, they write, is to be able to say, “Christ is all I need. You can strip everything else away from me…Take away my gifts and my ministry, take away signs and wonders, take away the sense of His presence, take away my ability to read, and take away every spiritual pursuit I have, and I will still have Christ. And in having Him, I have everything.”
In keeping with their premise, the authors reveal who Christ is on every page, either through their own writing or through a magnificent selection of quotations about Christ from authors, theologians, philosophers, preachers, hymn writers, church leaders, poets, and of course, the Bible. Their own writing is so filled with apt metaphors, striking imagery, and such a rare measure of eloquence that to read the book and not see Christ with greater clarity seems utterly impossible.
There’s little question that JESUS MANIFESTO is on its way to becoming a classic work on Jesus Christ — and on the sheer foolishness of trying to live as a Christian rather than allowing Him to live through you. By restoring the headship of Christ as a living experience in the life of those who claim to follow Christ, the authors write, Christians can become the “living epistles” (or “Jesus Manifestos”) through which the grace, truth and love of Christ will be manifested to the world. For those who have trouble with that concept — those who cannot imagine that they could ever reflect even the slightest glimmer of who Jesus is — Sweet and Viola offer an elegant and powerful argument to the contrary in a chapter titled “If God Wrote Your Biography.” Read it and savor the reality of Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Breathtaking, awe-inspiring, worshipful, life-changing, delightful — all are characteristics of the book itself and of the love for Jesus that the authors have and want their readers to have. If you suffer from what Sweet and Viola call JDD (Jesus Deficit Disorder), if you long for that “first love” for Jesus that you’ve lost over the years, if you realize it’s time to shove everything else aside — even those virtuous “churchy” things — for the sake of knowing Christ, then JESUS MANIFESTO is the book for you. And very likely, the book for a good many people you know.
I was a bit skeptical of this book because of the title. I thought it might be an attempt to redefine Jesus for the postmodern church. I was gladly mistaken after reading the first chapter. The author’s passion to return to a pure understanding of and relationship with Jesus Christ was overwhelming from start to finish. There were many times I found myself in tears yearning for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ while flipping page-to-page. Frank and Leonard are nonconformists to the routine of church. They strip away tradition and orthodoxy to reveal why we are Christians. This book is not a modern remake, but a profound rediscovery of Jesus Christ.
I’ve been listening to the audio book of “Jesus Manifesto” chapter 2, and I can’t get past it as well. I found myself listening to it again, especially the part where it rises to a crescendo about the wonder of wonders, unveiling the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
Today, my thin place was Barnes and Noble. I happened upon Leonard Sweet/Frank Viola’s new book “Jesus Manifesto”. I am not a fan of Leonard Sweet and I’ve never heard of Frank Viola. But something about this bland looking book really caught my attention. As I read the back cover and the inside flap of the book cover, I began to shed tears. The more I read, the more my crying got closer to weeping, at which point I just thought it best to buy the book and get out of there because I was really about to lose it.
I wish I had it in front of me so that I could quote it for you, all I remember was that they kept talking about the beauty, centrality, and supremacy of Christ. I have not heard anyone speak like that in sooo long–not even myself. It broke my heart to think of how many of us fall into a Christ-less Christianity.
I’ve just finished the introduction and 1st Chapter to the book and it’s already challenged me to reclaim my love and awe for the One who holds the universe together. I was walkiing to the subway SO much more aware of Him. We should always walk this way.
I read this book in a week, and then I re-read it again the next week because it was that life changing. Every single page in my personal copy has words and paragraphs underlined. This book definitely is in my all time favorite books. We desperately need to be awakened to the priority of making Jesus our all in all. There is no greater message, no greater focus, no greater purpose–than the person of Jesus. This book exalts Jesus above all else, and will open your eyes to see how glorious He really is. Read this and let the words in this book fire up your heart, and increase your spiritual hunger for Jesus. I highly recommend it!!!!
I’m reading Jesus Manifesto for the 3rd time in 4 weeks. I have read few books twice & NONE thrice. I’m captivated by Him!
Chapter 2 made me fall on my face in thanks. Many years since a book has so impacted me.
I love “The Wizard of Oz”. It is one of my very favorite movies of all time. I especially love the part when the curtain gets pulled back on the “Wizard” to reveal the he was nothing more than a simple man.
He wasn’t what they thought he was.
There have been many curtains pulled back in my short lifetime. Two of them have been very major. The first time was when the curtain was pulled back on the institutional church.
The second happened while reading this book.
When the curtain got pulled back, what I thought I knew about Jesus went straight out the door. He wasn’t there; something else was. I knew that my understanding of Christ was lacking, but I had no idea I was missing so much.
I am 28 years old. I have been “in the church” all of my life. Literally. I was born on a mission field, my dad was a preacher, my family did mission work when I was younger, and my wife and I have done mission work ourselves. I grew up thinking that I knew exactly who Jesus was. And now I’m realizing that I had no clue.
At the risk of being too melodramatic, it is almost as though I had been living my life thinking that I had been married to someone for years, only to wake up one day and realize that not only had we never been married — we hadn’t even dated.
I thought I was so much farther along than I really am. The word “frustrated” doesn’t even cut it. I’m hurt. I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m so many other things.
The thing is, what I’m after is a relationship with the real Jesus — the flesh-and-blood, living, breathing Jesus Christ. I want to know him in every sense of the word. And the hurt, the sadness, the anger, the frustration, etc. that I’m feeling now is something that I have to go through in order to get there. It is, in a sense, a mourning process. But it is a natural process, and one that is well worth going through if it means that he is waiting for me on the other side.
But it doesn’t stop there; I won’t wallow in the mourning stage. The simple fact is that whatever smoke-and-mirrors stuff I accepted as Jesus in the past pales in comparison to the grandeur of the actual Jesus Christ. And the comfort I am finding though all of this is that Jesus will not leave me where I am right now.
Do I wish I were as far along in my journey as I thought? Of course! But I get it now. My goal is to spend the rest of my life — both the life I have left here on Earth and the one that is to come — exploring the depths, the riches, and the mysteries of Jesus. Nothing else is worthy of my effort or energy.
It is all about him.
Pastoring a few years ago I was awakened to the fact that my preaching lacked an important element: Jesus. I found it easier to preach principles and generally accepted truths about Christianity, but not much of my content was Jesus focused. Now, we all understand that trinitarian faith is important and in no way am I suggesting we dilute that. Bear with me here! The world is suffering from JDD (Jesus Deficit Disorder). Seriously folks, we have let Christianity become more about political agendas, self help principles and success. Len Sweet and Frank Viola argue for the restoration of Christ-centered living. I found this widely acclaimed book very refreshing and I think you will too! In fact, it peaked at #6 on Amazon recently and still remains high on the best seller list. A denomination that bears the name of Jesus the Nazarene can only be strengthened by putting more emphasis on Jesus himself.
So far, all I can say is that the book has really bothered me.
I mean really bothered me.
Like couldn’t sleep, paced the floor, kinda bothered me.
I am two chapters in and I had to put the book down.
Let me clarify: the book itself (so far) is actually quite fabulous. I can’t remember the last time I read a book that was more singularly focused on Jesus. The subtitle of this book is “Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ” and the book absolutely delivers on that level.
But “Jesus Manifesto” has served as somewhat of a time machine, transporting me back to my confusing and Christ-less Christianity of my youth and early twenties. It reminded me how little I was really taught about Jesus in the evangelical churches that I grew up in. And to be honest with you, I feel cheated and am dealing with those feelings today.
To the credit of those churches I attended, perhaps their view and understanding of Jesus was (and perhaps is) limited. Maybe those who taught me were only taught themselves about the God who wanted us to be healthy, wealthy and upstanding citizens. In those churches I learned an awful lot about the God who wanted to help me achieve my goals, the God who wanted me to be wise, and the God who wanted to help me build my business.
I was never taught about the Jesus who was counter cultural, missional, irreligious, peacemaking and controversial. I was encouraged to follow Christianity, but not so much encouraged to follow Christ.
So, thanks to Len, Frank and the book, I am being pushed back to reexamine from where I have came. I am being challenged to forgive. I am being challenged to glean the good, and spit out the bones. I am being challenged to pray for those still in those circles. I am being challenged to walk in humility with the new information about Christ I have learned, using attitudes and language that is gracious and encouraging, not condemning and judgmental. I am being challenged to be ever so careful not to presuppose I now “know it all” and be open to continue to learn, stretch and grow.
I am also keenly aware that I am not the only one to miss Christo-centric teaching in their upbringing and so my thoughts turn to them as well. To those who are struggling in what can be a times, a Christ-less Christianity, honestly, there is hope. There is hope for the bride, and hope for you. Hope that out of the mire of confusion you may have, you can find Jesus and a community of faith that preaches Christ.
I will resume the read of “Jesus Manifesto” soon and I will have a more comprehensive review. My frustration will not cause me to ignore the book or the memories it may incite. I am thankful for the tension it has caused and for the feelings it has brought up. It reminds me that another way is possible.
From the book:
“So many Christians are blissfully unaware of His vastness. They have settled for so much less and have known Him so little. But when the people of God get a sighting of their incomparable Lord every idol will be forced to the ground. The clouds of doubt will part from our eyes, and Jesus Christ will displace everything.”
Deeply Spiritual and Soul enriching. I have longed for such a book that will take my hear back to the real basis for my faith in God, that is, Jesus. It is a book, beautifully written and the assertiveness of the message added the urgent tenacity needed in a book that carries Christ Jesus as its central theme. Of a truth, this book restored in me the main purpose of being in God. Jesus is all. That is the message, the grand summary. And each chapter drives home the points in bits. I recommend the book to every believer. It’s timely and it’s needed
This is a must read. If you need a spark to get your relationship with the Lord back on spot, or just want to be awed and enjoy a beautifully crafted piece of Christian writing, this is the book for you. Jesus Manifesto is a masterpiece. It’s powerfully written, yet simple, honest and written with humility and passion. The authors do an incredible job describing the greatness of the Lord. As I read through this 200 page book, I kept underscoring sections that spoke to me. There is also a website set up to enhance your reading of the book that has a lot of interaction with the authors. If you have one book to read this summer, make it this one.
Sweet and Viola penned a very blunt; no holes bared look at what the gospel really points to, Christ. Over time following Christ has turned into following things that we think Christ might be involved in or care about and that simply is not the gospel. What impressed me most about this book is that it did not insult my intelligence. While I would recommend the book to just about everyone it is particularity an important read for anyone who is in that place of realizing that being a Christian is both more and an easy yoke then what they feel “Christian Culture” has taught us but are not quite sure where the path took a twist. I have heard several Calvinist cheer Sweet and Viola for making such a book and others condemn it. The last 3rd takes on the topic of social justice. For me, I get their point and tend to agree. You cannot claim and follow Jesus without being so changed and grown that the hurting, poor, rejected, sick and widowed do not pain your heart and therefore elicit a response of action. Conversely you also cannot make social justice your faith. Read with an open heart and a longing for Jesus, this book is great for re-establishing where exactly it is your vision should be solely on Jesus. The authors do an excellent job of taking their time with the scriptures they share. They don’t just site a verse to prove their point. They start with the scripture reference then dive in and discuss it. I like this approach because it demonstrates the point the authors are making you start with Jesus and He affects your life. You don’t start with religion and then use the Bible and Jesus to prove your point. We have needed a book like this for some time.
Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola is the best book I’ve picked up this year. Reading this has confronted my worldview and actions … because if Christ really is supreme in my life, then He will come up in my conversation, He will “leap out of my lifestyle” and He will “reverberate in my attitudes.” The authors hold no punches as they present the person of Christ as the Word of God and the only one who can or should have top billing in my life.
This book was not presented as a nifty 5-step program or another way to learn how to be a good leader like Christ was …. It is just a book about Christ.
If we are courageous enough to be honest, we are all guilty of putting other things ahead of Christ. But picking up this book is not a guilt trip, but rather it is an exploration into the Word of God, the person of Christ, the cross … in a word: JESUS. There is so much scripture and so many quotes from great Christian thinkers, writers, pastors, and influencers through history but the book never swerves from its laser-focused aim: “restoring the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ.”
Every time I hear it [on audio], I am amazed.
There are some books that I buy that end up sitting on a shelf for months before I get around to reading them.
And then there are some books that I simply cannot put down. Jesus Manifesto easily falls into the latter category.
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola join together to flesh out ideas previously found in the online version of theJesus Manifesto.
The basic premise of the book is so simple that you wonder if such a book really needed to be written.
It shouldn’t take a new book to let the Church know the importance of the Supremacy of Christ.
Though, as I read through, I found myself agreeing with what was being said.
Not only that, but I found myself looking back on my own experiences and realizing that these were things that neededto be said.
I found myself seeing past the “simple” idea that Christ should be central to everything and realizing the boldness of the book.
In a time where we see so many “me-centered” books on the shelves, when there is so much attention given to the “prosperity gospel,” and when churches are shying away from the big picture in order to be more “seeker sensitive,”Jesus Manifesto stands up to point the Church back to her first love, her bridegroom and redeemer, Jesus the Christ.
Throughout the book, examples can be seen of ways that Christ has been demoted in the Church.
Or at least minimized to a singular picture of Jesus, whereas Sweet and Viola maintain that the Jesus of history cannot be separated from the Christ of faith.
To receive Christ truly means to receive all parts of him: not only the glory and power of His resurrection, but also the fellowship in His sufferings.
This may well be the most important piece of Christian literature written in our generation.
Not because I’m a fan of Leonard Sweet (because I am) and not because I’m a fan of Frank Viola (I am).
But I believe it because they do not shy away at all from the exaltation of the fullness of Christ.
You can look and easily see that these are not the opinions of two men, as there are twenty pages of notations in the back of the book, of which over half is directly from the Bible!
I would highly recommend Jesus Manifesto to anyone in the church who wants to know more wholly who Jesus is.
Anyone who is on staff at any church, or teaches at any level in the church should read this book.
Especially if you are tired of the same old cliches and a “boxed-in” Christ.
Read “Jesus Manifesto.” I read it in a week. The book had a tremendous impact on me, especially with what is going on in Lutheran schools and the church today. There is a swath of churches and schools closing for various reasons and I cannot help but wonder if many schools and churches have lost sight of Christ. In the heat of the political climate in the church, Christ has to be at the front. If that is not happening, all decisions made in the church are doomed to fail.
Sweet and Viola penned a very blunt; no holes bared look at what the gospel really points to, Christ. Over time following Christ has turned into following things that we think Christ might be involved in or care about and that simply is not the gospel. What impressed me most about this book is that it did not insult my intelligence. While I would recommend the book to just about everyone it is particularity an important read for anyone who is in that place of realizing that being a Christian is both more and an easy yoke then what they feel “Christian Culture” has taught us but are not quite sure where the path took a twist.
I have heard several Calvinists cheer Sweet and Viola for making such a book and others condemn it. The last 3rd takes on the topic of social justice. For me, I get their point and tend to agree. You cannot claim and follow Jesus without being so changed and grown that the hurting, poor, rejected, sick and widowed do not pain your heart and therefore elicit a response of action. Conversely you also cannot make social justice your faith.
Read with an open heart and a longing for Jesus, this book is great for re-establishing where exactly it is your vision should be solely on Jesus. The authors do an excellent job of taking their time with the scriptures they share. They don’t just site a verse to prove their point. They start with the scripture reference then dive in and discuss it. I like this approach because it demonstrates the point the authors are making you start with Jesus and He affects your life. You don’t start with religion and then use the Bible and Jesus to prove your point. We have needed a book like this for some time.
As I picked up Jesus Manifesto, I was unsure what I was in for. The subtitle “Restoring the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ” had my hopes set high but I have been disappointed before when I let them get too high. After all, I told myself, the Calvinistic idea of the sovereignty of Christ that so often gets me worked up is not the sort that needs to be restored in the first place. It’s immovable and unchangeable, no restoration necessary. And if we’re talking about some other sort . . . well, we will see.
And Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola were talking of some other sort for the most part. Yet I found myself unexpectedly captivated and convicted by this book as they argued for the supremacy and sovereignty that we should be giving Jesus as individual Christians and the Christian church. At times soaring, at times ground-level, at times gushing, Sweet and Viola paint a picture of Christ that is all at once immense and close. And thankfully they often share what a life shaped by the life, cross, and resurrection of Christ will look like–from social justice to love for the church.
They truly hit stride on the chapter regarding the letter to the Colossians. As they expand and expound on the already christologically dense first chapter, their (and Paul’s) vision of Jesus comes into clear focus and I found myself aching with love for the person of Christ. I would dare say this book is worth buying for chapter 2 alone–or at least sitting in The Barn (as my wife calls Barnes and Nobles) and reading it. I feel no shame in saying that because I imagine most who read that chapter will buy the book anyway.
God has really been on my heart lately. Not that He usually isn’t (I’m a Christian for gosh sake).
I am talking about focusing everything on Jesus–actively pursuing Him. Andy Stanley says that “direction not intention determines our destination.”
Did you catch that? Direction. What direction are you going?
God used a book that I recently reviewed to help jolt me back in the right direction–actively pursuing Him.
The book is Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. One sentence completely altered my direction in life. When speaking of our priorities they wrote:
“…others are most occupied with leadership and its various principles.”
Knowing that direction not intention determines our destination, I looked at my life and my motivations and for the first time saw that while I intended to do great things for God, my direction was off.
I was pursuing leadership tactics, principles, ministry methods, but usually forgot about one thing. Jesus.
I was actively reading about leadership, ministry, and how to best perform each (these are not bad in themselves).
But when I place more value on principles and methods, than Jesus I lose.
The gospel that’s so often preached today lacks a revelation of Jesus Christ. The contemporary gospel boils down to a fire-insurance policy, a Santa Claus God, or a performance-based religion. As long as we stay on that plane, we’ll never see or comprehend the staggering enormity of our Lord.”
Frank Viola and Len Sweet have combined their writing prowess to form one of the most powerful pieces of Christian literature of our generation. Jesus Manifesto is a no-holds-barred examination of the Bible’s infatuation with Jesus Christ. Viola and Sweet articulate the awe-inspiring truth that the Old Testament is taken up with Jesus Christ; the New Testament is taken up with Jesus Christ; Paul was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Apostle’s “doctrine” was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Father was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit was taken up with Jesus Christ; the early church was taken up with Jesus Christ; and throughout the last 2000+ years, whenever a serious refocus of God’s people occurred, they were taken up with a fresh revelation of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. From the Creation narrative, to the summation of all things in the last two chapters of Revelation, Jesus Christ is the One through whom all things were made and the One in whom all things will be consummated. He is the Alpha and Omega.
Viola and Sweet illustrate Jesus to be the aperture through which the light of the Godhead is focused, harnessed, and glaringly intensified. They take time to develop the truth that Truth is not a statement, religion, system, buildings, or any other man-made initiative; but rather Truth is a person, the person of Jesus. They laboriously insist the gospel is not merely social activism, moral objectivity, or a system through which to make the world a better place. Instead the gospel is nothing short of a monumental unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His mercy, love, compassion, grace, wisdom, and grandeur. The gospel is both death and life. It marks the beginning of a new race, a new humanity that never existed before Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the Cross. Jesus is the gospel! Furthermore, according to Viola and Sweet, the Bible never advocates just the following of Jesus’ sayings or teachings. Rather, Jesus said, “Follow me.” This distinction separates Christianity from all other religious systems whose leaders are dead and cannot be followed.
If you’ve never glimpsed the “sight of peerless worth,” you’re in for a jaw-dropping, breath-taking, whirlwind of emotions and spiritual advancement as you journey through this masterfully written work of art. Jesus exudes its pages. No other agenda outside of exalting the Exalted Christ is at hand. Though this book may be an affront to modern religionist ideologies of social justice, doctrinal creeds, health-and-wealth purveyors, and many other religious institutions of thought, Viola and Sweet make one thing clear: Christianity is NOT about us, but is totally about Him who is all and fills all, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Any book with “manifesto” in the title had better be unique; after all, the word means a declaration of principles. For born again believers Christ is to be the essence of our manifesto – our all in all. However, the church today has fallen swiftly away from Christ and into the mainstream consumerism mania that permeates our “me” generation.
Sweet and Viola draw a line in the proverbial sand, and act as a voice of two crying out in the wilderness calling the church back to its’ first love – Jesus Christ. The devotional style composition makes it a great “guide” for those who want to receive what is said and take some time asking God how it may apply to their life.
There aren’t many theology books that excite me any more. Maybe I’ve become jaded or perhaps so much of what I see has virtually no relationship with my life or with the life of my congregation. Sometimes the book is academic theology written by scholars for scholars, focused on increasingly small circles of readers. Other times the writer seems clueless that we’re living in the 21st century, and he/she dismisses the possibility that we are in the early stages of a new reformation. Occasionally, a book has some interesting ideas, but is poorly written.
Imagine my surprise when a book of popular theology grabbed my attention and would not let me go. Len Sweet and Frank Viola have published the Jesus Manifesto, and it is a flaming wonder. The authors contend that we have relegated Jesus to a place at the margin of our theology and practice. The book is a reminder that no issue, no agenda, not even the growth of the church can take the place of the supremacy of Christ. Brilliantly written, challenging, it is a must read. Especially encouraging and challenging was the reminder that imitating Christ is no substitute for being in Christ and being the continuing incarnation of his presence. They argue that we settle for fitting Jesus into our life, rather than letting Him be embodied in us. They intend to move Christology back to the center of the faith. I say about time.
Read the book, then share it with someone else. Every once in a while we need a reminder of what is essential about our faith.
I really enjoyed this book. I have grown up in a Christ centered household and church my whole life and this book really helped spark anew a love for Christ. It was easy to read, and yet well written.
I have picked up other books about Jesus before and been a bit disappointed that the main point was to make yourself better as a person or feel better by studying Christ. This book is actually about worshiping Christ and recognizing his presence in your life and the lives of other Christians.
I read all but the last chapter very quickly, unable to put the book down. When I turned the page to the last chapter I set the book down…for three weeks. I did not want the book to end so I pushed that moment away. During that time I pondered the thoughts presented and read my Bible in light of the authors’ points. Then last night I finally finished the book.
The final chapter was just as great as the first nine. I recommend this book. Keep your Bible close so that you can dive back into the scriptures as you read, eager to gobble up all you can of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Breathtaking picture of our Lord. I just finished listening to an audio version of The Jesus Manifesto and am now reading it. What an amazing, glorious picture of our Jesus! Sweet and Viola have created more a work of art than a work of theology here (though IMO, the theology is sound). For so long, we in the western church have suffered a weak and watered down image of just Who, precisely, Jesus the Anointed One of God is. Because of our embarrassment in our weak image of Him, we’ve focused on so many other, secondary things at the expense of BEHOLDING Him.
Behold the Ancient of Days, He who holds all things together, the Alpha and the Omega, the One who causes the stars to shine, the seas to rise and fall, the vast, trackless, never-ending, all encompassing, all fulfilling person of our Lord. This is the God whom we serve, love, and hold dearer than all. Such is the portrait this book attempts to paint.
While such an accomplishment is beyond human capability, the authors have created a work of stunning beauty that every follower of Jesus will benefit from tasting, savoring, and feasting on. Not that we feast on mere words of men, but on the portion of Christ they have received from the Holy Spirit and are offering as a sweet, nourishing honeycomb to share with us as their brothers and sisters in Him.
In Jesus Manifesto, Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet present a Christ that is so often overshadowed by other “things”, they present the real Jesus in a way the Church has lost sight of. Christ is all in all, all things are through Him and for Him, this is Christianity, and this is the vision of Christ presented here. I believe that every believer needs a fresh vision of Christ today. In the New Testament, whenever Paul would write to a local body of believers about an issue or problem they were having, he would give them Christ. The gospel of John was written to believers who had lost sight of Christ and needed a fresh revelation of Him. This what Jesus Manifesto does for the 21st century. We don’t need new programs, discipline, building plans, ideas, up to date and media filled sermons, we need Christ and Him alone. This book gives us a glimpse of Christ that will begin our path and journey toward a Christ-centered everything, no longer just in word or theoretically, but in life and experience. This is a much needed resource for the Church, my hope is that while reading this book you see Christ in a way you never have before and continue to grow up into Him alone, and no longer into other things, for Christ is the wisdom and the fullness of God, nothing true or of value is found apart from Him.
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola write in chapter six, “Our problem is this: we have even created a narcissistic form of Christianity, in which ‘conversion’ is less a turning toward Christ than a turning toward success or fame or fortune…Of the top 100 [CBA best-selling] books, just 6 were about the Bible, 4 were about Jesus, and 3 were about evangelism.”
If what the authors presume here is correct, and I agree that it is, then theJesus Manifesto is Cipro for rank bowels of religious publishing. Jesus Manifestois penicillin for the self-adulating, one with my inner Jesus, navel gazing virus that has taken over the Christian imagination. This aptly titled book is an explosive collection of thoughts and ideas designed to rock the heart of the reader from the cold, steely complacency of religion. Anchored in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Sweet and Viola sweep us into a journey of faith, where Christ is the north star, Christ is the ship and Christ is the sea.
Jesus Manifesto is both a manifesto and story of manifesting. It is both acreedal conversation and commentary on Christ’s incarnation. What Walsh and Keesmaat did for Paul and Empire in Colossians Remixed, Sweet and Viola accomplish in respect to Christ and Cosmos. What many believers need is a redux of belief, a reminder that what we believe in is worth believing in. Certainly, this was part of the problem in Colossae and the problem remains still. Like the genie in Aladdin, we are content to imprison the cosmic, infinite power of the resurrected Lord in a little bottle that we rub when it suits us on Sunday or we need something.
Usually, I’m turned off by books that make the statement I just did, but it’s because they leave it there – take a shot, complain and hope you’ll buy the next book. Jesus Manifesto, by contrast, only makes the point in passing. The rest of the book, ala manifesto, is a statement of why our belief is so worth believing. It doesn’t take much to pick out a problem. There also isn’t a whole lot of art in revealing a new model where the old model will just be replaced by a new one. However, a manifesto — buy nature — is meant to reveal why we are who we are and how we are going to become more of who we are. Just as Paul meant for the church in Colossae, Sweet and Viola intend for their audience. Jesus Manifesto is a New Living Commentary on the book of Colossians, for those in the church who are no longer able to connect with it. The authors have even managed to compress Colossians into a four page letter from Jesus at the end of the book. The letter alone is worth owning on Kindle.
Narcissism is a disease that causes us to focus so inwardly, we scarcely exist at all. Jesus Manifesto distracts our gaze from small living and points the way to an expansive, musical, creative and faithful existence founded in our cosmic Creator.
If doxology makes the best theology, then Sweet and Viola’s Jesus Manifesto is very good theology indeed. This book is bathed in doxology. At times, it outright soars in delight over its subject, Jesus the Christ. It is, in many ways, a grand Christological hymn. It is also a clarion call to the church to see Christology firmly restored to the center of her life.
Sweet and Viola are rightly bemoaning the captivity of the church to the countless fads and rabbit trails that so grab her attention. What makes all of this so lamentable is that many of these fads and rabbit trails are bathed in the language of Christian orthodoxy…are bathed, that is, in the name of Christ. But putting the name of Christ on an essentially man-centered effort does not make for Christ-centeredness. As somebody once said, “You don’t get God by yelling ‘Man!’loudly.” But that is precisely what the church, in many ways, seems to be attempting. In response to this predicament, Sweet and Viola are arguing here that Christ, as He is revealed in Holy Scripture and as He is known in the life of the believer, is Himself the great gift that God has given the Church.
In many ways, this book is a kind of Christological sledgehammer against the false idols of a church age gone awry. The authors are attempting to smash our altars with nothing less than a renewed and captivating vision of the supreme beauty and glory of Christ over all things.
The book is very well written and is powerfully moving at points. The periodic offset quotations are a nice touch and I so enjoyed (and was moved by) the occasional forays into outright ecstatic proclamations of the grandeur of Christ.
This kind of thing fires my soul to keep Christ at the center of all things. I am profoundly glad I read it, and I very much enjoyed being able to read the last pages aloud to both Mrs. and Miss Richardson.
Read this book!
I’ve read several books written by both authors. They were good, informative, uplifting even. Curiously, this collaborative book touched me in ways neither author has in any of their previous works. This book truly resonated deeply within my soul. In fact, as I’ve mentioned to several friends, if I could have written a book, this would have been it. It really captured the heart of what I, as a preacher, have tried to share. Thankfully I don’t need to write what has now already been so eloquently written.
The church was designed to be the messenger, the vehicle, through which Jesus – His Life, our true Light – is seen and read and experienced. He is the Head of the church, His ‘body’. Sadly, the church has been running around for centuries with its ‘Head’ cut off. However even ‘usefully’ active, a ‘headless’ body is always a ‘dead’ body. The church has gotten the proverbial cart before the horse. It has ‘used’ Jesus to promote itself. Yet, apart from Him it is only a secular institution masquerading as His ‘beloved’. The church, as the authors wrote, seems to like itself more than it likes Jesus.
So, how do we get our Head screwed on right again? The authors, in this book, lead the way. First acknowledge the problem as real. Second, let Jesus’ life be the core of who you are – not for merely a slice of your life on Sunday, but 24/7. Third, this does not mean knowing more about Jesus, but knowing Him personally, inwardly.
Need coaching on how to really make this work? Get their book. Read their book. Share this book in groups. Ask the Lord to give you the courage to take seriously the high calling we have in Christ.
Don’t get distracted by pseudo-Christianity. Genuine Christianity is, and will always be, all about Jesus. Present your whole existence as a living sacrifice to Him. Let Christ be seen through the uniqueness of who you are.
“He died to take Himself out of heaven and deposit Himself in you.” (p. 170). Let it be so.
Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet are on a mission. The title of their new book, Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ
It describes that mission perfectly. Jesus Manifesto seems to have been written in a white heat.
The authors argue that the church suffers from “Jesus Deficit Disorder.” The prescribed treatment, then, is a “fresh Christology.” Their mission here is to re-introduce Jesus to the church.
What I love about this book is the sense of excitement the author’s bring. Despite the prominence of words like “sovereignty” and ” Christology,” this is not a theological textbook for seminarians. It seems to have been written in a white heat. Sweet and Viola would startle us back to wakefulness, shaking us from our slumber, shouting, “Look, look, you’re missing it! Jesus!”
In an early chapter, they argue that Jesus is the “occupation” not only of the Old and New Testaments, but also the creation itself. To know Jesus, then, is to get understanding. “Never forget,” they say, “there is much more to Christ than we have ever imagined.”
The greatest work of Jesus’ friends (remember his words in John 15, “I no longer call you servants, I call you friends”?) is to cultivate an appetite, a hunger, in God’s people for the Lord Jesus. The world awaits those who can present such a rich gospel that it leaves people spellbound, filled with awe, and desperate to know their inimitable Lord.
Sweet and Viola are attempting, with Jesus Manifesto, to cultivate that hunger in their readers. Their chapter entitled, “If God Wrote Your Biography,” is quite wonderful. Their chapter on the church, entitled “A House of Figs,” is also hunger-producing. That’s where you’ll find this little nugget of truth:
[Jesus] is more significant than any ministry, no matter how good or noble. It is possible to worship the the god of “ministry” in place of Christ.
The great strength of this book is the sense of excitement about Jesus that streams through its pages. It steers clear of many of the various raging debates in the Christian gabfest and instead simply rings the Jesus bell over and over. I hesitate to criticize any aspect of such a necessary project, but I will say that a minor problem here is the sheer repetitiveness that such a bell-ringing entails. The book is filled with perorations on the wonder and grandeur of Jesus, like an excited conversationalist who is so in love with his main point that he makes it over and over again.
Nevertheless, each time it inspires, and each time I’m tempted to climb to the rooftop and read their words through a megaphone. Here’s just one example from near the close of the book:
Today we stand at the edge of a new frontier–one of exploration, not fortification. One of discovery, not contentment. In this new frontier we will navigate the uncharted waters of Jesus Christ, our all-sufficient Lord. there is so much more of Christ to sail than we could ever imagine.
Viola is known for his books on “organic church” (he blogs at Reimagining Church), and Jesus Manifesto might well have been intended as a simple primer on Christology for the organic church movement (although obviously intended for a much wider audience than that). Much of what they have to say here is founded on the idea that believers have Christ living his life in and through them. I personally believe this is a truth that needs greater focus even than this book brings. And Viola and Sweet may be just the authors to write that book.
Re-reading “Jesus Manifesto.” This book is incredible. It will probably be attacked & ridiculed, but then again so was Jesus!
Modern Christianity has an image and idea of who Jesus Christ is. Sadly, that image does not match who the real Jesus is. Along the way we have lost the reality of the person of Jesus Christ while striving to follow and be like Him. This is what Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet write about in their new book, Jesus Manifesto. This book is a clarion call for the believer and the church today to embrace Jesus for who He is: eternal, sinless, the once-for-all atoning sacrifice, the Son of God. It is a call to reject the notion that Jesus Christ can be who we want Him to be. It is a call to reject the notion that Jesus Christ is merely a wish-granter or a back-up plan. It is a call to reject the notion that Jesus Christ needs to be defended in social and political circles. Jesus Manifesto holds the key to spiritual renewal and revival. That key: see the resurrected Jesus and embrace Him.
Viola and Sweet have penned a masterpiece in my opinion. They have successfully shown, through scripture, how Jesus Christ penetrates every point of life because He is life. As I read this book, I found myself at a loss for words. This review won’t do the book justice. I was challenged by this book greatly. Challenged to love Him and see Him as never before. Convicted as well. This book is about a person. Pick up this book and read it. You will not be disappointed.
WARNING: This book is too convicting for a Christian. If you do not want your comfortable, church-going life to be jostled or messed with, do not read this book. Again; do not read this book if you intend to keep a predictable, normal Christian life.
Now with that being said – this book is amazing. As a Bible school graduate and a missionary, I have thoroughly enjoyed this read and how it has reformed my thinking on how I go about pursuing a relationship with Christ himself, and walking the talk.
JESUS MANIFESTO BY LEONARD SWEET AND FRANK VIOLA. ONE WORD… AMAZING. IF THERE IS EVER THE NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT CHRIST THIS IS THE DEFINITIVE BOOK FOR IT.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN STRAIGHFORWARDLY TOLD SO MUCH ABOUT HIM IN MY LIFE. YOU LEARN EVERYTHING FROM CREATION TO ACCEPTANCE. THEY WRITE IT LIKE IT IS AND THAT IS A FRESH EXPERIENCE FOR ME.
THEY HAVE INCLUDED MANY VERSES, SOME INFAMOUS AND SOME UNKNOWN TO ME. SO IN THAT RESPECT I HAVE GAINED A NEW ASPECT TO UNDERSTANDING CHRIST AND HIS PASSION. AS WRITTEN BY THE AUTHORS ” THIS GLORIOUS ONE, JESUS THE CHRIST, IS OUR PURSUIT, OUR PASSION, AND OUR PLEASURE. MAY HE BE SO TO YOU ALSO.” WELL PUT.
i’ve been reading 5 paragraph’s and a sentence over and over. i can’t get past them. they are wrecking me. i’m weeping over the idea that the church hasn’t given Christ the supremacy that He deserves. that we worship the word of God over God Himself.
You forgot to put a “Kleenex needed” warning on the book sleeve. I started reading Jesus Manifesto on my lunch hour – couldn’t continue because I didn’t have enough Kleenex with me. This is a book about the One I love – can’t read it without tears blurring my vision – thank you.
The subtitle of this book is “Restoring the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ“. As a pastor, that tagline resonates with me in a very significant way. People need to realize and understand that the gospel and the Christian life is not about the things God can give us or do for us. The gospel is about Jesus. The purpose of this book is to teach just that. I began reading the Jesus Manifesto with equal parts excitement and hesitation. Excitement hoping that the book would do just what is said it would, namely, restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus in all things. Hesitation knowing that I have been let down by “Christian” books before that failed to deliver on what they promised.
In this case, excitement was justified and hesitation was erased. Sweet and Viola do a good job writing a very easily grasped book that is firmly rooted in scripture. They show the bible’s teaching of Christ being the center of everything and the purpose for everything. I came away from reading this book very encouraged to see this idea being taught. Jesus has always been supreme and sovereign, but sometimes we need to be reminded of that. We tend to get off track easily, chasing after the things of God instead of God Himself and The Jesus Manifesto gently but firmly reminds us where our affections need to lie.
Who do you say that Jesus is? Where does He fit in your thinking, your life, your church? In Jesus Manifesto Sweet and Viola help the reader and thus the church flesh out freshness to our understanding of the Christ. Could it be that the church has become so occupied with Christianity that we miss Jesus? The authors believe it is so and so do I.
Who does the world say that Jesus is? More important, though, is this question: who do you say that Jesus is? This book very directly and simply gives us the answer. Do we really need another book about Jesus? Surely the Bible itself and the countless thousands upon thousands of books written about The Christ is sufficient? Well, yes and no. Yes, the Bible is all that we need for life and godliness. Certainly out of the countless books written about Christ there are no doubt more than enough that are worthy to be read and enjoyed. However, like anything else in this life, seeing and savoring the savior through another set of eyes is always wonderful. Can one have too many pictures over the years of our children going through stages of life? Another book, a good book that is true to Scripture, is always needed. I believe this is one of those books.
To start with, I like the premise behind this book even though the title threw me off and seemed a bit on a cultic twinge. However, the content is very much orthodox and helped me in my walk with God. I believe I need a constant freshness in my view of Christ and this book delivered that for me. This course correction for a modern church that is more interested in having a dialog about justice or going green than in the worship and exaltation of Christ is straightforward and long overdue. This book can reach into emergent, missional, moderate, conservative and even liberal churches in a way that some authors with great books about Christ might not reach. These two authors hand deliver and gift to our churches that is worthy of small group studies throughout Christendom.
Here is the cool content that draws me to and helps me easily recommend this book to my friends. These guys get the questions right and even more importantly they get the answers right. “Who do you say that I am?” “Do you love me?” In these questions lies the premise of the book. The answers are just as profound and fill the pages as they flow over our souls like gentle waves lapping at the shore of our need. Here are a few of these little nuggets to capture your interest. Every scripture and every biblical story points to and is about Christ. “He is the Rosetta Stone of the Bible.” Did you know that? Jesus, the son of man, is the human being, the way human beings were supposed to be before sin. He died the perfect death after He lived the perfect life and all this to please and magnify the Father as we reap the benefits. The book opens with this challenge and I will close this review with it. So what is your chief occupation in life and ministry? Here’s a hint: Whatever you are occupied with comes out of your mouth. It’s what you talk about most of the time.” Is it Christ or something else? That’s why you should read this book.
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)
I have never read anything by Leonard Sweet before, but I was warned by friends of Sweets “Emergent” and even “Liberal” tendencies. I’ve read a few things by Frank Viola and appreciate some of what he has had to say, but by no means all. So you might say I picked up Jesus Manifesto (5 Stars) with mediocre expectations.
I was in for a real treat!
I have never read a book more enthralled with the Supremacy of Christ than I have here. With a broad stroke and great theological precision, these authors have enlarge my image of Christ and challenged me at times, and on many other occasions I found myself cheering, “Union with Christ! Union with Christ!”
As I’ve been trying to wrestle through the Biblical Covenants and doctrines such as “Justification”, “Sanctification”, “Predestination”, “Election”, and “Soteriology”, I find myself returning to the doctrine of Union with Christ (i.e., “In Christ”) as the starting and ending point for all of these other doctrines.
Rich in theology, particularly that bit we call “Union with Christ”, the doctrine of “in Christ” is the only possible way to convey anything about us and our mission in a Biblical fashion. The authors, in a sheer moment of brilliance as great wordsmiths, manage to convey the concept of “Union with Christ” in a way I only wished I had thought of first: “If God wrote your biography, it would be Jesus Christ” [p. 43].
As He is, so are we in this world – 1 John 4:17
At point after point these authors tear down anything which vies Christ for supremacy. Ministry is not the point, apologetics is not the point, spiritual gifts are not the point, a “sense” of his presence is not the point, “spiritual” or “religious” pursuits are not the point. The point is Christ.
Nothing can ever be preached apart from Christ! If in Church you are learning about “Worship”, “Evangelism”, “Christian Living”, “End Times”, “Social Activism”, “Spiritual Gifts” or any other hundreds of subjects, and if Christ is not the center in every one of those sermons, then Christ is not being portrayed supremely as he should.
Christ is all I need. You can strip everything else away from me, and I would still be left with Christ. Take away my gifts and my ministry; take away signs and wonders; take way the sense of his presence; take away my ability to read; and take away every spiritual and religious pursuit I have, and I will still have Christ. And in having Him, I have everything. – p. 22 Bold mine
What a powerful sentiment.
The church has lost sight of Jesus. It is time for the church to restore Christ to His rightful place within Christianity.
I recently received a review copy of Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. I have previously read some of Sweet’s books, but this was my first experience with Viola. Because I have read some of Sweet’s other books, it was fairly easy for me to see his influence in the book. I was not at the same advantage with Viola.
My first thought as I read the first few pages flashed to The Naked Gospel (see my review here) which the author has the tagline “Jesus plus nothing.” (I have nothing against the this tagline).
Sweet and Viola make the following claim:
Christians have made the gospel about so many things-things other than Christ. Religious concepts, ideas, doctrines, strategies, methods, techniques, and formulas have all eclipsed the beauty, the glory, and the reality of the Lord Jesus Himself. On the whole, Christians today are starved for a real experience of the living Christ. (Back Cover)
Sweet and Viola state that there is a “massive disconnect in the church today, and…the major disease of today’s church is JDD: Jesus Deficit Disorder.” (xvi) I couldn’t agree more. I consistently hear all this talk about getting out of the pews and doing things, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if one has the right focus. In this book, Sweet and Viola aim to get rid of the the church’s Jesus Deficit Disorder and get the church to re-focus on Christ.
The real eye opener for me was Chapter 5, A Ditch on Either Side. It was here that I saw the problem. Sweet and Viola state there are two popular approached for following Jesus today, theological rationalism and theological ethics. Theological rationalism focuses on doctrine, theological ethics on ethical behavior. The authors state,
According to Scripture, Jesus Christ (and not some doctrine about Him) is the truth. In addition, Jesus Christ, and not an ethic derived from His teaching) is the way. In other words, both God’s truth and God’s way are embodied in a living, breathing person-Christ. (80)
This statement is going to offend a lot of Christians, but that doesn’t take away from the truth of the statement. Many times, we reduce Christianity to the right doctrine (as defined by man) or the right ethic (as defined by man) and fail to look to Christ.
Overall, I was fairly impressed with the book. The book was a relatively easy read and was written for the average pew sitter. I think Sweet and Viola are accurate in their assessment of today’s church and the need to get back to the core of Christianity…Christ Himself. There were several times as I read this book that I stood accused of the very behaviors they were describing. This book is a great resource to pastors and lay leaders, to help get them back on course. Through the leadership, the church can right its Jesus Deficit Disorder. In other words, this book is written for anyone looking to forge a deeper relationship with Christ.
Could it be that Jesus Christ is more than what we think He is? Is it possible to see Christ in such a way that we wonder if we have ever really known Him at all? These are two questions that might cross your mind as you read through this book. Jesus Manifesto is a massive unveiling of the person of Jesus Christ to show how He is the very essence and substance behind all of creation and behind the testimony of scripture. As Christ is presented and magnified with the turning of every page, the book itself begins to feel increasingly limited as you find yourself gazing at a Lord that words utterly fail to describe. But the intention here is perhaps not as much about understanding as it is about seeing. Sweet and Viola are giving us a clean lens through which our spiritual eyes can catch a glimpse of the height, depth and width of Christ.
My feeling is that if you love Jesus Christ, you will love this book. But be careful, it’s easy for words to roll off the pages if you read it too quickly. I recommend that you sit back, and slowly sip on every word, and you will indeed taste and see how good our Lord really is.
Many Christians are found in want but don’t know what is lacking. So, the Church organizes event after event, “how-to’s” on “how-to’s”, groups within groups, and so on. However, people still want more. What do they want? What are they looking for? Well…what is it?? Depth. Spiritual depth. Depth in Christ!
Leonard and Frank took a fresh look at the Church today – one that many others need to take a glimpse at as well. Frank and Leonard dig deep into the “center” of believers and the body of Christ – Jesus Christ himself.
“Oh great. Another ‘Jesus book'”. No, no, no! Believe me when I say that what you will find within these pages is something so incisive and profound that the Jesus you know right now will look smaller in comparison to the one you will know after you have finished. The passion and fervor that these two men have for the Lord is so evident and fathomless that it is difficult to not become impassioned as well. The love and romance of God that they reveal to each and every reader is so pure that you will fall in love with Christ over and over again.
Last night I finished reading Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola. The subtitle of this book is “Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ.” I REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK! Jesus Manifesto is equal parts guidance for Christian living and layman’s theology. It’s been a while since I read a book that was more singularly focused on Jesus that this book. Jesus Manifesto does a great job of connecting the dots of our faith. Sweet & Viola are able to write in a style that seamlessly weaves Scripture throughout this narrative of salvation, Kingdom, and Christo-centric living. I seriously wish I could get every person in my church to read this book. I think they would have a much clearer view of Jesus, atonement, justification, and what their response to all of this should be.
I’m going to give this little book the highest praise I can think of by saying, if it catches on, Jesus Manifesto has the potential to be the 21st century answer to C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. Please read this book! It’ll be a priceless investment of your time.
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola teamed up and penned an unexpectedly rare new book. I’ve just finished reading it as a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishers. Let me be honest. I’ve read several books by both of these authors and was not overly excited about their topic or styles of writing. Interestingly enough, I’ve read books by several of the folks who wrote in praise of this new volume – Jesus Manifesto. It was a motley array of authors, again, mostly of whom I really didn’t find too much in common with. So, I began reading this book with a less than mild hope that it would be a worthwhile expenditure of time.
All I can say is that one shouldn’t judge a book by the name of the author on the cover. If I were ever to write a book – which my friends keep encouraging me to do – it has already been written. This would have been my book. I loved it from beginning to end. It spoke my heart. In fact, it was as if they were quoting my own sentiments throughout their book. What else, therefore can I say, except this book has been placed on the top of my recommended reads.
Why? Because it unabashedly cuts to the chase and exalts Jesus – calling upon all Christians to rethink the focus of their worship. Is it really Jesus or the church? It seems to me, as well as these authors, that we love church more than we love Jesus. What does that mean? Read this book. It is well written, engaging, and wonderfully insightful. These men are Spirit-led. Indeed, the Spirit must have penned this book through them.
I can hear it now, “Do we really need another book about Jesus?” Apparently so… considering that as we entered the twenty-first century only 4 books out of the top 100 were about Jesus (Christian Book Association).
In Jesus Manifesto, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola combine their voices to trumpet a resounding reminder that we never “graduate beyond Christ” in the Christian faith. And Christ isn’t found only in the center of things, but along the “corners and on the edges” as well.
Sweet and Viola believe we have created a “narcissistic” and a “best-seller” Christianity which is “self-centeredness wrapped up as ‘spirituality,’ which has become the latest fashion accessory for the person who has everything” (p. 100).
There is indeed much to be disheartened with in Christianity today. Yet, there is a growing number of evangelicals that are discovering that pop-culture Christianity is leaving them high and dry. “Whether they realize it or not,” says Sweet and Viola, “people are looking for a fresh alternative—a third way” (p. xiii).
As I look across the present post-modern landscape of Christianity, I see several camps of believers pushing their way through the crowd to stand on the rooftop of evangelicalism with their megaphone in hand (i.e. books, magazines, blogs, etc.) proclaiming the “real” gospel.
There are several current groups and “movements” that are all trying to highlight the neglected sides of historic Christianity. We have the reformed “defenders of orthodoxy,” the emerging brand, the missional-minded, and the organic house church folk… just to name a few.
I do believe that most of the people in these groups truly love the Lord and his church, but many of them are in danger of becoming preoccupied with some thing else other than Christ.
Sweet and Viola believe there are three features present in every spiritual awakening in the Christian church: (1) a rediscovery of the “living Word,” or the Scriptures and its authority; (2) a rediscovery of the living Christ and His supremacy; and (3) a rediscovery of the living Spirit and the Spirit’s gifts and power to manifest Christ in the context of that culture. (p. xvii)
We’re living in some hot times economically, politically, and socially. Christians are engaging in an exchange of ideas (not without some name-calling and finger-pointing). It’s evident that even those who have been the most outspoken for the “supremacy of Christ” and right “doctrine” have succumbed to rhetorically burning people at the stake in the name of Jesus.
Where is Christ in word and deed? Sweet and Viola write, “Whatever you are occupied with comes out of your mouth. It’s what you talk about most of the time” (p.19). And we should not just be hearers of Jesus only, but doers of Him.
Is “mission” our center? Is it community? Some say it’s preaching and others… ministry. If we say that Christ is central and supreme, what does that mean concerning justice? What does His universe look like when we are first seeking Christ and His Kingdom?
When Christ is not central and supreme in our lives, everything about life shifts out of orbit and moves out of kilter. So for Christians, our first task is to know Jesus. And out of that knowing, we will come to love Him, adore Him, proclaim Him, and manifest Him. (p. 2)
That’s why this book has been written. It addresses the present challenges we face as many “things” compete for the centrality and supremacy of the person Jesus Christ. We are called to be “living epistles” or “Jesus Manifestos” in our world. It’s about being true to Christianity.
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. (p. xvi)
Finally, Jesus Manifesto has been purposely written in an “ancient devotional tone” of writing. In the spirit of Watchman Nee, Jeanne Guyon, Andrew Murray, and T. Austin-Sparks, this book is a fresh call to the post-modern church… “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2).
And let us move forward in exploration of Christ Jesus our Lord.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Paul, Colossians 2:6,7
Can we, as the Christian church, agree upon the person of Christ? “Receiving Christ also means receiving all who belong to Him” (p. 147). Will you sign the Jesus Manifesto?
JESUS MANIFESTO is to me a timely Book, a Now Book in a time where Christians did almost everything, sometimes wonderfully efficient, without clearly giving glory to Jesus who is everything we existed for! This book sets me free from knowing there is much more about Jesus that I don’t even realize. So much I thought I know and then comes this spoiler! Jesus Christ is so simple to understand yet so profound to grasp. It is so easy to learn about Jesus, yet so difficult to study Him.
Throw out WWJD, reject imitating Christ and start to embrace the imparting of an implanted Christ in all of us. Those were revolutionary thoughts to me. Sometimes it is so comfortable to do everything we know and are familiar with. JESUS MANIFESTO invites us to go where most of us would resist, like just doing what the Father asks us to do. Is that difficult? Seems like it. This is because we cinch it. We have everything under control. Take away that control, pry open our grip, we may find ourselves shoving and kicking in disagreement.
One of the most compelling messages for me in this book is that the church is Jesus Christ in corporate expression (Pg. 143). Before I am lost into the mysterious world of the Person of Jesus Christ, I am awakened to that familiar word I grew up in. So much so that the authors want to restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ, they hit the nail in bringing out the community called church which we can express ourselves. They put it succinctly; Jesus Christ cannot be separated from His church (Pg. 141).
Clearly, I am mesmerized quite a lot by this Book as I am seeking Christ more and more in these trying times. But to those who stroll through their Christian walk casually may find this Book a little bit boring.
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have teamed up to write Jesus Manifesto–a declaration that Jesus Christ is supreme and sovereign. It is obvious that the Church can easily get swept up in and distracted by programs, strategies, doctrines, and plenty of other “good things,” and this can cause us to forget that Jesus truly is our all in all. We can get so caught up in talking about Him and doing things for Him, but we might not actually be getting to know Him–He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Sweet and Viola challenge us to know Jesus and follow Him, not actually to try to be like Him, for none of us ever can be. They say, “There is a pervasive theology of ‘likeness’–‘O God, make me more Christlike’–that cheapens the gospel and depresses the spirit. Christlikeness is too small a dream, too shallow an ambition, for a Christian. The call to Christlikeness is also not ‘good news’ . . . [T]o be ‘like Christ’ often implies that you don’t really need Christ, since you already have the ideas and teachings of Christ . . . The fall of humanity was all about women and men assuming the posture that they don’t need anyone to tell them what to do. They would decide for themselves what’s good and what’s bad. They would be self-sufficient and self-determining . . . We can try as hard as we wish to be like Christ, but human effort will never touch the hem of that garment.”
These words were probably the greatest summons to me as I read this book, because I greatly struggle with feeling self-sufficient–not simply resting in the promise that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. There is nothing I can do–or need to do–to add to my salvation. He is the Author and Perfecter and Completer, not me.
I found the message of this book to be both challenging and freeing. And even though I felt that some parts of it, particularly in the first half of the book, were a bit choppy, the overall message is quite clear. In a world where our minds and hearts are being summoned to give devotion to so many things, it is a relief and a pleasure to be reminded that Christ is more than sufficient. Thank you for this powerful reminder through Jesus Manifesto.
Lately, it seems as though the gospel has become more about things – doctrines, strategies, rules, formulas – and less about Christ. In Jesus Manifesto, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola argue that we need to bring the gospel back to what it truly is – Jesus Christ. When we do this, we will have a much more profound experience and as a result, our lives will be transformed.
This book is well-written, concise and thoroughly thought out. The authors make great use of the Bible, history and modern ideas to prove their point. It is obvious that they are fully aware of their audience and the way we are influenced by society and culture.
The footnotes are numerous and the book definitely inspires further reading. The layout itself gives the book a feeling of a devotional. It is written in a way that doesn’t just speak at the reader, but makes them an active participant. Most importantly, it is fully focused on Jesus Christ.
Jesus Manifesto is eye-opening and inspiring. It has convinced me to get back to the basics in my daily walk and will do the same for you.
Over the history of Christianity we have made the gospel more about so many things and positions and less about Christ. We have place religious doctrines, ideas concepts, and techniques outside a understanding of who Christ is in our lives. We have developed strategies, methods, formulas and programs to attract people to the church and strives hard to make the church a place of entertainment. Our programs, methods, formulas and programs have all over shadowed the beauty, glory, and reality of the living Christ. Because of this, because we have placed other things above Jesus, we find people in the church starving to experience the true and lasting Jesus. Those outside the church look in and see that we are starving, at the same time we are inviting them in to partake.
In general, those in the church know a great deal about Jesus, but they do not know Jesus. We can speak the Christian talk, we know how to play the game, but there is very little we offer because we are not offering Christ; we are offering “church.” The Jesus Manifesto moves us to answer the question Jesus asked of Peter, “Who do you say I am?”
In reading the Jesus Manifesto, I have found that Len and Frank have shared a Jesus that is fresh and alive. They presented a Jesus that unveils to us a Savior and Lord, but also a vision of what we have been missing in our understanding of Jesus. Jesus is neither Republican nor Democrat, conservative nor liberal. In the Jesus Manifesto we see Jesus beyond Social Justice, beyond our limited political understanding of who Jesus is in our lives. We see a Jesus that is to take center place in our lives, to hold us to the walk of faith that expresses Jesus in our daily lives. The Jesus we encounter in the Jesus Manifesto is a Jesus that is real, touchable and connective. A Jesus that moves beyond the “churchy” definition and moves to a place where the Holy Spirit moves in us and through us. The Jesus Manifesto moves us beyond the church, and into Christ.
So, the question is now on you, “Who do you say Jesus is?”
This book is a wonderful mix of a strong, biblical Christology, with some timely prophetic prodding thrown into the soup as well.
From the introduction, Sweet and Viola assert, “If the church does not reorient and become Christological at its core, any steps taken will be backwards.”
So, this is what Jesus Manifesto is all about: Jesus. Ruler of the universe. Son of God. Messiah. Lord of all. Lord of the [C]hurch. Lord of you. Lord of me. A Person of the Trinity. Fully God. Fully human. Perfectly both.
It’s all about Him. It’s all for Him. It’s all because of Him. It’s all through Him.
Personally, this book was excellent. It’s a timely book, being published right now, when this is exactly what we need to hear today as Christians in USAmerica. It’s not about politics. It’s not about church-growth. It’s not about ethics. It’s not even about theology. It’s about Jesus, always and only.
The explanations and illustrations make Jesus Manifesto accessible, but there’s enough meaty Christology to keep the cogs turning in your noodle for quite a while.
My favorite quote from the book:
“If Christ is in you, then the Christian life is not about striving to be something you are not. It is about becoming what you already are.”
My recommendation? Get it. Read it. Live it… actually, I bet Len & Frank would correct me and say, “Live Him.”
I have been reading an excellent book. Written by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, it is entitled, Jesus Manifesto. It is concerned with “restoring the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ.” One would assume that Christ would be the centerpiece in the life and ministry of every congregation.
But Sweet and Viola clearly expose the frequent failure of the church to place Christ Jesus at the forefront of everything they are about. He is the One Who is to be ahead of all our plans, procedures, programs and purposes. He is to be the central figure in every lesson taught and sermon preached. He is number one in priority at all times.
Pause here and consider Jesus from the standpoint of the heavenly Father. How does the Father view Him? Relate to Him? Esteem Him? When Jesus was baptized and was coming forth out of the water God is recorded as saying: “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Again, God speaks from heaven: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him” (Matthew 17:5)!
There are two points to note in these verses from Matthew’s Gospel. First of all, God is well pleased with His Son. Secondly, He expects us to listen to Him. To pay close attention to what He says and teaches. To be alert to Him at all times. I was amazed to learn from Sweet and Viola, however, that Jesus is unimportant in many sermons and lessons today. They write: “The tragedy of our time is that countless preachers, teachers, even healers are giving dozens of sermons, lectures, and messages, relegating Jesus to little more than a footnote … At best, He gets honorable mention (Jesus Manifesto – page 17).”
If I could offer the one major solution to every church problem faced it would find its answer in Jesus Christ. Christianity is Christ. Christianity is not about Christ. Nor is it about gaining His perspective when we need Him at key times. Christianity is totally and thoroughly Christ, and includes no one or anything else.
In essence, what I am saying here is that Christ is all a church needs. All that is sufficient. All that is necessary. All that will make life in the church complete and fulfilling.
If I could no longer type these words I realize I would still have Christ. If I could no longer preach or teach I would still have Christ. If my hearing and eyesight were taken from me I would still have Christ. If everyone turned their back on me, forgot about me, I would still have Christ.
If congregations today had a burning sense of the need to follow Christ Jesus completely, you would have the one major solution to the problems of ill health that plagues them. Our strategies and procedures may be helpful. But they are senseless without Him being at the forefront at all times.
Paul was on target when he encourages the church in the following manner, ”… but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or death” (Philippians 1:20).
It is not enough to talk about Jesus or to know about Him. The Christian life is about His supremacy and sovereignty. It is life changing. It is more than an attempt to imitate Jesus. It is transformational.
When we commit our lives to Christ, He comes to dwell within us. Our very breath should become that of Christ. Paul expressed this transformation in Philippians 1: 21 which states, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola’s book, “Jesus Manifesto”, is an attempt to refocus our attention on the fullness of Christ. They present that the modern church and Christian has deviated from the true path by allowing imitation and ministries to transcend the position and being of Christ in our lives.
The arguments and validations presented in the book are Biblical and have obviously been given a lot of consideration. I found myself agreeing with the material, and it has impacted how I approach my daily living in Christ.
I had an interesting experience today.
I read chapter 8 of Jesus Manifesto – The Forgotten Tree. Len and Frank would have us consider that the religion of Christianity focuses much more on The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, looking for ‘how to live a Christian life’ than to the Tree of Life – the source of life.
Consider this – Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. Jesus said that He came to give us life, and life to the full. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of us – to teach, guide and correct us. Yet we spend most of our time teaching, guiding and correcting ourselves.
After reading the chapter, I came home and flipped through the channels. On a Christian station, I heard a preacher say “the person of Jesus is to guide us into eternity. The principles of Jesus show us how to live life now.” This preacher was telling us that if we just take Jesus’ principles and live by them, then we would be prosperous. Ugh!
I don’t know about you, but I want to live a life that makes a difference. How do we accomplish this? Do we taking the teachings of Jesus and run with them, gaining wisdom from Jesus’ Word so that we can be ‘successful’? Do we get to know the person of Jesus, die to self and let the Holy Spirit live through us? Is your head spinning?
I think that we need to seriously consider what place we have given Jesus in our lives. Is He our helper as we become successful? Are we living for Him, letting Him live through us and in us? When we reach out a hand to help, is it our hand, or Jesus’? Does everything we do point people to being successful, or to getting to know God as our Source?
I have loved reading this book. It is much like reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, or the sermons of Spurgeon. Everyone needs to read this book. It will challenge you. It will re-root you. You will find again your fascination with Jesus and the Word. Jesus said to his disciples “you are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3). Reading Jesus Manifesto is like taking a shower in the Word, and refocusing your eyes on Jesus.
Filled with the words of Christ, quotes from theologians (old and new) and timeless hymns, this book is written in an ancient devotional style. With chapters such as “If God Wrote Your Biography” and “His Face or Your Face?”, you will be encouraged to draw closer to Christ.
I really enjoyed the easy to read, yet thought provoking chapters. It is a great way to refocus from all of the ‘happy’ talk to the deep, meaningful Gospel that we all crave.
“Who do you say that I am?”
How will you answer?
If you get the correct answer to the wrong question, you will still be off — just as if you had received an incorrect answer. So argues Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola in Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Often the church is asking questions about the kingdom, about justice, about causes, about evangelism, about accountability, about gifts and about leadership. These questions are important, but not the main questions.
The main questions are the two questions Jesus asked of Peter:
- Who do you say that I am?
- Do you love me?
Sweet and Viola have provided a great service to the church and to Christians with this book. Too often we focus our attentions on things instead of focusing on Jesus. Most of us want to do better and improve, but we go about it the wrong way. We talk about being saved by grace and then try to live in our strength and with our ingenuity. Yet, it is Jesus living in us that makes all the difference in the world. The authors put it this way with regard to individual Christians and the church:
Genuine Christianity is learning to live by an indwelling Christ (p. 165).
Genuine church life is born when groups of people are intoxicated with a glorious unveiling of their Lord (p. 143).
Sweet and Viola do spend time dealing with aspects of Christianity that are substitutes for this focus on Christ. They tackle the social gospel, fundamentalism and a host of other focus points.
The only weakness in the book is that at times they draw absolute applications when the application may be more of a general principle. For example, on page 152 they assert that “God will not do for us what we can do for ourselves.” They base this on Jesus’ instruction to people around him to unbind the grave clothes from Lazarus after Jesus called Lazarus back to life. This method shows up in other places in the book.
However, this is a minor weakness compared to such a clear display of Jesus in the book. This is evidenced by what is my favorite quote from the book,
What is lacking is a groundbreaking revelation of Christ that boggles the mind and enraptures the heart (p. 17).
Boggles the mind and enraptures the heart — these are the results of really seeing and experiencing Jesus Christ. If you read this book, you will read a clear presentation of Jesus.
For a long time I’ve taught there are only two critical questions facing humankind:
- What is it about my relationship to Christ that my neighbor needs to experience;
- How can I rabidly share that relationship without coming off like a bigot?
Len Sweet and Frank Viola have made a major contribution to these two questions in their book, Jesus Manifesto. It’s a brilliant work of art.
The best way to know to showcase this art is by sharing a few of the quotes that captured my heart.
“The best way to combat conflict is to preach the unspeakable riches of Christ.”
“Jesus is seldom the main course (Speaking of most Christians).”
“Our goal is not to imitate Christ but to acknowledge that he dwells in us.”
“It’s not what Jesus would do but what is Christ doing through me.”
“Christlikeness is too small and cheap a dream.”
“The gospel is not the imitation of Christ; it is the impartation and implantation of Christ.”
“”Follow me’ is what separated Jesus from the other world religions.”
“Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.”
“Jesus Christ has never been a social activist or a moral philosopher. To pitch Him that way is to drain His glory and dilute His excellence.”
“We must never avoid social issues. But the distinctive mark of a Christian is that you don’t begin with a social or moral issue.”
“Jesus is never a cause.”
“But the social and political reform of the world through the powers that be has never been the agenda of the body of Christ.”
“We have too many people loving justice when they should be loving mercy – and doing justice.”
“Jesus was not known for His love of justice but for His love of mercy.”
“We would be wise to remember that the best we can do is change the world; only Jesus can save the world.”
“Our ‘hunger for justice’ is best turned into a hunger for the Just One, and going deeper in Him and in relationship with others.”
I could go on but you get the picture- the gospel is not about causes or imitating Christ or even being like Christ. The gospel is about falling in love with the crucified beauty and glory of Christ in such a way that he lives in us. It’s not a matter of imitation- Christ actually lives in us- that is the hope of glory. It’s one thing to be on a crusade or to beat the drum of a cause or even to be in ministry because of some ill-founded belief that a cause is worth giving one’s life for; it’s a far different thing to give ones life to a love that is profound that it consumes the self with the presence of Christ.
This is an excellent book that could change the hearts of even the most calcified church member.
I’m reading Jesus Manifesto, by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet. It’s already opened by eyes in the first 30 pages.
Holy crap!! Can I start a book review about Jesus by saying that? I hope so, because holy crap!
If ever someone has effectively addressed what many of us see as the most crucial issues that are growing and spawning in the Church, these two men have.
Jesus made it clear exactly who He is. But when we look around Christianity, do you see the many things that we have turned Him into? We’ve coined Him as many, many things.
The writing style is very casual and flows easily. Though it comes with a smooth flow, the book packs heat. There is no fluff or BS about what the authors want to convey to their readers. That’s probably one of the things that I appreciate the most about their work. It’s very genuine, sincere, and authentic.
Written about truths of Christ that some may find to be very basic, and Sunday School-esqe, the writers explore these truths in the context of how we should approach our faith, the Church, our communities, etc. with their reality.
If you have questions about who Jesus is, or if you’re looking in the face of church burn-out, order this book! Do it, now!
In process [of reading the book] and I find it amazing. Coming from an Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran background, I am intrigued on how to help apply this to my church. I got my pastor interested in it and he ordered it for the whole staff. LCMS Lutherans are going through a difficult period, a struggle between Conservative confessionalism and Liberal confessionalism. It is time the church moved forward. Thank you for a timely book.
In the intro, the authors write:
“The Lord Jesus Christ is far beyond what most of us could ever dream or imagine. His greatness, His beauty, and His splendor are unknown to many Christians today. This is why a fresh look at Him -a fresh Christology-is so vital. To put it in a sentence: To faithfully represent Christ in our time requires re-presenting Him. And that’s what we are attempting to do in this book.”
From there, Viola and Sweet do just that – re-present Jesus in a fresh or “third” way in hopes of removing all of the baggage of programs, doctrine, beliefs and ideologies with which we as Christians and as the church have so often replaced and blurred Jesus.
“When the people of God get a sighting of their incomparable Lord,” they write. “and when the world encounters His unfathomable love, irresistible beauty, and overwhelming glory–every idol will be forced to the ground. The clouds of doubt will part from our eyes, and Jesus Christ will displace everything. But first, the world and the church must see Christ.”
Quotes like this one abound in the 179-page book which I can imagine was as convicting and perspective-altering for the authors to write at it is to read. One of the most moving interactions with the book is in chapter 3 when the authors imagine how a biography of our lives would read if God wrote it. “The Christian life begins with Christ, continues with Christ, and ends with Christ,” they write in introducing the biography. “Simply put, the history of Jesus is both the experience and the destiny of every believer.”
Viola and Sweet also produce several short and to the point ah-ha moments, something they are both known for doing in 140 characters or less on the social networking platform Twitter. One of my favorites is when they talk about how we “goddify…even good things like family, justice, helping the poor, health and nutrition, Christian fellowship, service, etc.” In the same chapter, the authors write about the significance of the town of Bethany and the hospitality Jesus was shown there that he was unable to find anywhere else. I don’t believe in all my years of church I’ve ever heard anyone talk about the significance of Bethany quite like that.
In fact, outside of Philip Yancey’s book The Jesus I Never Knew, I’m not sure I’ve read a book about Jesus quite so moving, convicting or perspective-correcting as this one was. Maybe it’s the place I’m at in my own life and walk, but I think what Viola and Sweet have to share is worthy of the title of manifesto and should be a must-read for folks everywhere who claim to be a follower of Christ.
A good deal of fanfare, (Facebook, Twitter, Blogosphere, etc.) preceded and accompanied it’s release. When books come to us this way, I find that many are disappointing, but that is not the case with this book — quite the opposite.
The title serves as a clarion call to the Church to make a course correction that provides an alternative path that is neither left or right, but forward with Christ. From the introduction to conclusion, “Christ must be ’the ‘North Star’ or ‘Southern Cross’ in our exploration to know Him. The point: the church is off course and nothing will bring her back on course, but “an inward revelation of Christ to our hearts by the Holy Spirit — “a progressive unveiling of the person who stands behind the sacred page and is the occupation of all things.” (p.19)
Throughout Sweet and Viola constantly and consistently make their call to course correction by providing their readers with fresh and needed correctives to our understanding of the person of Christ.
The serves as reminder that Christ is our chief occupation in both life and ministry. Too often the Church occupies itself with secondary issues and doctrines (evangelism, missional ministry, social justice, praise and worship), relegating Christ to a mere side issue, or sub-point. The reader is reminded in a fresh and culturally significant way that the route back is once again placing Christ as the end all and be all of all things. The corrective is always found in the person of Christ – first and foremost.
Here is some of what I highlighted reading through this book:
- God doesn’t lead you through phases or steps. He draws you to Himself in continuous motion. p.69
- In all the religions and philosophies of the world, a follower can follow the teachings of its founder with having a relationship with that founder. But not so with Jesus Christ. The teachings of Jesus cannot be separated from Jesus Himself. Christ is still alive, and He embodies His teachings. This is what separates Him from every great teacher and moral philosopher in history. p.82
- Our problem is this: We have even created a narcissistic form of Christianity, in which “conversion” is less a turning toward to Christ than a turning turning toward success or fame or fortune. Narcissus never had it so good than in best-seller Christianity, which has become self-centeredness wrapped up as “spirituality,” which has become the latest fashion accessory for the person who has everything. p.100
- The meaning of Christianity does not come from allegiance to principles of justice or complex theological doctrines, but a passionate love for a way of living in the world that revolves around following Jesus, who taught that love is what makes life a success; not wealth or health or anything else. Only love. p.117
If you are one who is dissatisfied with the present anemic condition of the western church, whether you are conservative or liberal, armenian or calvinist, reformed or pentecostal, whatever your theological ilk; this book is latent with Christological insight that all should agree on. It serves as a timely corrective that will provide for the church a view and understanding of Christ that will aid it in an authentic embodiment of the Good News before the present postmodern world. Reading this book will engage many with a Christ they never knew and for others it will renew the “first love” they lost somewhere along the way.
If I were fashioning a curriculum for a “Christianity 101″ class, this book would be at the top of my required reading list, it is extremely relevant, valuable, prophetic and timely.
“Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ” has to be the most important Christian work ever written! Every believer, every church, no matter the denomination or flavor should read this wonderful exposition of our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In fact for those who do not know the Lord this one book will help to open their eyes to the wonder of Jesus from the Scriptures without all of the periphery or blinders that often times the church can put in front of those who are seeking Christ. It is a marvelous work that explodes Jesus Christ to the forefront of the eyes of His people and this world. It truly is a book that is meant to do what it says – restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ!
I have read all of Frank Viola’s ReChurch book series on restoring the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ into the body of Christ in an organic way. By far this has to be the most concise and straightforward work that Frank has done alongside Leonard Sweet! I have only read some of Sweet’s work, mainly as I have been learning about and participating in organic church life this past year. I do have “So Beautiful” and will get to it soon!
I love what Frank and Leonard have done in “Jesus Manifesto.” The body of Christ is meant to be Jesus manifestos…manifesting Jesus Christ to one another and the world! I like how they opened up Colossians and made it personal to me and every believer and church in the body of Christ regardless of being an organizational (denominational/nondenominational) or organic church. As I scanned the major sections of the book I knew I was going to be in for a pleasant read! Frank and Viola while they do use some of the complex jargon found by those who have a knowledgeable understanding of the Greek and Hebrew of the Scriptures, as would be necessary for a church planter, make a point to help each member of the body of Christ to put their arms around their wonderful Lord Jesus in the process of proclaiming Jesus the Christ. Frank and Sweet bring out the best of many of the church writers of history who have made an attempt at doing the same thing for the body of Christ, so in that light this book attempts to do the same thing for this generation. Perhaps the writer that comes the closest to this level of writing about our Lord Jesus is T. Austin Sparks in his wonderful work – The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Because I have read all of Frank’s work I can see some of his thought in the text of this book. But in the case of “Jesus Manifesto” it is put in a more succinct form that gets to the gist of all of his other works. Perhaps the same would be said also of Leonard’s work as well. If you enjoy reading Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet then I think you will want this one book to see the fruition of all of their previous work. If you are not a reader of either then this one book will give you a glimpse at the volume of work they have done in the past and hopefully lead you on the road to reading more of their work and the wonderful job they have done at expounding the glorious mystery of Jesus Christ and His Bride!
What follows is a chapter by chapter review of this wonderful book!
Chapter 1- “The Occupation of All Things” seems to be the book of Hebrews (how can you discuss the superiority of Jesus without Hebrews!) in ancillary form and what a wonderful job they did in showing the superiority of Jesus Christ to all things!
Chapter 2 – “A Bottle in the Ocean” gives a wonderful description of the letter to the Colossians and the “peerless worth” of Jesus Christ.
Chapter 3 – “If God Wrote Your Biography” is by far one of the best chapters of the book. This one chapter is worth the entire book, it is for me the reason for reading the book, it is I think, the intent of the authors for every believer to see that “If God were to write your biography, it would be Jesus Christ.” I can’t wait to have our organic church group to read this together in our face-to-face community and see the riches of Jesus Christ in all of His glory made manifest in our midst!
Chapter 4 – “A Violin Called Messiah” is one of the major ways Frank and Leonard help to use imagery to see our Lord in all of His glory, they are masters of imagery! Because of me being a visual learner, it obviously had a big impact with me! May it be that we would all realize that “God doesn’t wait for us to come to Him. God comes to us in Jesus, making Himself at home with us.” They went to great detail to show the difference between imitation and implantation and how implantation is the method of our Lord and reason for the incarnation of Jesus Christ – “Our life is Christ.”
Chapter 5 – “A Ditch on Either Side” should prove to bring crisis to every believer and church as we tend to be on either one side or the other when it comes to “the road to truth.” This one chapter will hopefully give every believer and church a new paradigm of our understanding of what Christianity is and is not.
Chapter 6 – “His Face or Your Face?” lends itself as a precursor to the next chapter, Chapter 7 – “A Collision of Two Empires.” Too often in the church, no matter which type we come from, we drift towards legalism and programs and causes versus grace and relationship which are found in our Lord. We put God in a box of our expectations. In the Scriptures we find that we are to look at the Lord and His kingdom differently. Too often we focus more on the fruit and judge one another by our fruit instead of lifting up Christ and living by His life allowing the fruit to do what fruit always do, produce organically. We are not very patient.
Chapter 8 – “The Forgotten Tree” brings to the plate the the importance of living by the Tree of Life versus the works associated with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We too often try to find God or find ourselves through the tree of knowledge of good and evil versus the Tree of Life who is God and our life.
I love Chapter 9 – “The House of Figs” because this is to some degree a rewriting of one of Frank’s best little known works – “Bethany: The Lord’s Desire for His Church.” I love the imagery of Bethany portrayed in the Scriptures and the fact that Jesus is looking for a home to lay His head in every home of our planet. Will He find a place of rest in us and in our homes, in our churches? “Jesus Christ cannot be separated from His church. While Jesus is distinct from His Bride, He is not separate from her. She is, in fact, His very own body in the earth…God in Christ is only known fully in and through His church.” How important to be able to function in the body of Christ and not be just a spectator. Jesus is the Head and Master of His church, if we dethrone Him by our selfishness, our dominance, our structure and programming, etc, then he will look for another church who will. This also would be another great chapter that a church could use to read together and led Jesus do His wonderful work of building His body together.
Chapter 10 – “Who Is This Lord of Yours?” being the last chapter it is a trumpet call to recognize the nature of the Trinity as the model for our community and to come and behold our Lord Jesus! Many books help us see this wonderful nature of the dance of the Trinity as a reflection of our life together in community, but Frank and Viola do a great job of putting together in a nice succinct way.
The “Afterword” provides each reader a wonderful time of personal reflection of the book of Colossians from the perspective of our Lord writing it personally to us and to our churches.
The authors provide a great amount of notes at the end for those who want to do more research into the details of what is provided in “Jesus Manifesto.” I encourage every reader to read some of Frank and Leonard’s other works!
Hopefully this little powerhouse of a book will bring all of God’s people both individually and His Bride together no matter our differing opinions so that we may again read the Scriptures together, sing songs together, share intimately with one another in face-to-face community in pursuit of knowing Christ together and learn to love our Lord and one another so profoundly that the world will see “how they love one another” and the Jesus manifested from the Scriptures!
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have written a new book on Jesus. Just Jesus. Not knowing about Him, or about going to church, or about Christianity, just Jesus. They walk the reader through a basic introduction of who Jesus is and a challenge to return to a relationship with Him. They ask their readers to turn away from religion to follow Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Needless to say, this book is all about Jesus and how you can know him.
The book has one thing definitely going for it, the book is written about the one person who really matters. The subject matter is of the greatest priority. This isn’t a book about rearranging your socks or how to invest for retirement. Instead the topic is much more important. The subject matter is Jesus. One of the negatives of the book is that seems a little repetitious. They seem to cover the person of Jesus over and over without much variation in their writing.
I will close with this thought: the book was very readable. I flew through it in a couple days. The pages kept turning and soon enough I was at the end of the book. I’d recommend checking this book out for yourself though.
I usually judge a devotional book by the amount of quotes from it that I’ve written in my journal. Today’s book, Jesus Manifesto, kept me busy writing every night I read it. Here are some of my favorites:
Every crisis you face is a God-given opportunity to rediscover Christ in a bold new way.
The “Christian life” is impossible. It’s only Him-possible. We can try as hard as we wish to be like Christ, but human effort will never touch the hem of that garment.
Truth is not a book or a denomination or a creed or a liturgy. Truth is a person. And Jesus Christ is his name.
The more you judge the less you love.
We have created a Narcissistic form of Christianity, in which “conversion” is less a turning toward Christ then a turning toward success or fame or fortune.
Wisdom, peace, truth, righteousness, beauty, grace, mercy, love, kindness, patience, goodness are just words that were forced into existence to describe aspects of [God].
Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola is a message of revolution to the Western church. The authors, well known for their many books, want to change the focus of our faith. As a church, we often pick and choose the aspects of Jesus we want to focus on like social justice or loving shepherd, and we forget about his more difficult sides, but in doing so, we lose the truth of who he is and what it means to follow him. We’ve turned faith into an being all about ourselves. Being better people, being successful or wealthy, being nicer to others, but all of those things are irrelevant if our focus isn’t directly on Christ. The authors do their best to remind readers who Jesus really is, and that’s not an easy task, but by using his relationship to the village of Bethany as well as other examples, they do a wonderful job of redirecting our focus to him. Christianity has become very vain and prideful, but Sweet and Viola dispel that illusion. It’s not an easy book to read, but it’s a necessary one for our times. If you are sick and tired of rudderless faith and watered down churches, this book will inspire you to worship the man in whom and for whom all things were created: Jesus. That alone is our purpose.
A new classic. The single greatest lesson I’ve learned among the hundreds of lessons I’ve learned from J.I.Packer is that “theology must always lead to doxology”.
In other words, if what you learn about God doesn’t cause you to praise God then your learning was mostly in vain.
The focus of our faith is a Person, not a doctrine or any combination of doctrines.
Jesus Christ is that divine Person and He is all in all.
That’s is the simple message of the Jesus Manifesto and in my opinion it is the finest volume ever penned about that one pure focus.
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola never swerve from that focus for the entirety of the volume and every page is an examination of the Savior and His glory and perfection.
This is a singularly important book for that reason…it is the only volume in my library that is about nothing but Christ and that reminds me on every page that I am to be about nothing else as well.
Today the Body of Christ is being continually torn by disagreements over doctrine and practice and diverted by the good from the Best.
We are drowning in a sea of riches… constantly offered excellent volumes on doctrine and theology, incredible software to parse it all and the greatest teachings of the church available with the click of a mouse.
We have been at sea so long we’ve lost sight of the Lighthouse.
Sweet and Viola have done the church the service of pointing us radically back to Jesus and they have done so with great clarity, grace and style.
The theology is sound and the effect is what Packer would approve…doxology on every page.
From now on every new believer in my path will receive three books..The Bible, “Knowing God”, and “Jesus Manifesto”.
I re read “Knowing God” every year, this will now be read alongside it on the same schedule.
This is one of the best books I have read in my life. Not because of all the new insights but because of the central truth. This is much more than a book but an outpouring of love for Jesus.
Jesus Manifesto made me cry. It made me realize how badly even the best of us can get it wrong. A MUST READ
I read for a second time ‘Jesus Manifesto’ – this book is a classic.
When I read the title: Jesus Manifesto, I thought great one more book about a person’s opinion of who they think Jesus is. I then thought wouldn’t it be great to finally read a book that uses the Bible to get its context for who Jesus is.
GOOD NEWS! This book is the one. It starts out with a good look at the book of Colossians. It takes the Apostle Paul’s words as the groundwork for the rest of this well written book. It does not use the author’s opinion of who Jesus is or might be, but uses scripture to set that stage.
That is refreshing. It takes you on a journey through the attributes of Jesus past and present and goes a long way to explain our right standing with Jesus if we belong to Him.
This is an important book, in a world where everyone has their own opinion of who they want Jesus to be. This book gives us an accurate look of who He really is according to the Bible. It is hard hitting and no punches pulled. It will really challenge those of us from a traditional background where Jesus was more about morality and religion than a true life changing force.
For those that are hearing about Jesus for the first time, it will be very revealing about the true JESUS. Enjoy this great ride of soul searching and a calling to the real Jesus.