Last year, I had the honor of being interviewed by Rethink Monthly. Here’s the complete interview.
Jesus Manifesto is based on an article you posted online that received a half million views in just eight weeks. Why do you think it touched such a nerve?
We believe that many of God’s people instinctively know there is a missing note in much of today’s Christianity. When they hear it put in the terms that Jesus Christ is the missing ingredient, they resonate with that. Jesus has too often become a logo, a slogan, an afterthought, and a footnote. Rather than the Sum, Substance, Center, Circumference, and the ALL of our faith. Of course, we explain what that means exactly in our book.
Were you surprised by the number of people who said things like, “I’ve been a Christian for thirty years and have never heard this before?”
It always surprises me yet it doesn’t surprise me. I actually hear this quote often when I speak on God’s eternal purpose in Christ in conferences, even from seminary professors (believe it or not). It surprises me in that it’s the grand narrative of the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. It doesn’t surprise me because for many years I didn’t see it either, despite my study of Scripture and hearing scores of sermons from every quarter. The eternal purpose — which is centered on Christ and all of His unsearchable riches — is what one reviewer called “the hidden obvious.” Once our eyes are opened to see it — really, HIM — we can’t help but see it everywhere. Readers can learn more about the eternal purpose here and here – We discuss it some in our book of course.
What has replaced Jesus as the focus of many churches?
So many things that are “about” Him or “related to” Him. Depending on the particular church or movement, here’s a short list: Evangelism, church multiplication, social justice, personal holiness, apologetics, Bible study, memorizing Scripture, the gifts of the Spirit, revival, signs, wonders, healing, speaking in tongues, leadership and leadership principles, church growth, etc. All of these things can replace, eclipse, and leave Jesus Himself out in the cold. And sadly, they often do. That’s not just a theory; a good number of pastors and church leaders have confessed this to us after reading the book. (See some of the Reader Reviews here.) The Holy Spirit is very jealous to preserve the unvarnished reality of Christ being ALL.
What has been the reaction to the book so far?
The vast majority of readers have said that the book has given them a whole new way of understanding, viewing, and relating to the Lord Jesus. Many have said that God used the book to change their lives, which is hugely humbling for us. Others have read it, but seemed to miss the point because they were looking to “do” something — they wanted a recipe. The book is deliberately not a recipe book. It’s main job is to give readers a deeper revelation of their Lord, one that will bowl them over and steal their breath. Whenever this happens with a reader, we rejoice.
In short, our aim in the book can be summed up in the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Our book seeks to give the kind of glimpse of the vastness of the Lord Jesus Christ that puts within them, by the Holy Spirit of God, a longing to explore His infinite riches for the fulfillment of God’s timeless purpose — the very thing that provoked Him to create.
To find out more about Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, visit