Standing on the Side of Church History

Thomas Nelson has kindly made available the Appendix of my new book with Leonard Sweet, Jesus: A Theography.

In the original manuscript, the Appendix appeared as Chapter 1 of the book. But our editor felt we should move it the back so the flow of the story wasn’t broken.

Len and I wanted this part of the book in the front because it would let readers know right out of the gate that our basic supposition is firmly rooted in the history of the body of Christ . . . across denominational and religious partisan lines.

The Appendix is called Post-Apostolic Witnesses.

While we don’t agree with everything that the authors we quote ever wrote . . . nor do we agree with every word of some of the quotes we cite (for instance, I don’t agree with C.S. Lewis that only Christ, and not the Bible, is the word of God) . . . we stand with all of them on their main contention that Jesus Christ is the subject of all Scripture – both Old and New Testament – and the Bible is “the book of the church” (as Bonhoeffer put it).

Click here to read it.

Two other things.

1. Christian Books (CBD) recently interviewed me on Jesus, biblical interpretation, and the gospel. Click here to listen to it or hear it on iTunes.

2. I typically don’t post reviews of my own books on this blog. But this one was so remarkable that I wanted to give it some airplay.

It was published in this month’s edition of Worship Leader Magazine. The review not only nails what Jesus: A Theography is all about with pinpoint accuracy, but it’s a delight to read because the author, Andrea Hunter, is a bit of a wordsmith. Here it is . . .

In their latest collaboration, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola will connect you to the two Testaments – first and second, Old and New – in a fresh and engaging way. In fact, they’ll plow right through any theological constructs you may have erected to separate them and with convincing arguments lead you to their conclusion (of course, they are not alone in this) that it is and always has been a single narrative. As they point out, Jesus said, “All Scripture points to me” (Jn 5:39). Sweet and Viola set out to expand our understanding of just exactly what that means. And it means exactly what it says: “all”.

The authors crisscross history from Genesis to Revelation and far beyond the borders of time, showing the divine connection in and between every action, interaction, every substance, image, brush stroke, word, person, event, parable, conversation, and idea. And when you link up the dots, what you have is a glorious picture of Jesus, the ever existent God-man in cinematic “surround sound.”

Imagineers Viola and Sweet combine theological mining, epic storytelling, fiery sermonizing, poetry, and guided time-travel as they wade right through controversial issues such as Christ’s perspective on women in ministry without apology or hesitation. Ideas are spoken authoritatively, as a prophet would speak, which for some may be uncomfortable.

Most of all, this book is a worship experience. Sweet and Viola’s chapter on Bethlehem and the birth of Christ is only one of many eloquent and raw verbal paintings mediating the presence of God throughout.

Although this book has all of the accouterments of good academic writing – extensive footnotes, impressive bibliography, perspectives from other authors, pastors, scholars and poets – it is accessible to any and all with passion and pop hooks abounding. Read it. Experience Jesus and his loving dynamic reality . . . and worship.

ANDREA HUNTER, Worship Leader, Oct. 2012.



  1. Ant Writes says

    I wanted to comment on your recent newsletter. What actually IS an Advanced Reader Copy? Is it for people who got all A’s in Reading? ;) Because I was an advanced reader in elementary school. So it must use big words, right?
    ;) (I’m only half joking..I really don’t know what an ARC is)

    • says

      It’s a pre-release of the book which hasn’t been edited. So it has many typos and other errors in it. Publishers use it for media, so they’ll know about the book early. It’s always in paperback.

  2. Vinny says

    I finally received my copy and I am filled with excitement and hope. Looking at the scriptures in this way could not only bring more unity within the Body of Christ but Help ALL even and especially Jews and Muslims see the Christ! That is my prayer!

  3. Jim Rogers says

    Good review but the “wordsmith” undermines her own credibility by the typos and errors, don’t you think? “when you like up the dots”, “as the wade right through controversial issues”.

    • says

      Jim: You presume to judgment and struck out here. An editor typed her review from the original. These are typos from a second source and they’ll be fixed in seconds. Out of all the blogs I’ve written on treating others the way we want to be treated, I am puzzled by your misjudgment of Andrea here.

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