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?
Leonard 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 I know how 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 one’s life to a love that is so 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.
Question: What is your favorite quote from the list? Why? Share your answers in the Comments section below.