Sweet and Viola say this somewhere near the midpoint of their new book, Jesus Manifesto: “Get a fresh glimpse of your incomparable Lord, and you will be emboldened to stop spending your life on yourself. Connect with Him who is life, and you will be empowered to deny yourself, live beyond yourself, and live outside yourself.” Herein is the key idea behind the author’s call; the Church and her members have abandoned their life in Christ in favor of creeds, theological constructs, and self-help. Rather than sermons, service, and self rooted in ‘having my best life now’ or ‘the me I want to be’, Manifesto insists on every page that we return to a Christianity rooted in Christ, from Alpha to Omega.
The call for Christians to return to our first love is all encompassing as befits the all-in-all that Sweet and Viola remind us that Christ inhabits. It is this need to remind us of our first love that drives the book. The authors reach far and wide to examine the myriad ways in which Christians have substituted self-esteem, moral improvement, theology, social justice and a whole host of other things for Christ. Jesus has been reduced to the titular center of the church. Our movement away from Him in an imagined exchange between Jesus and Peter. Does Christ ask Peter, upon his restoration, to build a leadership program, improve the self-esteem of His followers, or help them to try harder to be Christ-like? No. Jesus asks His friend Peter, “Do you love me?”
Along the entire span of Alpha to Omega there is but one question to answer about Jesus, “Do you love me?”
Thomas Nelson graciously provided this book for review.