Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola are a pair of interesting, if not provocative, Christian authors. Apparently they run the blog, A Jesus Manifesto. The Manifesto itself, has a lot to say about Jesus, belief and the life of the church, and not all of it makes sense. Here are a few quotes and thoughts.
Seek a truth, a value, a virtue, or a spiritual gift, and you have obtained something dead.
This strange and self-defeating sentiment is quite popular among young evangelicals and their theological leaders. You mean if I seek a truth like the one you just presented, I have found something dead? This is bumper-sticker kind of thinking that doesn’t help the discourse about Jesus at all. Everything listed in that little sentence finds their life and light in Jesus Christ, and he had no problem asking us to seek these things in their right contexts.
What is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology. Christianity is not a philosophy. Christianity is the “good news” that Beauty, Truth and Goodness are found in a person. Biblical community is founded and found on the connection to that person.
This is another nice-sounding slogan that doesn’t hold water for the Christian. Thought it is true that we do not equate the substance of Christianity with “ideology” or “philosophy,” both find their fullness as they become alive in Christ and Scripture. And again, right after saying it is not an ideology, they provide an ideological view of Christianity. I have no problems with that, except they don’t want to be associated with an ideology while, at the same time, propounding an ideology.
The person of Jesus is increasingly politically incorrect, and is being replaced by the language of “justice,” “the kingdom of God,” “values,” and “leadership principles.”...Justice apart from Christ is a dead thing.
This thought I like. Too much of evangelicalism is slipping out of orthodoxy into orthopraxy, as if the two are incompatible. I have never understood the drive among so many to dismiss the creeds while they insist on doing good deeds. Sweet and Viola are absolutely right: deeds without creeds becomes in quick fashion dead works.
What God the Father was to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is to you and to me. He’s our indwelling Presence, and we share in the life of Jesus’ own relationship with the Father.
This statement seems to me to be pressing up against an actual heretical view. If we take it extremely metaphorically and charitably, then maybe we can let them slip past. But in every significant sense of that sentiment, it just isn’t true. Jesus wasn’t God because the Father indwelt him – he just was God. And we do not have the indwelling of Jesus, but of the Holy Spirit (if we are going to think carefully about it). And in addition, that indwelling is nothing like the deity of Jesus Christ.
Maybe you have a few more thoughts on something I think, on the whole, is not a very useful manifesto.