Is Jesus "a third way"?

Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have written a new book, Jesus Manifesto: It's Time to Restore the Supremacy of Jesus Christ (Thomas Nelson). An article based on the opening chapter of the book appeared over at Emergent Village. I have really enjoyed Len Sweet's books and Frank Viola's blog (Sweet's book, Out of the Question...Into the Mystery: Getting Lost in the GodLife Relationship is still one of my favorites).

But I'm wondering something: Exactly who needs to "restore the supremacy of Jesus Christ?" Sweet and Viola state,
__"The body of Christ is at a crossroads right now. The two common alternatives are to move either to the left or the right. It’s our observation, however, that we are living in a unique time, when people are frozen as they look in either of those directions. When they look to the left, they decide that they cannot venture there. When they look to the right, they feel the same. Whether they realize it or not, people are looking for a fresh alternative—a third way.
__"The crossroads today, we believe, is one of moving forward or backward. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is that third way—and the only way—that we can forge a secure path into the future. If the church does not reorient and become Christological at its core, any steps taken will be backwards."

Certainly, "those on the left" had lost their Christology. But had "those on the right?" This notion of focusing on the supremacy of Jesus Christ may be revolutionary for those in the emergent crowd that come from the liberal left end of American Christianity, but these words are nothing new to those on the right.

There's nothing revolutionary about this manifesto that I see. For 2000+ years, the true church of Jesus Christ has been primarily marked by the statement that Sweet and Viola say is their "Jesus Manifesto:"
"What is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less."

Certainly those "on the left" that lost this in the past 100 years need to hear it afresh. And I praise God that Sweet and Viola have their ears.

But those "on the right"?


Ted M. Gossard said...

I hear you, Bob. With all the accolades going on in regard to this book, I've thought I need to look at it when I find it in a bookstore sometime. But I have no real desire to read it, especially given the list of books I would really like to read.

Andrew said...

I don't know the authors or the book, but I find you presumption about left and right interesting. Having grown up in "right" Christianity, my observation is that they are all about the "correct" terms, but it rarely goes deeper than that. So I wouldn't say that their Christology is stable. They tend to be like the son who says yes, but then does not do their assignment.

I have found much truer Christology on the "left"... even if it is not as vocal.