If doxology makes the best theology, then Sweet and Viola’s Jesus Manifesto is very good theology indeed. This book is bathed in doxology. At times, it outright soars in delight over its subject, Jesus the Christ. It is, in many ways, a grand Christological hymn. It is also a clarion call to the church to see Christology firmly restored to the center of her life.
Sweet and Viola are rightly bemoaning the captivity of the church to the countless fads and rabbit trails that so grab her attention. What makes all of this so lamentable is that many of these fads and rabbit trails are bathed in the language of Christian orthodoxy…are bathed, that is, in the name of Christ. But putting the name of Christ on an essentially man-centered effort does not make for Christ-centeredness. As somebody once said, “You don’t get God by yelling ‘Man!’ loudly.” But that is precisely what the church, in many ways, seems to be attempting. In response to this predicament, Sweet and Viola are arguing here that Christ, as He is revealed in Holy Scripture and as He is known in the life of the believer,is Himself the great gift that God has given the Church.
In many ways, this book is a kind of Christological sledgehammer against the false idols of a church age gone awry. The authors are attempting to smash our altars with nothing less than a renewed and captivating vision of the supreme beauty and glory of Christ over all things.
The book is very well written and is powerfully moving at points. The periodic offset quotations are a nice touch and I so enjoyed (and was moved by) the occasional forays into outright ecstatic proclamations of the grandeur of Christ.
This kind of thing fires my soul to keep Christ at the center of all things. I am profoundly glad I read it, and I very much enjoyed being able to read the last pages aloud to both Mrs. and Miss Richardson.
Read this book!