Jul 21, 2009

Book Review of "The Jesus Paradigm"

(From the Website, and the rear cover of the book) The Jesus Paradigm challenges modern Christians to become completely sold-out followers of Jesus, to make ministry and mission the work of every believer, and to give their primary allegiance to the kingdom of God rather than to any nation, political party, or movement.

At a time when Christianity is often identified with nationalism, a political party, a particular denomination, or even an isolated small group, Dave Black looks to the Anabaptists and their call not for reform, renewal, or revival in the church, but for rebuilding. He echoes that call to Christians today. From church structure to national government, from the personal economic responsibility in the marketplace to parental responsibility in raising children, from torture and militarism by our government to hierarchical authority in our churches, he calls for Christians to look for their answers in the person and message of Jesus, revealed in scripture.

“The author told me that nobody will really be happy with this book,” said Henry Neufeld, owner of Energion Publications. “I’ve read it, and I agree. In fact, I expect it to offend some people. That may sound like an odd thing for a publisher to say about a forthcoming book. But sometimes offense is needed when we have gotten far enough off track. What I do expect is that readers will find it challenging, informative, and above all convicting. I did. You may be annoyed, but you won’t be bored.”

In all the spare time I don't have, I have managed to barrel through this new book that was slated for release yesterday. You can purchase it on Amazon few reviews out there that have already done it justice. Arthur, and Alan, have both posted theirs online and will provide you with two good perspectives on the whole of the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the onset. I am hesitant to say that I affirmed all of what David Black has written, but found myself nodding in agreement often. From the onset of the book Black establishes his purpose, and quite remarkably remains true. Unfortunately, some of Black's assessments will be taken from the typical perspective that is adopted by those who are cautious and bold in their commentary of the modern Church. Its intriguing to see that those who have served as missionaries (like Black) develop a view of people that changes how we adhere and put into practice the commands of Christ. This 'Paradigm' that Black tries to illustrate is heavily described by his comparisons and descriptions of the ever unpopular Anabaptists. Like so many in the days of their persecutions, the Anabaptists, or those who would align to their teachings in our day, are marginalized and seen as antagonistic toward the established norm. Black does a fair job at assessing the current pragmatism we see today and challenges it not with reform, but restoration. As the book's title suggests, Black creates the 'Jesus Paradigm' by using scriptural practice as the standard and calls for an analysis of what we've become. The end surprised me with it's seemingly political commentary and spun the context of the previous chapters into a different direction than I had anticipated. The end brought it all to an amicable conclusion. To my pleasure I found this to be a fun read. It was smooth and hit the hard points fast and intelligently. By no means was it systematic or ever gave the impression as such, but what it did do was show the political nature of our current church practice, and why restoration is often rationalized away or ignored. The implications of such a paradigm shift would shake the fetters of nominal and institutional Christianity so much that the culture we know as 'Christendom' would give way to the true witness of those who hear the commands of our Lord, and obey.

(Energion is offering free worldwide shipping, order yours today! You won't regret it!)

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