Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Stott and others have reminded us that at the center of Christianity is Jesus Christ. But we forget. When we forget, we begin centering our faith on how salvation occurs, on great theologians, on ethics, on justice, on politics, and on church building programs.
This book got a full-court press promotion when it appeared and now that the dust has settled, it is time once again to bring it back into play. What Sweet and Viola do, in a variety of ways — this book is not an argument or a logical case but a series of reflections all doing the same thing, is to show that at the center of our faith is Jesus Christ, a Person, and not a Plan. When we separate our faith from its center, it loses its luster and it cheapens it into a product.
There is nothing out of the ordinary for the solid Bible reader in Jesus’ line: I am the way, the truth and the life. When we see this text as some kind of development, we are doing something wrong. Over and over Sweet and Viola bring us back to this very point, often in very clever and fresh ways. Thus, “conversion is more than a change in direction; it is a change in connection” (sounds like Sweet, maybe Viola). So they say we have a massive Jesus Deficit Disorder.
My favorite chps: The Occupation of All Things and If God Wrote Your Biography. Both chps are pristine expressions of how Christ-drenched our faith is.