Link to review by Arthur Sido.
All in all, this is an excellent book. Well written, accessible, challenging, reasonable for the most part. There is no higher compliment that I can give a book than to say it was challenging to me, made me want to read the Scriptures more diligently and that I marked pages and quotes liberally. This book did all three. …
However, no book is perfect and the big issue I had with The Jesus Paradigm had to do with the running political commentary. …
Editorial note: I would love to see some constructive engagement with this issue in comments. A challenging book should cause us to challenge back as we seek truth. — HN
From Dave Black Online:
Jeffery Tucker delivers a powerful punch in this essay over at LRC: Should the Church Wave the Flag? His conclusion:
It is a special temptation when Sunday falls so close to July 4. Surely people should be permitted to express their seasonal enthusiasms? I don’t think so. Nationalism is not part of the deepest Christian tradition. Conventional songs of secular-style patriotism cannot contribute to the liturgy but rather depart, even radically, from its spirit and intent.
Think about it, church.
Andrew Thompson at GenXRising has written about the idea of Christian America and recent studies that suggest we’re becoming less Christian.
The post and the entire comment thread are worth reading, but let me quote the following:
The gist of it is this: There never was such a thing as ‘Christian America.’ And the Christians in America shouldn’t worry about that.
There cannot be such a ‘Christian America,’ in fact, because citizenship and discipleship can never be synonymous terms. Christians owe an allegiance to Jesus Christ above the allegiance to the nation. And that means that a Christian’s primary frame of social reference is not society at large but rather the church.
Dave Black, author of the forthcoming book for which this site is named, commented in the thread:
I’m enjoying this thread, Andrew. If I understand the New Testament correctly, the church is to take on a nonconformist and prophetic identity over against the structures of the world. This is not to say that I am unconcerned about politics or about the improvement of society through legislation. Such improvements are, however, questionable if they proceed from an assumption that they will issue in a Christian America. My concern is that the church be the church, and to do that it must proclaim victory not through a political agenda but through the Christian Gospel. The Christianity of the New Testament presents not simply a more demanding ethic but rather a cross that means the death of our desire for prosperity and power. I therefore view my participation in the culture wars not in terms of calling for a macro-political utopia but in terms of the church’s calling to be the conscience and critic of culture. I’ve tried to make this point in my forthcoming book, The Jesus Paradigm.
In our foreign policy America must use its military power reasonably and with a scrupulous concern for peace. A superpatriotism that calls for unfettered power is both un-American and un-Christian in my opinion.
I would in turn link this to my own post asking just how often our answer to any question or solution to any problem is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I certainly hope this discussion will grow in the blogosphere.
To build the kind of church Jesus envisioned in John 17 we must help our people realize that it is not about us or about our church. It’s about His kingdom, a kingdom that centers around Christ’s glorious act of self-sacrifice. If we think we can present the Gospel without surrendering and forsaking everything in us, then we have not understood the Gospel.
From DaveBlackOnline (April 8, 2009, 7:52 AM):
The basic thesis of my new book The Jesus Paradigm is that discipleship goes far beyond mere lip service. Like Bonhoeffer, I seek to emphasize Nachfolge — the German title of Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. The German word simply means discipleship. Followers of Jesus Christ are expected to, well, “follow” Him! As Bonhoeffer puts it, “Only the believer is obedient, and only the obedient person believes.” (The German original is fantastic: “Nur der Glaubende ist gehorsam, und nur der Gehorsame glaubt.”) Declared righteousness ALWAYS produces practical righteousness if it is genuine.