Archives For Leonard Sweet

 

764744: Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who"s Already There A Review of
Nudge:
Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There

By Leonard Sweet.
Hardback: David C. Cook, 2010.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

As one who grew up in the midst of the heyday of evangelicalism and who was never completely comfortable with notions of evangelism that amounted to little more than proselytizing, evangelism has come to be a dirty word.  However, in the concept of evangelism, like all dirty words (and I would argue all dirty people as well) there lies the possibility for redemption.  Leonard Sweet, in his new book Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There, offers a fresh, new take on evangelism that points us toward recovery of the language of evangelism in ways that are more consistent with the whole of the scriptural narrative than what passed for evangelism in the days of my youth.  In the book’s preface Sweet gives form to this new understanding of evangelism:

Evangelism for too long has been disconnected from discipleship.  In Nudge, evangelism is discipleship.  What yokes evangelism to discipleship, I propose is the art of attention, attending to life and attending to God (21).

Certainly, in our increasingly technological age, social critics have been denouncing our inability to pay attention (see for example, Maggie Jackson’s recent book Distracted LGT: our review), so it is refreshing to see the fundamental role that the recovery of attention plays in Sweet’s reframing of evangelism.  Another particularly refreshing facet of Sweet’s work here is the holistic way in which he describes evangelism using imagery connected to all five senses.

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A Brief Review of

946011: Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and  Sovereignty of Jesus Christ Jesus Manifesto:
Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ

By Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2010.

Buy now:  [ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by Jeff Rhodes.

“The gospel that’s so often preached today lacks a revelation of Jesus Christ. The contemporary gospel boils down to a fire-insurance policy, a Santa Claus God, or a performance-based religion. As long as we stay on that plane, we’ll never see or comprehend the staggering enormity of our Lord.”

Frank Viola and Len Sweet have combined their writing prowess to form one of the most powerful pieces of Christian literature of our generation. Jesus Manifesto is a no-holds-barred examination of the Bible’s infatuation with Jesus Christ. Viola and Sweet articulate the awe-inspiring truth that the Old Testament is taken up with Jesus Christ; the New Testament is taken up with Jesus Christ; Paul was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Apostle’s “doctrine” was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Father was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit was taken up with Jesus Christ; the early church was taken up with Jesus Christ; and throughout the last 2000+ years, whenever a serious refocus of God’s people occurred, they were taken up with a fresh revelation of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. From the Creation narrative, to the summation of all things in the last two chapters of Revelation, Jesus Christ is the One through whom all things were made and the One in whom all things will be consummated. He is the Alpha and Omega.

Viola and Sweet illustrate Jesus to be the aperture through which the light of the Godhead is focused, harnessed, and glaringly intensified. They take time to develop the truth that Truth is not a statement, religion, system, buildings, or any other man-made initiative; but rather Truth is a person, the person of Jesus. They laboriously insist the gospel is not merely social activism, moral objectivity, or a system through which to make the world a better place. Instead the gospel is nothing short of a monumental unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His mercy, love, compassion, grace, wisdom, and grandeur. The gospel is both death and life. It marks the beginning of a new race, a new humanity that never existed before Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the Cross. Jesus is the gospel! Furthermore, according to Viola and Sweet, the Bible never advocates just the following of Jesus’ sayings or teachings. Rather, Jesus said, “Follow me.” This distinction separates Christianity from all other religious systems whose leaders are dead and cannot be followed.

If you’ve never glimpsed the “sight of peerless worth,” you’re in for a jaw-dropping, breath-taking, whirlwind of emotions and spiritual advancement as you journey through this masterfully written work of art. Jesus exudes its pages. No other agenda outside of exalting the Exalted Christ is at hand. Though this book may be an affront to modern religionist ideologies of social justice, doctrinal creeds, health-and-wealth purveyors, and many other religious institutions of thought, Viola and Sweet make one thing clear: Christianity is NOT about us, but is totally about Him who is all and fills all, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

A Brief Review of

So Beautiful:
Divine Design for Life and Church
.
Leonard Sweet.

Paperback: David C. Cook, 2009.
Buy now:  [ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by Kevin Book-Satterlee.

[ Editor’s Note: See Kevin’s poem “Old Toes” below, which he submitted in conjunction with this review. ]

The Church today is teetering on the hump of a paradigm shift.  For a number of years missional ecclesiology has been building steam, permeating and soaking through the pores of seminarians and Church shifters.  The number of books published on the missional church continues to rise as more thinkers are weighing into the academic and practical mix.  Seminaries are adding class after class about missional leadership, missional ecclesiology, missional spirituality, and soon enough we’ll have missional pastoral counseling.  Not everybody will adopt the paradigm shift, but for the past two decades, the missional power-houses have pushed the Church uphill and are now about to ride the change to see missional church become standard.

Leonard Sweet was an early voice in the push.   A standout workhorse, Sweet writes So Beautiful:  Divine Design for Life and the Church – giving one more shove towards the missional church paradigm.  What is so beautiful, he contends, is the trinitarian DNA structure of the Church – Missional, Relational and Incarnational (MRI).

Sweet begins with a 35 page introduction functioning as an apologetic treatise to the missional church.  He pits the church of the times – the A,P,C church – against the church coming – the M,R,I church.  With an audience still to convince, Sweet displaces the model and consequences of the A,P,C church.  The 35 page introduction seems overkill when as he summarized it well in one chart (19):

APC Creates                      MRI Creates
– Members                       – Missionaries
– Believers                        – Disciples
– Consumers                   – World Changers

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