The book centres itself at least in my perspective around the term "shalom." Chris Seay uses this term to describe this state of restored relationship with God and with those around us. For the author are all called to live in and embrace others in shalom and help others find shalom in their own lives.
The gospel is the good news that God is calling out all people to be redeemed by the power residing in the life, death, and ultimate resurrection of Jesus the Liberating King. These Ã¢â¬Ëcalled-out ones' are rescued from a life of slavery, sin, and failure to become emissaries in a new kingdom set to join the redemption of the entire creation, groaning and longing to be redeemed. 49
I really did enjoy this book and I found that it did challenge me in my faith and how I live it out everyday. However, that being said I found it to be a difficult read as I found myself losing interest at times. I found that odd because it was not as if it was not helpful, or interesting, I just found that it was a book that you would read a bit and then set it down to think over the challenges that were laid before you through the words of the author.
Chris Seay is attempting to right a misunderstanding between understanding the true meaning and actions that define a righteousness. The conversation and I would say the conclusion that Seay came to is that the majority of church going individuals define righteousness through their understanding of morality and not through the message of the gospels.
The best simple translation of the word righteousness is Ã¢â¬Ërestorative justice.' God is stepping into our brokenness and making things right, taking fragments shattered by sin and restoring them to fullness. The reality is that God is calling us to take part in his glory, which comes from heaven to earth, and to live in his abundance, together. Seeking his righteousness is about being an active agent for his restorative justice in all of creation. 12
I will say that I did lose most of my interest at the end of every chapter when their was a manuscript of an interview between one or two individuals and the author. At first I liked the premise of this idea, but I found that they did not provide the necessary ah ha moments for me that I hoped a practical discussion around the chapter would have provided.
I really enjoyed the discussion on how we can jump the gun and call things of this world, or individuals evil without thinking through what the connotations of that statement really represent in the eyes of God.
Modern Christians have taken a previously integrated world and subdivided it into the sacred or secular, physical or spiritual, good or bad, profane or religiousÃ¢â¬âcategories that do not serve us well because they are simply untrue. God created the physical, and that makes it uniquely spiritual. The so-called "bad people" are also created in the image of God. 146
The author wants the reader to imagine seeing people as "shalom" or "broken shalom" rather than good or bad. If you see them as broken shalom, you're not allowed to look down on them; instead, you are called to join God in his redemptive work in their lives.
I would not say this is a must read. I probably would not have read it if I had not heard him speak at a conference I attended, but I wanted to go deeper into his ideas of righteousness and shalom.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
"The Gospel According to Jesus" by Chris Seay was a mediocre book. While I liked the subject matter and I think that it was well written and even amusing in parts, I think that the majority of what was written really just mimics the gospels, Romans and Acts from the Bible. To me, I could just sit down and study those books of the Bible and probably come to the same place, though I do see purpose for others for this book, it just wasn't for me personally. I can see lots of potential for a bible study group for new believers. The book has a nice way of ending each chapter where the author talks to friends of his who are pastors or thelogians, and it is nice to be able to read a sort of interview in a relaxed sort of way with other evangelicals. There is also a prayer in each chapter which is a nice way to get a clear picture of something specific to pray for when reading the book, which is again good for new believers. There is a pretty interesting section of the book that talks about the findings of a survey the author had done for this book about what people think of righteous. All in all, the book isn't bad in the least, I just think that it is more suited for the new Christian, or someone that isn't yet a believer.
Okay, I'm going to be honest, this was a tough read for me. It's not that it wasn't well written (it was) or that it did not have some unique aspects (I enjoyed the interviews at the end of each chapter), it 's just that this book travels down the same road as several others I have recently read. Essentially, it's a book on discipleship. After reading Stearns' 'The Hole in Our Gospel' and 'Starving Jesus' by Gross and Mahon, and 'The Christian Atheist' by Craig Groeschel, this book struggled to keep my interest.
Seay begins with the fact that the term 'righteousness' is widely misunderstood in Christendom and that we mostly relate it to behavior modification. He then argues that to achieve righteousness we must live as Jesus lived (i.e. become a disciple of Jesus). He gives a chapter on what we were created to be (image bearers of God) and why we fail at this (because we are sinful), and then he spends the rest of the book on how we can live in relationship with Christ. At the end of each chapter he interviews some well known church leaders on how they accomplish this in their lives. Personally, I got more from the interviews than any other part of the book.
The book is written with a somewhat 'anti-establishment' voice that is common to many young writers and ministers who are trying to shape the Church into an effective institution for post-modern culture, yet he doesn't try to purposefully offend anyone. His call to live in relationship rather than with regulations is spot-on. If you haven't read any books on discipleship, this would be a good start, although there are several others that I think share the same message much more effectively.
The Gospel According to Jesus is an attempt by Chris Seay to show the fullness of what the gospel/good news is all about. Focusing on the highlights of the biblical narrative - creation in God's image, sin, redemption, righteousness, religion, brokenness and community with God and each other - the author shows how the gospel is meant to transform as well as to save. He shows how the gospel is often distorted into a social act or a spiritual act and that the two need to be held up together.
Probably my favorite portion of the book deals with the false dilemma that the gospel is either a social call for justice or a spiritual call for holiness. The author gives many biblical references about how the gospel includes those things, but encompasses so much more. It makes the point that we need each other also, just as we need God, to learn how to forgive and exercise the gospel not only on a personal level, but also in our relationships. The book ends each chapter with a prayer and a brief interview with some of the author's well known pastoral friends. While I'm sure some will like this part, I thought it broke up the flow of the book and it just didn't fit with me, just a matter of taste I guess. Otherwise the book is a good overview of the gospel and I would recommend it to those either new to the faith, or for those that feel their faith is just running through the motions.
Disclosure Note: Thomas Nelson has been gracious enough to give me a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.
I finally got done recently with the latest offering from Chris Seay entitled The Gospel According to Jesus: A Faith that Restores all Things. This book tackles the fact that 84% of Christians do not even understand the concept of righteousness. In the book Seay gives us a clear understanding of this and lays it out in a way that is easy to understand. I did not find this book challenging to my current thoughts which is okay since I was on the same page for most of the book. This could be why it took me awhile to plod through this book while reading others. One of my favorite chapters though was Justification: Rise or Fall. This was particularly useful in a recent small group setting dealing with a common subject of good works. I pointed to the equation in this chapter of Jesus+anything does not equal Christian salvation. Although simple it helps to underscore our righteousness in God's eyes. I did enjoy this book but I did find it to be a beginners guide that would serve well with new Christians and a refresher for those that are strong in their faith and understanding of righteousness.
I did receive this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Booksneeze. I was not obligated to give a good review of the book.