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Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Charisma House
Publication Date: 2012
|Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 X 0.64 (inches)|
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5a call to return to early church spiritualityApril 12, 2012bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5When conditions are right, a fire can sweep through an area. Ross believes that conditions are coming together for a viral move of God in this generation. Global challenges, the economic crisis, cultural moral decline, technology - are bringing us to the point where the flames of God can spread with the Spirit's force.
Ross attempts to both develop and document how the church in the West can set the stage for a viral movement. He gives as an example the early church where the gospel spread like wildfire. "If we are ever to see a viral movement of the Spirit in the West, we need to recapture the spirituality and mind-set of our first-century brethren." (xxvi)
He reviews the elements of viral Jesus movements, including the issues of stability and control.
He has a good review of how the early church functioned and ministered before it came under human organization. He shows how church buildings, hierarchy of leadership, etc., brought the church to the point of no longer practicing apostolic ministry.
He covers the various revival movements and why they did not go viral. He also describes the sustained viral movement in China. "What we are seeing in China is the most rapid and robust movement of the gospel in the history of Christianity." (113) He notes the characteristics of the Chinese church: no buildings, no trained workers, no wealthy, evidence of supernaturalism and suffering.
He discusses the practical aspects of a viral Jesus movement, such as discipleship, church planting, and viral evangelism.
He writes, "In the biblical worldview, Jesus has to be the Lord of the way we gather as a church and the way we do ministry. He has to be Lord of every single thing we do, even the way we think. It is not merely a correct doctrine. It is a way of life. Only then, when we get the Greek philosophy out of our worldview and practice and start actually following Jesus as Lord, will we see a sustained viral Jesus movement once again in the West." (56)
Ross and his friends long to see the gospel sweep through the West. However, he writes, "We will not experience a viral movement of the gospel in the West until every Christian is equipped and willing to participate in the Great Commission as missionaries." (184) If every Christian must be equipped and willing to participate, then I think we won't see it anytime soon. If Ross had said fifty percent of Christians must be equipped and willing, I would have more hope.
In general, I agree with Ross, longing to see the gospel spread like wildfire. I do disagree with him in one area, however. I agree that we must have Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered sharing of the faith. (187) I disagree with his guarantee that such Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered sharing of faith will "be 100 percent effective in evangelism 100 percent of the time." (184 and 191) In studying the life of Jesus (who was completely Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered), I see where even He was not 100 percent effective 100 percent of the time. Many turned away from Him or left Him. We must be realistic in our evangelism work. If Jesus did not win every one over, neither will we.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
juliea3 Stars Out Of 5best for the home-church audience onlyApril 3, 2012julieaQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3I picked up Viral Jesus knowing that author Ross Rohde and I have completely different views of organized religion. He is a "house church" planter; I am a lifelong attendee of organized religious services.
Despite the fact that I wasn't looking to be sold on a new (or technically, old) form of religious practice, Rohde's premise was intriguing enough that I looked forward to reading what he had to say. I mean, honestly, could anyone who loves Jesus not want that love to go viral? And since I don't see tremendous outpouring of that viral love in my present church environment, why not hear from someone who sees it daily? At worst, I learn nothing; at best, I come away ready to spark some viral Jesus love in my present setting. And so began the journey.
Well, I have to say first that yes, I did gain some interesting perspective on the current state of my church. And yes, Rohde did inspire a few changes I know I'll be implementing in my faith journey. Those two things alone make the reading of this book a positive experience.
However, and this is a big one, I would actually hesitate to recommend this book. Rohde, albeit with a tremendous deal of tact, goes to great lengths to tear apart organized religion. He offers extensive historical facts upon which his ideas are based, but his interpretation of those facts is so diametrically opposed to my own (and to those of other organized church goers, I suspect), that I wouldn't recommend this book to fellow church goers without a long list of caveats.
To inspire the same degree of passion for change, without the church-bashing, I might recommend "The Cause Within You" or "Not a Fan", two phenomenal books that will fire you up to change the world around you, without implying a need to leave your church.
Summary: if you go to church in, well, a church, you may find this book a little offensive. It is definitely written for the home-church audience.
I received this book free from the publisher for the purpose of providing my honest opinion.