The Gospel According To Jesus

The Gospel According To Jesus: A Faith that Restores All Things by Chris Seay (Thomas Nelson, 2010).  

Chris Seay's newest book  The Gospel According To Jesus is the kind of book that I will be pondering long after I have finished reading it.  Seay, a church planter, author and pastor, is a man after my own heart.  He's the author of The Gospel According to Tony Soprano and the Gospel According to Lost--which reveals that he's the kind of guy who's not afraid to make the connections between the sacred and the "profane."  The fact that The Sopranos happens to be one of my favorite TV shows ever doesn't hurt either.  However, The Gospel According to Jesus is something completely different--it's a call to repentance for the Church and for those of us who call ourselves Christians.  In Seay's mind, the Church has ceased to place Christ at the center of it's theology, ecclesiology, soteriology and a host of other "ologies."  It's not enough, Seay, asserts that you focus on building the "kingdom" of God when you have no concept of the "king" that the kingdom is being built to exalt.  But on the other hand, Seay posits, if all you do is focus on Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you miss out on what Jesus stood for, came to earth for, died for and was resurrected to accomplish:  the "restoration" of all Creation.  "If you take Jesus out of Christianity," Seay writes, "you will have nothing but a set of rules, laws, and empty restrictions."  I love how Chris's words here don't assume anything about whether you are a conservative or a progressive---when you hear them, they should fall on you, hard.  The Gospel According to Jesus is also constructed to act as a study by groups or individuals.  Following each chapter, Seay includes a short prayer that the reader can pray as part of the study.  Each chapter is also punctuated by short interviews that Christ conducts with some of his "friends:"  Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, Dan Kimball, Rick McKinley & Gabe Lyons (all authors, speakers and emerging Christian thinkers/theologians).  I highly recommend this book for anyone who is growing weary of the divide between "missional" and "evangelical" in the Church.  It would be good for church leaders, individuals, pastors and church staff. 
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