Monday, April 10, 2006

The Not So Secret Message of Jesus

Always the contrarian, I tend to read new authors before they are popular and back off when it seems their writings find their way too far into the mainstream. Recently this trait has surfaced as my avoidance of all things McLaren. Yet, based on a recent book summary, Review: The Secret Message of Jesus (Simms, Jill. Relevant Magazine.Com April 2006), I sincerely hope the author’s writing and popularity will underscore the importance of living an integrated faith as it springs from the newness of our life in Christ and flows towards His mission and call for us His followers.

For too long of a season, it seems, we as Christians may have reduced the gospel to a personal encounter alone and limited the reach of Christ’s message to a personal salvation from sin through faith in Him. The personal decision to the call of Christ is most important; yet, is it the only aspect of His gospel beckoning? Could we have missed that the call is also a call to community, restoration and mission? Such a discussion belongs out in the open and merits further conversation; for now, however, it is reasonable to say that the following review is worth the read.

“Faith that counts ... is not the absence of doubt; it’s the presence of action”
(McLaren, Brian. The Secret Message of Jesus. p. 109. W Publishing Group, 2006.)

In The Secret Message, McLaren boldly appropriates a perspective of the Word that focuses primarily on the spoken message and behaviors of Jesus Christ and how radically different they are from the brand of Christianity widely taught in Sunday school. The secret message of Jesus, simply put, is that the kingdom of God is at hand. Once we assimilate that truth into reality, political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual and spiritual revolution is possible. Throughout the book McLaren succinctly digs beneath the message we have heard since birth, examines the authentic meaning of that message, and then explores how Jesus’ message could change the world. He asks, did He come to simply whitewash over the problem of sin or did He actually come to restore the world to its designed perfection? (Read More)

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