Google AdSense

Theological Journals

The R. Alan Woods Show- Live Streaming Christian TV Talk Show

The R. Alan Woods Show on UstreamTV.com

Theology At Amazon

Amazon SearchBox

There was an error in this gadget

Rod's Tweets

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Theology & Practice of the Kingdom of God

Published on: 04/02/2009
in


Berten A. Waggoner
By Berten A Waggoner, National Director, Vineyard USA
Commitment to the theology and practice of the kingdom of God is the first, the most fundamental, the most crucial core value of the Vineyard. The kingdom of God is our "pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:45, 46). Regardless of the location, size, ethnicity, or cultural context, the one thing that characterizes the message, mission, and experience of a Vineyard church is commitment to the experience and theology of the kingdom of God.
There have been any number of views set forth concerning the nature of the kingdom of God. Some have seen the kingdom as a system of moral principles, some as identical with the church, some as an ideal pattern of life for human society. One of the most recent ideas regarding the nature of the kingdom is that it relates primarily to Israel and has to do with the rule of God on the earth in the millennium.
When the Vineyard talks about the kingdom, we are talking about the kingdom of God as a dynamic reality that is now present in the world, but that will not come to the fullness of expression on the earth until the second coming of Christ at the end of this age. This is the view set forth by Evangelical theologians G. E. Ladd, Oscar Cullman, Herman Ridderbos, and many others. This understanding of the kingdom of God is the central motif that gives both structure and definition to all of our theology.
We are not alone in this belief. Baptist theologian Russell D. Moore in The Kingdom of Christ sets forth a strong argument for making the kingdom of God the central motif for evangelical theology. His thesis is that even such divergent movements as dispensational theology and covenant (Reformed, etc.) theology are beginning to move toward a consensus that the already/not yet theology of the kingdom should be the central motif in all theologies. He places the beginning of this development toward kingdom theology with Carl F. H. Henry in a book that he wrote in 1948, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism.
Moore says that several implications have emerged out of this theological development:
1. Dispensationalists have softened their position on the two people of God and the idea that the church is a heavenly people, whereas National Israel and the Jews are the earthly people.
2. Traditional conservative evangelicalism as seen in Gordon Lewis, Bruce Demarest, and Carl Henry has taken on the eschatological framework of the already/not yet of the kingdom. This is not to say that all conservative evangelicals have bought into this central motif. Theologians such as Wayne Grudem and Millard Erickson are examples of those who "betray very little influence of this kind of kingdom-oriented inaugurated eschatology."
3. All camps that are being drawn into the consensus are expanding their mission to include both personal transformation and social justice. All see that the gospel of personal transformation as advocated by fundamentalists in the 20th century is an incomplete gospel. The full gospel of the kingdom includes all of the promises given in the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets.
4. There is a renewed focus on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and thus, much more openness to the ongoing work of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.
The Kingdom of Christ is a good read for anyone interested in the Vineyard core values. I take exception with a few things in the book and there are some things left unsaid that I would like to add. Perhaps the most important difference I would have with the author is that, in my judgment, he puts too much focus on the theology of the kingdom and not enough on the experience of the kingdom. The focus of the Vineyard has always been on the manifest presence of the kingdom in the Spirit revealing Christ and empowering believers to heal the sick, cast out demons, feed the poor and be instruments of God in social justice. Vineyard is informed by its theology of the kingdom, but it is much more than theology. It is the manifest presence of the kingdom in the person of the Holy Spirit who exalts Jesus among us by signs and wonders.
We are thrilled for the theological convergence that is taking place around the kingdom of God. May this convergence result in a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit so that the good news is preached to the poor, prisoners of addictions are set free, the blind receive their sight, and the oppressed are released (Luke 4:18).
In this issue of our website we will begin to flesh out what we mean by the kingdom of God. This is only the beginning. There is much that we will need to say and do in the future to both clarify Jesus' central message and our core value of the practice and presence of the kingdom. I hope that you find these articles helpful.

The Kingdom Coming, Come or Both?

Published on: 04/02/2009
in


Don Williams, ph.D.
By Don Williams ph.D.
What is the meaning of Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom? Albert Schweitzer advanced the first possibility: the kingdom is coming. In his classic, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, he rightly insists that Jesus' message and ministry must be understood in the context of first century Jewish apocalyptic thought. Based on this presupposition, he proposes that Jesus believed himself to be the Messiah-elect and ministered in the expectation that he would see the final, supernatural arrival of the kingdom in his lifetime. He hoped for its future in-breaking, ending history as we know it, and determined to bring it about. After his disciples fail to pass through the cities of Israel and bring in the end (See Matt. 10:23), Jesus takes the drastic action of going to Jerusalem to force God's hand. Assuming that there had to be a time of suffering, the so-called "messianic birth pangs," before the kingdom would break in, he determined to be rejected and, by this, pave the way for its coming. He was deluded. Jesus threw himself on the wheel of history, and was crushed by it. In his failure, apocalyptic thought itself was destroyed, leaving us with the noble ideal of Jesus and the radical nature of his (interim) ethics. It is hard, however, for us to conclude that our Lord was merely another misled Jewish fanatic.
C. H. Dodd answered Schweitzer, advancing the second possibility, in the Parables of the Kingdom, that Jesus was not trying to force in the future kingdom "coming" but the real Messiah bringing in the present kingdom "come." When he announced that the kingdom of God is at hand, he meant that it is here now, teaching a "realized eschatology." For example, many of Jesus' parables show that the kingdom is here, working now, even as a "grain of mustard seed." Rather then being an otherworldly fanatic, Jesus ushered in the kingdom which is centered in God's forgiving love for his children. If Schweitzer was right in insisting that Jesus' ministry must be understood in the context of Jewish apocalyptic thought, then Dodd was also right in asserting that in Jesus the kingdom is not simply a future event but a present reality.
The third possibility is that Jesus proclaimed a kingdom come and coming, both future and present at the same time. Here we are on dead center. Jesus believes in the reestablishment of God's rightful reign in Israel and among the Gentile nations. His mission inaugurates that reign. While God's kingdom is present in his ministry, it is not fully present. There is a future fulfillment when Satan, sin and death will be completely destroyed. At the same time, Jesus comes to manifest God's direct rule here and now, healing the sick, casting out demons, bringing justice to the poor and defeating our enemies. This means that the future messianic kingdom has dawned; it has broken in upon us. Furthermore, it is God's intention to spread this kingdom around the world (to the Gentiles) and down through history until its consummation .In sum, the kingdom is really here but it is not fully here. Believers, then, live in the tension between the kingdom come and coming, the "already and the not yet."
For the New Testament, history is determined by two ages: this present evil age and the coming age of salvation.(See Matthew 12:32) Oscar Cullmann in his classic book, Christ and Time, shows us that this structure is not optional for understanding and retaining the biblical message. Illustrating the meaning of Jesus' coming, Cullmann uses his classic example of the World War II distinction between "D-Day" and "V-Day." When the allies established the Normandy beachhead on "D-Day," the war in Europe was really won. Yet, "V-Day" remained in the future and the battle went on. Likewise, when Jesus came as God's Messiah (Deliverer), it was "D-Day," the beachhead of God's kingdom was secured. It literally broke in upon us as the future became present. Nevertheless, we await its final consummation. When Jesus returns it will be "V-Day." The Christian life is then lived in this tension between the kingdom come and coming.
This illuminates our present experience. It explains both the reality of our triumph in Christ and the continuing spiritual warfare which we fight on many fronts. It explains the reality that we have died with Christ, and the flesh still wars against the spirit. It explains why some people are dramatically healed by the power of God and also continue to get sick and die. It explains why we have strength through weakness and life through death. If we break this tension we either end up in the resignation of "cessationism" (God doesn't work miracles today), or the triumphalism of perfectionism (God always works miracles if we have the faith to believe him). The good news is that the future kingdom is now at work in the present. We are not waiting for the end; we are living in the end. By the power of the Spirit we are enabled to live between the times.
For us, the Christian life will always be lived in tension. All whom we evangelize will not be converted. All whom we pray for will not be healed. But some will as the kingdom breaks in. Jesus teaches us to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." This is not a magic prayer bringing the perfection of heaven down to earth, which would be dualistic Platonism. This is an eschatological prayer asking for the future kingdom to break in upon us in the present. It is also our prayer for the consummation of all things. Paradoxically, as we live in the end we wait and pray for the end to come. Paul writes, "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God, the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet." (I Corinthians 15:22-25)
Bibliography
Cullmann, Oscar, Christ and Time (New York: Gordon Press, 1977)Dodd, C. H., The Parables of the Kingdom (London: Nisbet, 1936)Schweitzer, A., The Quest of the Historical Jesus (New York, MacMillan, 1957)

कैन इ प्रे फॉर यू राईट नो?

Published on: 11/19/2008
in


Dianne Leman
Dianne Leman is Co-Senior Pastor of Vineyard of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Original Source:
Vineyard USA Online. Nov 2008
On a recent Sunday, I was hurrying down the building corridor when I passed an older gentleman and said a brief hello. He stopped and began to earnestly tell me how his very ill four-month-old grandson was in a large children's hospital, where doctors were unable to diagnose his condition. As he finished sharing, I said simply, "Can I pray for you right now?" It only took a moment to pray, but God's presence with us was powerful. We parted ways, trusting God to move in this baby's life.
Can I pray for you right now? These seven words—seven simply supernatural words—capture the essence of the five core values of the Vineyard movement:
The Theology and Practice of the Kingdom of God
Experiencing God
Reconciling Community
Compassionate Ministry
Culturally Relevant Mission
At the Vineyard of Champaign-Urbana , where I pastor, we encourage everyone to be attentive and ready to speak these seven words wherever the opportunity arises—whether in the church building, on the street, or in our homes or workplaces. And in this practice of praying for others, we express the Vineyard's five core values.
We offer to pray because we believe the kingdom of God has come, and we trust that at any moment the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit may break in and bring healing to our broken world.
We experience God when we respond to the Holy Spirit's nudges and ask, "Can I pray for you right now?" As we pray, we sense God's heart, we share his love, and we receive his guidance. We are actually partnering with God! His empowering presence fills us and flows through us.
We make a regular practice of meeting together in small groups where, as a reconciling community, we not only practice praying for each other, but also share stories, failures, and successes. We humbly bear one another's burdens. We are reconciled to one another and to God as we confess our sins and receive forgiveness. We part, freshly empowered to continue the work of the kingdom, bringing reconciliation wherever we go.
Because we are equipped and ready to pray, we often find ourselves engaged in compassionate ministry outside the church service. A young man from our congregation was on the campus of the University of Illinois when he stopped to talk to a distraught student and ended up asking, "Can I pray for you right now?" A new mom from our church was pushing her stroller through the neighborhood when she met another new mom. When her neighbor shared some struggles, she asked, "Can I pray for you right now?" And sometimes, miracles happen as the future invades the present. Other times, we don't see any change but we have still shared the love and mercy of Jesus with another person.
When we pray for someone, we are careful to use language that is familiar and meaningful to the person receiving prayer. We meet people in places and situations in which they are comfortable, not waiting for them to come to prayer meetings or Bible studies or church services. Most often, we take part in culturally relevant mission as we go about our everyday lives, living among our neighbors and engaging in the same culture our they engage in, instead of giving into the urge to hide away in the Christian subculture.
Being ready to speak these seven simply supernatural words—Can I pray for you right now?— will help all of us live out the foundational values of the Vineyard. Five core values, seven simple words.
A Wholistic Theology: The Both/And: The Best View of Objective Reality

By

R. Alan Woods
San Diego: Rhema Rising Press
Copyright 2009




Why is theology important? Well-defined questions more nearly always produce the most useful answers. I propose that a better question could be asked: What "kind" of theology is important. In the context of the history of the Vineyard I understand that "experiential theology" or real theology ("the attitude which maintains that this kind of theology can only be developed by men who know these realities from personal experience"- Morton Kelsey in his work, Encounter With God: A Theology of Christian Experience) was and is the desperately needed counter-balance to the "intellectual theology" born out of the philosophy of knowing and knowledge developed by Aristotle and promoted within the "Church" by Thomas Aquinas and further ensconced by the worldview produced by Newton's understanding of the material universe. Plato would have been startled and amazed by such a one-sided worldview where Nature is the only experiential reality! Where's the Super Nature? What place has the Archetype? Where the dreams, visions, and auditions just a "figment" of man's imagination? Was sixty-five years of pioneering work by Carl Jung that produced real and tangible results in the healing and wholeness of human beings’ psyches and bodies for naught? Thank God for Jesus of Nazareth! The Numinous made Matter! The God-man. What comes to my mind and memory here is something I remember John Wimber say, "Just be naturally supernatural when you're doing the ‘Stuff’." Both economies/realities are operationally co-existent. As C. S. Lewis has said, "When men adhere to one side of a paradoxical truth and ignore the other, then they go into error." It is the both/and, not the either/or mentality that gives us a view of "objective reality".

. I'm quite sure our call in the Vineyard to "cultural'" relevancy is predicated upon Paul's statement implying that we be all things to all men so that we may win some to Christ. Paul learned quickly through trial and error that men were more likely to be won to Christ when they had a direct, powerful (dunamis) numinous experience with God. In other words he failed in Athens when he used just the intellectual theological approach! It seems to me that regardless of the cultural context in which God makes direct contact with men, it is of more importance that these men have a framework or worldview as it were in which to know that it is possible. In Christ, we as Christians become neither Jew nor Greek nor anything else other than a “new creature” in Christ Jesus that produces or manifests the complementary new culture of Christian community (I refer you to Robert Banks work, “Paul’s’ Idea of Community” as a general theoretical orientation to my meaning here). Paul was adamant about keeping the Gospel pure as it was delivered to him by Christ. In so far as it was possible within that framework, Paul became all things to all men. Once they became "enlightened" or "En-Godded" (a word used often by Leanne Payne, "Listening Prayer"), they were reoriented to a new reality and a lifestyle reflected in Christian community as their newly acquired identity as a unique cultural base.

जेसुस Manifesto

A Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus
अ Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century चर्च
by Leonard Sweet and Frank विओला
Christians have made the gospel about so many things … things other than Christ.Jesus Christ is the gravitational pull that brings everything together and gives them significance, reality, and meaning. Without him, all things lose their value. Without him, all things are but detached pieces floating around in space.It is possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue, or gift, yet miss Christ . . . who is the embodiment and incarnation of all spiritual truth, values, virtues, and gifts.Seek a truth, a value, a virtue, or a spiritual gift, and you have obtained something dead.Seek Christ, embrace Christ, know Christ, and you have touched him who is Life. And in him resides all Truth, Values, Virtues and Gifts in living color. Beauty has its meaning in the beauty of Christ, in whom is found all that makes us lovely and loveable.What is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology. Christianity is not a philosophy. Christianity is the “good news” that Beauty, Truth and Goodness are found in a person. Biblical community is founded and found on the connection to that person. Conversion is more than a change in direction; it’s a change in connection. Jesus’ use of the ancient Hebrew word shubh, or its Aramaic equivalent, to call for “repentance” implies not viewing God from a distance, but entering into a relationship where God is command central of the human connection.In that regard, we feel a massive disconnection in the church today. Thus this manifesto.We believe that the major disease of the church today is JDD: Jesus Deficit Disorder. The person of Jesus is increasingly politically incorrect, and is being replaced by the language of “justice,” “the kingdom of God,” “values,” and “leadership principles.”In this hour, the testimony that we feel God has called us to bear centers on the primacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Specifically . . .1. The center and circumference of the Christian life is none other than the person of Christ. All other things, including things related to him and about him, are eclipsed by the sight of his peerless worth. Knowing Christ is Eternal Life. And knowing him profoundly, deeply, and in reality, as well as experiencing his unsearchable riches, is the chief pursuit of our lives, as it was for the first Christians. God is not so much about fixing things that have gone wrong in our lives as finding us in our brokenness and giving us Christ.2. Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his teachings. Aristotle says to his disciples, “Follow my teachings.” Socrates says to his disciples, “Follow my teachings.” Buddha says to his disciples, “Follow my meditations.” Confucius says to his disciples, “Follow my sayings.” Muhammad says to his disciples, “Follow my noble pillars.” Jesus says to his disciples, “Follow me.” In all other religions, a follower can follow the teachings of its founder without having a relationship with that founder. Not so with Jesus Christ. The teachings of Jesus cannot be separated from Jesus himself. Jesus Christ is still alive and he embodies his teachings. It is a profound mistake, therefore, to treat Christ as simply the founder of a set of moral, ethical, or social teaching. The Lord Jesus and his teaching are one. The Medium and the Message are One. Christ is the incarnation of the Kingdom of God and the Sermon on the Mount.3. God’s grand mission and eternal purpose in the earth and in heaven centers in Christ . . . both the individual Christ (the Head) and the corporate Christ (the Body). This universe is moving towards one final goal – the fullness of Christ where He shall fill all things with himself. To be truly missional, then, means constructing one’s life and ministry on Christ. He is both the heart and bloodstream of God’s plan. To miss this is to miss the plot; indeed, it is to miss everything.4. Being a follower of Jesus does not involve imitation so much as it does implantation and impartation. Incarnation–the notion that God connects to us in baby form and human touch—is the most shocking doctrine of the Christian religion. The incarnation is both once-and-for-all and ongoing, as the One “who was and is to come” now is and lives his resurrection life in and through us. Incarnation doesn’t just apply to Jesus; it applies to every one of us. Of course, not in the same sacramental way. But close. We have been given God’s “Spirit” which makes Christ “real” in our lives. We have been made, as Peter puts it, “partakers of the divine nature.” How, then, in the face of so great a truth can we ask for toys and trinkets? How can we lust after lesser gifts and itch for religious and spiritual thingys? We’ve been touched from on high by the fires of the Almighty and given divine life. A life that has passed through death – the very resurrection life of the Son of God himself. How can we not be fired up?To put it in a question: What was the engine, or the accelerator, of the Lord’s amazing life? What was the taproot or the headwaters of his outward behavior? It was this: Jesus lived by an indwelling Father. After his resurrection, the passage has now moved. What God the Father was to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is to you and to me. He’s our indwelling Presence, and we share in the life of Jesus’ own relationship with the Father. There is a vast ocean of difference between trying to compel Christians to imitate Jesus and learning how to impart an implanted Christ. The former only ends up in failure and frustration. The latter is the gateway to life and joy in our daying and our dying. We stand with Paul: “Christ lives in me.” Our life is Christ. In him do we live, breathe, and have our being. “What would Jesus do?” is not Christianity. Christianity asks: “What is Christ doing through me … through us? And how is Jesus doing it?” Following Jesus means “trust and obey” (respond), and living by his indwelling life through the power of the Spirit.5. The “Jesus of history” cannot be disconnected from the “Christ of faith.” The Jesus who walked the shores of Galilee is the same person who indwells the church today. There is no disconnect between the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel and the incredible, all-inclusive, cosmic Christ of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The Christ who lived in the first century has a pre-existence before time. He also has a post-existence after time. He is Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, A and Z, all at the same time. He stands in the future and at the end of time at the same moment that He indwells every child of God. Failure to embrace these paradoxical truths has created monumental problems and has diminished the greatness of Christ in the eyes of God’s people.6. It’s possible to confuse “the cause” of Christ with the person of Christ. When the early church said “Jesus is Lord,” they did not mean “Jesus is my core value.” Jesus isn’t a cause; he is a real and living person who can be known, loved, experienced, enthroned and embodied. Focusing on his cause or mission doesn’t equate focusing on or following him. It’s all too possible to serve “the god” of serving Jesus as opposed to serving him out of an enraptured heart that’s been captivated by his irresistible beauty and unfathomable love. Jesus led us to think of God differently, as relationship, as the God of all relationship.7. Jesus Christ was not a social activist nor a moral philosopher. To pitch him that way is to drain his glory and dilute his excellence. Justice apart from Christ is a dead thing. The only battering ram that can storm the gates of hell is not the cry of Justice, but the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of Justice, Peace, Holiness, Righteousness. He is the sum of all spiritual things, the “strange attractor” of the cosmos. When Jesus becomes an abstraction, faith loses its reproductive power. Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.8. It is possible to confuse an academic knowledge or theology about Jesus with a personal knowledge of the living Christ himself. These two stand as far apart as do the hundred thousand million galaxies. The fullness of Christ can never be accessed through the frontal lobe alone. Christian faith claims to be rational, but also to reach out to touch ultimate mysteries. The cure for a big head is a big heart.Jesus does not leave his disciples with CliffsNotes for a systematic theology. He leaves his disciples with breath and body.Jesus does not leave his disciples with a coherent and clear belief system by which to love God and others. Jesus gives his disciples wounds to touch and hands to heal.Jesus does not leave his disciples with intellectual belief or a “Christian worldview.” He leaves his disciples with a relational faith.Christians don’t follow a book. Christians follow a person, and this library of divinely inspired books we call “The Holy Bible” best help us follow that person. The Written Word is a map that leads us to The Living Word. Or as Jesus himself put it, “All Scripture testifies of me.” The Bible is not the destination; it’s a compass that points to Christ, heaven’s North Star.The Bible does not offer a plan or a blueprint for living. The “good news” was not a new set of laws, or a new set of ethical injunctions, or a new and better PLAN. The “good news” was the story of a person’s life, as reflected in The Apostle’s Creed. The Mystery of Faith proclaims this narrative: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” The meaning of Christianity does not come from allegiance to complex theological doctrines, but a passionate love for a way of living in the world that revolves around following Jesus, who taught that love is what makes life a success . . . not wealth or health or anything else: but love. And God is love.9. Only Jesus can transfix and then transfigure the void at the heart of the church. Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his church. While Jesus is distinct from his Bride, he is not separate from her. She is in fact his very own Body in the earth. God has chosen to vest all of power, authority, and life in the living Christ. And God in Christ is only known fully in and through his church. (As Paul said, “The manifold wisdom of God – which is Christ – is known through the ekklesia.”)The Christian life, therefore, is not an individual pursuit. It’s a corporate journey. Knowing Christ and making him known is not an individual prospect. Those who insist on flying life solo will be brought to earth, with a crash. Thus Christ and his church are intimately joined and connected. What God has joined together, let no person put asunder. We were made for life with God; our only happiness is found in life with God. And God’s own pleasure and delight is found therein as well.10. In a world which sings, “Oh, who is this Jesus?” and a church which sings, “Oh, let’s all be like Jesus,” who will sing with lungs of leather, “Oh, how we love Jesus!”If Jesus could rise from the dead, we can at least rise from our bed, get off our couches and pews, and respond to the Lord’s resurrection life within us, joining Jesus in what he’s up to in the world. We call on others to join us—not in removing ourselves from planet Earth, but to plant our feet more firmly on the Earth while our spirits soar in the heavens of God’s pleasure and purpose. We are not of this world, but we live in this world for the Lord’s rights and interests. We, collectively, as the ekklesia of God, are Christ in and to this world.May God have a people on this earth who are a people of Christ, through Christ, and for Christ. A people of the cross. A people who are consumed with God’s eternal passion, which is to make his Son preeminent, supreme, and the head over all things visible and invisible. A people who have discovered the touch of the Almighty in the face of his glorious Son. A people who wish to know only Christ and him crucified, and to let everything else fall by the wayside. A people who are laying hold of his depths, discovering his riches, touching his life, and receiving his love, and making HIM in all of his unfathomable glory known to others.The two of us may disagree about many things—be they ecclesiology, eschatology, soteriology, not to mention economics, globalism and politics.But in our two most recent books—"From Eternity to Here" and "So Beautiful"—we have sounded forth a united trumpet. These books are the Manifests to this Manifesto. They each present the vision that has captured our hearts and that we wish to impart to the Body of Christ— “This ONE THING I know” (Jn.9:25) that is the ONE THING that unites us all:Jesus the Christ.Christians don’t follow Christianity; Christians follow Christ.Christians don’t preach themselves; Christians proclaim Christ.Christians don’t point people to core values; Christians point people to the cross.Christians don’t preach about Christ: Christians preach Christ.Over 300 years ago a German pastor wrote a hymn that built around the Name above all names:Ask ye what great thing I know, that delights and stirs me so?What the high reward I win? Whose the name I glory in?Jesus Christ, the crucified.This is that great thing I know; this delights and stirs me so:faith in him who died to save, His who triumphed o’er the grave:Jesus Christ, the crucified.—Jesus Christ – the crucified, resurrected, enthroned, triumphant, living Lord.He is our Pursuit, our Passion, and our Life.Amen.*****To discuss this manifesto and its implications, go to A Jesus Manifesto Blog at