Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Jarrid Wilson, "Jesus Swagger" (2014)

Wilson offers similar advice to that of many evangelists before him: live a more rigourous Christian faith, grounded in the Bible as the word of God. So… what makes his work unique, more effective, more compelling? Firstly, of course, he represents the 'new wave' of youthful Christian thinkers that embrace an appearance and demeanour that does not smack of one's "Sunday best". It should be noted, however, that many of these youthful evangelists also carry themselves with a youthful idealism and absolutism that can be off-putting and alienating for those of us who are a (little) older and a little more tired or jaded with the world.

Secondly, Wilson takes several trends within contemporary, 'new' Christianity to task. He chides many of his peers for not approaching their faith, or more accurately - their God - with more reverence. So, for instance, he critiques the idea of popularizing slogans such as 'Jesus is my homeboy' as diminishing awe and respect for a God that both loves and rules. This is a position that is not without problems (see the Klopping review linked below).

Thirdly, Wilson also chides some components within the evangelical movement who exhibit hateful, intolerant, aggressive means of attacking those whose actions and beliefs they oppose. Here I am thinking about groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church (although I don't recall that Wilson actually mentions the church by name, he does refer to persons who picket the funerals of gay persons, which Westboro is well-known for). He advocates instead that Christians who live their faith must strive to offer the same kind of Christ-like loving grace described in the Bible, and to find means to open lines of communication with non-Christians as a more effective means of leading by example rather than by proselytizing through fear.

Amanda Pettit Klopping offers some astute criticism of the book, over at her blog A Large Cup of Tea.

Some notes from the book:
1. Poser Christianity
James 2:19–20 states, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”

5. Jesus Isn’t Hiring Part-Time Disciples
Galatians 2:20 reads, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (NASB). There is vital truth to what this verse states. It is no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you. Meaning, it’s no longer about your agenda, your desires, and your needs. If you call yourself a Christian, your agenda is now filled with an all-consuming calling from Christ himself.

Don’t let culture be what changes your relationship with God. Do feel free to let your relationship with God help you change and contribute positively to culture.

6. Be the Change
...remember, God is with you through all. The right time to do the right thing is right now. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

7. I Got 99 Problems But the Holy Spirit Ain’t One

...why do so many ignore him? I think people are afraid. We are afraid of what might happen if we allow his power into our lives—we’re afraid of what might have to change, or what we might lose, not thinking of what we might gain. Many of us put our fear of the unknown in front of the power and potential of the Holy Spirit. It’s sad to think that we could be turning from the Spirit’s prompting due to a wall of fear. Fear is a liar, and the Spirit brings us the truth (John 16:13).

No comments: