Friday, September 24, 2010

The Gospel According to Jesus by Chris Seay

Chris Seay in The Gospel According to Jesus explores the meaning of righteousness among American churchgoers and attempts to provide a proper perspective on the theology of righteousness. Seay commissioned a Barna research study that finds that most churchgoers have definitional issues around the word righteousness and focus on behavior and actions viewing righteousness as acting moral. Seay attempts to knock down this preconception and turns to Jesus for an example of what righteousness truly is. He paints a picture of righteousness based on relationships with our Savior and with other people and as a quality that brings justice to a broken world. Each chapter is followed by a prayer and interviews with other thinkers such as Mark Batterson and Rick McKinley for review.

The Gospel According to Jesus is a challenging book. And honestly that’s a good thing. Seay pushes his reader to move beyond acting right, putting up an impression of goodness and behaving as expected by our fellowships. Seay urges us to be honest, care for those in need and model Jesus in interactions with others. He sees the righteousness of the saved leading to actions that bring restorative justice to the world. That is a challenge not every reader will be open to! Quoted scripture is taken from The Voice translation, a translation that Seay is deeply involved in but some readers will find alien. This could be uncomfortable to readers unfamiliar with the style and language used by The Voice team, for example the use of the phrase The Eternal for God may simply seem too” new age” and lead to a decreased comfort level for readers. On a personal note, Seay an Astros fan makes jabs at the Chicago Cubs that lead me to reject any credibility Seay has as an author. Sadly, the Cubs refusal to actually beat the Astros this year may prove his points and return to him his authoritative voice. Though seriously, Seay’s personal illustrations successfully aid his arguments by showing how he and others have attempted to live out righteousness as he describes it.

Review Copy Provided by Thomas Nelson

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