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"Gospel According to Jesus" by Chris Seay

I finished reading Chris Seay's book "The Gospel According to Jesus: A Faith that Restores All Things" a couple of weeks ago.  I waited to post this review because I wanted time to think through the main thoughts Seay presents before attempting to write about them.

"The Gospel According to Jesus" really hinges on one primary assertion:  that the church has misunderstood the righteousness of God.  This misunderstanding has led to a failure to accomplish what a proper understanding would have compelled us to accomplish, namely the mission to partner with God to restore all things back to Shalom or peace.  Naturally then, the main premise of the book is correcting the misunderstanding of God's righteousness and laying out the implications of that correct understanding.  This is, in essence, the totality of the book.  Chris Seay does a good job, I believe, of laying out the implications of the "correct" understanding of righteousness.  If his definition is the correct one, then I believe the calling of the church is as he suggests.

I have a couple of concerns.

First is that Chris uses a translation/paraphrase of the bible that he helped create.  Because "The Voice" (the bible version used for all biblical references in the book) is a paraphrased translation, it is highly interpretive.  So basically, Chris quotes a bible that uses his interpretations of scripture to validate his interpretation of scripture.  That seems a little circular to me and does not inspire confidence that what we are reading is anything other than his opinions as opposed to the truth from the word of god.

The second concern is the actual definition of righteousness that Chris proposes.

“The best simple translation of the word righteousness is ‘restorative justice.’ God is stepping into our brokenness and making things right, taking fragments shattered by sin and restoring them to fullness. The reality is that God is calling us to take part in his glory, which comes from heaven to earth, and to live in his abundance, together. Seeking his righteousness is about being an active agent for his restorative justice in all of creation.” (12)

My concern here is that this is about all the support the book offers for this definition of righteousness other than the author's own bible version.  If you are going to suggest that the church has dramatically misunderstood one of the most important concepts in scripture, then I think you should go to great lengths to back that assertion up.  Seay does not, in my opinion, do an adequate job of that.  The result is I spent most of my time reading the book trying to decide if all the implications Seay insists on are all built on a faulty premise.

Overall, I can't say that I would recommend this book.  I have too many questions to be confident that this would be a biblically sound addition to anyone's library.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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