I highly recommend this work. Dave Black sets out to show us that Jesus' Paradigm isn't what the world deems valuable. For us Christians (disciples/followers) we have to sit down with our ledger and attempt to reconcile it with Jesus' commands, wherever there is a variance we are to fix it. Much of what Dr. Black talks about will have to come through the grace of Jesus; however, Jesus himself says "whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you". That is when we ask with His heartbeat, mostly I have asked with my own. Thanks Dave for a wonderful challenge.
by Bruce Ashford
Although the reader may not be in agreement with Black on every point, the reader can be assured that he will find himself surprised, challenged, and engaged as he turns the pages of The Jesus Paradigm.
Iím not naive enough to think that the quality of a book is based on what percentage of the book I agree with, but in any case, I found the VAST majority of the book to be incredibly helpful, clear, and engaging. The little that I want to quibble about has only stirred me to more thinking on the issues, and it would be a great book to read in a group and discuss. The chapters on ecclesiology and politics would be particularly interesting in this setting. . . .
This book is a great reminder of the many discussions that I've had with my PhD mentor, and the reason that I asked him to be my mentor in the first place. Everyone reading this book will quickly realize that Black is not writing from an ivory tower. Instead, he's writing with hands covered with Ethiopian dust.
All in all, this is an excellent book. Well written, accessible, challenging, reasonable for the most part. There is no higher compliment that I can give a book than to say it was challenging to me, made me want to read the Scriptures more diligently and that I marked pages and quotes liberally. This book did all three. ...
...I recommend this book to those looking to do things upside down with Jesus. It would make a good college age reading group study or any age book study for that matter. I do not have a rating system, but I whole hearted recommend this book to any who were wondering about it or just hadn't heard of it.
The church is set to undergo massive transformations in the coming years and decades. Many great authors have recently been describing desired and/or emerging models; David Alan Black is among them with his newest book, The Jesus Paradigm (Energion Publications, July 2009). The basic premise of the book is that the church has lost sight of our purpose and has become weighed down with meetings, bureaucracy, and structure and has neglected our primary call to make disciples of all nations.
I would encourage any follower of Jesus to read this book. It will challenge your thinking. May God use it to bring His church closer to Himself!
The Jesus Paradigm is a personal and passionate appeal for real discipleship, just the kind of plea that Christians need to hear. This is also a plea for the church to be what it was called to be, something far different from most of what we see. People may disagree with parts of the book, but they cannot legitimately ignore its challenge.
Klyne R. Snodgrass, Paul W. Brandel Professor of New Testament Studies, North Park Theological Seminary
Here is a book that calls for nothing less than the complete dismantling of business-as-usual in the twenty-first century church in favor of a radical model based entirely on Scripture and rediscovered by the sixteenth century Anabaptists. Black writes an immensely practical book that will rearrange the furniture in your mind and, if heeded, will resurrect biblical Christianity.
David B. Capes, Professor in Christianity, Houston Baptist University
Some who read this book will think Dave Black has gone too far; some will think he has not gone far enough. But as he himself says about one of his own sources, "One does not have to agree with everything in the book to appreciate it." Few readers will appreciate all aspects of Black's argument, but it is high time we all heard and heeded its radical, sobering, and exciting call to the Church of Jesus Christ simply to obey her Master!
Richard J. Erickson, Associate Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Brother David" delivers a punch in the gut of cultural Christianity, whether on the right or the left. He pokes and prods the church to be a "radical, Christ-centered, martyr movement." This reincarnation of a sixteenth century Anabaptist is guaranteed to stir you up, regardless your church niche. If you are confused or irritated by the current culture wars, let this seasoned and salty Jesus follower draw you to the center he has found.
Kent L. Yinger, Associate Professor of New Testament, George Fox Evangelical Seminary
Many have deep questions about American Churchianity and even Evangelicalism, but are not sure if it's okay to ask. A respected scholar with a missionary heart, Dave invites you along his journey. What a few of my generation were whispering, a flood of younger American Christians are shouting. Weary of fighting with fellow believers over secondary or tertiary doctrine, they are seeking a community of radical disciples. Arguing Jesus gave us a paradigm (Jn. 13:15), Dave passionately suggests "The American church has forgotten this servant role of Christianity." Black offers us more than the pseudo-radicalism of many popular Christian speakers who condemn the materialism of the church while modeling a careerism as secular as their leadership principles. Dave calls us back to the Jesus paradigm.
E. Randolph Richards, Dean of the School of Ministry and Professor of Biblical Studies, Palm Beach Atlantic University
In this compelling book, David Alan Black has done two things at once: he has reminded Baptists of their heritage and provoked Christians to reclaim the gospel as a way of life. These are powerful words because he speaks from his own experience. Written in an engaging style and with great humility, Black has done the Church at large and Baptists in particular a great service: if we heed his words we will recover the way of Christ as the only way to live.
Rodney Reeves, Dean, The Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry, Southwest Baptist University
In The Jesus Paradigm, Dr. Black articulates the growing concern from both laity and academia that Christianity, particularly in North America, is no longer recognizable as that defined in the New Testament. His critique of various Christian practices, to be sure, is painful to hear yet necessary and calls for a long overdue self-calibration. His invitation to relinquish power and ambition for power is an incisive critique of the Church's misunderstanding of both the cross and discipleship. The Jesus Paradigm is a refreshing contribution and worthwhile for any claiming the name of Christ.
M. Sydney Park, Assistant Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School
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