Viral Jesus, by Ross Rohde

Why isn’t Christianity spreading as it once did? Why does exponential church growth seem to have been characteristic of the early church, but has been curiously absent from most of the rest of Christian history? What has been missing and how can we get it back? Is it even possible?  If so, what would be the essential ingredients to duplicate the explosive growth of the first century in our twenty-first century?

Rohde meticulously investigates the why and why nots of a ‘viral’ Jesus. There is, as a result, much to commend in his research, much to prayerfully consider and to wrestle through. If the gospel is the ‘power of God for salvation’, why don’t we see much more power and a whole lot less of the mere perennially ineffective talk?

The manner in which the author approached this topic presents with a double edged sword. Though I was blessed by the content of Rohdes book, I found his pervasive and sometimes even abrasive assertiveness strangely resonate with the very problem he identified.  In other words, Christendoms doctrinal exactness and unwavering religious certainty left little room for the power of the Spirit to work, yet this same spirit of exactness and unwavering certainty was duplicated in the authors style of presentation. How does one, then, critique the structures that lie at the root of the ‘anti-viral’ problem within Christendom, without utilizing similarly life-extinguishing ‘structures’ in the process identifying the problem? Does it ‘take one, to know one’? I would be curious if others detected this same process-paradox.

That being said, if you take seriously the command to go forth and make disciples, you won’t want to miss the many gems of thought within this book. I particularly appreciated this statement:

This is all about Jesus. The important thing is not that Christians have gathered, but that Jesus the King is among them. If Christians gather, you have a group of Christians. When Jesus shows up, you have a church.” p. 5.

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. 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.

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