Hello blogging world, this is Laura’s husband! This is my first entry ever. The reason for such an occasion is as follows: a fellow Christian whom I esteem has written a book. The publisher was willing to send out advance copies if the recipient committed to review or discuss the book through his or her blog. The name of the book is The Jesus Paradigm and its release date is August 3rd according to Amazon.com (although it can be pre-ordered). Before I make some remarks on the content of the book, I would first like to introduce you to the author. Of course, I have never met the author myself but I have visited his blog (http://www.daveblackonline.com/blog.htm) many times. On the back cover of the book the author description reads as follows: David Alan Black holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Basel in Switzerland and has taught New Testament and Greek for over 30 years. He is also the editor of the popular website, Dave Black Online. He has published over 20 books, including The Myth of Adolescence, Interpreting the New Testament, It’s Still Greek to Me, and Why Four Gospels? He and his wife live on a 123-acre working farm in southern Virginia and are self-supporting missionaries to Ethiopia, which they visit twice each year. Also by the Author (as seen in the opening pages) Paul, Apostle of Weakness Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek New Testament Criticism and Interpretation Scribes and Scripture Linguistics and New Testament Interpretation Using New Testament Greek in Ministry New Testament Textual Criticism It’s Still Greek to Me The Myth of Adolescence The Holy Bible: International Standard Version New Testament Interpreting the New Testament Rethinking the Synoptic Problem Here I Stand Why Four Gospels? Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism The New Testament: Its Background and Message Why I Stopped Listening to Rush Perspective on the Ending of Mark Learn to Read New Testament Greek After writing this brief intro, I have decided to delay highlighting and interacting with the content of The Jesus Paradigm in order to break up what would otherwise be a long post ( at least potentially). However, I am convinced I should at least try to whet your appetite or stimulate your thinking before I shut the door. What follows are statements which should convey some general ideas of the book. Pg. vii “This book is written for anyone who is dissatisfied with cultural Christianity and who longs for greater reality in the whole body of Christ. Its plea is that we get serious about following Jesus.” Pg 1 “Power has ruined America. Not only on the liberal left. Now it seems to have done the same for the religious right…It has prostituted itself with power, status, and wealth.” Pg. 7 “We have forgotten that our only loyalty is to be to Christ and not to the state.” Pg. 13 “Making disciples of Jesus is not very difficult. No fancy programs are necessary. We just have to teach to do everything Jesus said.” Pg 16 “Church leaders, even those who are seminary trained, are often unaware of this scriptural teaching and pattern…Thanks in no small part to the over-intellectualizing of the classroom, many seminary graduates can tell you everything about the New Testament – canonicity, authorship, the synoptic problem – but cannot tell you what it teaches about the church. For the masses of nominal Christians today, the concept of “church” hardly goes beyond a shallow socializing.” Pg 72 “Unfortunately, we have become caught up in the whirl of professionalization that characterizes the ministry…every child of God is a minister. I am not just referring to that individual who has felt a “call” to enter “the” ministry. Everyone who is a genuine disciple of Jesus has entered the ministry.” Pg. 80 “If every Christian is called to be a witness, and if every church has a global mission at its door, why are only certain people called “missionaries,”…” Pg 90 “If there are practices in our tradition that are in conflict with the New Testament revelation, then we have only one option, and that is to correct our practices. The Bible clearly rejects our clergy-laity divide.” Pg 91-92 “Let me flesh this out in four ways. If you are a church leader, might I suggest in the first place that you take down the diplomas hanging on your office wall? No one in your congregation is even faintly impressed by them ( I dare say, not even you should be). Second, recognize that biblical eldership has no room for religious titles or exalted positions like “senior pastor,” “associate pastor,” “reverend,” and the like. If you need a title, “elder” or “brother” will do just fine.” Pg 100 “Genuine Christian leadership is always based on truth and trust, not on power. In the New Testament we find functional distinctions between the leaders and the led but no hierarchical divisions. The New Testament church was “shepherded” by elders, men of wisdom and maturity who had earned the respect of others.” Pg 101 “Churches do not appoint elders; they recognize them.” Pg 102 “Often one elder will have more influence in the assembly because of his gifts and experience. But such an elder is not a “senior pastor” (head hancho); he is simply a “fellow elder” (1 Pet. 5:1).