Book Review : Irresistible
I found, Irresistible : Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World by Andy Stanley, insightful, thought-provoking and encouraging. Early in the book, I found some of his comments exaggerated, but by the end of the book, I understood why he wrote as he did. This comment in the fly-leaf gives a good summary: “Andy Stanley illustrates how a shift from the resurrection of Jesus to a Bible-centric faith has left us with an anemic version of Christianity that undermines our credibility and our evangelistic effectiveness.”
Section 1: Simply Irresistible
Stanley gives a brief overview of Jewish history, the importance of the temple and the Mosaic covenant to the Jews. Jesus’ coming wasn’t about improving on the past but to bring something new.
Section 2: All Things New
The word translated church means a gathering or a congregation. Worship was no longer centred in a temple and God’s presence wasn’t located by geography. Jesus’ taught his followers principals, not rules. The new covenant operated by grace.
Section 3: A New Ethic
A single command is to serve as the overarching ethic for God’s new movement: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” In this new arrangement, Jesus’ followers make decisions based on the loving thing to do. Christians loving and caring for one another and those outside of faith is irresistible.
Section 4: A New Approach
Stanley honed in on his application, how should we live in light of Jesus’ new way? We would be better examples of Christianity if we were more sensitive to those outside the church and remembered that the Old Covenant is obsolete. Stanley gives many examples of how Christians still operate under the Old Covenant.
If we are discussing spirituality with non-Christians, we should stick to the foundational issues: Jesus’ death and resurrection, because what people believe about creation, moral issues and ethics won’t stop them coming to faith. We should avoid terms like: “The Bible says” or “The Bible teaches.” If people have some understanding of the Bible, they will know the Bible also says to stone adulterers and Sabbath-breakers. We need to focus more on the eye-witness accounts in the New Testament and quote from them.
While the Old Testament has much to teach us, it’s confusing for many people and has led to many walking away from faith. Stanley’s approach is to focus on Jesus and the teaching of the New Testament.
Overall, a helpful and challenging read.