Speak Easy Book Review: “ Catching a Contagious Christianity”
Viral Jesus: Recovering the Contagious Power of the Gospel (Passio, 2012) by Ross Rohde.
I recently read Ross Rohde’s new book Viral Jesus and I must say, for understanding Christianity as a movement, it has been great. Ross wastes no time exposing the contagious culture of the New Testament church as his argument is for the need in the West to recover the apostolic zeal of discipleship, evangelism, and the supernatural. His discussion on Hellenistic and Hebraic worldviews in the Introduction is invaluable for understanding some of how the institutional church has lost Her organic roots.
Essentially the book is set up in three parts. In part one, chapters 1-3, Ross describes the realities of viral Jesus movements. Secondly, he gives an account of historic Jesus movements including the early church in chapter 4, the rise of Christendom in chapter 5, and the Chinese house church in chapter 7. Finally part three discusses the “practicalities of a viral Jesus movement” (p. 191). Other than the Introduction, this section is by far my favorite.
Ross sheds biblical insight to doing discipleship, church planting, and evangelism in the context of organic multiplication and most importantly under the headship of Jesus Christ. This reality of Jesus being Lord is a reoccurring theme throughout the book. In several occasions, Ross refers to this as the simple creed of First Century Christians and the church’s “pledge of allegiance” for life and ministry. Ross claims that the current Western Church would be more vibrant and viral if She solely embraced the leadership of Jesus as opposed to institutional and hierarchical structures. I agree. Movements spread best by being light weight and low maintenance.
Viral Jesus contains a very “sneeze-able” message about how the Gospel can be spread through relationships at close range. Jesus’ teachings were intended to spread a pandemic that forever changed the world. As the Western world is at a hinge point in history, recovering from Christendom and progressing further along into post-postmodernity, the Church can once again gain momentum, empowered by the Spirit for the massive spreading of a holy epidemic.
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.