Book Review: One.Life – Jesus Calls, We Follow

One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow by Scot McKnight

Paperback: 208 pages  |||  Publisher: Zondervan  |||  ISBN: 9780310277668

One.Life is a very timely and a very important book. Written by Dr. Scot McKnight, One.Life “invites you to discover what Jesus meant when he announced the arrival of God’s kingdom, and why his message had such a profound impact on his listeners.”

I believe this book is timely and important for several reasons; first, is the primal call it illustrates in its subtitle: “Jesus calls, We follow.” This is the foundational summons of Jesus’ gospel message; “The kingdom is here and the kingdom is coming… Follow me to become part of it.”

A second reason this book is important is the present day and age which we now live in serves us a reduced gospel. The kingdom message of Christ is a “high bar” message; it costs the recipient their One.Life if they choose to become part of the kingdom in full. Just today (illustrating the timeliness of the book), I was deeply saddened by a blog post that (in my opinion) depicted a very reduced gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a transformative message that alters and radically changes individuals in the kingdom today as well as the kingdom tomorrow. This is further supported through the chapters of One.Life as McKnight takes the reader through elements of the kingdom today life depicted in example areas of love, justice, peace, wisdom, church, commitment, sex, and vocation.

“Followers of Jesus follow Jesus. Those who aren’t following Jesus aren’t’ his followers. It’s that simple. Followers follow, and those who don’t follow aren’t followers.” (p.70)

Another reason the book is timely and important, and this somewhat compliments the example of the reduced gospel I mentioned in the previous paragraph, is people’s refusal to enter the through the “narrow gate” of the kingdom Jesus describes. Jesus pronounced himself as the Gate to the kingdom; entry was through him alone. The way to “go through him” was/is through (1) repentance, or turning 180 degrees from our present way of doing things (2) denial of self (3) taking up our “cross” – sacrifice of ourselves for the sake of others. This way of the kingdom is very distilled, but the essence of the distillation can be summed up from Philippians 2:5-7 and 1 John 2:6. The reason people do not see radical transformation in many, many professed followers of Christ… many, many have never taken the first steps into the kingdom, much less have qualified as followers.

I appreciate the candor and honesty that Scot writes with in One.Life. I am reasonably sure there will be some (maybe much) push back to the message of the book. There are some very definitive statements made in some of the chapters that do not leave room for the reduced gospel. This One.Life speaks about transformation in the here, in the now, and in the eternal future… the limitations to the transformation are “self” imposed limitations. If I read McKnight correctly, he says where the Spirit takes over a life, that life becomes a transformative instrument of the Creative and Transforming God. He illustrates this with a brief commentary on Pentecost:

“God’s kingdom happens when human beings are empowered by God’s Spirit to do God’s kingdom work in the shape of a new community. That is, when Pentecost happens, the Spirit of God… Transforms human abilities, and Transcends human inabilities, so Transformed people can participate In God’s kingdom community in the here and now.” (p.100)

Personally, I am exceedingly thankful for this book. I don’t think there is anything that I read in it that has revolutionized my thinking. I read the Bible and the gospels in particular and come away with very similar convictions as written throughout One.Life. My gratitude comes in the way of being encouraged, inspired, and affirmed. Living, proclaiming, writing, and preaching the “love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your might, all your strength… and love your neighbor as yourself” is not easy. It is not popular and it takes daily self-denial. It is costly as reminded by so many saints that have preceded us. So, I am thankful for this book. It comes to me at a time when I am need of encouragement and my convictions need a “shot in the arm.” This is a wonderful book and I recommend it highly. If you read it and are encouraged to truly answer the call of Jesus to “Follow Me” you might also try a few of Scot McKnight’s other books. I would also highly recommend The Jesus Creed, A Community Called Atonement, and Praying with the Church. These books have been very helpful to me and continue to serve as discipling tools in my life and the lives of many others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing to read and post a review on my site. 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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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