Today’s guest post is written by Michael L. Brown, author of Revolution: Jesus’ Call to Change the World and Revolution in the Church: Challenging the Religious System with a Call for Radical Change.
“We socialists would have nothing to do if you Christians had continued the revolution begun by Jesus.” These words were spoken by a leading socialist in the 1920s, yet more than 90 years later, they remain foreign to many Christian ears. What “revolution” did Jesus begin? And was Jesus in any sense a “revolutionary”?
The answer is that Jesus came into our world to launch God’s revolution—a kingdom revolution, a revolution of the Spirit, a world-changing movement that would overcome evil with good and hatred with love, and Jesus himself was the most radical revolutionary leader who ever lived.
Jesus called for revolutionary commitment
All too often, however, we look at Jesus as the founder of a “lovely home and garden religion,” called Christianity, a harmless spiritual leader who left behind some lovely platitudes and inspirational thoughts, a man whose memory we celebrate at the annual Easter egg hunt.
But that is hardly the Jesus of the New Testament. His message was a threat to the religious establishment. He called for dramatic, sweeping—yes, revolutionary—change. He taught his followers to pray radical prayers like, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”—meaning, the displacement of the corrupt kingdoms of this world by the perfect kingdom of God. He called his disciples to revolutionary commitment, urging them to leave everything and follow him, and in his platform message, he promised freedom to the captives (Luke 4:18–21).
That is the language of a revolution, and that is the language we must recover today, as our nation teeter-totters on the verge of moral and social (not to mention economic) collapse. We need a Jesus-based cultural revolution that will recover the fear of God, the respect of honor, the dignity of family, and the beauty of morality.
Join the revolution
That is why I wrote Revolution: Jesus’ Call to Change the World, a life-changing book filled with challenging examples from saints and martyrs of the past.
However, before there can be a revolution in this society, there must first be a revolution in the Church, since the world has been changing the Church of America more than the Church of America has been changing the world. As Dr. Martin Luther King warned decades ago, “If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”
That is why I wrote Revolution in the Church: Challenging the Religious System with a Call for Radical Change—to examine our present methods of leadership and ministry against the biblical grid. For those bold enough to take the challenge, the rewards will outweigh the difficulties.
There is reason for great hope. As expressed by the late Vernon Grounds, former chancellor of Denver Theological Seminary, “A Christian who . . . becomes a revolutionary will serve as a revolutionary catalyst in the Church; and by the multiplication of revolutionized Christians, the Church will become a revolutionary catalyst in society; and if society is sufficiently revolutionized, a revolution of violence will no more be needed than a windmill in a world of atomic energy.”