I finished reading The Jesus Paradigm by David Alan Black. I have had several conversations with Brother Dave that gave me an opportunity to hear his heart and expect what I found in this book. It is not for the faint of heart. The writer challenges all of us who follow Jesus to truly follow Jesus’ example. He gives many examples of how the American Church has moved so far away from the New Testament church. This book calls the reader back to a simple faith, a life of simple obedience to the calling of Christ. As the author points out, we have moved so far from this pattern in our lives and our churches, that many ideas seem foreign to us.
Dave Black spends several chapters showing the example of the Anabaptists, the 16th century Radical Reformers. He does a great job explaining their communal, biblical lifestyle. We would all do well to learn from the Anabaptists, as Black rightly points out. He gives emphasis to concepts that we have largely lost today. The biblical pattern of “every member ministry” is found throughout this work. It is a good reminder to us all that we each have a responsibility to follow the Lord and be involved in His Kingdom work. Throughout the book, Black offers examples of how his family has changed their lifestyle to be more committed to following Christ. This is not done in a self-righteous way, but to give concrete examples of ways every believer can more closely follow Christ. Dr. Black is a respected scholar, but the things he shares in this work did not come from time in the library, but rather from time spent with the neglected, poor, humble, and forgotten…the same types that Jesus spent His time with.
I would encourage any follower of Jesus to read this book. It will challenge your thinking. May God use it to bring His church closer to Himself!