The Systematic Exclusion of Jesus from Christianity

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : November 8, 2004

Read this great article by Steve Bush on Next-Wave.  Here is his thesis:

Most churches make poverty amelioration one aspect
of their ministry, but precious few make such efforts the central focus
of their ministry, in opposition to the pattern we see in Jesus. In
other words, for most churches Jesus is an object of worship but not
emulation. The focus of Jesus’ ministry, empowerment, is systematically
excluded from the center of U.S. Christian discourse and practice. I
want to explore some of the reasons why I believe this is so.

He gives eight reasons for this.  Check the article out if your interested in reading his thoughts.  I’d definitely recommend it.

Mark Van Steenwyk is the general editor of Jesus Manifesto. He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.

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Viewing 3 Comments

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    I did look at his site, as well as gander at some of his other writings. I guess I would have to say, that although I would agree that we are missing part of the message of Jesus in our churches, we certainly do not need to DE-EMPHISIZE his soterological work of forensic atonement on the cross. Steve Bush is a NT Wright guy, who is sympathetic to the whole annilationism concept (see

    So, his starting point is so radically different from mine. Yes, all that he says is true, but NOT to the exclusion of Jesus death and resurrection being for my INDIVIDUAL eternal salvation. 2 Corinthians 4 and 5 make no sense otherwise. What do you all think?

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    I don't think he's excluding individual salvation. I think he's lifting up the "already" of the Kingdom of God. Perhaps he lifts it above the "not yet" but I would argue that lifting the "not yet" above the "already" is about as destrucive as the reverse.
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    I don't think that annilationism is necessarily a threat to a robust idea of salvation. If you think it is, you at least run the risk of the hell, fire and brimstone preaching that leads to salvation as "fire insurance" rather than as being united with Christ in his and your sufferings, death and resurrection.


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