JohnSWilson3 Blog

Review of “Christ Minimized?” by Jon Zens
January 24, 2012, 2:19 am
Filed under: 2A - Book Reviews

This is my review of Jon Zens new “booklet” titled “Christ Minimized? A Response to Rob Bell’s LOVE WINS.” This review comes from my conviction and I understand that there are a number of opinions on the subject. Many voices have shared their thoughts on the subject but really like Jon Zens and David Flowers articles on the subject.

When I read the title “Christ Minimized?” of Jon Zens response to Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” I immediately was captured again by Jon’s desire to see Jesus Christ made supreme and central to the ekkelsia of God, His body. How Christ desires to be Lord, Leader, and Life among His people and not a set of teachings or practices, but real food, real water, real life. How Christ desires to live supremely and centrally in His ekklesia, His body!

In “Christ Minimized?” Jon Zens again very astutely brings out the centrality of Christ as he reflects on the thoughts from Rob’s controversial book. Jon looks at what Bell writes and searches the Christ of scripture to give a more balanced view that neither those who ascribe to “eternal torment” or “universalism” wants to reconcile. Jon’s approach is to see what scripture really says and lay it before the body and let the ekklesia see the reality of what was written to the ekklesias in the first century. Jon comes with a heart, like all believers past and present, that all would know our Lord, but realizing that while God so loved the world that He sent His Son, not everyone would believe in Him. What is the fate of those who do not trust in Jesus Christ? Can we accept “eternal torment” as perpetrated by the institutional church or does scripture say something different, such as “perish.” I am more inclined to believe what scripture says.

As Jon points out, much of one’s opinions can often be masked by the dangers of reading our current modern and traditional practices into the interpretation of the Bible. Jon has been uniquely gifted of the Lord to help the body search the scripture and allow His Spirit to interpret it for us. His previous books are key benchmarks in the plethora of false teachings that have become the tradition of the institutional church for centuries, traditions that have been accepted without question and kept His people silent and blind to the reality of Christ in them. His response to Rob Bell’s book is just one more to add to the body to see what Christ really says. In “A Church Building Every ½ Mile” Jon asks God’s people to question the institutional church’s traditions and the “tragic shifts” that describe how far it has fallen from its organic roots in Christ. In “What’s With Paul and Women?” Jon asks God’s people to relook the role of women the institutional church has perpetrated and what Paul really said in his letters to the ekklesia. Just recently in “The Pastor Has No Clothes!” Jon asks God’s people to question and even challenge the heresy of the clergy-laity divide, perhaps the one tradition that has so robbed Christ of His full expression in His body.

We can too often focus on only one side of what scripture says to the limitation or silence of the rest of scripture. Perhaps this is the reason we are called to search the scripture together so that Christ in us can give us better sight as to what He really wants us to know, to see a more balanced teaching in the body and the fuller expression of the life of Christ in His people. Rob’s book is one more voice in the powder keg of emotion in the religious debates of history regarding eternal torment or universalism, debates that sadly have divided the body and left a trail of tears. Jon comes in though and brings out the voice of balance, the voice of insight, the voice of reality that can only be Christ in him. But Jon is not alone in this discussion as he points out numerous witnesses of those past and present who have expressed their portion of Christ Jesus, speaking the ultimate value of His incarnation, life, resurrection, ascension, and now His life in His ekkelsia. Christ is bigger than Rob Bell or any of us can imagine. In the end Jon humbly assents that “no position is airtight, and there are always a few Scriptures that seem to challenge every view…” In my own study and learning to hear Christ in me, the words Jon Zens shares are my own as well. In fact it is surprising how what I read are the same conclusions I have also come to acknowledge. Only the Spirit can do that. May the Father give us spiritual sight to see more of His Son in His body.

If you would like to get Jon’s book go to:

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thanks for this review, John. I’ve been wanting to check into Jon’s book if not for the fact that my reading list is already so backed up. Where did you get your copy?

Comment by Josh

Hi Josh,
actually the book is a short read, while I noted it being a “booklet.” Jon does a great job focusing on the key points in 55 pages, more like a chapter book. I preordered it from Jon last year since I subscribe to his “Searching Together” magazine. Blessings brother.

Comment by John Wilson

Thank you for this review, brother John. I am looking forward to reading it once I get the chance. The riches and depths of Christ to you all.

Comment by Daniel Norlin

thanks for commenting Daniel, appreciate you brother, :).

Comment by John Wilson

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