The Red Letter Revolution has begun! What if Jesus meant what he said?

A question that many younger followers of Jesus are asking is: What if Jesus meant what he said?

It seems like an odd question on the surface. We’d be tempted to answer: Of course he did! Which exposes the deep importance that the question gets at.

Many of us who graduated just before or after the turn of the millennium have asked this question in various ways for the past decade or so. We’ve noticed that what we see in Scripture and specifically in the teachings (and actions) of Jesus isn’t always manifested in the life of God’s people. We’ve sanitized the revolutionary red letters of Scripture!

Today, Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Meant What He Said? by Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne officially releases. I’m working through the book as we speak and plan to say more about it during these next few days.

Here’s what I like about the book so far:

  • It deals with most of the important issues facing Christians in the West today.
  • It’s written in a dialogue format. Interestingly, they chose Times New Roman for Tony Campolo’s parts and a hip Ariel-esque font for Shane Claiborne’s parts. The conversational style feels as though we are “flies on the wall” on a conversation that puts into language the generational baton being passed from trailblazers like Tony (add to that list Ron Sider and Jim Wallis) and younger radicals like Shane.
  • I like the tone that they write with, respectable towards those who would be more compatible with traditional evangelical views. Tony even cites Jerry Falwell positively in the Pro-Life chapter without any sort of qualification (even though he clearly disagrees with him on several points).
  • I like that I can hand this to a friend who is wrestling with the question “What if Jesus meant what he said?” and trust that they will be able to take steps forward in their quest for answers after reading this book.

To give you a taste of the premise of the book, here is the first paragraph, written by Tony:

Whenever the word evangelical is used these days, a stereotype comes to mind. Whether or not that image is justified can be debated, but there is little argument that the word evangelical conjures up an image of Christians who are anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-environmentalist, pro-war, pro-capital punishment, and conservative Republican. There are many of us who are theologically evangelical, however, but defy that image. Trying to escape that definition a group of us gathered together to adopt a new name for ourselves: Red Letter Christians (IX).

Are you ready to join the Red Letter Revolution? If so, this book is for you. Are you curious about the next generation of Christian young people and what many of them value? Then this is a book worth picking up. Do you want to take Jesus at his word? Read this book and listen as two people, an older man and a younger one, discuss what they think it means to take the red letters of the Gospels seriously!

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  • Steve

    Does your new book answer these questions that are burning in my mind:

    * Does Jesus love gay people too?

    * Why don’t the Christians love gay people and respect their needs (ie. marriage)?

    If those answers are in your book, I will be purchasing a copy. I love your videos and net commentary. It is some of the clearest and intelligent work on modern Christianity that I’ve experienced. Thank you!

    • There is a whole chapter called: A dialogue on homosexuality

  • Sherwood

    It was a little over 37 years ago when I realized that most of what I had been led to believe – in church, were opinions of scholars, priests and prophets and they were – almost universally, wrong. How did I know? I compared what I had been told with what I was beginning to study in the New Testament. I left the former behind and began acting out the lessons of Jesus in my daily life and – lo and behold, my life was changed dramatically. You could say I am a Red Letter Christian as a result, but to be honest, I prefer to be known as a believer in Jesus Christ.

  • I am really excited to read it. I’ve been reading the Red Letter Christians website for about a year I think, maybe less, and have really been influenced by what I have read there.

  • Just got my copy last night and can’t wait to dig in. Looking forward to your review… I’ll shoot you a link to mine when it’s up!

  • Micah J. Murray

    I just finished this today. Can’t wait to here more of your thoughts!

    Here’s my review: