Title: The Jesus Creed for Students
Author(s): by Scot McKnight, with Chris Folmsbee & Syler Thomas
Book Description: Paperback, 106 pages, 12 Chapters
When Jesus is asked about the greatest of all the commandments he responds by bringing together the central belief of his Jewish upbringing, to love God alone with everything you are, and the call of God to love your neighbor as yourself. Scot McKnight refers to Jesus’ response to love God and love others as the Jesus Creed, the central statement of Jesus’ life. With this at the center of God’s will for his creation, McKnight calls for Christians to reshape their life in orbit around the Jesus Creed. With the help of Chris Folmsbee and Syler Thomas, this concept has been packaged for high school and college students as a call to a Christ-shaped spiritual formation. The book delves into issues of forgiveness and identity and asks how practices like the Lord’s prayer can be understood in light of the Jesus Creed.
The Jesus Creed for Students is an accessible look at what can be a life altering understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. To say that we are supposed to love God and love others is a simple statement that will take a life time to live out. This short book takes the concept and puts in terms that most students won’t struggle to understand. The content of the book is incredibly relevant to the needs of teens. Issues of identity and worth are looked at through God’s eyes, and I believe it could offer students hope out of the endless cycle of trying to find worth in fads or social acceptance. It’s worth the price of the book for Chapter 5 alone, as it deals with the importance of forgiveness. I’ve found that this is the most difficult topic for teens to wrestle with, especially when it refers to forgiveness of one’s enemies. Teens have real enemies in their social lives and the call to love them is a great challenge.
At the end of chapter 11, “You are Jesus (seriously.)” I made the following note, “What an arresting chapter, I hope they devour it.” This book looks seriously at our role as Jesus’ embodied presence in the world today. It is convicting in ways that typical church speak misses. It calls us to a life that submits to our vocation to be Jesus’ representatives to the people around us, while recognizing that we do so as clay pots, imperfect vessels for God’s perfect love.
On the whole I love this book and I’m looking forward to doing it as a small group with my high school students this summer. At times it seems that there was too much effort made to sponge out the “church language” and that muddies the water a bit, but this is rather rare and the book as a whole is pretty clear. I must say that I had the same experience reading this version that I did in the original Jesus Creed in that I seemed to find it difficult to connect some dots as I read the chapters between the opening explanation of the Jesus Creed and the presentation of the Lord’s Prayer. By the time you get through the chapter on the Lord’s Prayer it all fit together and made sense, but I had to push through by an act of will and trust it would for a couple of chapters.
I would highly recommend this book for a high school small group or any teen or early college student who may be interested in what it means to be a Christian and how to live that out. I hope you’ll check it out.