Friday, April 5, 2013
Prototype by Jonathan Martin
Pastor challenges believers to follow Jesus as their model and find a ‘whole new way of being human’
Grappling with tough issues one night concerning the bride of Christ, Pastor Jonathan Martin wrote “A Letter to a Ravaged Bride.” Martin’s letter challenges God’s people to “once again become the beautiful people of God for the world,” he writes.
In Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think?, Martin discusses how it is possible for the church to become beautiful by following Jesus’ example on how to live. Martin sees Jesus as a model for believers—“God’s prototype for a whole new way of being human.”
The author argues that each child of God must begin with an accurate understanding of his identity, just as Christ knew his true identity—that He “was loved by God the Father.” He explains that if believers encounter God like children, with innocence and trust, before fear and disappointment crept in, they can see that they, too, are God’s beloved simply because they exist. When believers know this deeply, Martin says, it affects their every decision, and they become more like Jesus.
Martin also examines what he calls “obscurity.” While it is not valued in our culture, he says, separating oneself from the busyness of life and focusing on God are important so that God can deepen the believer’s relationship with Him. In this type of wilderness, the Christian is strengthened, identity is reinforced, and he or she is freshly able to distinguish the voice of the accuser, as Jesus did in His wilderness experience.
Obscurity then leads to calling, even though believers are all unlikely workers for God’s purposes, as Moses and David were, Martin said. At the author’s church, Renovatus in Charlotte, N.C., members embrace the reality that all believers are misfits. They call themselves “a church for people under renovation.”
Further, Martin points out that following Jesus involves the sacraments, the “bodily, physical practices” of baptism, communion and caring for the sick. He emphasizes community—with depth of relationship—and says that when we understand how much God loves us, we long to tell others our story of “belovedness” because it is part of a larger story, of what “God has in store for His creation.”
Prototype includes a study guide and releases this month from Tyndale Momentum, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers.