REVIEW: For the One

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For the One: Voices From the One Project, Nathan Brown, Alex Bryan, Japhet De Oliveira, editors; Signs Publishing, Victoria, Australia, 2014, 184 pages, US$14.99. Reviewed by Stephen Chavez, coordinating editor, Adventist Review.

“I was constrained to admit that the Scriptures must be a revelation from God. They became my delight; and in Jesus I found a friend.” With these words William Miller described the role Jesus played in his conversion. Miller, universally acknowledged as the catalyst of the movement that eventually became the Seventh-day Adventist Church, here confesses the passion that guided his Bible study and resulted in his understanding that Jesus would return in 1843 or 1844.

For the One is a much-needed reminder that our heritage as Seventh-day Adventists is properly defined by how loyal we are to Jesus and the principles of His kingdom.

While most Adventists still honor Miller as an interpreter of prophecy, they tend to overlook the fact that Miller’s focus on Jesus is what made Christ’s return so important to him.

When Christ didn’t return on October 22, 1844, Millerite Adventists were consumed with another passion: proving that their interpretation of prophecy wasn’t necessarily incorrect. As the spiritual descendants of that movement, Adventists still value orthodoxy in prophetic interpretation, making this book an important contribution to the conversation about what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist in the twenty-first century. For the One is a product of the One Project, a series of national and international conferences “where Jesus is fully honored as Creator, Savior, and Lord.” One Project organisers live by the credo: Jesus. All.
 

The book is essentially a collection of “best of” presentations from One Project conferences in the past few years. Divided into three sections (“Jesus in Our History,” “Jesus in Our Theology,” and “Jesus in Our Practice”), the book dares to imagine what the Seventh-day Adventist Church would look like if our personal and corporate practice fully reflected the reality: Jesus. All.

Reading For the One makes one identify with the apprehension doubtless felt by the disciple Peter, who invited himself to walk with Jesus on the water. Is it possible to live single-mindedly for Jesus and His kingdom? And if so, how will that be manifested by His church?

Not surprisingly, as the One Project has been gaining traction, an increasing number of voices, challenged by the radical claims of Christ, are extolling the primacy of doctrine and organisation, suggesting that a focus on Christ alone is inadequate, and in fact dangerous for the future of the church.

In that regard, the danger to the church is believing that focusing on Jesus could possibly be a threat. The book offers several comparisons to those other “chosen people” who lived in the first century, and describes the scandal they felt at Jesus’ first advent. With those comparisons comes a warning lest we are likewise scandalised by a concept as simple as Jesus. All.

For the One is a much-needed reminder that our heritage as Seventh-day Adventists is properly defined by how loyal we are to Jesus and the principles of His kingdom.

If it’s been a while since you’ve read a book that’s changed your life, read For the One.