Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel
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For Johnson, the real Jesus is not simply a historical figure - a dead man whose authentic words and deeds can be approached through historical research and textual analysis. Rather, the real Jesus is the resurrected Lord of Christian faith - a living savior who can be encountered in the world today. Being a Christian means learning this living Jesus by "putting on the mind of Christ" and being transformed in his image. He demonstrates how Jesus is present in the community of the Christian church - and how the church is instrumental in helping us learn Jesus. For Johnson, the Christian traditions that the church embodies - canon, creed, worship, prayer, veneration of saints, charity toward the powerless - are not dilutions of Jesus' message, but essential components of an authentic Christian spirituality.