© 2013 by Samuel Rodriguez
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
The thesis of this book is simple: Christians should not follow the agenda of the donkey or the elephant but, rather, the agenda of the Lamb. The agendas of the two leading political parties in the United States are not consistent with God’s plan for individuals or the country. Rather, the way our country and its people can best be served is by meeting at the nexus of the cross. If we, especially Christians who seek to follow Christ as closely as humanly possible, establish a vertical relationship with God (the vertical element of the cross) and a horizontal relationship in serving others (the horizontal element of the cross), we will be sitting at the center of the cross, with this meaning in many figurative ways.
Rodriguez is articulate and convincing in his presentation. He has the delivery of an evangelist and the conviction of a true believer. The call – indeed, the mandate – to serve in righteousness and justice is clear. Jesus made it clear in His teaching and others who have followed Him have made it equally clear. God has declared, through His Word, written by Ethan, that “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face. (Psalm 89:14). We cannot only focus on righteousness, as is often done by white believers, nor on justice, as is often the focus of black believers. Both the vertical elements and the horizontal elements are essential components of God’s plan and the teachings of Jesus. We are called as believers to adopt both the Imago Dei with the Habitus Chrtistus.
We are presented the beliefs of men like Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr. and have no conflict in reconciling the two. We are presented with the need to recognize both John 3:16 (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.) and Matthew 25:45 (… inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.). Men like William Wilberforce and Chuck Colson saw inequities in their relationships with both God and men and were graciously rescued from them to go on and serve both God (vertical) and men (horizontal).
Likewise, we learn from our history that commerce without convictions is hollow. Rodriquez shows us how the commercial pursuits of Jamestown and the convictions of Plymouth merge to form the American experience. Both have contributed to a mighty nation and both need to be pursued under the principles of the Lamb’s agenda. When we pursue only the commercial without the compassion, we fail. However, we can pursue both, both as individuals and as a country. The pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is, however, in the context of God over man and man over government – any other configuration will cause failure. In short, we are given a prescription to avoid the moral relativism we currently experience: live in His image, walk in His Spirit, exist in His grace.
In the end, we are told we have a choice. We can live by faith or we can walk by sight, we can choose to believe or reject God, we can choose to establish a vertical as well as a horizontal connection. It is my prayer that, as a country and as individuals, we recognize our responsibilities to God (vertical) and man (horizontal) and base those relationships on the Lamb’s agenda.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was received for free from the publisher but a positive review was not required. The opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. This disclosure is in accordance with the United States Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” 16 CFR, Part 255.