I enjoy two things greatly. One is Twitter, the other is the idea of God’s Kingdom and how we as Christians have the ability to interact with that in our daily lives. I follow a professor, theologian, and author (@ScotMcknight) on Twitter and he was discussing an upcoming book he was writing that was titled “The King Jesus Gospel”. I really appreciate a lot of what he writes about and I was really excited about this new book. In his blog he typically wrestles with culture, theology and worldviews and applies it to the real world. I really appreciate his down to earth discussion on really deep stuff and how the Bible applies to our everyday life and not just on Sunday mornings. So, needless to say, when I saw that an author I appreciate was writing on a topic that I see as an extremely important part of the Christian “experience” if you will I was really excited. Something that is unfortunately forgotten or missed, yet is the whole point of Christianity.
Before the book was officially released, I saw on twitter that Scot was giving away copies to the first 25 or so people that supplied contact information and answered a few short questions. I jumped on it and I got the book for free. I was pretty excited. As soon as I got it I started it. However, school started back up again and I did not make time for it. It is not the end of May and I just finished the book finally. It even took a few months to get through it this time. (I plan on being more disciplined and reading more books, I get “busy” and do not read as much as I want or should).
To the book.
This book starts out with an appeal to move from a Salvation Culture to a Gospel Culture. There is a huge difference in this two types of “Evangelism Techniques”. Salvation culture is “me-centric”- Jesus came to save me from sin, Jesus came to allow me a space in heaven, etc. This is all correct theology, but often we stay here and we do not demonstrate the fullness of what Christianity offers, what Scot refers to as gospel culture. This gospel culture appeals to the entire Bible (Old and New Testament) and sees Christ as not just a savior from sin, but as the Messiah that is looked forward to by the Israelites and the Old Testament. This is something I am working through with the youth group currently. I am trying to tie together the fact that Jesus came to save us from Hell, but there is more than that and Jesus is not just for you and me, but fulfills deeper things. Perfected Gen. 15 (Covenant with Abraham), Perfected the 10 Commandments, and was necessary to rebuild the relationship broken by man’s desire to do things his way.
Scot McKnight then proceeds to dissect some of Paul’s, Peter’s, and Jesus’ statements to determine whether they all speak of the same “Gospel”. McKnight summarizes the “Gospel” as preaching Jesus as the Messiah that the Prophets of the Old Testament spoke of and whether Jesus fulfills the roles that He is supposed to as Messiah and Son of God. The conclusion is that they all do preach the same message. The main thrust of these sections is the necessity of looking at the Old Testament. Jesus appeals to Old Testament texts to describe himself. Paul and Peter also appeal to OT texts as well as phrasing that appeal to the Old Testament as speaking and teaching of the Messiah and Jesus fulfilling those necessary prophecies. We passively expect this to be the case, the Bible telling stories that all coincide, but it is extremely interesting and encouraging to see that everything truly does align and make sense. McKnight finishes his book by summarizing that the only way to be Gospel focused is by immersing ourselves in the Word. Know the Story, know how things fit together, and understand how the Scripture really applies to our everyday life. We have been given power in the form of the Holy Spirit and we truly need to tap into that to make an impact in the world (spiritually and physically). An interesting point that was made in the book is the need to know scripture how to utilize it to speak against worldviews that are contrary to the Gospel and how the Gospel truly can provide a fuller picture of life than the current, broken worldview that is held. Some of these broken worldviews are; Individualism, Consumerism, and Postmodern worldviews.
This is why I enjoy the hardcore scene so much, even though there is no “scene” close to where I live. Many people within the hardcore culture (HXC) hold to “straight edge”. This is summarized by clean living- no drugs, alcohol, and often times no sex outside of marriage or a committed relationship. These are great things to do or be. These are things that many Christians hold to themselves, this is just missing a key aspect- Jesus Christ. This is all done out of self power or power of a community (brotherhood). Straight Edge has the acts of Christianity, but a broken source- self as opposed to Christ. The Gospel perfects this worldview. I am not saying to just add Jesus, Jesus replaces- He is everything, fully sufficient for all of our needs, this is an example of how we need to present the Gospel to worldviews that in a sense trumps the broken worldview and the Gospel is seen as even more sufficient and powerful.
This is a very brief summary of the book. It is short, so you should pick it up and read it yourself. I really appreciated this book. I do wish that there was more discussion on discipleship, but that is an understood movement from the understanding of Jesus as Messiah, and us taking part in a larger story. We are to follow after and allow Christ to become our King. We are to give the rights of our life over to God. Again, I wish this was discussed more in the book, but it would be the logical conclusion to what McKnight discusses. Too many times I have seen students (or adults) on fire for God and then they just disappear and do their own thing. As a whole, the church has done a poor job describing the importance of Salvation. It is more than just a one time decision, and Scot McKnight’s book “The King Jesus Gospel” really begins the discussion and giving solid biblical support for a deeper understanding of who Jesus was and what salvation is.