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Contemporary evangelicals have built a 'salvation culture' but not a 'gospel culture.' Evangelicals have reduced the gospel to the message of personal salvation. This book makes a plea for us to recover the old gospel as that which is still new and still fresh. The book stands on four arguments: that the gospel is defined by the apostles in 1 Corinthians 15 as the completiContemporary evangelicals have built a 'salvation culture' but not a 'gospel culture.' Evangelicals have reduced the gospel to the message of personal salvation. This book makes a plea for us to recover the old gospel as that which is still new and still fresh. The book stands on four arguments: that the gospel is defined by the apostles in 1 Corinthians 15 as the completion of the Story of Israel in the saving Story of Jesus; that the gospel is found in the Four Gospels; that the gospel was preached by Jesus; and that the sermons in the Book of Acts are the best example of gospeling in the New Testament. The King Jesus Gospel ends with practical suggestions about evangelism and about building a gospel culture....

Title : The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited
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ISBN : 13040623
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Number of Pages : 193 Pages
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The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited Reviews

  • JR Rozko
    2018-08-02 05:49

    Scot wrote a book that needed to be written and wrote it well. It will appeal to a broad readership. Some will understand it... and get angry. Others will misunderstand it... and get angry. Then there will be people like me... who get it, but far from getting angry, feel like he should have said more, or at least different things in order to A) get his point across and B) be more constructive w/ his proposal. In the final analysis, I think he does his readership a dis-service by overly separating what he calls "a gospel culture" and "a soterian culture." In my estimation, the real problem isn't that we've conflated these ideas, but that we've misunderstood them. Put another way, the gospel-problem as I see it played out, both in theology as well as int he life of church communities, isn't that we've focused on salvation when we should have focused on the gospel, it's that we haven't rightly understood the proper relation between these things. Scot does a great job of critiquing the un-biblical notion of "personal salvation," as a way to understand the gospel, but could (or ought to really) have said more about a more proper way to understand the relationship b/t the gospel and salvation. In a future book perhaps.

  • Gregory
    2018-08-16 05:22

    Scot McKnight's new book, "The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited," is a keeper. In fact, I would say it's one of the best theological books I've ever read. Part of what makes it exciting is that McKnight is excited himself! You can sense his energy and his joy in his subject, as he leads us step-by-step through his own theological development. It takes some work to read Jesus in his own context, and McKnight is patient with us.I used this book in my classes at a Christian school, to help bolster my case that Christians should read the Old Testament more. My students were honest in their admission that they don't read the Old Testament much, and don't see the point. McKnight argues that, unless we understand the story of Israel, we cannot really understand Jesus.I appreciated his critique of the Reformation, his insistence that we learn about the early church, and his endorsement of prayer-books and creeds. If you don't see how those are connected with Jesus in first-century context, you'll just have to buy the book and find out for yourself!My only real question concerns the "contextualization" question. McKnight presents a solid case that Apostolic preaching looked like thus-and-such. Basically, the preaching of Peter and Paul was dramatically different than our "four spiritual laws" presentations and arm-twisting methods of "gospel" persuasion. Granted. But, Peter and Paul were preaching to a largely Jewish culture. Even when Paul is writing to sort out problems between Jews and Gentiles, he's still working within Jewish categories. When we take the Gospel to Africa, do we still stress every aspect of Old Testament history as much as the Apostles did? Stephen's speech in Acts wouldn't seem to work so well in remote jungles. I hope McKnight will take this up in another book.Overall, this is a splendid book, and I hope it will help to shake up the anemic and shallow American church!

  • Nathan Mladin
    2018-07-29 00:30

    Much needed corrective to soteric reductionism (sobering quote: "We have reduced the life of Jesus to Good Friday, and therefore reduced the gospel to the crucifixion, and then soterians have reduced Jesus to transactions of a Savior" - p. 119). My main quibble with McKnight is that he's given us a more or less snappy, little book, when such an important theme would have deserved a lengthier and even more nuanced treatment. For example, his definition of the gospel as the story of Jesus completing or consummating the Story of Israel has not lead to 'aham' reactions, rather to a series of questions like: what about pre-Israel biblical material? what about Adam and Eve? The controversial question about the relationship between Israel and the Church also popped up? What do contemporary Romanian, British, American Christians (etc.) have to do with Israel's story being completed? Admittedly, McKnight has cogently answered many of these questions on his blog. However, it would have been better to produce a much more substantial treatment from the outset, rather than qualify and clarify in subsequent blog posts all sorts of loose ends in the snappy book. Nevertheless, the book is a good start. It will constitute a good trigger and point of departure for healthy theological reflection. I still feel he has downplayed a bit the soteric aspect of Jesus's ministry in the attempt to present him in His Kingly capacity, as the Messiah and Lord. We do indeed need the bigger vision, narratively framed, in order to understand particular functions of Jesus' ministry. And for this purpose, McKnight's King Jesus Gospel is just great.

  • Robert Martin
    2018-08-14 08:48

    Every now and then, someone comes along and writes a book that turns upside down all our thinking about what Christianity is all about and what we're supposed to be doing in the meantime. Some folks have said that Brian McClaren's books"Generous Orthodoxy" or "A New Kind of Christian" were such a book. Those books, however, only asked a lot of questions and really didn't put forward many answers. There was no roadmap, really, of how to move forward from the questioning that is so prevalent in post-modernist/post-Christendom thinking and discussions. Even the missional conversation has spent a lot of time asking questions.McKnight has hit a home run with this one. There is so much talk among Christian circles about what we're supposed to do next, how do we change our churches, how do we do these different things. But no one, until now, has taken us back to the beginning of the whole story and said, "We must start here". McKnight has done so. All our other conversations about what "church" should look like, what Christians should be doing, what the mission of God is" spend time looking at the effects of the gospel. McKnight takes us to what the REAL gospel is and sets aside all sorts of bad assumptions and bad ideas to take us to the heart of the problem. Hints of this were in the "Jesus Creed" but I think, as a starting point moving forward for Western Christianity, "The King Jesus Gospel" is, by far, the best book for grounding us firmly in who Jesus is and what it means for our lives.Read it.Read my blog at Abnormal Anabaptist for a more detailed review.

  • Brett
    2018-07-24 08:50

    Defining the gospel has become a battleground between warring theologies. Is the gospel primarily about justification by faith, the kingdom of God, or the restoration of all things? McKnight’s offering here is an important (game changing?) contribution to the discussion. McKnight begins at First Corinthians 15 and fleshes out the contours of the gospel: The story of Israel (shorthand for God’s self-revelation throughout the OT) brought to completion in the story of Jesus. This is the gospel that Paul preached, and Peter (McKnight walks us through their “gospeling” in Acts). In fact, this is the gospel that Jesus preached: Himself – and ultimately His own death and resurrection – as the fulfillment of God’s work in Israel. McKnight calls to repentance the contemporary church, which often sees the gospel only in terms of salvation (four spiritual laws). This truncates a rightful understanding of God’s work in history. McKnight’s contribution to the gospel debate is a must-read. A+

  • Laura
    2018-07-31 06:20

    This book happens to be written by my dad, so you should read it! :) I like how he concludes the book, with C.S. Lewis' description of Aslan (Jesus):Watch the Lion roam.Watch the Lion die on the Stone Table.Watch the Stone Table crack with new creation powers.Listen to the Lion's Roar.Trust the Lion.Love the Lion.Live for the Lion.This sums up our gospel as Christians, the King Jesus Gospel.

  • John
    2018-08-10 06:29

    McKnight started to write a book that desperately needed to be written, unfortunately he didn't finish it.The strength of McKnight's book is in his message that "we evangelicals (mistakenly) equate the word gospel with the word salvation. Hence, we are really “salvationists.” When we evangelicals see the word gospel, our instinct is to think (personal) “salvation.” We are wired this way. But these two words don’t mean the same thing, and this book will do its best to show the differences." In doing this, he corrects the biggest weakness in Greg Gilbert's "What is the Gospel?".He actually addresses Gilbert directly, writing:"Please recognize that I’m not saying Gilbert’s expositions of specific points are wrong even if I would frame things differently. What I am saying is that Gilbert begins in the wrong place because he equates gospel with salvation — the Plan of Salvation — and does not therefore see the fundamental gospel to be a declaration about Jesus Christ as the resolution of Israel’s Story. He has processed the story through the lens of the Plan of Salvation, but the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15 processes the gospel through the lens of Israel’s Story, finding its resting place in Jesus Christ. In doing this Gilbert has omitted fundamental layers of the gospel."This is dead on--which is why I would never give Gilbert's book to a non-believer. He criticizes what he calls the "soterian" gospel model, writing:"When the plan gets separated from the story, the plan almost always becomes abstract, propositional, logical, rational, and philosophical and, most importantly, de-storified and unbiblical. When we separate the Plan of Salvation from the story, we cut ourselves off the story that identifies us and tells our past and tells our future. We separate ourselves from Jesus and turn the Christian faith into a System of Salvation."One of the most helpful arguments he makes, is to push his readers back to the four gospels. It is there that we ought to work to seek to understand what the gospel is. The four books were named "The Gospel According to ..." for a reason.All this being said, the setup is great--he really seems to understand what is missing in our "plan of salvation" culture. What is missing is the back story--the Old Testament. But here is the greatest weakness of the book, he doesn't do much to explain that back story. What little he says, is much too brief and flat.Because he does so little to develop the story that Jesus completes, the rest of the book is a bit hollow. Much more could have been said and developed than was, and this is the most glaring weakness of the book.So this is a better book than "What is the Gospel?" but I'm still looking for a book that really articulates the breadth of the gospel in a satisfactory way.

  • Benjamin
    2018-08-16 00:35

    I had heard some rave reviews of this book, so thought I'd give it a chance. However, since I was already familiar with some of the basic ideas in it, my expectations were not overly high. The problem McKnight proposes to tackle is truly an important one: how to see those in churches become disciples. While the discussion is worthy, I don't believe that his answer really holds water.In the introduction, the author makes this statement: "Evangelicals have the same struggle of moving the "decided" into becoming the "discipled", because they've created a smug salvation culture, where the obsession is making the right decision, so we can cross the threshold from the unsaved to the saved, the "decided". A gospel culture though encompasses it all and leads the members into the "discipled" because it equates the former with the latter." McKnight spends lots of time bashing a "soterian" culture that emphasizes a status-change (aka, being born again) as the problem behind the lack of discipleship in the church. It took me a second and third glance to pick up on what the former quote actually implies: the decided ARE the discipled, which means only the discipled can be considered the decided (aka, Christians). Now, at a later point in the book he says that "Initial faith and discipleship are two dimensions of the same response." This later statement at least allows for the understanding that initial faith in Christ begins the process of discipleship rather than equating some attained level of discipleship with being a Christian. To put it more succinctly: birth leads to maturity, but maturity is not a pre-requisite for birth. But while McKnight does seem to give a nod to the idea of being "born again", it is deemphasized to a point where it seems to lose most of it's importance. McKnight seeks to define "Gospel" in his own way as some kind of magical key to overcoming the discipleship crisis. He often repeats that preaching the Gospel is "preaching Jesus as the completion of Israel's story." He makes a lot out of the contiguous story between Israel and Jesus to the point where he says, "Gospeling not driven by the atonement story, but by story of Israel." He then has to do a good deal of stretching to make Paul's sermons in Acts 14 and 17 fit his narrative. These examples of Paul preaching the Gospel without any reference to Israel ought to make it clear that, while Jesus IS the completion of Israel's story, this truth is not necessarily at the "heart" of the Gospel, nor is it necessary to understand the history of Israel to understand the essence of "the Gospel". I was reminded a number of times as I read of the words of Tim Keller that, "not everything is the Gospel and the Gospel is not everything." If McKnight had simply sought to bring out more of the richness in Jesus' story against the background of Israel and , it would have been helpful enough. However, as "belief in the Gospel" is what the Bible lays out as the condition for salvation, I believe that loading the term with more than it implies is not only inaccurate but potentially dangerous. It follows that, unless one understands the connections with Israel that McKnight lays out, one has not yet believed "the Gospel". He does reference 1 Cor. 15:3-4 a good deal "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures..." However, he attempts to drag the "story of Israel" into this simple, apostolic definition via the rest of the chapter (which also doesn't necessarily reference Israel.) Besides this, he also tries to separate "the Gospel" and "the plan of salvation", as if they are two separate things. While certainly the Gospel has layers and applications that are not necessary to understand to be born again, to make them two separate things is untrue to the biblical text: "the Gospel...is the power of God unto salvation for all those who believe." (Rom. 1:16)The author apparently blames the Protestant Reformation for the shift to a Gospel definition that emphasizes guilt and justification and faith and grace. He instead claims that the first 1,500 years of church history were shaped by a "Gospel culture", and cites the Nicean creed as embodying this. However, at one point he does come clean and says, "I'm not contending that the Gospel culture of the first centuries created an inordinate amount of disciples…" This seems exceedingly odd, as the whole premise of the book is that a "Gospel culture" (as McKnight defines it) is the key to solving our discipleship crisis. He seems to deemphasize and even knock a focus on atonement and justification throughout. While he does not deal with his views on justification directly in this book, McKnight really looks to NT Wright as a mentor of sorts and espouses His dangerous view of justification which it based in a synergistic way on our own works. Knowing this makes many of his disparaging comments about justification unsurprising.While he often downplays this aspect of substitutionary atonement, he proposes what is essentially a recapitulation theory of atonement. The problem is that, while substitutionary atonement is certainly not the whole picture, neither is recapitulation. Instead, it would've been nice to see McKnight underscore the importance of both. This is only one of the areas in which the book seems more reactionary than balanced and well thought out.Despite these cautions, there are certainly a few good challenges in the book, such as a renewed appreciation for the creeds and church history, as well as not focusing on penal substitutionary atonement to the exclusion of other valid theories of atonement. Nevertheless, the attempt to redefine the term "Gospel" as including more than it does makes McKnight's theories potentially dangerous to the unexperienced believer. So, while the problem is valid, the solution is unsatisfactory. Practical notes:- I listened to the audible audiobook version and had to pause and rewind a LOT. This was the first and last theology book I will listen to as opposed to reading text. Deep thoughts require time to engage, which the audio format does not allow.- The book is very repetitive. The author could've fit the points he was making into half the space.

  • Bo White
    2018-08-08 06:27

    The primary thrust of the book is two-fold: 1) take the whole Bible seriously when articulating the gospel, 2) bullet point salvation stories don't tell the whole story. Scot McKnight does a good job in this of being critical and friendly simultaneously and builds bridges to those he knows will either disagree or find some thing controversial. This is no small point. Preaching to the proverbial choir is en vogue (or so it seems) and speaking across denominational lines is important in a day where news travels at the speed of broadband.There is much to glean from McKnight's book and it's worthy of a lively discussion if for no other reason than the fact that the subject is of central importance. I particularly appreciated the wide angle lens view of the whole scope of the good news and the necessity to understand the OT prior to jumping in to a five minute Campus Crusade or tract approach. If taken seriously, McKnight's discussion will force people to count the cost prior to saying 'yes, I am a Christian,' and in a world where the word evangelical has been tossed around in political discourse, reassessing one's understanding of the evangelical message is timely.There are flaws in the writing and the book could have been longer (truncates some historical overviews and is selective in interaction...ie: Greg Gilbert is critiqued, where I would have rather seen McKnight interact with Tim Keller or D.A. Carson, whose works bridge the gap often between scholarly/intellectual types and popular works). With that said, it's worth the read and McKnight is someone who treats people respectfully and the texts with care, both admirable traits.

  • David
    2018-08-13 02:49

    McKnight asks the question, "what is the Gospel?" He argues that when evangelicals answer this question, they are usually presenting the plan of salvation and not the gospel. While salvation is included in the gospel, it is not the gospel. Part of his argument here is that the "gospel" many evangelicals preach is not what Jesus preached which means Jesus did not preach the gospel. Such a point alone should cause us to rethink things.McKnight starts with 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul reports the Gospel that was passed on to him. From his McKnight argues that the Gospel is that Jesus Christ has completed the story of Israel (or, the story of Jesus completes the story of Israel as revealed in the Old Testament). Along with 1 Corinthians 15, McKnight's argument hinges on the story of Jesus in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These four books are called "gospel" which means they must preach the gospel, not just serve as background for the other parts of the New Testament where we have traditionally gone looking for gospel. McKnight looks at what Jesus preached, arguing Jesus preached himself as completing Israel's story (and this is gospel). Then we move through Acts, where Peter and Paul also preach Jesus as completion of Israel's story, thus again the gospel is Jesus. McKnight ends with a chapter on how this plays out in evangelism today and a chapter on creating a gospel culture (or how this gospel plays out in communal church life). Overall, this is a fantastic book and a must read for pastors and church leaders.

  • Brad
    2018-08-15 01:29

    One of the things I love about the holidays is a little extra time to read. I've been really enjoying that this season, as I'm now posting my second review in three days, this time moving from the world of fiction to Christian Ministry/Theology with Scot McKnight's The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited.I'll cut right to the chase: Over on GoodReads, I gave this 5 out of 5 stars without thinking twice. It's one of the best books I've ever read. I absolutely loved it. McKnight explores the reality that we live in a soterian culture, where the word "gospel" has simply come to mean "the plan of salvation." McKnight eloquently and convincingly tells why the gospel is so much more than this, especially focusing on the story of Israel and how Jesus is the culmination (or, perhaps better said, the fulfillment) of that story. It is an essential reminder for every American Christian, in my opinion. One final note: On pages 148-153, in a section called "The Gospel Sketched," McKnight beautifully summarizes the story of Israel (which, in case you missed the point, is our story as Christ-followers). If you don't do anything else with this book, at least go to the bookstore and read this section. (But I really, really strongly recommend you just buy it and read the whole thing.)

  • Nate Claiborne
    2018-08-02 00:37

    At this point, I’ll be brief. I’ll say right off that I enjoyed reading this book and felt that McKnight made his points in a clear and compelling manner. He was generous in his criticisms when at times he could have been much more sharp and made some disparaging remarks. I might not be personally inclined to accept that his sketch of the problem is accurate, and there is some question as to who McKnight is specifically addressing in this book. One gets the impression that it is aimed in part at the young, restless, Reformed crowd, or possibly just easy-believism broader evangelicalism.I can see this book working well for both, so if you consider yourself to be an evangelical, and you simultaneously think we might have gotten off track in our approach to discipleship (as in, maybe it seems to lack an organic connection to conversion and evangelism) then you should probably take a long Saturday afternoon and engage McKnight in this book.This book isn’t the last word, or the definitive treatment of the topic, but I value McKnight’s perspective on the issues he addresses and feel that he offers an important work that clarifies our understanding of just what the gospel is, and in turn, how it changes everything.See a more comprehensive review my blog

  • Chris
    2018-07-27 01:50

    I notice there are many great reviews on what Scot McKnight has done with this particular piece of writing. I won't rehash what has already been said.Perhaps the best thing I could say (or would want someone to say if it were my book) is that this explanation of the Gospel and the Story we say we believe has motivated me more than any other recent book I've read to press on in my own journey with Christ.I want to spend more time in the Scriptures...getting to know the story of Israel which Jesus fulfills, immersing myself in the gospel accounts of Jesus' story, exploring the early church's "acts" of gospeling, and even digging out my old church history texts from seminary by Gonzalez and studying the ways in which the church carried on the gospeling from then until now.I'm more compelled than ever to engage the Word in the context of community and incorporate the Christian calendar, daily prayer, and other spiritual disciplines in order to more faithfully live out my role as a member of the People of God.What McKnight lays out here really challenges a reductionist (soterian) approach to the Gospel and makes you think deeply about evangelism as well. For such a brief, easy-to-read book it really packs a punch!

  • James
    2018-07-21 04:45

    There is so much that is good here about not letting gospel be reduced to a personal salvation plan but hearing it as Jesus fulfilling the entire story of Israel that I was tempted to give this 5 stars. I reason I didn't is that most of it has been said before (My wife called it N.T. Light) and that his foil seems a bit of a strawman. That evangelicals reduce the gospel to individualistic salvation I don't doubt and have seen, so I think its an important point; however most thoughtful engaged evangelicals that actually read their bible and books wouldn't fall into the category McKnight puts him in. This book stands in a long line of books criticizing the evangelical tendency to make the gospel entirely about taking care of sin without making Jesus Lord. I am grateful for the point and think McKnight makes it rather well but its ground I've seen covered before (as McKnight would admit).What I did appreciate is that McKnight articulates how a fuller gospel presentation which does justice to how Jesus fulfills Israels story effects our evangelistic proclamation. I think NT Wright's Challenge of Jesus does a similar thing in terms of 'how we live' in light of the gospel; this might do a better job of thinking things through in terms of Evangelism.

  • Jeff Bettger
    2018-07-29 01:43

    WOW! This is the book every Christocentric Evangelical Theologian should begin with. We so often forget that the life, death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus Christ has more significance than our "Personal Salvation". This is book is a great reminder of an active living, loving God who is reconciling all things to Himself, and ruling over all creation. Christ is the fulfillment of scripture, and that is bigger than we generally preach. As a pastor at a mega-church, and one who sees many "Salvations", and "baptisms" every year this was a book that inspired and excited me to preach the full Gospel message to those whom I get to disciple, teach, and pour into. Substitutionary atonement is a major piece of the work Christ has done, but there is so much more, and the scope of That work He did is infinitely larger than my "Personal Salvation". I am so thankful that Scot took the time to articulate this with love, tact, and keeping Jesus as the center point of the conversation.I recommend this book to any one in ministry who needs to be refreshed by the Gospel message. Which is everyone who is a believer in Jesus Christ.

  • Jeff McCormack
    2018-08-06 05:28

    Great book! Hits the nail on the head about how today's gospel is in fact not really that. Today we have taken a small portion of the gospel and use it as THE gospel. We have made the full gospel into simply a "plan of salvation" or "method of persuasion" leaving behind the full story of the gospel. This has caused, over the past few hundred years, quite a weak and less captivating message that does not lead to discipleship, but only decision-ism. I won't spoil it by telling you what the real gospel is, but lets just say it is much needed to renew the true message of the Word of God to mankind. Great stuff.

  • Brianna
    2018-07-24 07:47

    This book asks the question of how close what we commonly understand/present as "the gospel" lines up with what we see of "the gospel" in Scripture. Addresses differences and similarities and presents suggestions what returning to the original Gospel might look like. (Took a little while for me to grasp what was being presented. Partially due to the number of other books I was simultaneously reading, I felt somewhat lost, but I hope to reread it when I am in the middle of less others so the progression will make more sense.)

  • Steve
    2018-07-25 08:49

    If you have an interest in Christian Theology I recommend this read. I'm down for listening to any New Testament Scholar who has points as to what we're doing wrong as Christians and in particular Christians here in America. His focus though is in 'revisiting' the apostolic Gospel (which is/should be our Gospel as well) and how the word Gospel itself is often confused today which can potentially make the term more about ourselves than about Jesus. This, he claims leads to a 'salvation culture' as opposed to a 'Gospel culture.' Good and important read.

  • Ethan Smith
    2018-07-18 05:25

    I've never been so jacked up to read the whole Bible in the next 90 days. McKnight does a brilliant job of connecting the dots in the entire Story of God. It made me rethink how I evangelize, how I preach, and how I must effectively communicate the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. It starts with knowing the gospel—not just the John 3:16-type verses—but the entire Story from creation to consummated kingdom.

  • Maxwell
    2018-08-14 00:36

    I think McKnight does a good job of asserting his belief about what exactly "the gospel" is. But perhaps be does it a bit too much. The book can become extremely repetitive, with his thesis making it into every chapter of the book excessively, maybe on every page or in every paragraph. Read this for class, not normally something I would choose to read, but I found it enlightening overall.

  • Justin Gill
    2018-07-17 07:42

    I think Dr. McKight's evaluation of what "gospel" has become and how to recover its more robust and ancient meaning is completely accurate. It is only through reforming our understanding of the Gospel, which will include identity challenges and changes for American Christians, will Christians in America be able to exist and grow in a healthy way for the future.

  • John
    2018-08-15 08:41

    [I've removed my previous review here because it was far too dismissive with taking the space to represent McKnight well. I do believe my critique has merit, but I wasn't fair in how I explained McKnight's position]

  • James Korsmo
    2018-08-09 04:25

    Scot McKnight, professor of religious studies at North Park University, is a widely respected academic, with important books in a number of topics in New Testament studies, and he is also widely known as a popular speaker, author, and blogger. This means he is uniquely positioned to bring academic learning to bear on a wider audience, and this is exactly what he does in The King Jesus Gospel. There are so many ways one could approach the review of a book like this, with historical arguments, exegesis, theological synthesis, and practical and contemporary application. I have chosen to make this review a summary of the key points, touch on why it resonated so much with me, and conclude with a sustained note of hope for how this book might point in a refreshing direction for gospel thinking and for evangelicalism, and of hope that evangelicalism is poised to heed his call.McKnight's book is subtitled The Good News Revisited, and that sums up well its topic: it's all about the gospel. And his big contention is that many evangelicals today (and he particularly speaks to evangelicals, though his topic certainly has much wider relevance) focus on and proclaim the plan of salvation without realizing that the gospel is so much more. He asserts very simply (and this is sure to step on some toes) that evangelicals should really be called "soterians" because of the focus on "salvation," often thought of as making a "decision" for Christ, which is the key point of a gospel presentation. Instead, McKnight asserts that the gospel is the good news of God's faithful working in the world by sending his son Jesus to fulfill his promises, redeem his people, and defeat the powers of sin and death. This doesn't entail negating the soterian gospel, but instead affirms its core while recontextualizing it especially around the story of Jesus as King and Messiah. This is still a gospel that is radically "for us" and still deals with sin and calls for response (the need for response is one of the key elements McKnight highlights in the apostolic gospel), but it sets this in the framework of what Jesus accomplishes on the stage of history and in the plan of God. In short, the gospel is the story of Jesus as it completes the story of Israel.Part of McKnight's expansive argument is a historical one: The Jesus story becomes abstracted into a generic story of God's love, wrath, and grace focused on Jesus' salvific effects. He highlights (without villainizing) the Reformers, both Lutheran and Reformed, showing how their creeds changed from a "gospel" focus that centers around a narration of Jesus' life and significance to a salvation focus that reorders and refocuses Christian faith around issues of personal response and human responsibility. These seeds were cultivated through the revivals and evangelists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and also by a focus on experience as a key to the Christian life.Another key theme in McKnight's book is that the Gospels preach the gospel. It isn't uncommon today for people to wonder if the Gospels, or if Jesus himself, preached the gospel. McKnight asserts, rightly I think, that people are really asking if Jesus or the Gospels teach the "plan of salvation," and that answer isn't always so clear. But, he asserts, the Gospels are the preeminent examples of gospeling, of declaring that the story of Jesus is the culmination of the story of Israel and is good news for its hearers. This reappraisal of the Gospels and their relation to the gospel is, I think, one of the key points of the book, and one of its strongest arguments, especially as it is coupled with his reading of 1 Cor 15 as a key gospel text for Paul and with his investigation of the gospelingsermons in Acts.Throughout the book, McKnight exhibits a loving and irenic, though earnest tone. He brings in John Piper and Jonathan Edwards for appreciative comment, just as he does N. T. Wright and Dallas Willard. Though this book may in some ways constitute a major challenge to evangelicalism and its understanding of the gospel, it is written as a hopeful critique from the inside, as opposed to an attack from without. And hand in hand with this tone goes the fact that McKnight is quick to appreciate the positive and enduring aspects of evangelical life and faith, even as he seeks to augment and complete them with greater understanding and a larger story-frame. He may make some important and even controversial assertions, but he is very careful with his denials (that is, he repeatedly reaffirms that Christ's death is for us, and that it is all about salvation; we do need to respond in faith; the gospel leads to a transformed life). At its core, the theme of salvation isn't lost at all, it is simply recontextualized within Jesus story as it completes Israel's story.I loved McKnight's book! It answered the questions that were only partially formed in my mind. It was a book I didn't know I needed, but it put into words various themes and streams of thought that have been swirling around in my mind: everything from how Jesus' life and teaching fit into the gospel to how the Old Testament relates to the new to how discipleship relates to salvation (and how we present that). Jesus is Messiah and King, and that has profound implications for the whole world. We are called to proclaim that good news far and wide. And it is good news for salvation. I conclude this review with a note of hope. I have profound hope that evangelicalism is ready for this reawakening to a fuller understanding of the gospel of King Jesus. Anyone who reads in academic biblical studies knows that evangelicals have been in the forefront in investigating the relation between the two testaments, and how a full and careful understanding of the larger story of Israel is essential to reading the New Testament. Though I could name many, a few key books I might highlight are Richard Hays' work Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul is a ground-breaking study of OT echoes and allusions in Paul; Beale and Carson, eds., Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old, systematically undertakes a study of how the OT figures in the NT book by book; N. T. Wright, in many books, has looked at how Israel's story creates a key component of the NT worldview and is essential to understanding Jesus; and last, though certainly not least, Christopher Wright's magisterial The Mission of God outlines the Bible's grand story of God's mission in his world and our part in it. So many more could be named, but these few illustrate how we are coming to grips in new and fresh ways how the story of the Bible is the gospel. I also thing that evangelical culture itself is shaped in such a way that the broader apostolic gospel that McKnight outlines will fit its major contours even better than the more narrowly soterian version, even if it is a bit uncomfortable in places and feels a bit different. Evangelicalism is by nature full of Jesus-devotion, and a renewed focus on his life, death, and resurrection will be a natural fit. Evangelicalism is very intentionally a movement that highly values Scripture, and the apostolic gospel makes the whole Bible, from Gen 1 to Rev 22, come alive as a gospel story, and that is sure to reinvigorate a people who already love God's Word. And evangelicalism loves to share God's love by telling stories. I think of the great hymn, "I Love to Tell the Story," which both demonstrates that the broader story-shaped apostolic gospel has been a formative part of evangelical culture and that this same evangelical culture has many resources already at its disposal to energetically embrace the apostolic gospel that McKnight describes.In sum, I enthusiastically commend this great little book. There is no doubt, as with any major and sweeping thesis like this one, that details will need fleshing out a bit, and various formulations and points may need honing. But I think his core argument is a very persuasive one, and I look forward to digesting it with others over the coming months in hopes that it will be instrumental in transforming my life, our churches, and our evangelical culture to be truly gospel-centered.Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy of The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisitedand the spot on their blog tour for this great book.

  • Keith
    2018-07-26 01:32

    I probably appreciate The King Jesus Gospel for different reasons than many people do. Many people probably see Scot McKnight in this book simply as swerving away from an overly Pauline, individualistic, salvation-centered, "soterian" view of the New Testament that just focuses on getting people to make a decision, pray a prayer, and wait to go to heaven when they die. What I see is McKnight sailing deftly between two potential shipwrecks: the Scylla of the "soterianism" I just described, and the equally dangerous Charybdis of a Jesus-of-the-Gospels-centered social activism-focused Kingdom vision that forgets about a gospel of grace through faith.It's partly due to personal experience that I view The King Jesus Gospel in this light, and partly due to my prior reading of McKnight's Christianity Today article "Jesus vs. Paul," which I highly recommend as an introduction to the book. In this article, McKnight describes his own journey from a heavily Pauline-centered church background to an almost exclusive focus on Jesus which created a problem: as he writes, "I was so taken with Jesus' kingdom vision that reading Paul created a dilemma every time I opened his letters."McKnight's solution to this problem is, first of all, to let Paul be Paul and to let Jesus be Jesus, as opposed to trying to squeeze one into the other's mold. Second, he doesn't simply allow one to trump the other, as do such approaches as dismissing Jesus' teachings as pre-Pentecost and thus essentially irrelevant to the present church age, or dismissing Paul's writings as something of a hijacking of Jesus' message. The heart of McKnight's solution is to anchor both Jesus' Kingdom message and Paul's justification message onto the bedrock of the Gospel itself. Taking either approach alone truncates and thus distorts the Gospel.What the Gospel itself is, McKnight argues, is the story of Jesus as the climax and fulfillment of the story of Israel, which gives the plan of salvation its proper context. Put simply, the Gospel is neither "Pray this prayer and believe this truth so you will go to heaven when you die," nor is it "Imitate Jesus and do good works to make the world a better place." Both of these find their rightful place and emphasis in the context, not of a theological construct, but of a story. A story-within-a-story, to be exact: Jesus' story within Israel's story.This is not the place to describe in detail what each of those stories is or how they relate to one another. What I do want to draw attention to is that McKnight argues persuasively that Paul and Jesus were actually telling the same story, sharing the same gospel, even if the implications they each drew out of that gospel had different emphases. Paul defines the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15 as the story of Jesus, strongly focused on his death and resurrection. McKnight demonstrates that Jesus shared that same gospel, because his life, teachings, and ministry lead inexorably to the question, "Who is he?" The gospels themselves flesh out Paul's gospel outline in 1 Corinthians 15, and also focus heavily on Jesus death and resurrection. The sermons in Acts, sharing the gospel in its earliest form, do the same thing. The same gospel is shared throughout the New Testament, and given its context and meaning by the questions raised by the Old. It's all one Story.So the Gospel is not merely a matter of sin management - you have a problem, Jesus came along to solve it - but neither is it a matter of following the life and teachings of Jesus, as we would follow Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Both of these approaches share an elephant-in-the-room-sized problem: they minimize the importance of the Resurrection. The transactional approach of regarding Jesus dying for our sins means that the debt was paid once Jesus died; the Resurrection becomes nothing more than God's "Told ya so!" The Imitate Jesus as a Perfect Person model wants to wander around and around the Gospels and find ways to emulate what Jesus did, but never quite get to the point of the crucifixion and resurrection, just as followers of Martin Luther King would focus on the marches he led and the speeches he gave, more than the circumstances of his tragic murder. For McKnight, Soterians (the first group) focus only on Good Friday; the second group focuses only on Jesus' life prior to Good Friday; neither group has much room for Easter Sunday onward in their theology. McKnight argues for the necessity of a complete story, as opposed to one of several truncated stores that we like to tell.For McKnight, and for me, the Resurrection is hugely important because it establishes Jesus' kingship now. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet....The Gospel story is his story; we belong to him. That is where we find both our justification and our purpose. One doesn't make sense without the other.McKnight demonstrates all this very convincingly, and I'm convinced he's dead on right. I have only a few quibbles about the book. One, McKnight structures the book with an anti-soterian focus; he doesn't emphasize nearly as much (as he does in his Christianity Today essay) the dangers of the Jesus-only movement that forms the twin peril that he also avoids. Two, McKnight insists rightly that the story of Jesus only makes sense within the context of the story of Israel, but he doesn't make clear why the story of Israel should be relevant to modern, non-Jewish readers. Those of us who grew up on the Old Testament may find this self-evident, but we are not really the kind of soterians McKnight is concerned with. Three, McKnight lays much emphasis on how the sermons of Acts locate Jesus' story within Israel's story, but doesn't reflect on how much the hearers influenced the message's presentation. Peter and Paul (not to mention Stephen) focus much more on Israel's story when speaking to a Jewish audience, because it was immediately relevant to them. This is true even of Paul's evangelization of largely Gentile areas, in that his recorded sermons are often in the synagogues to Jews. When speaking to an exclusively Gentile audience, such as at the Areopagus in Athens, Paul largely leaves Israel's story out, although McKnight tries to tie in Israel's story through Paul's allusion to Adam (and thus to the Old Testament creation and fall narrative). It might be better to say that Jesus' story makes the most and best sense in the context of Israel's story, not that it only makes sense in that context. Four, McKnight doesn't give sufficient weight to salvation history in discussing the differences between Jesus and Paul. Certainly we should be following Jesus, not Paul, but there were just as certainly aspects of the gospel that were clarified post-Resurrection and post-Pentecost. Jesus as the Word Made Flesh is the final authority, but Paul was in a position, historically, to be able to tell The Rest of the Story. A Christology that focuses on the Jesus of the Gospels and neglects the fuller revelation of Jesus in, for example, Colossians 1 and 2, is a truncated Christology. (Not that McKnight does this; he just doesn't bring attention to this as a possible problem, as he does with the problem of a salvation-centered gospel.)Despite these quibbles, The King Jesus Gospel avoids the usual tendency to swing the pendulum to an opposite extreme. I deeply appreciate McKnight's careful analysis of the New Testament and the creeds of the church as they relate to his subject. I recommend it highly. Check it out.

  • Craig Hurst
    2018-07-27 01:35

    “I believe the word gospel has been kijacked by what we believe about ‘personal salvation,’ and the gospel itself has been reshaped to facilitate making ‘decisions.’ The result of this hijacking is that the word gospel no longer means is our world what it originally meant to either Jesus or the apostles (pg. 26).”This statement summarizes what Scot McKnight seeks to communicate in his new book The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. As with his other books, McKnight pulls no punches as he seeks to expose the failures of evangelicalism when it comes to gospel preservation and presentation. Essentially, McKnight believes that the church has “(mistakenly) equated the word gospel with the word salvation (pg. 29).” What we have in evangelicalism is a salvation culture that is focused on decision making and not a gospel culture that should be focused on disciple making. Thus, we have earned the title of soterians because we have a Good-Friday-only gospel (pg. 55).McKnight believes that our salvation culture has wrongly majored on the Plan of Salvation (how we get saved) and pushed aside the gospel which the Plan of Salvation fits into. We have preached the goal of the gospel (plan of salvation) as the gospel and thus forgotten the gospel all together. In this presentation of the gospel many have made the goal of salvation about having our sins washed by the blood of Jesus and then getting to live with Jesus in heaven. All to often this is where it stops. But McKnight contends that “the ‘gospel’ of the New Testament cannot be reduced to the Plan of Salvation (pg. 39).” This is a serious claim and one in which many will resonate with. I know that in my experience this has been the case and something I realized was wrong several years ago.So if evangelicals have the gospel and the plan of salvation backwards where do we go to straighten them out? The answer McKnight provides is right under our noses. McKnight takes us back to I Corinthians 15:1-28. In it is these verses that we find the one gospel message of Jesus, Paul, Peter the and the Gospel writers. “The gospel is the story of the crucial events in the life of Jesus” as summarized in verses 3-5: (1) that Christ died, (2) that Christ was buried, (3) that Christ was raised and (4) that Christ appeared (p. 49). According to McKnight, these four events form the Story of Jesus which resolves and brings to completion the Story of Israel (pg. 36, 44 & 50). Thus, “the gospel is the Story of Jesus that fulfills, completes, and resolves Israel’s Story,” and therefore ” we dare not permit the gospel to collapse into the abstract, de-storified points in the Plan of Salvation (pg. 51).”So if the gospel is how the Story of Jesus completes the Story of Israel and this has been right in front of us in I Corinthians 15, how did we get to what McKnight calls a soterian culture that majors on justification and making a decision so one can be justified before God? Surprisingly McKnight primarily sees it stemming from the Reformation. McKnight contends that up to the Reformation the church, through the creeds, continued to “articulate what is both implicit and explicit in Paul’s grand statement of the gospel in I Corinthians 15 (pg. 64).” That is, they continually affirmed the gospel as presented in I Cor. 15. The shift from this gospel articulation to a salvation message gospel came when the Reformers emphasized the goal of the gospel – personal salvation (pg. 71). This was not on purpose and they could not have foreseen the result this shift in focus would cause. “The Reformation did not deny the gospel story and it did not deny the creeds. Instead, it put everything into a new order and into a new place (pg. 72).” This shift can be seen in the Augusburg and Genevan Confessions. Before the Reformation, the creeds framed things through the lens of the trinity as derived from I Cor. 15. During the Reformation the established articles of the faith were converted into sections on salvation and justification by faith. In my estimation what McKnight is saying is that instead of retaining the gospel as found in I Cor. 15 and fleshing out its implications for the current situation, the new creeds re-ordered the content towards more timely needs. Unfortunately, this re-ordering controlled the discussion for the rest of church history.Following Paul’s presentation of the gospel in I Cor. 15, McKnight fleshes out how Jesus, the Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark & Luke) and the sermon(s) of Peter in Acts (as well as sermons by others) all proclaimed this same gospel. McKnight shows how Jesus saw his life as the completion of Israel’s Story, how the gospel writers presented their account of Jesus’ life to prove the same thing and how Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 follows the same pattern as he presents the gospel through a sweeping overview of the life of Israel through the life of Christ.So what is needed in order to save our salvation culture from itself and get back to the gospel culture of Jesus, the gospel writers and the apostles? McKnight suggests four things:1. Gospeling must summon listeners to confess Jesus as Messiah and Lord and not merely confess their sin and need for a Savior. Gospeling must be a declaration of something that leads to a decision (pg. 133-34).2. Gospeling is not driven by the atonement but by the saving Story of Israel which the story of Jesus completes (pg. 134).3. Gospeling must include a declaration of final judgment so that people will see they will one day stand before God to account for their lives (pg. 135).4. Gospeling needs to present the need of salvation not just in personal terms for the individual but in corporate terms as well. God is working to restore a people (plural) not just people (individuals). This restored people is the church. (pg. 136).Admittedly, some may accuse McKnight of downplaying the atonement. I think what KcKnight is trying to do is get our focus back on track. The atonement makes it possible for the Story of Jesus to complete the Story of Israel (the gospel) but McKnight does not think the atonement is the gospel itself or it in its totality. This improper focus “reduces the gospel to only personal salvation” and thus tears “the fabric out of the Story of the Bible and we cease needing the Bible (pg. 142).”In addition to these four things, McKnight makes some practical suggestions in order to create a gospel culture.1. We have to become People of the Story – we must know ALL of Scripture (pg. 153).2. We mus immerse ourselves even more into the Story of Jesus – we must know the Gospels better (pg. 153).3. We need t see how the apostle’s writings take the Story of Israel and the Story of Jesus into the next generation and into a different culture, and how this generation led all the way to our generation – we must know church history (pg. 155).4. We need to counter the stories that bracket our story and that reframe our story – we need to counter the false gospels of our culture (pg. 157).5. We need to embrace this story so that we are saved and can be transformed by the gospel story – a lasting gospel culture can only be built by converted believers (pg. 159).All in all this book is a great corrective to much of evangelical soteriology when it comes to the presentation of the gospel and salvation. They are not the same and that is McKnight’s basic premise. There is little to disagree with and the implications of what McKnight is saying are huge. The King Jesus Gospel has set the standard for the future of the discussion on the gospel. McKnight minces no words and makes many statements that some will recoil at but need to hear. This is a welcome and much needed book to add to the gospel discussion.

  • Keith Clark
    2018-08-09 05:26

    Let me start with a confession: I am weary of sociologists and pollsters assuming the role(s) of vision-caster(s) for the church in North America. I appreciate the (objective?) data they unearth and the descriptions of current realities they provide. I’m not, however, a fan of the prescriptions they, along with marketing experts, offer for all that ails the church (or more accurately and specifically, the declining number of people who claim to believe in God, attend church, etc.). My frustration is not just related to the fact their prescriptions often focus on symptoms instead of systemic issues, but also that their prescriptions rarely flow from theological reflection or even take into account primary theological considerations.Fortunately Scot McKnight has provided a prescription to address at least one systemic issue he has identified beneath the superficial data of the sociologists and pollsters, a prescription which flows from his rigorous theological reflection. Recognizing in the declining numbers and in his interactions with college students a fatal flaw in the understanding many have of the gospel, McKnight sets out in The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited to redefine the contemporary evangelical understanding of the gospel. His thoroughgoing conviction seems to be that rediscovering the original good news will address the declining numbers (which are worrisome not because they’ve declined but because they testify to the impact of the common fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel) in a far deeper way than any methodological or programmatic change.McKnight’s project addresses a reality he explicates in the opening two chapters of the book: contemporary Christian culture is a “salvation culture” rather than a “gospel culture.” That our culture is a “salvation culture” is evidenced by the many different ideas about what precisely constitutes the gospel, while there is generally one dominant idea about what constitutes salvation: making a decision for Christ. While the methods of persuasion and the specific components of the “plan of salvation” may vary slightly from person to person or denomination to denomination, the general aim of most evangelism is to provoke a decision. Unfortunately the “salvation culture” fails to create the disciples a “gospel culture” creates.The “gospel culture,” in contrast to the “salvation culture,” seeks to draw people into a story, the story of Israel, to which the story of Jesus brings resolution. It is as the Jesus story brings resolution to the Israel story that the Jesus story can be identified and understood as gospel, good news. McKnight establishes his case by dwelling extensively in 1 Corinthians 15, in which Paul provides a summary of the gospel which had been passed down by the apostles. He then describes his theory of how this original message, which was preserved and interpreted by the ancient creeds, became muddled through the developments and effects of the Reformation. Returning to the New Testament, McKnight traces the presence of the elements of the gospel summary in 1 Corinthians 15 throughout the four canonical gospels, the preaching of Jesus himself, and the sermons recorded in Acts. Moving toward concrete application, McKnight compares the “gospeling” (announcing the good news) found in Scripture with the “gospeling” (or lack thereof) common today. Finally, in five compelling pages, he sketches the gospel as the story of Jesus that serves as the resolution to the story of Israel, followed by practical suggestions for how to foster the emergence of a “gospel culture” in place of the predominant “salvation culture.”Challenging the church’s dearly and deeply held understanding of the gospel is likely to unsettle many and cause great discomfort for at least a few. McKnight wisely goes to great lengths to balance boldness with discernment, choosing not to engage in tangential battles that would not help his cause. Moreover, he seems to write with pastoral concern, as evidenced in his bringing Paul’s gospel summary in 1 Corinthians 15 to bear on the current heated debates over atonement theory (52). He judiciously draws together the work of a variety of theologians and ministers, from N.T. Wright to John Piper, Dallas Willard to Fleming Rutledge, while not shrinking back from humbly pointing out his own differences of opinion, even when they might be rather significant. Finally, McKnight very carefully and intentionally repeats crucial components of his argument to ensure that readers can track what he is and is not suggesting.Having spent all of my life as a part of the Stone-Campbell/Restoration tradition, my ears perked up in response to two particular discussions. The first was McKnight’s discussion of the ancient creeds. Though originally strongly anti-creedal, like most in the Stone-Campbell/Restoration tradition, McKnight has come to believe that “denial of the creeds is tantamount to denying the gospel itself because what the creeds seek to do is bring out what is already in the Bible’s gospel” (65). One moment I found myself wishing I could figure out a way to assemble Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone, and McKnight for a friendly conversation about the creeds. Another moment I found myself wondering whether the “salvation culture” so prevalent among my tradition might not have such a strong hold had our early leaders not objected so strongly to the ancient creeds. The second discussion that perked my ears was McKnight’s suggestion that emphasizing baptism and Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper) as alternatives to the cultural stories of our day will help us build a “gospel culture.” Here we find theological reflection leading to a conclusion far different than that the sociologists and the pollsters and the marketers might recommend. While McKnight might well want us to revision our practice of and language about baptism and Eucharist, we would do well to recognize these as strengths to build upon, not idiosyncrasies of which we ought to be embarrassed or which we ought to minimize.My only wish is that McKnight had fleshed out a bit more his practical suggestions for creating a “gospel culture.” Examples of the practice of each of his suggestions, for instance, might have provided a jumping off point for ministers, lay leaders, and congregations, especially those for whom these ideas are unfamiliar or for whom interaction with those ministers, leaders, or congregations who are embodying these practices may be limited. That being said, The King Jesus Gospel is a fine work of theological reflection and biblical scholarship in service to the church, for whom I am hopefully optimistic the book might open up a new way forward in these changing times.

  • Erin
    2018-07-31 06:47

    When I was a teenager, I taught 5-day clubs, visiting neighborhoods and telling stories and challenging children to "ask Jesus in their hearts" so they could go to heaven. I questioned the strength of those decisions, but the organization celebrated them, and I went with it. I wondered, what does it mean to make a decision if there is no discipleship, no follow-up, etc. McKnight challenges the same type of mindset but goes a little farther, challenging "soteriology," which is the position that the Gospel is all about "saving" people from sin and concluding that this leads Christians into what Dallas Willard describes as "sin management." McKnight doesn't dismiss salvation but expands the Gospel to include the entire story of Scripture. The book is short but complex. It's a good read but not an easy read. Sometimes I had to make myself keep reading. I recommend it.

  • Jordan Varey
    2018-08-06 03:35

    Throughout the book McKnight introduces his ideas as potentially controversial to our current Evangelical culture. I didn’t find his premise as radical as he suggests. Essentially he points out the over emphasis of modern western Christianity on the cross as THE Gospel as a problem. From this beginning he argues that The four books identified as THE Gospels are actually what they say they are. He also explains that the Gospel is best understood in the context of the culmination of the story of Israel. And finally (and maybe most radical) Jesus preached the Gospel! This last point is difficult to align with conceptions of the Gospel that only emphasize the death of Jesus. The book was very readable and interesting. His use of scripture was extensive and really helpful for supporting his points in a way that is palatable to a modern Christian reader.

  • Steven Pidgeon
    2018-08-03 07:45

    My pastor passed this book to me before I came to faith, as I was asking him what the Gospel actually is. Couldn't really accept the standard "ask Jesus into your heart" take that most churches nowadays seem to accept, which doesn't really have much biblical basis either. So it was a good book as far as looking at how the gospel was perceived and communicated by the first disciples as the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.Overall though the book was looking at the cultural problem in today's American churches, which I couldn't totally relate to, so it kind of lost me at the end. But overall it was a worthwhile read.

  • Tim Genry
    2018-07-22 00:37

    The good news is always being diluted, turned inside out and transformed into "not so good" news. Paul warns us of such in his letter to the Galatians.McKnight is one of my new favorite authors because he is a thinker and he often invites us to think alongside him without demanding we agree with everything he writes. He gives us cause to reflect and consider our beliefs - to see if they're biblical. In the King Jesus Gospel you will be invited to examine what Jesus, the apostles and the early church fathers called the gospel and to check your views of the gospel against theirs.