Sometime back I had this issue, the bible says that Jesus "preached the gospel" and that the disciples "preached the gospel," but it never spelled out exactly what they were saying. And for sometime the modern church in America has over laid that word "gospel" with soteriology. In other words, we say that the "gospel" is about the saving grace of the cross. But while the gospel (euangelion) contains the work of the cross, that is not all that it is. You can not define the gospel simply by explaining the cross. For the simple explanation that ... the cross had not happened when Jesus and his disciples were preaching.
Jesus did not preach, "believe that I will die on the cross and resurrect for your sins." That could not have been the "gospel" that he preached. And yet, if you ask a Christian today what the gospel is, you will hear some rendition of the atonement of the cross.
Now, I have no problem with saying that the cross is good news or that salvation is now apart of the modern telling of the gospel. But before we get to modernity, I think we should understand WHY the story of Jesus is good news.
Today, people can explain salvation and the cross without ever once mentioning the Old Testament. We ask the new to the faith to "confess Christ as Lord," without ever telling them what that means or why it's important.
Scot McKnight in his new book The King Jesus Gospel writes, "one reason why so many Christians today don't know the Old Testament is because their gospel doesn't even need it." but "the gospel of the New Testament cannot be reduced to the plan of salvation."
Scot McKnight is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University. He is the author of The Jesus Creed which won the Christianity Today book award for 2004 in the area of Christian living. McKnight's blog, Jesus Creed, has been a popular site for Evangelicals to discuss various theologies.
His new book seeks to unlock the BIG QUESTION: what is the gospel? Scot believes that Christianity is stuck in a salvation culture, but that we need to transition and find our true home in a "gospel culture."
McKnight is a smart writer who writes a great book. This book is for anyone seeking to re-learn the biblical concept of gospel and for anyone who wants to communicate a full gospel story to the world. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Zondervan for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.
The book helps me to understand where Evangelicalism is today and where it can improve. The church has a "join the now saved club" attitude but is very lazy in building disciples.
I had a hard time with the download, I didn't want to use the e-reader they offered through Adobe but ended up with it, now I have another reader I don't need. I can't transfer the book to another reader.
Working in the mission field, I was able to reflect the gospel which American Christianity has been exporting to the world. It was Conversionistic Gospel, emphasizing on making a person to be a convert. Jesus never commanded to make converts of all nations, but to make disciples. The biblical gospel is Disciplistic Gospel. Dr. McKnight is right on target that the biblical gospel is different from the popular gospel in America which emphasizes the salvation.
In this new book from Scot McKnight he tackles his belief that the modern church has gone on to loose the Gospel Message by going off 'mission' and just focusing on "Personal Salvation." He has a good point. For many people the idea of the Gospel is to lead people to salvation. But then what? They often times just stop there, excited that another soul has been added to The Kingdom. But where is the follow up? Where does discipleship come in to play? What really is the Great Commission? Is it to lead people to personal salvation or is it to teach people to obey 'all' that I have commanded?
I think that McKnight does a good job of hitting on the point that he is trying to drive home. His chart on page 30 sums it up well;
The Members The Decided The Discipled
Where do you fit? What do you think the Gospel pushes? Is the church only about community / membership or does it go beyond that to include leading people to Christ, personal salvation, in other words The Decided. It is McKnights contention that the modern church gets people to be part of the Decided group but then doesn't bother with helping them to become The Discipled.
The Gospel is about the story of Jesus Christ! It is about why the Son of God had to come to earth and take on the form of man and die on a cross and then be resurrected from the dead. It is about atonement, sacrifice, obedience, etc. etc. etc.
Don't let your Gospel message just be, "Everyone needs to hear about Salvation." Make sure your Gospel message is the true message of the Bible, God's word, God's desire. Make sure it includes 'teaching them to obey all that I have commanded.'
There is quite a bit more that McKnight touches on, but this is the basic premise. Be sure the Gospel Message you preach goes beyond Personal Salvation to include discipleship.
Author starts with a solid premise, however, repeating that premise over and over and over and over makes for many boring moments. Book takes way too long to actually prove his point, too much time spent trying to demonstrate what others think and why it is wrong.