A “New Perpsective” on the Gospel, the King Jesus Gospel 9

By the end of chapter 8 in Scot McKnight’s new book The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, unless you’re not paying attention, you have no doubt what is his argument: The gospel is the Story of Jesus as the completion of the Story of Israel.

Each of these four witnesses [apostolic gospel tradition, the gospel in the four Gospels, the gospel of Jesus, and the sermons in Acts] tell us the same thing about the gospel. It is the Story of Israel that comes to its completion in the Story of Jesus, who is Messiah of Israel, Lord over all, and the Davidic Savior. There is one and only one gospel, and it was preached by Jesus, by Paul, and by Peter. To gospel is to tell that story about Jesus. Salvation flows from that sotry, but the story is both bigger than and framed differently from the Plan of Salvation approach to the gospel. The apostles were the original evangelicals (131).

The gospel according to Scot’s reading is a Story which has a beginning, middle and end. One more quote:

This gospel culture does not displace salvation but puts salvation in the context of a gospel story that has a beginning (in creation and covenant with Israel), a middle (David), and a resolution (Jesus and final redemption) (131).

The last two chapters of the book address the question of evangelism and will allow us to see how Scot envisages contemporary proclamation of the gospel.  Before we look at those pragmatic questions what should be said of his thesis? How do we assess Scot’s view?

Is the NT gospel more than good news about individual salvation from sin? Is there a difference between the Plan of Salvation and the Method of Persuasion and the gospel?

  • http://mgpcpastor.wordpress.com Gary Ware

    What I find confusing is that the groups which Scot identifies as being the antecedents and current practitioners of his ‘soterian’ Gospel (the Reformers and calvinists), to my understanding, do embrace a whole Bible understanding of Gospel, and the most ardent practitioners of the ‘soterian’ emphasis are arminian revivalists in their various guises, pentecostal or non-pentecostal.
    The emphasis on the death of Jesus as central to the Gospel has been because that element is the most questioned.

    • Jwillitts

      Gary, Scot addresses the role of the Reformation in reframing the Bible’s Story. Also, I think the issue that Scot is poking at is the “whole bible” as you put it is often Gen 3 then skip to Rom 3.

      • http://mgpcpastor.wordpress.com Gary Ware

        Thanks for the reply.
        I think his four page treatment of that issue was not compelling. All he could say was that the reformers had a role, though they themselves were not the ‘guilty parties.’ He doesn’t identify where the specific point of reduction emerges.
        You’d know that covenant theology doesn’t skip from Genesis 3 to Romans 3. I think some coming out of revivalistic backgrounds are coming to appreciate that more comprehensive treatment.
        As a preacher who spends half his time in the Old Testament preaching God’s unfolding and consistent redemptive purpose for His people and their lives (and not moralism) I thought it was great that Scot’s joining the party.

        • Jwillitts

          While I can’t speak for Scot, as one whose certainly sympathetic to his view, I think the issue is not with a traditional reformed theology that holds the whole Bible together, but with evangelicalism. Some in the reformed tradition would wish to distance themselves from evangelicalism anyway. The two are certainly not coexistent. For example the Bill Bright approach to the Gospel, which is really what Scot is attacking is far from reformed theology. Furthermore, there are many evangelicals that have sympathies with the reformed tradition only when it suits them, particularly with respect to God’s sovereignty in salvation. So its a long way of saying I agree with you. For example, a reformed theology has a positive place for the law in the new covenant. This is not true for most evangelicals. For many, if not most, the law only has a negative role in the new covenant.

  • http://mgpcpastor.wordpress.com Gary Ware

    What I find confusing is that the groups which Scot identifies as being the antecedents and current practitioners of his ‘soterian’ Gospel (the Reformers and calvinists), to my understanding, do embrace a whole Bible understanding of Gospel, and the most ardent practitioners of the ‘soterian’ emphasis are arminian revivalists in their various guises, pentecostal or non-pentecostal.
    The emphasis on the death of Jesus as central to the Gospel has been because that element is the most questioned.

    • Jwillitts

      Gary, Scot addresses the role of the Reformation in reframing the Bible’s Story. Also, I think the issue that Scot is poking at is the “whole bible” as you put it is often Gen 3 then skip to Rom 3.

      • http://mgpcpastor.wordpress.com Gary Ware

        Thanks for the reply.
        I think his four page treatment of that issue was not compelling. All he could say was that the reformers had a role, though they themselves were not the ‘guilty parties.’ He doesn’t identify where the specific point of reduction emerges.
        You’d know that covenant theology doesn’t skip from Genesis 3 to Romans 3. I think some coming out of revivalistic backgrounds are coming to appreciate that more comprehensive treatment.
        As a preacher who spends half his time in the Old Testament preaching God’s unfolding and consistent redemptive purpose for His people and their lives (and not moralism) I thought it was great that Scot’s joining the party.

        • Jwillitts

          While I can’t speak for Scot, as one whose certainly sympathetic to his view, I think the issue is not with a traditional reformed theology that holds the whole Bible together, but with evangelicalism. Some in the reformed tradition would wish to distance themselves from evangelicalism anyway. The two are certainly not coexistent. For example the Bill Bright approach to the Gospel, which is really what Scot is attacking is far from reformed theology. Furthermore, there are many evangelicals that have sympathies with the reformed tradition only when it suits them, particularly with respect to God’s sovereignty in salvation. So its a long way of saying I agree with you. For example, a reformed theology has a positive place for the law in the new covenant. This is not true for most evangelicals. For many, if not most, the law only has a negative role in the new covenant.

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  • jeff

    Yes of course it is more about individual salvation or even corporate salvation. NT Wright already has brought this up a long time ago. My question is, Why does Dr. McKnight not acknowledge the indebtedness to Wright? He makes it sound like it came to him all of a sudden

    • Jwillitts

      Actually Scot does discuss Tom Wright (he calls him “Pastor Tom”) on pgs 57-58. See also the interview Ben Witherington published with Scot on his blog where Ben asks Scot about his view vis a vis Tom’s. Scot and Tom are saying similar things, although from slightly different angles and social locations.

  • jeff

    Yes of course it is more about individual salvation or even corporate salvation. NT Wright already has brought this up a long time ago. My question is, Why does Dr. McKnight not acknowledge the indebtedness to Wright? He makes it sound like it came to him all of a sudden

    • Jwillitts

      Actually Scot does discuss Tom Wright (he calls him “Pastor Tom”) on pgs 57-58. See also the interview Ben Witherington published with Scot on his blog where Ben asks Scot about his view vis a vis Tom’s. Scot and Tom are saying similar things, although from slightly different angles and social locations.

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