Martin Luther’s “King Jesus Gospel”

Martin Luther’s “King Jesus Gospel” October 17, 2011

I hate to be the one to tell you, but Scot McKnight’s King Jesus Gospel is a blatant rip off of the magisterial Reformer Martin Luther. Just read this:

The gospel is a story about Christ, God’s and David’s Son, who died and was raised and is established as Lord. This is the gospel in a nutshell.
(Martin Luther, “A brief instruction on what to look for and expect in the Gospels,” in Luther’s Works[ed. E. Theodore Bachmann; 55 vols.; Fortress: Philadelphia, 1960] 35.118.)

Take heed, critics of McKnight’s book should be careful that their criticisms of McKnight or Wright do not also become criticisms of Luther and Paul too!

See my earlier thoughts on this parallel here.

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  • Scot McKnight

    I’ve seen this in Luther in a number of places, Mike.

    • Charles Twombly

      Scot, I’ve checked with my attorney. You’re in the clear.

      My original quote of the day: Bad thoughts are like birds flying over your head. You can’t keep them from flying over, but you don’t have to let them nest. (More original Twombly quotes to follow.)

  • Scot McKnight

    I’ve seen this in Luther in a number of places, Mike.

    • Charles Twombly

      Scot, I’ve checked with my attorney. You’re in the clear.

      My original quote of the day: Bad thoughts are like birds flying over your head. You can’t keep them from flying over, but you don’t have to let them nest. (More original Twombly quotes to follow.)

  • Justin

    For crying out jelly donuts! This is a humorous point to try and make from this quote. Wouldn’t it be slightly more appropriate to say “Take heed, critics of the Reformation”?

  • Justin

    For crying out jelly donuts! This is a humorous point to try and make from this quote. Wouldn’t it be slightly more appropriate to say “Take heed, critics of the Reformation”?

  • Charles Twombly

    But, Michael, Bro Martin’s copyright expired years ago. He’s now in the public domain (Sword #2, I believe).

  • Charles Twombly

    But, Michael, Bro Martin’s copyright expired years ago. He’s now in the public domain (Sword #2, I believe).

  • It sounds like a rip off from 1 Corinthians 15 to me.

  • Josh

    Late post Michael. But I find you being very selective of Luther. To be fair in understanding what Luther thinks of the gospel you also need to look at what he says of Romans. Luther also says;

    “This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.”

    and

    The first duty of a preacher of the Gospel is, through his revealing of the law and of sin, to rebuke and to turn into sin everything in life that does not have the Spirit and faith in Christ as its base. Thereby he will lead people to a recognition of their miserable condition, and thus they will become humble and yearn for help.

    and

    Next St. Paul teaches the right way to be virtuous and to be saved; he says that they are all sinners, unable to glory in God. They must, however, be justified through faith in Christ, who has merited this for us by his blood and has become for us a mercy seat in the presence of God, who forgives us all our previous sins. In so doing, God proves that it is his justice alone, which he gives through faith, that helps us, the justice which was at the appointed time revealed through the Gospel and, previous to that, was witnessed to by the Law and the Prophets. Therefore the law is set up by faith, but the works of the law, along with the glory taken in them, are knocked down by faith.”

    So the real test of what Luther thinks is the gospel is to see how he preaches the gospel. Day in day out. Does he preach it as a story? Or does he preach sinners justified by faith?

    If I wanted to criticise Luther I would look at his commentary on James or his book Jews and their Lies.