Jesus, the Kingdom, and the Four Spiritual Laws

In this and a few more posts, I want to enter with you into a conversation about how Jesus would evaluate the Four Spiritual Laws of Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ. The conversation should be back and forth between what Jesus taught and what the Four Spiritual Laws teach.

In the process, one of the deep principles of the Deep Ecclesiology of the Emergent movement will become clear: namely, its theology begins with a relationship with Jesus, and that relationship gives rise to its theology. Which means, if you agree with me, that Pauline theology and a Pauline gospel paradigm will be asked (at least) to sit and listen first to what Jesus had to say. Which means, if you still are with me, that a doctrine of Scripture grows out of a relationship with Jesus; Scripture is not seen as a “first principle” so much as an inevitable expression of what it means to be in relationship with Jesus. Which means, again if you are in agreement, that an ecclesiology, because it is the “Body” of those who are in relationship with Jesus and in relationship with those who in that “Body,” is also part of the picture of what gives rise to Scripture. (These are big theological steps, and plenty to discuss here.)

The Four Spiritual Laws are a tract designed to help people share the gospel with others, and at the same time they embody a theory of the gospel — and inasmuch as it is an attempt to summarize the whole gospel (no one ever really says this but anyone who does reduce it like this is at least saying “this is the bottom-line of it all”), it is a theology of the gospel. We will get no where in our thinking and our praxis until we realize the interrelationships of theology and “gospel tracts” or “what we think the gospel is.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/9548318 John Frye

    Scot, I commend you for wading into this water. You are appraoching an evangelical “sacred cow” and “exhibit A” of a deplorably reduced gospel powered by the American marketing engine. I’ve had countless conversations with those “devoted” to this “gospel” plan with its inherent individualism and salvation apart from community. To question it is to invite scorn. A. W. Tozer hinted that it was a result of presenting “scripture plus logic” to, in effect, close the deal. My prayers are with you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/819079 Sivin Kit

    thanks for raising these issues … your second paragraph is a gem and I keep finding myself saying Yes! Yes! Yes!Yes! …I just got a copy of your book Jesus Creed. I’m looking forward to slowly plough through it. I always appreciate it when those who’ve written for the Academia also write for ordinary people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/8111113 Scot McKnight

    John and Sivin,Thanks for writing in on this, and I’m totally faking it here: the TV people want me to type a while so I can look like I’m blogging. Sorry to use you like this.Scot

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2008396 Sue

    Holy smokes… I had no idea…I thought the “4 Spiritual Laws” tracts were “out of print.” I’ve not seen one of those tracts in years! Who still uses them?

  • Kevin

    Wow. If I understand you, I could not agree more. The scripture exists because there was a church in the womb of which it could be written. Scripture is the first cause of our doctrines, but its first cause was the church. I have been dying to hear somebody say this. I will have to investigate the Jesus Creed a little more deeply!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2003005 thebluefish

    Just wonder what you make of The World We All Want from The Crowded House – its a course more than a summary, from some Sheffield church planters… has a real community focus ahead of individual.


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