Michael Horton on The King Jesus Gospel

Michael Horton, well-known Reformed theologian, professor at Westminster-San Diego, has a post that reviews generously and extensively (in true Reformed fashion) my new book, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. I have reviewed a couple of Mike’s books here so turnabout is fair, and he’s fair — as he always is. I will be examining three kinds of soterians Wednesday on this blog so I’ll wait for that… now to Michael’s review.

Horton and I agree more or less on seeing the substantive problem in contemporary evangelicalism’s approach to evangelism.

Reformed folks share the same concern. Christ is both Savior and Lord: you can’t embrace one without the other. And we don’t make him Savior and Lord; he is Savior and Lord whether we embrace him or not. The goal of evangelism in our churches is to make disciples, not just converts. That’s why we don’t focus on a striking conversion experience [SMcK: the Puritan "relation" surely deserves to be mentioned in its experiential emphasis], but on Christ, and emphasize the Christian life as a constant living out of our baptism, in the communion of saints. Lifelong discipleship is not an individualistic affair, but a team sport.

But only a (Reformed, covenant-shaped) soterian can think the following sentence summarizes what I am doing:

To put it in terms of Reformed interpretation, McKnight is wrestling here with the relationship of the ordo salutis (salvation applied to individuals here and now) to the historia salutis (the history of redemption).

This summary of Michael’s about what I’m doing illustrates the tenacity of the soterian approach. No, I’m not wrestling with the relationship of the ordo salutis to the historia salutis. First a clarification: the ordo salutis is not the same as what I call the “plan of personal salvation” but is instead that doctrinal debate about the order of the various elements in the doctrine of salvation (e.g., regeneration and faith and justification and calling). I’m not sure why so many use ordo salutis for how one gets saved but I see it in more than Michael’s statement above. Still, not a big point. Instead of how Michael puts it, I see myself wrestling with the relationship of the “plan of personal salvation” to the Story of God’s design to establish, both now and in the Age to Come, the kingdom of God with its proper king. I don’t reduce that Story, as Michael does, to redemption. I say this because that is what the expression historia salutis does; it says it is a “history of salvation.” There’s a difference here, and it has everything to do with what my book is about: learning to see the “gospel” as the Story about Jesus (in its fullness) as part of God’s plan to establish kingdom and God’s reign (1 Cor 15:20-28, Rev 20-22). [Yes, Michael pushes me honestly for reduction at times but I really do want "Story of Israel completing in Jesus" to be my capsule summary of the fullness of God's mission from creation to the new heavens and new earth, where Jesus is the temple, and I don't want it to be reductionistic.] Maybe I’m seeing too much in Horton’s historia salutis, but…

Michael Bird pointed to Michael’s shifting into the soterian mode in Bird’s review of Horton’s review of my book:

But just when I think I’m on the same page as Horton, he says this: “This announcement is as ambiguous without the news of justification as is the news of justification apart from the Story of Israel and Jesus.” This statement has two problems: (1) It privileges ONE image from Paul’s letters, namely, justification as THE key image for gospel, when other images like reconciliation, rescue, or redemption could be said to be more prevalent and comprehensive for both Paul and the New Testament’s soteriology. Justification is Paul’s contingent metaphor drawn from his little bag of soteriological gems that explains in covenantal and forensic terms how it is that God accepts the ungodly and brings Gentiles into the family of Abraham. But it is not the canon with the canon. It’s not the only image, not even the most significant one!  (2) If Horton’s statement is correct, then we are back to McKnight’s original objection, how do you preach the gospel from the Gospels or from the Speeches in Acts if they don’t explicate the gospel in terms of justification? Do the Petrine and Johannine letters contain the gospel, well, in the absence of “justification” terminology, it would seem not. Here’s my beef (and McKnight’s as well): the soterians still need to expand their soteriology, without diminishing the value and richness of Paul’s remarks on justification, but without making it the single model of explicating the gospel.

Back to Michael Horton. When I wrote this book I entered into the history of theology, and I’m not an expert on such matters, so I am open to correction by experts here, and Horton is an expert. So I was keenly interested in what he’d say about that chp.  Horton says this:

Yet, much like N. T. Wright, he seems to think that he if we would just go “back to the Bible to find the original gospel” as he has, we’d get it right (24). [Well, OK, I make an appeal to reforming what we think by re-examining the Bible, but please observe that I have great respect in this book for the creeds and the Reformers.] The history of exegesis is reduced to the categories of “gospel culture” and “salvation culture.” Also as in Professor Wright’s work, The King Jesus Gospel offers sweeping assertions about the Reformation without serious engagement. [Fair enough, but my point is a simple one: comparing creeds to Geneva, etc] I can’t imagine that he has explored the commentaries of the Reformers or the history of Reformed biblical theology in any depth. [Two different things: I've read lots of Calvin's commentaries, and some of Luther's, but I'm no expert on the "history of Reformed biblical theology".] No harm done for having different interests, but one shouldn’t then pile with one more straw-man portrait. [Straw-man? Well, the comparison is fair: Nicea/Const with Geneva, etc. But he will have to admit I don't blame the Reformers or the Reformation; I see the seeds planted then by the re-framing.]

Even when he “damns with faint praise,” the author misses the goal of at least Lutheran and Reformed branches: “The singular contribution of the Reformation, in all three directions—Lutheran, Reformed, and Anabaptist—was that the gravity of the gospel was shifted toward human response and personal responsibility and the development of the gospel as speaking into that responsibility” (71). [Could have said "A singular ...." and I'd be happy with that.] This confuses the Reformation’s interest with pietism, [fair criticism, but isn't it fair to say the Reformers focused more on a personal sense of redemption than previous theology?] which was a completely different kettle of fish. The former focused on what the Triune God has done to accomplish salvation for sinners, [So did the piestists!] not on “human response” and what I’m supposed to do to “get saved.” [Horton's now not being fair now to the pietists for surely they had other emphases. Horton doesn't like "get saved" but it's precisely what the jailor asked in Acts 16:19-21, so I will stick with it as a good and biblical expression.]

Then this next set of lines seems to miss a distinct emphasis in my book. He sees a false choice. But I don’t ever force a choice between Story and salvation, but I do force a choice between the Story gospel and the Soterian gospel, which has no Story. Let me emphasize it again: I make it clear beyond critique that the gospel saves, that there are saving benefits to the gospel, and that Jesus is the King and Lord who saves. The “plan of salvation” then unfolds out of “for our sins” in 1 Cor 15. One of my close readers told me he was annoyed how often I emphasized that the gospel of King Jesus and Lord is a gospel that saves!

In this light, I worry about forcing a choice between the gospel as the Story of Jesus and the Plan of Salvation (if the latter means justification and new birth, for example). The one is still too broad to specify the saving announcement [I disagree as stated above.] and the latter is too narrow—indeed, somewhat distorting (understood the way McKnight describes it, as akin to the Four Spiritual Laws). McKnight does a great job with 1 Corinthians 15, but there Paul clearly includes the benefits of Christ’s saving work (forgiveness, justification [this is not in 1 Cor 15 at all], resurrection [resurrection as benefit?]) with Christ’s Story as the gospel. In fact, our story (how he saves us) is bound up with his story in that passage. If 1 Corinthians 15 is a summary of the gospel (and I agree that it is), then wouldn’t it be arbitrary to say that the details about Christ’s death and resurrection are the gospel while the benefits for us, as important as they are, are not the gospel? [I don't say this.] There are just too many passages, here and elsewhere, that make Christ’s work (living, dying and rising again in history) and its effects for us inseparable aspects of the gospel. “He was crucified for our sins and raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25). The dramatic story of Christ and the doctrine that interprets its significance for us are inseparable aspects of the same gospel.[I totally agree that we can't totally separate gospel from salvation and never say otherwise. What I do say is that one way of framing the gospel, the soterian approach, has no Story, while the other, the Story gospel of King Jesus, entails the benefits of salvation.]

And Michael might be again smuggling in a soterian model that simply isn’t how Paul defines gospel when he says:

The gospel in the New Testament is neither “Repent and believe” (that’s the call to embrace the gospel) [I don't say the gospel is to repent and believe, I say it is the proper response, and I include baptism because the apostles do.] nor “Jesus is the Solution to Israel’s Story.” [I say this and stand by it.] It’s not even that Jesus is Lord, the Messiah-King. [I disagree: at the heart of the gospel is the announcement that Jesus is Messiah/King and Lord who saves.] This announcement is as ambiguous without the news of justification as is the news of justification apart from the Story of Israel and Jesus. [Precisely what Bird pushed against above. I ask: Then how can Paul summarize the gospel without justification so much as mentioned in 1 Cor 15?]

Another point: Horton touches a new perspective theme, and I can’t for the life of me understand why he thinks I don’t do this: Story of Israel involves Adam and the Gentiles eventually. I emphasize this in the Peter sermon: it is for all, and I tend to use Messsiah/King for the Israel focus and “Lord” for Gentiles. But it appears to me Horton thinks I didn’t include this:

Another danger in reducing the gospel to the Jesus-Story-as-Solution-to-the-Israel-Story is that it fails to account adequately for why the gospel is good news to Gentiles.

Not sure why Michael said what’s below, but he needs to read p. 158 again:

Nothing about the sacraments, church membership and discipline—especially odd in light of the Justin Martyr appendix that focused on these ordinary means by which God “creates a gospel culture.”

OK, I have nothing about church discipline or really about church “membership” but there is plenty of “we” in that last chp, plenty of church, stuff on church calendar and I have stuff about baptism and sacraments. It’s on p. 158.

One point that I wish Michael had discussed more, and maybe it’s because he agrees with me, but it is the chief methodological point of my book, and it’s a very big issue to me: when we define gospel I say we need to go to 1 Cor 15, to the gospel sermons in Acts, and to the first four Gospels as the gospel itself. On those three sets of texts this book depends, and when we use those texts, esp 1 Cor 15 as the hermeneutic to gospel that leads to fresh re-viewing of the gospel sermons in Acts and the Gospels, we can’t arrive at a soterian frame for the meaning of gospel. We get the Story framing.

I don’t use the term “soterists.”

About Scot McKnight

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

  • Scot McKnight

    I apologize for some on the fly editing of this piece. I edited it on two different computers, the result being some of what I edited isn’t now showing up…

  • Amos Paul

    As per the bit where you discussed the ‘tension’ you’re struggling with in the book:

    What if people *mean* “the Story of God’s design to establish, both now and in the Age to Come, the kingdom of God with its proper king,” when they say ‘history of redemption’.

    At least, that’s what I mean when I say history (meaning–the past story) of redemption (the establishment Christ as King and the transformation of good that entails).

    Some people might mean the history of redemption to refer to the history of personal salvation… but I think this is simply incorrect. Redemption, IMO, entails everything, that is, the whole authority of Christ as the power above that is everything underneath His reign.

  • Amos Paul

    *power above that is ‘transforming’ everything underneath His reign.

    Missed a word somehow.

  • Scot McKnight

    Amos, I agree… and I will point this out Wednesday on my post. I know the covenant folks have a wider lens when it comes to redemptive history, but when they begin talking justification… then I see things shifting from a christological Story to a soterian story.

  • T

    Very interesting stuff. I think the central issue is what Bird and you both identify, namely: “how do you preach the gospel from the Gospels or from the Speeches in Acts if they don’t explicate the gospel in terms of justification? Do the Petrine and Johannine letters contain the gospel, well, in the absence of “justification” terminology, it would seem not. Here’s my beef (and McKnight’s as well): the soterians still need to expand their soteriology, without diminishing the value and richness of Paul’s remarks on justification, but without making it the single model of explicating the gospel.”

    Bingo. If our basic posture is that we can’t declare the gospel without talking about justification by faith, then we implicitly say that the actors in the NT, including Jesus, Peter and Paul, didn’t preach the gospel very well if at all in their many attempts. This must tell us something.

  • Matthew H. Loverin

    re: your quote above, “I don’t ever force a choice between Story and salvation, but I do force a choice between the Story gospel and the Soterian gospel, which has no Story.”

    This was a very helpful clarification/distillation of your overall argument. Thanks.

  • Jim


    I did read his review and really felt that at times we read two different books. I was quite confused with some of what was said.

    Something I commented on there (and want to reiterate here), why is there a common need to name names? It seems whenever I read a book, I read about a specific someone who’s theology is considered “off” by another person. Whether it be John Piper, NT Wright, you, etc; I seem to see a lot of criticism when it comes to others.

    With that said, I also wondered about your history of theology chapter as did Horton. While I feel the reformation had a huge effect on “personalizing” the Gospel, I also feel that various cultural shifts and changes had much to do with it and would have loved to read about it (if my ideas were right; but I have not researched them much).

    For example, did the Gospel change into a more centralized
    salvation message after things such as the Crusades or the Bubonic Plague when death was more of an urgent matter than it is in today’s culture? While you talked about the Church’s theology changing, it would have been interesting to read how it changed as the circumstances of life around it changed. I understand your intention on the chapter though and did appreciate what was there.

    I do have a question, have you read Piper’s book, “God is the Gospel?” You reference it in your book and talk a little about it. Does he actually say that God is the Gospel through justification? If not, how do you see your stance on him from the early examples in your book holding water?

    These were just a few thoughts. I did absolutely love the book and agree that is an essential part of faith that needs re-examining in our churches.

  • Rick

    I am just encouraged that so many across the spectrum (Wright, Willard, Witherington, Bird, Horton, etc…) agree that there is a problem in how the gospel is being communicated, and agree that Scot has at least pinpointed a good starting point.

  • Scot McKnight


    I’m not an expert on the history of theology, but I see something important — isn’t this the point of it all? — changing in framing theology in the Reformation, and if you look at those early confessions (Augsburg, Geneva) there is a soteriologizing at work. Not the first, but the first at this level of centralizing. Maybe I’m wrong.

    And it seems to me there is a major emphasis on sola fide at the persona level and not just as a piece of theology.

    I read Piper’s book yes. That book framed the gospel more doxologically, and that is why I referred to it as I did in the later reference to him. In the first use of Piper, I am referring to his talk at Together for the Gospel. I represent him fairly, and I do think Piper sees the gospel through the lens of justification and double imputation. His most recent video about racism shows the same focus. Look, Piper’s got alot of this right but I think the soterian framing does not square with the apostolic framing of gospel in the NT.

  • Jim


    Thanks for clearing that up. As I said, I understood what you were doing (looking at the creeds and centralizing of beliefs); as someone who loves digging deeper, I just finished the chapter wanting more (and perhaps I will actually research it now that you got me thinking since it will drive me up a wall!)

    To clarify, I do feel you painted Piper in a fair light; even fairer than he often paints others in! I guess I am just tiring of seeing his name in print :)

    Thanks again for your work, I pray it continue to change and edify for the sake of Christ!

  • Bob Bliss

    I have been eagerly awaiting your book and it’s first on my “next-to-buy” list. Here is a link to a blog from the business culture that you might find interesting and that you might find illustrates what you are trying to do.


  • http://twocoppercoins.blogspot.com Jake Ulasich


    how much does your book go into the implications of how we actually read the soteriological passages in Paul’s letters, etc. To me it seems that many Christians read those passages as “the gospel message,” and it’s frustrated me, because the writers don’t reference them as such. What, then, is their place not only in Christian theology, but in practice. I assume they have a context and a direction involved in their writing.

    For instance, a lot of evangelicals have confused Paul’s insistence that salvation is by grace through faith with part of the central message of the gospel. My reading of these passages is that they are nearly always a warning to people not to be proud of their accomplishment in believing in Christ. It is mainly “so that no one can boast.” This is a practical application of Paul’s theology. What are the practical applications of Soteriology? How much of the Soteriological imagery do we need to embrace? How important is it to the “Story” and how important is embracing it to “personal salvation?”

  • Justin B.

    “I can’t imagine that he has explored the commentaries of the Reformers or the history of Reformed biblical theology in any depth.”

    Frankly, Horton’s review would’ve been better without this condescending sentence.

    Scot, thanks for a calm and fair response.

  • http://www.gurrydesign.com/ Peter G.


    Thanks for engaging this. The discussion happening around the blog world is very helpful.

    One thing that still confuses me (and it confused me again after reading this) is whether you’re against two alternate Gospels or two alternate framings.

    I think the other big struggle I’m still having with “the King Jesus Gospel” is the impetus behind saying that “I don’t reduce that Story, as Michael does, to redemption.” I read that and scratch my head thinking, “How could a story about divine redemption be reduced?” What could be a bigger story than how and why God redeems? Are you suggesting that telling the story as “who God redeems” is reductionist? Or are you saying more?

    Still struggling, but hanging on…

  • http://www.gurrydesign.com/ Peter G.

    (Whoops. Sorry for the italics. Forgot to close my tag.)

  • Scot McKnight

    Peter G., when someone asks for a paradigm change one asks for confusion. I have repeatedly said the alternatives are:

    Soterian gospel, where we have a plan for personal salvation but no need for the Story of Israel.

    Story gospel, where we have both Israel’s Story and salvation.

    Redemption is one dimension of that Story, but God’s glory and God’s rule in Christ, and koinonia, etc, are also dimensions.

  • http://tommyab.wordpress.com tommy


    your book is really helpful.

    I am on a “quest” for the apostolic gospel for at least the last 10 years…

    I wonder if the drift toward soterian gospel, a gospel designed to get people “saved”, has a link with the catholic theology of hell. The St-Augustin view of hell.

    I mean… if hell is what middle-age catholiscism and Augustin say, and if everyone on earth is destined to go there by default, we ought to find a way to get the maximum of people out of it.

    So we end up with:
    1. universal baptism, and children baptism, in orthodox and catholic traditions
    2. easy formulations of evangelicalism… almost “magical formula” (“repeat those words after me…”)

    The “end” is so important (avoid hell), that every means possible are good.
    So the end justifies the means. And we end up with manipulation instead of preaching (Altar calls…), easy decisions to take instead of repentance, propaganda (tele-evangelism, tracts, … becoming slaves to Mamon while doing it,… etc…). And the means we use become quite opposite to the gospel itself.

    so the end (making christians) justifies the means, but the means destroy the end (acting in the most unchristian way in order to achieve our goals)

  • scotmcknight

    Jake, not a whole lot. I don’t set out to re-explain soteriological passages but establish the case for reframing gospel in apostolic terms. Salvation flows for those who are in union with Christ, so the essence of salvation is first to get connected to Christ.

  • http://vanguardchurch.blogspot.com/ Bob Robinson

    “While Scot McKnight and I are of different theological stripes (he is an Anabaptist Arminian, I am a Neo-Calvinist), we agree that the current crop of Calvinists in America have so focused on issues of “Salvation through Justification” that they miss the larger story of the Bible. What Neo-Calvinists focus in on is the gospel story of cosmic restoration; what the new crop of Calvinists (what I call the Neo-Puritans) focus in on is how God saves people.”

  • http://friendedbyChrist.com Tim

    I have been wading through your book, and I appreciate it so much. I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the book and with the last several posts you’ve had on the topic.

    One of the things you’ve got me thinking about is how a ‘soterian gospel” reinforces our tendency to keep our attention on ourselves. It reminded me of what Luther called “incurvatus in se,” sin’s tendency to curve us into ourselves. It seems like a gospel that is centered on justification, and even unconditional grace, helps sustain an environment in my heart in which “incurvatus in se” thrives. I can glory in the fact of salvation but possibly never truly bend my knee to Jesus as my King.

    Scot, I’m wondering if you’d read something I posted last week and let me know if my conclusions are in line with what you’re saying: http://wp.me/pMKgG-ns

    Also, something else I’ve been wondering: Do you think our segregation of evangelism and discipleship has created/reinforced a salvation culture? Wasn’t Jesus’ evangelistic message one of discipleship (i.e. Matthew 13:44)?

  • Greg


    Scot doesn’t agree with Neo-Calvinists. He holds that the restoration piece of that theological framing is still soterian….

  • http://vanguardchurch.blogspot.com/ Bob Robinson

    Well, kind of. While Scot is not a Neo-Calvinist, he does indeed hold to Restoration of the Cosmos as the telos of the story.

  • http://prodigalthought.net ScottL

    I think that when most people speak of Jesus’ lordship, they don’t carry an overall bigger understanding of Jesus and the kingdom, but more of a Jesus-is-my-personal-Lord perspective. That’s where people need to be challenged about their understanding of Jesus, his proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom, and what it means for Jesus to be King-Lord. I believe you do this in the book, as Wright does too. But there is a much bigger picture going on beyond ‘personal lordship’ of Jesus.

  • Dana Ames

    It sounds like Horton misunderstands you the same way that a lot of Reformed folk misunderstand NTW: it seems to be nigh unto impossible for them to step out of their “frame” -and with that, their definitions of certain words- in order to simply contemplate the possibility of another frame in its own terms. This is why I wonder if any of them have studied a foreign language, besides the biblical ones.

    “Salvation flows for those who are in union with Christ, so the essence of salvation is first to get connected to Christ.” Sounds so very “capital O” Orthodox! ;)

    I’m going to include TKGJ in the group of books I’m about to pitch to my reading group. Good work, Scot.


  • Ben Wheaton

    Dana Ames,

    Piper did his PhD in Germany (Munich), and Carson was born and raised in Quebec. So yes, they (the evil “they!”) have studied foreign languages other than the biblical ones.

  • Dana Ames

    Good to know that. And I don’t think Piper or Carson is evil. Their theology has simply made less and less sense to me as I have made a comparison of interpretive frameworks.


  • Jerry

    Best line out of Horton was his last: “Despite my concerns, this is a great starter for some remarkably important conversations.” What Scot has done is start a very important discussion. I hope and pray these discussions lead to better preaching and teaching of the gospel.

  • Luke Allison

    Dr McKnight,

    Just a clarification…I think when Dr. Horton says that Justification is present in 1 Corinthians 15, he’s referring to verse 3: “Christ died for our sins”.

    Because the Reformed world and the “other” world (what are the NT Wright and Scot McKnight disciples called?) are talking about completely different things when they say “Justification”, they see it in completely different places. Horton most likely sees “justification” in the lens of all substitutionary/propitiatory/blood-related work, while Wright (rightly, I believe..he he) sees it in light of Covenant and the bigger story of Israel.

    This may be reductionistic, but that’s what I see. Two trains passing in the night, missing each other.

  • http://eenkleineprofeet.blogspot.com Pieter

    Dear Scot,

    Maybe my comment is slightly of topic, but I post it anyway.

    In the work of Tom Wright (NTPG) I found his use of Greimas very helpful in understanding the gospel story as told by e.g. Matthew and Mark. Wouldn’t it be helpful for you to present your overarching gospel story with this tool as well. I am asking this, because the way you currently summarize the King Jesus Gospel, does not sound so much like a story to me.

    My own understanding is this (using Greimas, but in words):

    God sent mankind in order to bring good rule (blessing?) to his creation. Helpers of mankind are 1) the fact that mankind was created in God’s image and 2) God’s blessing and 3) (maybe) food. The adversary is the snake.

    When mankind fails,

    God sends Abraham in order to bring blessing to mankind. Helpers of Abraham are 1), 2), 3) and 4) (interesting; immediatetely after Abrahams calling there is a drought).

    God sends Israel to fullfill the promises of Abraham. Helpers of Israel are those promises and Thora. Maybe we could fit David’s house in as either helper or representative her. Question is who are its adversaries (the nations, sin, devil? – Israel looks to be divided over this question)

    When Israel and its kings fail (proof to be in Adam too, turns out to be its own adversary),

    God sends Jesus in order to deliver his people Israel from the curse so that blessing my fall upon them and (thus) upon the nations. Helpers are God’s Spirit and his word. Adversaries are the devil and in a way his own people (as they are in Adam too).

    And because Jesus has succeeded,

    Jesus sends renewed Israel to the nations to be a blessing,…

    And so the story line unwraps, although still still waiting on its final resolution.

    I find this storyline very compelling at least in regard to the gospel of Matthew. Matthew starts of by saying that Jesus is both son of Abraham and David (so he is Israels representative), that Israel is still in exile (fourteen generations since the exile begun) – and thus under the curse, and the explanation of Jesus name. Following the Greimas scheme, Jesus delivers his people from sin and evil, turns out to be the faithful Israelite and true King. Matthew ends, and this follows directly from the Greimas scheme by sending renewed Israel into the world to be a blessing.

  • scotmcknight

    Pieter, I like this a lot. I have a similar sketch near the end of TKJG.

  • http://eenkleineprofeet.blogspot.com Pieter

    Tx Scot,

    I guess you are giving me a compelling reason to buy your book ;-)

    Greetings from the Netherlands,


  • http://eenkleineprofeet.blogspot.com Pieter


    This story line seems to work with Galatians 3 as well. The problem with the false teachers is that they invite the new believers to participate in Israels story, but at the wrong stage. They ask them to become part of Israels story before Jesus entered the scene. But that stage is a dead-end if it weren’t for Jesus.

  • Erwin

    Re Horton’s lament, “Another danger in reducing the gospel to the Jesus-Story-as-Solution-to-the-Israel-Story is that it fails to account adequately for why the gospel is good news to Gentiles.” The gospel is for the Gentiles too because that’s what God promised to Abraham (Gen 12:2-3), and the New Covenant, which Jesus established, fulfills that promise (cf. Acts 3:25).

  • http://www.donbryant.wordpress.com don bryant

    Scot, The King Jesus Gospel is one of those “had to read it all in one sitting” kind of books. I originally set out quite skeptical of your assertion, wondering if it was needlessly upsetting the cart on what is the Gospel. But it touched something deep in my soul, as well as my mind. I think the turning point of the book for me was “the Gospels are Gospel”, as well as the Nicene Creed is Gospel and the Church Year is Gospel. I get that. I agree with that. I am a man trained in Evangelism Explosion and there is so much good there. But I have felt it always put me in a box and didn’t let the fullness get out. But how to let the fullness get out? Your book points the way. I am a pastor and in my churches I have found masses of people who are “saved” as if the right lever has been pulled. It drives me up a wall. No fascination with Christ, no world and life view, no ethical vision, no serious engagement to see Christ become all in all. They are saved, and that’s about all they know or need to know. Unfortunately, this is not a stereotype. And I do believe that there is something in the way the Gospel is presented that leads them to see it this way. I am 62 and have had years upon years of evangelism, preaching and spiritual formation. The “get saved” framing of the Gospel bears much of the responsibility to what the church is ending up with. I am still not sure how to navigate my way out of this, but it’s clear it needs to be done. I am not satisfied that “Jesus completes Israel’s story” is a substantive communication phrasing, though the reality is there. Jesus as second Adam has always stirred my imagination, something that Paul uses to create a “gospel culture.” Perhaps many shy away from that because it raises the ghost of the imputation of Adam’s sin and moves on to the issue of double imputation and therefore becomes problemmatic right out of the gate. But the reality is there – Christ creates the new man, the old creation is passed away and all things have become new.