Part of a week-long discussion of The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight
The first thing that I recognized when diving into my friend, Scot’s, book, is that this is a book written by and evangelical, for evangelicals.
I’ve got a tortured relationship with evangelicalism. It’s a love-hate thing. I love the zeal and fervency with which evangelicals practice their Christianity. I hate that the flip side of their zeal leads them to exclude persons, like me, who are not perfectly orthodox, in their view.
Scot does not so much hate his fellow evangelicals as he is peeved at them. They have, in his estimation, forsaken the full-orbed gospel and instead taken up an undue focus on salvation. His compatriots are not “evangelicals” so much as they are “soterians,” Scot charges, using the Greek word for salvation as an appellation. Salvation does not equate with the gospel, he writes, “Salvation flows from the gospel.” (p. 51)What Scot doesn’t do, and what I bet that a lot of this blog’s readers have an opinion on, is why have evangelicals allowed questions of salvation to become the entirety of the gospel? And further, why did those of us who were reared in mainline churches not fall into that trap?
As Scot ably and amply notes, this is becoming a meme in evangelicalism — at least, in what I call the “evangelical intelligentsia.” NT Wright, Dallas Willard (both of whom wrote forewords), Darrell Bock, and others have all taken their tribe to task for focusing on heaven and hell at the expense of the many other aspects of the gospel. Scot piles on with his own take…a take that I will begin to explore tomorrow.