King Jesus Gospel: Part One

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.

Think Same Sex Marriage Isn’t Inevitable?

Then you’ve got your head in the sand.  Check out the numbers released by the Pew Research Center last week:

They write:

The gradual shift in public opinion on same-sex marriage largely reflects the changing views of successive generations. Over the last 15 years, each generation has been more supportive of gay marriage than its predecessor. As the younger generations make up a larger share of the public, the balance of opinion has shifted.

But the bump in support for gay marriage has been more pronounced in recent years because of significant attitude changes within generational groups. As recently as 2009, just 23% of Silents supported gay marriage; now 33% share this view. Notable increases in the past two years have also been seen among Boomers (from 32% to 42%), Gen Xers (from 41% to 50%) and Millennials (from 51% to 59%).

The Pew Numbers also show liberalizing trends in other social issues, from the legalization of marijuana to gun rights, but none is as pronounced as same sex marriage.

The question, I suppose, is how conservative the Millennials will become as they age.  Surely the Boomers were pretty liberal when they were in college, and they’ve moved right as a group — though not as far as their parents and grandparents.

HT: Bethany Stolle

Cyber Monday?

So, we all had a #HipsterHoliday and a #BuyNothingFriday. But does that extend to Cyber Monday?

Look Who’s a Methodist Poster Child!

Here’s the current homepage at

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille:

I have no problem being the poster child for service rather than consumerism on Black Friday, and I don’t even object to a denomination using my image for that purpose, but the story is about a few churches in South Texas that have started a ministry called “Bless Friday.”  The image is from a retreat for college students that I led in Las Vegas a couple years ago.

So I guess now I’m stock art.

HT: Shane Mullin (who, for some reason, was on the UMC homepage yesterday)