This is a blog series on some of the participants in the new book, Living the King Jesus Gospel. Today we have Dr. Matthew W. Bates, co-editor and a contributor to this tribute book for our friend Scot McKnight.
How do you know Scot?
Although I had long admired Scot’s scholarship, Scot and I personally connected for the first time after I asked him if he might be willing to write a foreword for my Salvation by Allegiance Alone. After he read the manuscript, he offered to meet up at SBL. We hit it off, leading to future collaborative work. Our friendship has grown from there.
How has Scot made an impact on you?
Scot’s emphasis on the King Jesus gospel helped refine my understanding of the gospel. It led indirectly to my work on “faith” (pistis) as involving external and relational dimensions of loyalty. In short, his King Jesus gospel helped me see the degree to which enthronement has been neglected as “gospel” by scholarship–and this led in turn to a model that requires allegiance to the king as part of saving faith.
For your book chapter, how did you choose the subject?
Can I get a witness? My chapter is “Living the Gospel according to Acts.” When I re-read Acts with a view toward what it means to live out the gospel, it became clear that while our vocation as Jesus’s disciples is multifaceted, all that we are called to do should be coordinated within a larger task: testifying to Jesus’s kingship.
What is your vocation? And how do you see yourself attempting to “Live the King Jesus Gospel” in that context?
My vocation is to be a loyal disciple. Presently I am a professor of theology at Quincy University, a Franciscan liberal arts college. As a Protestant, it is a delight and challenge to teach in this context. My work is primarily missional and evangelistic. I try to help Christians (myself included) discover the transformative eternal quality of life God wants to give through discipleship to Jesus. I attempt to introduce my students to the cross-and-resurrection pattern–to why it is hard yet beautiful to live in this way.
Do you have a favorite Scot McKnight book?
Obviously The King Jesus Gospel. My training is as a New Testament scholar, so I also especially enjoy his more technical commentaries in the NICNT series.
Any fun, personal stories about Scot you want to share?
Scot story: After the Cubs won the world series in 2016–miracles do happen–Scot wore a tacky looking Cubs hat to SBL. I told him I had tried to wear my 2010, 2012, and 2014 Giants hats, but I couldn’t squeeze three on at one time. That didn’t manage to wipe the huge grin off of Scot’s face. Scot and I enjoy back-and-forth about baseball. He is a depressed Cubs fan. I’m presently enjoying the most amazing regular season the Giants have ever had…. but I’ll stop there lest I become uncharitable.
In terms of writing, what are you working on next?
A book tentatively titled, Why Is the Gospel?, for Eerdmans.
If you want to learn more about Matthew’s thoughts on Acts, check out Living the King Jesus Gospel, a tribute to Scot McKnight, and Matthew’s excellent work on the gospel (see below).