Contemporary evangelicals have built a 'salvation culture' but not a 'gospel culture.' Evangelicals have reduced the gospel to the message of personal salvation. This book makes a plea for us to recover the old gospel as that which is still new and still fresh. The book stands on four arguments: that the gospel is defined by the apostles in 1 Corinthians 15 as the completion of the Story of Israel in the saving Story of Jesus; that the gospel is found in the Four Gospels; that the gospel was preached by Jesus; and that the sermons in the Book of Acts are the best example of gospeling in the New Testament. In the Beginning was the Gospel ends with practical suggestions about evangelism and about building a gospel culture.
©2011 Scot McKnight (P)2011 Zondervan
Scot, whether you agree with him or not, brings so much clarity to some of the biggest issues of our day, and gives the underlying ideas very helpful names and frames the arguments clearly. I love his style, and I love that even people he disagrees with are given a fair treatment, and are treated generously.
He obviously knows his material, and refers to much longer works that he's written on some of the subjects that he covers, but he tends to stay above the academic jargon and make it easy enough to understand.
I've recommended it to many people as a must read. You'll be glad you did.
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
In my desire to expand my knowledge (and keep myself entertained), I read a lot of books. In my head, I know that many times I need to ruminate on a book more to really get the point and put into practice what I have heard from it. But too often I just keep reading. After all I have a blog to write.
So I made a goal for myself to re-read one book a month. I suck at meeting goals. I have only re-read 10 in the last 18 months and only 2 this year. But when I re-read, I like to read in a different format. The first time I read King Jesus Gospel I read it on my kindle. This time I listened to the audiobook.
First things, first. I think this is a very important book. I think that the message, that we need to place Jesus as Savior, Lord and Messiah and full-filler of the story of Israel, is vitally important.
I have been reading a bit on the unity of Christ and different streams of Christianity lately and understanding the central component of the gospel is vitally important.
This book seems to be frequently misunderstood. McKnight is not minimizing the need for salvation or the need for good theology or the need for good Christian living. Instead he is arguing that as important as all of those things are, they are implications of the gospel, not themselves the Gospel.
The simplest way for me to explain this is that our salvation does not make Jesus Christ Lord and Savior. Instead, the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior means that we can be saved by his grace and power through his work on the cross and his resurrection and because Christ came to fulfill and complete the story of Israel.
But I do have two thoughts on reading this a second time. First, as important as it is, I think that McKnight needs to expand two parts. First, he wants to tightly connect the Old Testament to the New Testament. Too often we present Christ as absent from the history and action of God with Israel. McKnight talks about the importance of this, but I wish he expanded it more. I get his point, I agree with his point. I still have a hard time communicating his point to others. So I would like more.
In a similar way, I wish he would talk more about the implications for communicating the gospel because of the way he is trying to limit its scope. Some people seem to take McKnight’s point as meaning we should not share a plan of salvation with anyone. That is not his point. But I do see how a too quick reading of the book might lead you to think that.
In addition to those two areas I would like to see expanded, I thought that there really was not much more that I gained by re-reading it. McKnight was clear. This is not a book that needs to be read over and over for fresh insight. He was clear the first time through.
But I would suggest that you read this rather than listen to it. There is nothing wrong with the audiobook. But this is a book that I think benefits from reading the word on the page instead of listening to them through your earphones.
I have been a student of the Bible, both formal & informal, for a long time. I can honestly say that I have not read a more important book. Why do I say that? Because it is asking & answering the most elemental questions of The Faith: What is the Gospel? In the consideration of the answer to this question Scot McKnight writes a book that is both deeply theological, considering Christ & His Gospel in the context of history, while calling The Church to action by expressing the importance of this message as THE life transforming message of the early church. You may not agree with all of Dr. McKnight's conclusions but you owe it to yourself to hear what he has to say. It may just give you a fresh glimpse of this man called Jesus and His Gospel.
If you have an interest in Christian Theology I recommend this read. I'm down for listening to any New Testament Scholar who has points as to what we're doing wrong as Christians and in particular Christians here in America. His focus though is in 'revisiting' the apostolic Gospel (which is/should be our Gospel as well) and how the word Gospel itself is often confused today which can potentially make the term more about ourselves than about Jesus. This, he claims leads to a 'salvation culture' as opposed to a 'Gospel culture.' Good and important read.
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