If you are one of my readers who also happens to be part of the church I serve, you know that I’ve been preaching a series on the King Jesus Gospel. Among other points, I’ve been showing how the sermons of Acts were about the Story of Jesus as King being the good news that flows out of the story of Israel.
Yesterday, Chaplain Mike over at the Internet Monk blog posted some reflections on Romans 1 and shows how we see the King Jesus Gospel described in the first 7 verses of that epistle.
Good stuff. Follow the link.
The Epistles Begin with the Gospel | internetmonk.com.
I’m on vacation this week with no access to the internet, so here is some more interesting reading from Scot McKnight on the The King Jesus Gospel.
The article does a nice job bringing out the fact that the King Jesus Gospel does not exclude salvation, but includes it under the larger message of Jesus as King. He makes a fair observation about “once saved always saved” as it relates to Calvinism, and he is an Arminian.
Note the volatility in comment thread. For those who are fully involved in what McKnight calls the “Salvation Culture” it is extremely difficult to see the point being made that the gospel preached by Jesus, the Apostles, and Paul was not the same message we Evangelicals have inherited from Revivalism.
If you’ve been a reader of mine, you know that I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the concept of Jesus as King. Scot McKnight calls this The King Jesus Gospel. The basic premise is that the Gospel (good news) message preached by Jesus and the Apostles was that Jesus was the promised Messiah/King. He was the fulfillment of prophecy, and Jesus brings the story of Israel to fulfillment. Jesus brings the Kingdom of God with him, and offers salvation as part of the package when a person repents and submits to follow King Jesus.
The issue is one of theological categories. I have come to believe that the good news message is about Jesus, and therefore belongs in the category of Christology. We Evangelicals, because we are children of the Protestant Reformation and American Revivalism, have taken the Gospel and made it a message about personal salvation only instead of the a broader message about who Jesus is. We talk about it in terms of what Jesus does for me, what he gives to me, and how I benefit from the Gospel. I get to pray a prayer and go to heaven when I die. This takes the Gospel message and puts it in the category of Soteriology.
Recently, I read a post by Al Mohler on the topic of the Gospel in the Southern Baptist Convention. If you don’t know Dr. Mohler, he is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and a big presence in the SBC. In his post we see a soteriological discussion that Mohler — along with many others — wrongly connects to the vitality of the Gospel message itself. Continue reading
In this post from The King Jesus Gospel (full series), we will discuss a little history, and McKnight wants to answer the question, “How did our Gospel culture become a Salvation Culture?” We want to know how the original gospel message got lost.
The culprit, says McKnight, the Protestant Reformation. The author is clear that he feels the Reformation was an important, God led, movement, and I agree. He thinks it was needed to clarify salvation and making its personal application clear and necessary. The battleground of the Reformation was about justification by grace alone through faith alone apart from any works on our part. This was a good and necessary battle, but the unforeseen result was that it would hyper-focus Protestantism on soteriology (the study of Salvation), instead of Christology (the study of Christ). As we have already established, the gospel (the preached good news message) of the Jesus, John the Baptist, the apostles, and Paul was not about salvation, but is was the heralded good news of Jesus the King has arrived and brought his kingdom with him. So, the gospel is properly anchored in Christology because it is about Jesus. We Evangelicals have moved it over into the category of soteriology because we have been taught that the gospel (preached good news message) is about our salvation from Hell. Continue reading
Well, I have to admit that I’ve bogged down on this series of posts from Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel. I’m still trying to figure out how to blog through a book, and I fear I’ve made this one terribly boring. If you’re snoozing through it, I promise to do better next time.
In chapter five, McKnight discusses how he thinks we moved from a gospel culture (the King Jesus gospel) to a salvation culture. There is good information in that chapter, but I’ll not go through it in any detail. Suffice it to say for our purposes that a major contributor to this movement is found in the Protestant Reformation.
With all the talk about the Kingdom of God lately, I thought I would take a minute to clarify something I might not have said clearly before.
The Kingdom of God is not a place like New Jersey is place. It is any realm where the Sovereign God reigns and dwells. The Kingdom is the sphere of God’s influence. In the New Testament, the term Kingdom of God means to a Jewish hearer “God’s reign come down to earth.” So, the announcement of the presence of the Kingdom was the announcement that God had moved his sphere of influence down to earth. In the case of Jesus, this means that he is bringing in that Kingdom, and that where he is, there is the Kingdom.
So, for the Jewish listener this is good news because it means the fulfillment of their desire for God to dwell among them (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Malach 4:1-5) and be their ruler and King. When Jesus announces he is bringing the Kingdom with him, he announces that he is God come to dwell among his people.
For today’s post from The King Jesus Gospel (full series) we continue talking about Paul’s gospel. McKnight focuses in on other passages from Paul’s writing, specifically from the book of Romans.
According to the author, the fundamental issue for Paul in Romans is not simply the personal salvation, but the problem of how God joins together Jewish believers and Gentile believers into the one church of Jesus Christ. Beginning in Romans 1:1-5, he wants to demonstrate how Paul’s understanding of the gospel fits what is said in 1 Corinthians 15.