I’m reading an advance copy of Scot McKnight’s book The King Jesus Gospel. I’m about 30 pages into it and in a nutshell here’s where I’ve got so far. Because we have narrowed the definition of gospel to the idea of “plan of salvation” and divorced it from the larger narrative of what God was doing with and through Israel we have actually distorted the meaning of the gospel. This has created the problem of having people make a “decision” without going on to become disciples. McKnight asks “Does salvation really lead The Decided to become The Discipled?” (p. 26, Page references may differ from the final copy.) Further, he states “sometimes we are so singularly focused on the personal-Plan-of-Salvation and how-we-get-saved that we eliminate the Story of Israel and the Story of Jesus altogether.” (31)
He sees the problem as not only endemic to Evangelicals but also in Catholic and Orthodox circles as well. For the latter two categories it is the problem of getting “The Member” to become The Discipled. The emphasis for them is entrance into the church rather than making a decision. For McKnight both approaches are problematic and in the end distort the gospel. Both these approaches need to take a second step in order to get to the Disciple stage. He notes, “Salvation cultures have struggled, are struggling, and will continue to struggle to get The Members or The Decided into the third category: The Discipled. My contention is that we have to create a gospel culture if we want The Members to be The Discipled. . .” (25)
That’s as far as I’ve read and I think he has some good points but I’m curious to see how a fully orbed “gospel-culture” will make the transition to The Disciple any easier. I’m also curious if McKnight thinks that if someone says, “What must I do to be saved?” the answer must include a little history about Israel and the Old Testament. In other words does some of the content of the Old Testament have to be included in any salvation message in order to ensure it is properly framed or does the presenter simply to need to have that context in mind but may adjust the message as the situation requires? I don’t think of these questions as obstacles to his thesis they are simply the questions raised at this point. He may well answer them later in the book. I’ll keep you updated.