If you’ve arrived here at Echo Hub on purpose, odds are you’re a communicator who serves a church or ministry, although your preferred medium of communication may vary. While this site usually focuses on how we ought to communicate, I recently read a book that informs what we ought to communicate. That book is The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight, a respected scholar and teacher who is himself an excellent communicator.
As is often the case with subtitles, this book’s subtitle is helpful in clarifying its mission: “The Original Good News Revisited.” What McKnight is after is a clear and biblical definition of the gospel in its fullness. While modern methods and metaphors propagate what McKnight calls the “Plan of Salvation,” he decides to pursue the original (and most reliable) sources of gospel preaching: Jesus, the Gospels, Paul, and other apostles. Unfortunately, when we compare the newfangled Plan of Salvation and the ancient, apostolic gospel, we find significant differences.
“Because the ‘gospel’ is the Story of Jesus that fulfills, completes, and resolves Israel’s Story, we dare not permit the gospel to collapse into the abstract, destorified points in the Plan of Salvation.”
Convicting stuff. Especially for those of us whose preferred media invite (and often demand) the collapse and compression of meaningful messages.
The King Jesus Gospel is McKnight’s attempt to broaden and focus our conception of the gospel, critique our fixation on the decontextualized Plan of Salvation, and offer a vision for a Church rooted in what he terms “gospel culture.”
I don’t want to ramble on too much about the contents of the book — I’d much rather you read it for yourself. Suffice it to say that I believe McKnight successfully makes his case, that my Kindle copy is half yellow with highlights, and that I see the gospel differently that I did just three weeks ago. Honestly, I think I see the gospel more as Jesus and Paul and the others would have me see it than I did just three weeks ago.
That changes a lot of things for me, but the reason I write about the book in this space is that it certainly changes how I will communicate the gospel going forward. You can find The King Jesus Gospel on Amazon here.
Scott McClellan is the Editor of Echo Hub and the Director of Echo Conference. You can follow him on Twitter: @scottmcclellan.