The book, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, Scot McKnight argues that evangelicalism in the modern world concentrates on personal salvation while it diminishes the essence of Gospel as the center of the story of Israel, the story of Jesus, the plan of salvation, and method of persuasion. Fundamentally, McKnight holds that evangelicals have reduced and simplified salvation to mere personal salvation and neglected gospel, which illuminates the continuum of Messiah-Lord-Son in the overall plan of salvation of humankind. In this view, the to highlight the importance of the gospel in reviving and deepening evangelicalism in the contemporary world.
Among evangelicals, the gospel has become an amorphous topic because it has no precise definition and demarcation in evangelicalism. In the first chapter of the book, the gospel and argues that personal salvation has the masked gospel in evangelicalism1. In a bid to elucidate how the lack of the gospel among evangelicals is a problem, the book highlights numerous issues related to personal salvation. Adhering to Biblical principles in both the Old Testament and the New Testament enhances a comprehensive understanding of the gospel and the divine plan of salvation. The problem among evangelicals is that they presume that the gospel and salvation are the same yet they are . Thus, the modern church should consider reviving the gospel as an integral aspect of evangelicalism.
The Culture of Salvation and the Gospel
Evangelicals have erred for they have concentrated on personal salvation and neglected the gospel of Jesus, which is the basis of evangelicalism. Essentially, modern evangelicals have nurtured the salvation culture and have left gospel culture despite its significance in reviving and deepening evangelicalism. From the perspective of evangelical, contemporary evangelicals no longer exercise evangelicalism for they have ignored apostolic gospel and become soterians or salvationists2. Contemporary evangelicals have insufficient power to influence and convert people because it lacks gospel culture. In contrast, the gospel that Jesus and apostles preached had power and capability to summon and transform people to discipleship resulting in enduring influence among people.
Story to Salvation
In describing the gospel, which is a neglected aspect of evangelicalism, chapter three examines the story of Israel, the story of Jesus, the plan of salvation, and the method of persuasion are the four teams that build-up the story to salvation. The story of Israel in the Old Testament forms the basis of describing the gospel because it explains the origin of humankind, the fall of Adam and Eve, and the redemption of people into the kingdom of God3. Given that Jesus emerged in the New Testament, the writer notes that the story of Jesus highlights how the Messiah came to preach and perpetuate the gospel for He mobilized and recruited disciples to aid in the spread of the gospel. The story of Israel and the story of Jesus cover the plan of salvation, which illuminated the extent and depth of the gospel4. However, the plan of salvation coupled with the method of persuasion have masked the gospel and magnified personal salvation. Therefore, contemporary evangelicalism focuses on the plan of salvation and the method of persuasion while it diminishes the story of Jesus and the story of Israel.
The Apostolic Gospel of Paul
In the fourth chapter, the author defines the gospel that Apostle Paul preached to the people. According to the first Corinthians 15, which offers a comprehensive definition of the gospel, the story of Jesus as the pillar of the gospel. Apostle Paul preached the gospel to declare the story of Jesus Christ in the aspects of death, burial, resurrection, and appearance to apostles and other people5. However, evangelicals have condensed the story of Jesus Christ to Good Friday only resulting in a partial declaration of gospel contrary to the teachings of Apostle Paul as exposed in the first Corinthians 15. As evangelicals have condensed the story of Jesus, they have an incomplete plan of salvation that does not recognize Jesus Christ as the center of the gospel hence turning Christianity into personal salvation6. Thus, evangelicals should revive and deepen their conception of the gospel and consider the story of Jesus Christ as the pillar of the gospel.
Salvation Takes Over Gospel
When evangelicals focused on personal salvation and neglected the gospel, salvation did take over the gospel. In their plan of salvation, evangelicals reiterate the essence of personal salvation in the plan of redemption. The book asserts that evangelicals deny the creed as outlined in 1 Corinthians 15, which is akin to rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ and apostles7. Furthermore, the author observes that the current gospel culture emanates from the apostolic gospel tradition that has stood the test of time and shaped the principles of Christianity. Major reforms of Lutherans and Anabaptists centered on personalization of salvation resulting in the emergence of Christians who treat Jesus Christ as a mere redeemer at the end of the redemption story8. The perception of Jesus Christ as a mere redeemer without other roles in the entire plan of salvation made salvation overtakes the gospel.
Jesus and the Gospel
The four gospels, namely, Mathew, Mark, John, and Luke, reiterate the gospel of Jesus as preached by the apostles. The four gospels highlight the story of Jesus Christ for they reveal the identity, mission, death, resurrection, the atonement of sins, and completion of Israels story9. While on this world, Jesus Christ did preach the gospel to illuminates His mission and role in the plan of redemption of humankind. The gospel of Peter reinforces the four gospels by reiterating the story of Jesus Christ and highlighting His divine role in the redemption plan of humankind. In comparison to the apostolic gospel, the modern evangelicals do not preach the true gospel for they preach partial gospel devoid of Jesus Christ as the alpha and the omega of redemption plan of humankind. The author argues that the condensation of the gospel to mere personal salvation distorts and destroys the redemption story of Jesus Christ according to the Bible10. Hence, Christians should preach and of the gospel, which recognize Jesus Christ and centers His role in the redemption of humankind.
Overall, the book identifies condensation of the gospel to personal salvation as a problem among modern evangelicals and soterians. Critical analysis of contemporary evangelicalism shows that it builds the culture of salvation and diminishes the culture of the gospel. Therefore, Scot McKnight calls for the revival and reformation of Christianity among evangelicals to consider the story of Israel and the story of Jesus to deepen the apostolic gospel and build the culture of the gospel.
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