Scot McKnight’s latest book, The King Jesus Gospel is a breath of fresh air on many different levels. His primary contribution is that he takes the word “gospel” and gives it its full, biblical dimensions. This is important because many Christians (especially American Christians) quate with a “rhetorical bundling” of theological ideas dealing with personal salvation: “the four spiritual laws”, justification by faith, double imputation, etc
McKnight has no problem with these ideas; it’s just not what the New Testament writers mean by the term “gospel”.
I’m a long way from being a biblical scholar, but this makes complete sense to me. I can’t believe that Jesus Himself didn’t know the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel. He lived it, demonstrated it, and witnessed to it. Through His life, death, resurrection, Ascension, and His Self, we know the Gospel. Anyone who says Jesus couldn’t know the gospel because he was born on the ‘wrong side of the cross’ is just plain off-balance. But there are many who do say so.
It was great to hear Scot say this in person, and it was great to see it at Regent College. The only things the professors at Regent had to say in response weren’t so much disagreement as: this is not new. Even within Evangelicals, the great majority of evangelicals would agree with this much fuller understanding of Gospel. It is only within the last generation or two that Gospel has become narrowed, packaged, and tamed for mass consumption.