Monday, October 15, 2012
Book Review of the King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight
The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited
by Scot McKnight
Reviewed by Clint Walker
Scot McKnight is becoming one of the United States' most appreciated biblical scholars. He is currently professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. He is a prolific blogger, a sought after speaker, and an author of books for laity, clergy, and scholars. McKnight is bright and a strong communicator. And he shares his considerable skills with The King Jesus Gospel, which might be his most important book to date.
One has to look no further than the two forwards that the book has to gauge this text's importance. One forward is written by N.T. Wright, the brilliant and prolific Christian writer, academic and author who might be the leading Christian scholar living today. The other forward comes from Dallas Willard, who is one of the founding fathers of the modern Protestant spiritual formation movement.
This book is slow reading, especially if you really want to absorb what McKnight is wanting to say and who he is wanting to say it too, but it is well worth the read.
Specifically, McKnight is trying to teach his readers that when they talk about the gospel and use the term gospel, they are using a term that has been lifted from its biblical and cultural context, and then placed rather awkwardly in our own context. One of the key points of The King Jesus Gospel, for instance, is that the good news of Christ is embedded in the story of Israel, and the Story of Christ, which in turn is also embedded in the story of Israel. When we attempt to lift certain key points or laws from out of the story, we may be communicating a Cliff's notes version of the gospel while completely ignoring the narrative that these notes are supposed to summarize. McKnight calls us back to the full gospel, as it was intended to be communicated. For that we can be grateful.