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Book Review of the King Jesus Gospel

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Liberty University

Book Review of The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight

Submitted to Prof. Darren Hercyk

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of

2019 GLST 220-D14 LUO

Intercultural Communication and Engagement


Barton Barker

July 23rd 2019

A Book Review of The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight


The King Jesus Gospel, The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight is a call to evangelism and of making disciples.  Scot calls out sedentary evangelical christians by asking/answering, “What is The Gospel”.  Scot clearly defines the gospel as the entire story of Jesus Christ as the promised messiah for the nation of Israel.  The Gospel Story includes the story of God’s chosen people Israel, the story of the life of Christ, his death, burial, resurrection and the clear plan that has prophetically been laid out for the future.  Within this Gospel Story is the plan of salvation.  Unfortunately over the years evangelical christians have swapped the gospel story for the plan of salvation. For many churches the entire life of a christian revolves around the salvation decision.  The decision becomes the defining moment in a Christians life.  The extreme focus on the salvation decision has created a shallow christianity that does not create disciple making disciples.  The consequences of people not understanding the full gospel story is ineffective evangelism and stale congregations.  Scot asks his readers to look at how the gospel was preached by the writers of the gospels, the apostles, Paul and Jesus. Christians today ought to share the gospel the same way the apostle’s did throughout Acts.  This change of gospel culture will be challenging for many evangelical christians and will require some of us to question how we have been evangelizing.  Scot Mcknight put it this way, “We need to talk more about Jesus and know that telling others about Jesus is half the battle when it comes to fear of evangelism. We can improve our evangelism simply by learning to approach the gospel in the apostolic manner. That’s the easy part. The hard part is creating a gospel culture that expands (and supplants) our reduced salvation culture.”[1] 

Concrete response:

My dad has a doctorate in theology, has been a preacher in the US for over 30 years, a seminary professor and was a missionary overseas for 10 years.  He comes from a fire and brimstone, conservative baptist culture.  Two weeks ago we went on a camping trip together.  He knew I started taking classes and he asked me how they were going.  My first response was, “Well, I’m reading this book in one of my global studies classes and it sure is thought provoking.”  We started discussing the concepts I had learned so far and let me just say the conversation got pretty uncomfortable…fast.  I took Scot McKnights approach and somewhat laid into him for leading a salvation culture church and evangelism that is focused on the salvation decision.  Over several hours we had an awesome conversation.  Obviously he is extremely educated and he knows the Bible better than anyone I know.  Interesting enough we did come to an agreement of where the US culture is today.  He admitted that the evangelism he practiced for years in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s was simply not applicable in todays culture.  He told me that he has seen a monstrous shift in regards to what the average American household knows about Jesus and the Bible.  We came to a solid conclusion that in order to have people come to really know Jesus, in todays culture, the entire story of the Messiah needs to be told.  Even though we came to some agreements and had a thought  provoking conversation, both of us still walked away questioning many of Scot Mcknights claims.


The first and foremost question I had for myself is, “Bart, what is the gospel.”  I realized how entrenched in a salvation culture I have been.  I immediately questioned the effectiveness of my evangelism and started to question if I had it all backwards.  As I contemplated these things, I realized it has not all been for loss.  Even though I have led my fair share of alter calls, and asked many people to make a salvation decision in the moment, lives have been changed.  Some of those who made salvation decisions have become amazing disciples of Jesus Christ.  


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