Did Jesus Preach the Gospel?
Scot McKnight's new book will comfort some and confound others.

Prepare yourselves for the onslaught. Scot McKnight is venturing into the "What Is the Gospel?" war that's been waging between the Neo-Calvinists and...well, everyone else. McKnight's new book, due out later this month, is The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. We will have a full review of the book in due course, but a preview is worth our time.

McKnight is concerned that we have confused "Gospel" with "Plan of Salvation," and rather than being true evangelicals (a word rooted in the Greek euangelion meaning "good news" or "gospel"), contemporary Western Christians might be better identified as soterians because we have built our whole church culture around one thing- salvation, who is saved and who is damned.

While not disagreeing with the theology espoused by those on the Neo-Reformed side, and affirming the "Romans Road" presentation of salvation, McKnight says their error is calling this "the Gospel." Equating the plan of salvation with gospel means Jesus could not have preached the Good News. Only the Apostles, like Paul, who preached after Jesus' death and resurrection could possibly present this message. McKnight believes this is an error rooted in a false understanding of what the Gospel is.

For a preview of McKnight's perspective in The King Jesus Gospel, I highly recommend watching his 18min presentation from the Q Gathering in 2010. In this video he outlines the way we have confused various terms, and why Jesus did in fact preach the Gospel.

August 01, 2011

Displaying 1–10 of 15 comments


August 14, 2011  1:18pm

"...contemporary Western Christians might be better identified as soterians because we have built our whole church culture around one thing- salvation, who is saved and who is damned." I really struggle with blanket statements like this. WHO has the authority to speak for "...our whole church culture.." anyway? This authoritarian statement does not represent my experience in the many churches I have been a part of throughout my life.

Report Abuse


August 09, 2011  9:19am

Doesn't the Nicene Creed, the universal Gospel story in a nutshell for over 1,600 years, remain the Gospel summary? [Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed] How could one be considered a Christian and disagree with it? Since no Reformation creed has supplanted it, doesn't the Church who gave us the Nicene Creed, retain the Gospel? The "plan of salvation" is merely a pragmatic process of sharing this Gospel story.

Report Abuse

Steve Schaefer

August 04, 2011  3:11pm

Looks like an interesting read by Scot McKnight! Thanks for calling attention to it. I don't see how we can talk about "the gospel" without emphasizing the kingdom of God, which was Jesus' central message. Eric Foley is currently running a helpful series about what the gospel is at ericfoley.com. This link will take you to the first installment: http://ericfoley.com/2011/07/27/proclaiming-the-gospel-part-ii-a-gospel-is-not-a-testimony-not-a-bible-story-not-a-sermon-not-even-an-offer-of-salvation/

Report Abuse

nate j

August 03, 2011  10:11am

@Doug - Jesus did consistently preach himself crucified and raised. Over all I think this is a good dialogue. I think we are all guilty of "to the person w/ a hammer everything looks like a nail"

Report Abuse

Na Yeo

August 02, 2011  8:15pm

Too many people *use* the bible to support their doctrines (and thus their finances) rather than simply accept as God's word and obey. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/article_print.html?id=90265 If you perceive a conflict in the text, why is it impossible to admit the likelihood that your perception may be what is wrong?

Report Abuse


August 02, 2011  3:43pm

If you read Hebrews chapter 11, you see that those in the OT were also saved by their faith. It mentions Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and many more. Our God is truly an amazing God. Hebrews 11:1-2 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval."

Report Abuse


August 02, 2011  3:31pm

The problem with this approach is that Jesus didn't preach exactly the same message as Paul because Jesus couldn't preach himself crucified and risen! He especially couldn't preach that His righteousness was credited to sinners. That would have really been foreign! The basis of entering the Kingdom is the righteousness of God through faith in Christ. The reality of the Kingdom is the power of the new age inaugurated by the Spirit. That's what Paul preached, and that is an individual reality that has coroporate implications. Yet it begins with individual repentance and faith. Jesus preached the Kingdom of God because that was the only concept they could connect with. But he also preached individual salvation because he baptized individuals and called individuals to repentance and discipleship to Himself. The reasons there are differences between Jesus and Paul is different context and different side of the cross and resurrection. How can that be so hard to figure out? It isn't either/or but both/and.

Report Abuse


August 02, 2011  10:58am

Y'shua taught from the scriputres...which we would know as the Tanach, the histories, the prophets, and...the psalms. And from books...we don't even acknowledge...the Talmud, or Enoch anyone? So...given that our gentile faith/mindset has been formulated and prejudiced for the past 1800 years, it would be nice to actually, you know, discover what exactly Y'shua did teach...from his very JEWISH background. And yeah, grace was a bit of a new concept, but not a strange one to the Jew's as it walked hand in hand with mercy. No, the "new concept" was Y'shua...boy howdy, that was a new one on the Jews...a messiah who didn't come to take names and kick butt, but forgive? Say what? A messiah who healed the sick, and got his own butt kicked? Come again? A messiah who constantly challenged the rabbinical teachings of what the messiah should do, and how he should behave? Yeah, this Y'shua guy really got irritating after his first sentence. Y'shua turned the Jewish world upside down...you'll note, he pretty much avoided the Gentiles as much as possible, and when he didn't...he made the interaction quick, and decisive, and yet the Gentiles came to him as much as he tried to avoid them. Come to think of it...right there is a great book waiting to be written...why did Y'shua go out of his way to avoid the Gentiles even though some of the greatest demonstrations of belief of his sovereignty/divinity came from them? There is so much there in the gospels that reveal tons of background information about where Y'shua was coming from that just learning the book of Mark would be a life-long study. So, yeah, I am kind of curious where Mr. Mcknight is going with this...it could be an outstanding book, or it could be a book where expectation meets disappointment...but I will with-hold judgement till I read it.

Report Abuse


August 02, 2011  10:55am

After traveling through all four gospels that Br. Thomas mentioned, I am now seeking number 4 but depending upon number 1. CT, thanks for the book update.

Report Abuse


August 02, 2011  9:49am

I think this is a vitally important book and recovery of an essential truth. Salvation by grace is NOT something new to the Jews, sorry 'elegance'.

Report Abuse
  • Seeing God on the Silver Screen
    An interview with Kevin Harvey on how engaging pop culture might be the best way to share the gospel.
  • Have Stethoscope, Will Travel
    Nurse Kelly Sites talks about her experience battling Ebola overseas
  • Actively Seeking Change
    Daniel Ryan Day talks to us about his attempt to live intentionally different
  • Digging For Truth
    Josh McDowell on the Bible's truthworthiness, the internet, and the future of the church