Next cocktail party you attend, if you find yourself locked in a go-nowhere conversation with the astrophysicist whom you would think would have something interesting to talk about, you could always pull out the old “desert island” line of questioning. You know how this goes. If you were on a desert island, what one book would you want with you or what ten CD’s (what’s a CD?) or what (insert number) of (blanks)?
Well, if I had to choose five desert island Christian authors, they would be (in alphabetical order) Greg Boyd, Richard Foster, Bill Johnson, Dallas Willard, and NT Wright. So when I pick up Scot McKnight‘s new book, The King Jesus Gospel, and see that Wright and Willard have written the forewords, I know I’m in for a treat. Seriously, you couldn’t get a better endorsement in my book. (Except for when Richard Foster wrote of Willard’s Divine Conspiracy, that it was “the book I have been searching for all my life.”)
Anyway, McKnight’s book promises to be short and to the point. His introduction, aimed at informing the reader as to why he’s even broached this topic, is compelling. It’s a story of a sour but all-too-common experience he had with evangelism as a teen. The long and short: well meaning evangelicals have for too long been focused on “getting decisions” and ignored the more important work of training disciples.
What we’ve devised in the Western church is a means for “getting people saved.” And we think that is what the gospel means. But, says McKnight, “the word gospel no longer means in our world what it originally meant to either Jesus or the apostles” (26). In fact, that’s the point of the whole book. McKnight’s hope is to answer the big question: What is the gospel?