A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that there’s a fairly massive movement happening in Christianity these days. At its core, it is the major shift in our understanding of the gospel.
I start with McKnight because he begins his own book indicating that he has been living this movement his entire Christian life. He recounts an event early in his life of faith in which, as a teen, he accompanied an elder of his church on an evangelistic outreach in the community. McKnight watched as this elder horned his way into a stranger’s home, badger him into signing the dotted line of salvation, and return to the church basement to celebrate the success with the evangelism team.
But what happened to the stranger? Probably nothing.
The discomfort young McKnight felt that day has driven him to explore the roots of the gospel. Never mind what we think we mean when we refer to the gospel, what Mark, for example, mean when he wrote, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God” (Mk 1:1)? And what might his buddies Matthew, Luke and John have meant?
McKnight’s discoveries through years of research are exceptional and eye-opening, particularly for those of us that grew up in Western Evangelicalism, as he did. I don’t know that McKnight goes far enough with his analysis. (In some places it feels like he’s still got one foot in the old camp.) But his work is a terrific place to start, and his summary of the gospel at the end is pure gold.