I’m not one for intellectual, theological kind of books. There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re necessary, I just don’t love reading them. But I read one recently, and if you’re into such books, it’s worth reading: The King Jesus Gospel. I didn’t love it, but I did like it.
Basically the premise is that the “gospel” (good news) is more than: You can have your sins removed and go to Heaven if you believe in Jesus. Instead the gospel is (my expression of McKnight’s teaching): Jesus, as the completion of the Story of Israel, who died for the removal of our sins, and was raised to offer us life in God’s Kingdom now and forevermore.
Reading this book made me thankful that I didn’t grow up in church. Really I wish I was, because I would have loved to know Jesus everyday of my life. But there are some things that are just so obvious if you just read the Bible. But when people have all this religious baggage they end up missing it and debating about it, and it’s just amazing to me. I’m so grateful I first read the Bible without any preconceived ideas.
My favorite idea in the book is the distinction McKnight makes between decisions and disciples. Too many churches are after decisions – getting people to say yes. “Yes, I believe.” “Yes, I’ll be a Christian.” But decisions aren’t the goal, disciples are – people who truly follow Jesus. That’s one of the reasons I’m not into altar calls and (especially) having people raise their hands at the end of a sermon. I think it promotes a culture of decision making instead of disciple making. Having people indicate their decision (which is, by the way, where it starts) in the context of a conversation and a relationship provides a much better possibility of leading that person to true discipleship.
And … you’re welcome.