Or maybe not… but bear with me…
I recently read a terrific book from Scot McKnight called “The King Jesus Gospel”. In it, Scot makes the argument that we don’t tell the whole Gospel, only the “plan of salvation” part of it, at least in Evangelical churches. I have been convinced of this for a very long time, actually. I preached a message on this very thing last year and one of my sources was a Christianity Today article that I think turned into that book from McKnight.
The premise is that we don’t tell the whole Gospel, including the story of Jesus life, death and resurrection being the culmination of the journey of Israel, as it is presented most eloquently in almost all of the sermons in Acts, for instance (the notable exception being Stephen’s sermon… I think Stephen got interrupted by a few stone-throwers).
Instead of that holistic and whole Gospel (really well summarized in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-7, and only completely told in all the Gospels as a unit), we present “the plan of salvation” and call it the Gospel. If any of my readers are not Christian, bear with me, because maybe you’ve only heard the “bad news” part of the “good news”. The plan of salvation is really really important, but it is not the Gospel… it’s just a part of it. So, the Gospel, rather then being presented like it seems to have been by Christ and then by the Apostles, is presented as a “Get out of Hell free” card.
So this came home to me today. My son “wrote a book”. He made all the pages and then stapled them and shared his 9-year-old-genius book… and guess what… it was basically a “Jesus saves me from the bad place” book. So… rather than point fingers at you… I have a lot of work to do… Somehow, he’s missing it. And he’s getting Grace mixed up. It’s not just about death… It’s about resurrection and new life. He’s getting only this one part of the Gospel that American Evangelicals have decided is the whole thing…
Would you like the whole thing?