Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Budgets and Programs not Needed to Proclaim the Gospel?

I took a shot of this bumper sticker in Monroe

Today is a reading day for me. Yay!!! This "down" time is an "up"time for me. I've got a bunch of new books, and I think I may begin reading them all today.

One of them is by New Testament scholar Scot McKnight, entitled The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. The book has two Forewards, by two of my heroes - N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard. Wright writes:

"The revolution Scot is proposing is massive— so massive that I doubt whether any of his colleagues, and certainly not this writer, will at once agree with every detail... [T]he large thesis that is advanced here, in parallel with other similar cases that some of us are trying to make, is that the movement that has long called itself “evangelical” is in fact better labeled “soterian.” That is, we have thought we were talking about “the gospel” when in fact we were concentrating on “salvation.”" (p. 12)

"Scot McKnight has his finger on a sore spot in contemporary Christianity, particularly in America. For many people, “the gospel” has shrunk right down to a statement about Jesus’ death and its meaning, and a prayer with which people accept it." (p. 14)

Willard writes that, in the American church today, "the personal and social transformation that is so clearly anticipated in the biblical writers and is so clearly present in the acknowledged “great ones” of The Way rarely becomes real. Only a life of intelligent discipleship could bring it to pass. Without that we have massive nominal, non-disciple “Christianity.” This leads one to ask, “What was the message that shocked the ancient world into its response to Christ and his apostles?”" (p. 15)

A diminished, non-revoutionary "gospel" is preached today that has no connection with discipleship and spiritual formation. "It is a view of grace and salvation that, supposedly, gets one ready to die, but leaves them unprepared to live now in the grace and power of resurrection life. The gospel of King Jesus and of his kingdom-now is indeed “the power of God that brings salvation/ deliverance.” To prove this, just preach, teach, and manifest the good news of life now, for you and everyone, in the kingdom of the heavens with Jesus— your whole life. Study the Gospels to see how Jesus did it, and then do it in the manner he did it. You don’t need a program, a budget, or any special qualifications to do this. Just understand it in the biblical form and do it. Scot McKnight gives you the key." (p. 16)

No programs?

No budget?

No special qualifications?

Like the early church that exploded upon the world???