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A fuller gospel

May 19, 2009

Scot McKnight has just started a series of posts on ‘the Kingdom Gospel.’ In the first of the series we read

Many readers of the Bible read the whole Bible through the lens of the gospel they believe and this is what that gospel looks like:

  • God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
  • But you have a sin problem that separates you from God.
  • The good news is that Jesus came to die for your sins.
  • If you accept Jesus’ death, you can be reconnected to God.
  • Those who are reconnected to God will live in heaven with God.

Every line of that statement is more or less true. It is the sequencing of those lines, the “story” of that gospel if you will, that concerns me and that turns Jesus’ message of the kingdom into a blue parakeet. And it is not only the sequencing, it is the omitting of major themes in the Bible that concerns me. What most shocks the one who reads the Bible as Story, where the focus is overwhelmingly on God forming a covenant community, is that this outline of the gospel above does two things: it eliminates community and it turns the entire gospel into a “me and God” or “God and me” gospel. Who needs a church if this is the gospel? (Answer: no one.) What becomes of the church for this gospel? (Answer: an organization for those who want to do that sort of thing.) While every line in this gospel is more or less true, what concerns many of us today is that this gospel makes the church unimportant.

(Note: Scot’s use of the term ‘blue parakeet’ is explained in his book ‘the Blue Parakeet’ which I blogged about last year. It refers to a person or idea that doesn’t fit into the generally accepted way of thinking, and is therefore assimilated or rejected rather than accepted.)

Once upon a time that would have been my view of the gospel, too. Scot’s series will be looking at a few of the deeper things in the gospel that we tend to either ignore or explain away because they don’t simply fit the narrow view we hold. This is much bigger picture than many of us might be used to: hang on and enjoy the ride!

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