The Anomaly of Evangelism (Part 7)

I realise that it’s now been a couple of months since my last post around the area of the gospel and evangelism. In order to jump in to my next segment, rather than do a summary of all my past 6 posts, I point you to this article that gives you the links to all 6 of my previous posts on the topic.

As a simple summary of the gospel, I would articulate that it, the evangel, the good news, is wrapped up firstly in the announcement that God has come to reign and to make his good reign known through his Messiah-King, Jesus. Looking at the Gospels, we see that Jesus came proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. And this was before the cross and resurrection event.

In connection with the hope of Israel, in accordance with the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures, God’s Messiah had come to make God’s reign known and a reality. Not just in the future, but from the moment he stepped into human history. And it is in the great cross and resurrection event of Christ that God’s kingdom was established, God’s King was vindicated. And knowing this great enthroning event, we can now enter new birth, new creation, reconciliation, be delivered from bondage and receive forgiveness of sins. This reality becomes just as much a part of the gospel because God’s reign had come in Christ and was established in the work of Christ.

Moving on now, in this particular part of my series, I want to try and work out what I believe is the best description for the word evangelist. Continue reading

The Anomaly of Evangelism (Part 6)

It’s time for the first post of the new year regarding my series on the gospel and evangelism, though this is my sixth post overall. So far, as I have looked to address what the gospel is all about, I’ve posted these articles:

  • Set the scene here
  • Looked at Jesus and the Gospels here and here
  • Looked at the preaching in Acts here
  • Looked at Paul’s major statement in 1 Cor 15 here

With this new segment, I’m going to take a little unexpected turn. It’s part of my long-winded nature, which might carry on into a side excursus in the next article. But this is something about which I am very impassioned.

I am currently preparing to teach on the book of Genesis for a trip to a ministry training college we work with in Lusaka, Zambia. In doing so, I have been thinking about ‘first mentions’ of particular words in Scripture. You see, there exists a rule within biblical-theological studies that, if you plan to study a particular word or theme in Scripture, the best thing to do is start where it was first mentioned.

So, specifically with the gospel, theologians usually recognise that the first reference (though not first mention) is found in Gen 3:15: Continue reading

The Christmas Story as Story

With Christmas messages being shared with frequency and fervour these days, the usual place to head is either in Matthew’s or Luke’s Gospel (or maybe a combination of the two). And if one heads into Matthew, where is the usual starting place?

Verse 18.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about…

Not a bad place to start. But it’s not the beginning of the Christmas story, at least from Matthew’s perspective.

For Matthew, a Jew also writing to Jews, what we call the ‘Christmas story’ actually begins in vs1.

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah…

Well, it must begin there if he started off his account that way.

It’s just that we aren’t too sure what to do with all those names, much less pronounce some of them. Continue reading

The Anomaly of Evangelism (Part 5)

Alas, with installment #5 now, though a bit delayed, I am finally beginning to make more head way around my discussion of what the gospel and evangelism are all about.

So far, I’ve honed in on Jesus in the Gospels (here, here) and the preaching in Acts (here).

My major premise has been that the gospel, the evangel, should be and is actually centred in the proclamation of the coming of God’s kingdom rule in Jesus, God’s Messiah-King. This is simply what Jesus proclaimed when he proclaimed the gospel, and I believe this is essential to the proclamations that we find in the book of Acts.

Questions arise as to the validity of this premise, though I always ask people to go back and read Jesus’ words in the Gospels, which becomes quite an eye-opening experience. And from that starting point, considering the gospel announcement of Jesus himself, we can consider how the messages of Acts, Paul and the rest of the New Testament fits in. At least I am convinced we should begin with Jesus if we are to claim we have a Christ-centred faith and gospel.

But queries definitely come forth when we consider what Paul wrote in his letters. And, at the top of the list, we find many people referring to the well-known Pauline gospel passage of 1 Cor 15:1-4: Continue reading

The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight

In recent weeks, I purchased and read Scot McKnight’s newest release, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. I was originally hesitant to purchase the book, believing that much of what would be said could already be found in the writings of an N.T. Wright, and possibly a George Ladd as well (and I’ve read both of them somewhat extensively). But, though there were some connections to Wright, McKnight definitely brought some fresh perspective to the table. And, as a side note, I realise there would not had been much connection with Ladd, since Ladd mainly talks about a theology of the kingdom rather than a theology of the gospel, though I personally see the 2 intricately connected.

I must admit that I do appreciate a lot of what McKnight writes. I have not read a lot of his books (though I’ve now read this one and The Blue Parakeet). But I have also followed his blog and even gave some time to listen to a recent audio dialogue with another church leader. What I really respect about McKnight is his desire to interact in the field of the emerging church and emerging¬†theology, but also maintain strong roots in both the historic church and the specific evangelical branch. I believe such is a very good approach for 21st century theology.

Let me say upfront that I am aware of many people being overly tired with the more modern-day proposal that we rethink our theological approaches concerning quite a few issues. McKnight, in his subtitle, utilises the word revisit¬†rather than rethink, but it’s easy to note he is challenging our mindset in regards to the gospel. And I am very aware that the ‘in’ thing for today is that we always look to do participate in something new and different. I would argue there is nothing wrong with rethinking and refocusing our theological and practical foci within the Christian faith. We just need to be a little more a) led by God and b) connected to the body of Christ both past and present. I think McKnight falls in line here. And, so, whether we like it or not, he is still a theological mind to reckon with in the 21st century.

Now on to the book. Continue reading