A few days ago, Scot McKnight (“Jesus Creed“) posted an outline of his presentation at the “Spiritual Formation Forum“. According to Scot, his talk was “dedicated to a one-sided emphasis on the need for a gospel that will lead Christians to realize that spiritual formation is not just about individual spiritual formation but also about ecclesial spiritual formation”.
Scot provides the following as “The Standard Gospel Presentation”:
God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
Your problem is that you are sinful; God canâ€™t admit sinners into his presence.
Jesus died for you to deal with your â€œsin-problem.â€
If you trust in Christ, you can be admitted into Godâ€™s presence.
Recognizing several problems in this presentation (including the individualistic emphasis and the fact that no one in Scripture presents this type of gospel), Scot suggests the following as a more robust gospel presentation:
- A Robust gospel canâ€™t be â€œtractified.â€
- God made you as an Eikon to relate in love to God, to self, to others and to the world.
- The â€œfallâ€ cracked the Eikon in all four directions.
- Bible readers canâ€™t skip from Genesis 3 to Romans 3.
- Genesis 4â€”11 reveals the â€œproblemâ€ of sin: the climax is a society of Eikons trying to build their way to God.
- Genesis 12 begins to restore the Eikon by (1) covenantal commitment and (2) forming the family of faith. THE REST OF THE BIBLE IS ABOUT THIS ELECTED FAMILY OF FAITH.
- The â€œproblemâ€ is finally resolved in â€œfour atoning momentsâ€: the life of Jesus, the death of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- The â€œlocusâ€ of resolution is the family of faith: three big words in Bible are Israel, the Kingdom, and the Church.
I like the way that McKnight’s “presentation” takes the entire biblical record into account, and the fact that this presentation is not just about me and God, but instead it includes me into the family that God is building.
Also, notice that Scot presented this as part of a forum on spiritual formation. A presentation of the gospel should be the starting point on a road to spiritual formation. The “Standard Presentation” seems to jump to the end, without taking the person’s life into account. The “Robust Presentation” seems to take into account that the gospel is the beginning of a journey into the family of God that will affect the person’s life.
So, what say you? I’ve used the “Standard Presentation” before. Have you? What do you think of McKnight’s robust presentation as compared to the standard presentation?