Review: The King Jesus Gospel

The King Jesus Gospel

Author: Scot McKnight

Hardcover: 176 page

Publisher: Zondervan

ISBN: 978-0-310-49298-6



What is the gospel?  This is a question that has been asked over and over again.  The most common answers have become so cliché today that most people tune out when they hear them.

This is also the question Scot McKnight seeks to answer in this book.  But, he comes about it from a slightly different angle and one that might not be popular in Evangelicalism today.

I believe the word gospel has been hijacked by what we believe about “personal salvation,” and the gospel itself has been reshaped to facilitate making “decisions.”  The result of this hijacking is that the word gospel no longer means in our world what it originally meant to either Jesus or the apostles. (26)

The gospel is hijacked when the gospel is equated with the plan of salvation.  Christians have moved from a gospel culture to a salvation culture.  We need to get back to a gospel culture.  In order for that to happen, we need to rediscover what the gospel is.  I think McKnight is spot on here.

To reclaim the meaning of gospel, McKnight turns to 1 Corinthians 15 and cites this as the apostolic gospel tradition. (46)  The rest of the book expands on this idea by looking at the Gospels and the preaching of Peter (from Acts).

The book concludes by looking at how the gospel should be proclaimed today and how churches can begin to make the shift from a salvation culture back to a gospel culture.

I particularly liked the last two chapters.  In my experience as an ELCA Lutheran, the gospel is, for the most part, not preached in our churches.  I’ve heard sermons that beat around the gospel, but never deal with it.  I’ve even heard sermons that totally ignore the gospel, because, heaven forbid, we “offend” someone by preaching it.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting book to read.  I think McKnight does a great job challenging some of the pre-conceived notions of what the gospel actually is and presents his argument in a logical way.  This book challenged me to reconsider what I believe the gospel is and think about how we can begin to reclaim the gospel in our churches today.

My hope is other church leaders will read this book and engage it, whether or not they agree with the conclusions in the book.


I received this book free from Zondervan as part of The King Jesus Gospel blog tour. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


2 thoughts on “Review: The King Jesus Gospel

  1. Two Forewards, NT Wright and Dallas Willard? Now there’s a contrast! 1971? Hum, I was 22 or was it 23 that year? by then I had already had a combat tour attached to the American Marine 3rd Force Recon in the Nam. Wow, life experience is a great teacher! And thankfully I survived! I am still trying to survive life, and make some sense of it, even as a Christian!

  2. Pingback: On a Soterian Gospel « Threads from Henry's Web

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