Friday, October 7, 2011

The Gospel of the United Methodist Church

I've just started reading "The King Jesus Gospel" by Scot McKnight. OK, I'm really only on the first chapter. Already he is pushing some worthy issues to consider, e.g. allowing Scripture to define gospel, wariness of our own interpretations and theological bias, and wrong views of gospel. I would guess the typical reader would be identified as "evangelical" so it will be curious to see what the response will be. I'm not sure where he ends up in his writing, but I'm already finding this a useful exercise and reflection upon the biblical gospel, my gospel, and the gospel of the church.

McKnight writes, "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."

Then he gets to the heart of it all:
I believe we are mistaken, and that mistake is creating problems we are trying to solve. But as long as we remain mistaken, we will never solve the problems. Our system is broken and our so-called gospel broke it. We can't keep trying to improve the mechanics of the system because they are not the problem. The problem is that the system is doing what it should do because it is energized by a badly shaped gospel.


I'm eager to see what he does with this as the springboard thought is that the "so-called gospel is deconstructing the church."

It makes me wonder, what is the gospel of the United Methodist Church? Might a strong, shared understanding and application of biblical gospel by denomination, laity, clergy, local church and annual conference be the remedy to our problems? What would the implications be if we allow God to deconstruct our thoughts, our institutions, our conferences and congregations, and reconstruct the Church?

Share your thoughts on gospel and church, and look for more on this as I'm challenged by McKnight and by the biblical gospel.

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