Frank Viola recently interviewed New Testament scholar Scot McKnight on his book The King Jesus Gospel. I have written recently on 9 aspects of the gospel that go beyond justification or heaven and this interview in a way follows a similar line of thought.
The gospel isn’t a “plan” as much as it is a Person.
Yes, the gospel is a plan. But this plan transcends the common understanding of many Christians. Your personal salvation is not the grand goal of that plan, especially if salvation is merely understood as going to heaven. The plan from God’s point of view is something like this: “How can I impart this Person into millions of chosen yet fallen human beings so that I can be glorified?”
The plan and the Person coincide.
The New Testament record gives ample evidence that the early disciples preached a Person:
“And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he announced Jesus as the gospel to him (Acts 8:35).”
The gospel of God is “concerning His Son (Rom. 1:3).” It is the all-inclusive unveiling of God’s full counsel concerning His good pleasure, His will, His purpose, and His economy. Christ takes the central and dynamic role in the fulfilling of God’s economy.
Strictly speaking, we don’t PREACH doctrine. We use doctrine to preach a PERSON.
The gospel was “promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures (Rom 1:2).” This indicates that the gospel was not a backup plan in case things went wrong or something extraneous to God’s purpose. The gospel was planned and prepared by God before the foundation of the world. Peter says that the Lamb was “foreknown before the foundation of the world (1 Pet 1:20).” What God prepared in eternity was not merely “four spiritual laws” or a fire and brimstone message. Surely this was not the extent of God’s eternal thought.
For more considerations on what the gospel is check out Frank Viola’s interview.
Click this link to read the unedited interview:
If you don’t have time to read the interview now, bookmark it on Instapaper or print it out so you can savor it later.