In the final chapter of The King Jesus Gospel, Scot McKnight proposes some ways the church can develop what he calls a ‘gospel culture’.
i. Become people of the story: letting the story of Jesus become our story. That Christians live and shape their lives (their individual story) around the mission and identity of Jesus Christ, the Messiah and risen Lord.
ii. This means engaging and reading and soaking in the Gospels, and gradually seeing more and more how the story of Jesus is built upon and fulfils the story of Israel. He also suggests adopting a church calendar in that it is structured around the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and return of Jesus.
iii. Seeing the rest of the NT as a continuing story of Jesus in and through his body, the church. And being an active part of that story within Jesus’ church.
iv. Engaging with the ongoing story of Jesus through his church in history – knowing and valuing the Creeds, the great Reformation confessions, or more modern ones like Lausanne Covenant and Manila Manifesto – dunno why 2010 Cape Town Commitment not mentioned, esp since Scot loves it.
v. Engaging with, resisting and countering other false stories that claim too much. Contemporary stories like individualism, consumerism, nationalism, moral relativism, scientific naturalism and so on.
vi. Embracing the story personally: to be shaped by the gospel story is to believe, repent, and be baptised into the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. It is to be converted and empowered by the Spirit. This gospel culture summons people to a life of prayer and a love for and embrace of Christ’s church. A gospel culture will be marked by the kinds of things Jesus does – other directed service and love.
What do you make of his suggestions?
Seems to me that a pretty key question is how different or distinct in actual praxis is this ‘gospel culture’ from a ‘soterian culture’?
If your Christian faith has been re-shaped by the sort of gospel culture that McKnight describes, what has this looked like in practice? What difference has it made?
(I hope to reflect on my own ‘gospel journey’ on Monday.)
Edit – forgot this bit
And just to show that I’m not an uncritical acolyte 😉 – one thing I think a greater emphasis could have been given to is eschatology. Our place in the story is to look forward to its culmination. Christianity is eschatology. The church essentially is an ‘eschatological community’. How many churches think of themselves like that?! Why not? Because of a failure of seeing themselves within the bigger story – this time the ultimate story of God’s eschatological purposes. Therefore this future looking hope needs to be built into the fabric of any ‘gospel culture’.