Monday, October 31, 2011

The King Jesus Gospel

The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited
Scot McKnight
Zondervan, 2011

Main points:
  1. The Gospel is: “declaring the Story of Israel as resolved in the Story of Jesus.” (page 79)
  2. The church has lost the gospel having focused primarily on the plan of salvation.
    1. The plan of salvation asks, “how we can get saved?”
    2. The gospel tells a story into which the plan of salvation fits

Scot does an excellent job of showing how the entire New Testament uses this definition of “gospel” (Paul, Peter, the writers of the gospels and even Jesus).  Based on this Scot calls us back to preaching the gospel not simply salvation.  He believes that our focus on salvation has led us to create a culture where the most important thing is to have made a one time decision to believe in Jesus and have our sins forgiven.  This is not wrong in and of itself, it just isn’t big enough.  We need to create a gospel culture, a culture where the most important thing is Jesus resolving the story of Israel by being declared lord and messiah through his death and resurrection.  We are called to line ourselves up with this story, to become part of this story. 

Scot suggests a few ways that we create a gospel culture.  First, “we have to become People of the Story” (page 153).  We need to know/learn the entire story told in the bible.  Second, “we need to immerse ourselves even more into the Story of Jesus” (page 153).  Third, “we need to see how the apostle’s writings take the Story of Israel and the Story of Jesus into the next generation and into a different culture, and how this generation led all the way to our generation” (page 155).  Fourth, “we need to counter the stories that bracket our story and that reframe our story” (page 157).  Here Scot talks about how we need to counter the powerful stories of our world like individualism, consumerism…
Fifth, “we need to embrace this story so that we are saved and can be transformed by the gospel story” (page 158).  

Friday, October 14, 2011


This is a question my church received the other day.  Here is answer that the church has written but what do you think?

“What does the Bible say about Halloween and Christians celebrating it?  Including but not limited to, trick or treating, costume parties and the like.”

The Bible never mentions Halloween.  Therefore it does not specifically tell us how Christians should relate to this day.  This has resulted in Christians coming to different conclusions as they seek to take the Bible seriously.  There are two streams of thought regarding this issue: 1) Avoid Halloween.  2) Engage in Halloween with discernment.

Avoid Halloween
Some Christians have nothing to with Halloween because they are convinced that this day is a celebration of evil.  It appears that the origins of Halloween began with the Celtic celebration of Samhain.  This was a pagan festival in which, among other things, focused on warding off evil spirits and ghosts.  Even today there seems to be a certain fascination with darkness and evil that is part of Halloween.  The Bible does teach that we should not participate in evil.

Engagement in Halloween with discernment
Many Christians believe that we can engage in Halloween with discernment.  Halloween may have begun as a pagan festival but today, some 1500 years later, it is radically different.  While there is a fascination with evil, many of the things done on Halloween are not evil in and of themselves.  There is nothing wrong with dressing up, or giving out (getting) candy, throwing parities…  Christians who hold this view believe that we can redeem even parts of Halloween and bring God’s light into this dark time.  There is a level of discernment that needs to take place.  The Bible does teach us not to fear evil but overcome it with good.

We believe that this is a family decision, not something that the church decides.  Each family may choose differently.  Some may avoid Halloween completely, others may just hand out candy, while others may attend Halloween alternatives (South Park MB hosts one – Winkler Bible Camp used, not sure about this year), and still others may have parties and allow their kids to trick or treat.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

With it being Thanksgiving I am going to give a list of things that I am thankful for (in no particular order):

  • The Holy Spirit's ongoing presence and guidance
  • Cindy's amazing grace and love
  • Ariel's passion and creativity
  • Joelle's love and compassion for others (including animals)
  • Seraya's ability to be herself and quick smile
  • Those four women create so much joy in my life
  • Family who put up with me
  • Friends who share and encourage me
  • Place to live
  • Great food to eat
  • Jesus' love for me
  • Amazing place to work
  • People who challenge me to grow and think about my life, faith
  • Beautiful weather
  • Bikes
  • Books that make me think, smile
  • Movies 
  • And so much more