Monday, 3 March 2008

McKnight's 8 Marks of A Robust Gospel

Scot McKnight, in responding to the "problems of our global crisis like AIDS, local catastrophes of senseless violence, family failures, ecological threats, and church skirmishes," raises the following questions:

"Do we have a gospel big enough for these problems? Do we have the confidence to declare that these robust problems, all of which begin with sin against God and then creep into the world like cancer, have been conquered by a robust gospel?"

So what is a robust gospel? What makes the gospel robust? According to McKnight, there are 8 marks of a robust gospel:

1. The robust gospel is a story.

2. The robust gospel places transactions in the context of persons.

3. The robust gospel deals with a robust problem.

4. A robust gospel has a grand vision.

5. A robust gospel includes the life of Jesus as well as his resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit alongside Good Friday.

6. A robust gospel demands not only faith but everything.

7. A robust gospel includes the robust Spirit of God.

8. A robust gospel emerges from and leads others to the church.

Continue reading the rest of the article here.

Do you agree with McKnight? Does our understanding of the gospel include the above 8 marks?


U-Liang said...

I read that post in CT too!

For me personally, just substitute 'robust Gospel' with

'robust understanding of the Gospel' and it should turn out ok. :)

But then again, doing so might lessen the 'bite' of the article...

BK said...

hi u-liang, I need to think about it, but my initial reaction to what you said seems to me to be a very good insight!

At first glance I don't see anything I'd object to in those 8 points. I struggle quite a bit to know how to approach the issue of structural sin. It always seems to me that Wright, McKnight and others, while I'm sure they don't deny the personal aspects of the gospel, sometimes emphasise the cosmic reach of the gospel so much that the personal aspect gets overwhelmed/subsumed. Yet surely they do have a point that a lot of us have reductionistic, domesticated understandings of the gospel. Sin involves rebellion, blame, shame, alienation etc. Someone (I think it's Harvie Conn, who worked with prostitutes) made a really helpful point that we not only see people as sinners but sinned against, and so surely a robust gospel must deal with that.

What do you think?

(Btw, what do I call you ah...Dr. Lim, LKY or just Kar Yong? I very young one, feel very susah call older (Asian) ppl by their first names without prior permission :-p)

Kar Yong said...

Hi U-Liang,

I don't have much problem with the 8 points - just that I personally feel that a robust gospel would include social justice and fighting for tha cause of the voiceless and marginalised.

I like the way you put it - "robust understanding of the Gospel" - how many of us really understand the gospel and the impact of the gospel?

Kar Yong said...

Hi BK,

Call me Kar Yong or LKY will do - no need to use the title lah. I am not that old lah - just a "few" years older only.

Agreed that the gospel is about reconciliation - not only the vertical reconciliation with God, but also horizontal reconciliation with fellow human beings - and that includes the right handling of international disputes, to use NT Wright's words.

Perhaps the personal aspect does not feature so strongly in McKnight's robust gospel could be largely due to the reaction to American evangelicalism - for far too long, the focus has been "accepting Jesus Christ as my PERSONAL saviour" kind of gospel. THe cosmic dimension has been somehow misplaced along the way. Perhaps this is a reminder of the universal implication of the gospel!