REVIEW: Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church by Scot McKnight ON SALE

If you’ve recently dropped in to the Hearts
& Minds Facebook page, you’ll know we were just in Boston selling books
with the Christian Legal Society, a fascinating organization of Christians who
are lawyers, judges, law profs and such. 
This is a large challenge and huge privilege for us.  When we work with these kinds faith-based
professional associations or hang out with activist folks, we are glad for their
ministries and service, scattered in the world. That God’s Kingdom is advanced in some way through their
witness and work – or at least signposts are created that point the way – seems
evident and reminds us that God cares about God’s whole world, not just the
institutional church where believers gather. God’s people are still church even
when they leave the worship space, where they’ve first processed to gather, and then been
commissioned to leave in service. It is obvious that the commonwealth of God
grows – like that parable of the tree flourishing so that even the birds find
refuge – and that the Kingdom of God is a unifying theme of the entire covenant
story of Scripture.

 But what is God’s

Thanks for asking. It’s a million
dollar question, and we’ve got a new book that explores it well.  Unless one is willing to settle for an
undeveloped simple view, or work to wade through weighty theology tomes, this
may be one of the best ways into this important conversation.

We are very excited about the new
Brazos Press hardback release, Kingdomkingdom conspiracy.jpg Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical
Mission of the Local Church
by Dr. Scot McKnight (regularly $21.95; our BookNotes sale
price is $17.60) and want to commend it to you.  But first, some of my own thoughts about it, such as they

One the large assumptions behind the
nature of our store and the diverse array of topics we offer — books on
science, art, media, education, psychology, environmental science, war and
peace, politics, film, outdoor adventure, engineering, urban affairs,
parenting, nutrition, literature, and so much more — is that the redemptive
work of God in the world (Jesus called it the Kingdom of God) includes all
areas of life (not just church and “religion”) and He has inaugurated a trajectory
that promises the full and glorious restoration of all creation.  I think it is our wide selection of
books in so many categories, and our hope to suggest “Kingdom perspectives” in
all fields that appeals to those who invite us to serve their events, like the
aforementioned CLS.  If somebody
asks us why we carry books on faith and law or faith and art or faith and
science, we suspect they simply don’t have a very fully developed understanding
of the Kingdom of God.

There are many authors who in recent
years have underscored this vision of the reformation of all things (think of
N.T. Wright, just for instance, or our celebration of the For the Life of the World DVDs.) Many mainline denominational
churches have an implicit vision of the restoration of all things, but seem a
bit embarrassed by eschatology, not wanting to get mixed up in any goofy “left
behind” stuff. So their own best resources for an “all of life redeemed”
whole-life discipleship lie too often undeveloped or untapped.

One of our favorite authors along these
lines who does offer a wide and wholistic vision is the remarkably productive
New Testament scholar Scot McKnight. His excellent Kingking jesus.gif Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited (Zondervan; $19.99)
and the very useful, fun, One.Life: Jesus
Calls, We Follow
(Zondervan; $14.99) are both fine books. Both offer this broad Kingdom vision
and are very helpful as we explore how to bear witness to the coming Kingdom “on
Earth as it is in Heaven.”  His
book on how to read the Bible well, Blue
Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible
(Zondervan; $14.99) offers the
very story of God’s faithfulness to the creation, and Christ’s redemptive story
to heal and restore all things, as the key to read the plot line of the
Bible.  He really gets this big
picture story of God’s creation-restoring good news. (McKnight’s very popular Jesus Creed, by the way, was just re-released
in an updated and slightly edited edition; that guide helps us live out the way
of Jesus in daily life, learning to love God and others – wow, what a book!)


Many of us have been wishing for
McKnight to spell out more of what he means by the Kingdom, what the reign of
God is and isn’t, sort of a deeper follow-up to the very good King Jesus Gospel.  This brand new Brazos Press book, Kingdom
, may be his best effort yet. Despite my own disagreement
with its biggest conclusion, it is going to be very, very helpful and we are
happy to help promote it.  It is a
book that loyal Hearts & Minds friends, especially, should consider owning.  It is very seriously informed by wide
reading of the best scholarship – how does McKnight do it, knowing so much
about so many sub-categories? — and offers learned, but clear and interesting explanations.  It is a fine, fine book.


Without a doubt, Mr. McKnight is sounding
a bit of an alarm, and insofar as he is truly picking up concerns, I applaud
his calling us to better formulations. 
I don’t know how many people really say this, but McKnight seems to
think that some writers and leaders believe that any good effort in the world —
say, a social justice campaign or deeds of public righteousness, mercy, art,
kindness, seeking the peace of the city — necessarily builds God’s Kingdom.  He claims that many younger
post-evangelicals, especially (and he should know, he teaches them at Northern
Seminary and is exceptionally involved in on-line writing and discussion) are
not dissimilar to the older (mostly bankrupt) social gospel movement that
seemed to think any decent human action could be considered a mark of the reign
of God and in some way redemptive. God’s Kingdom a-coming was so combined with
the hopes of human progress that serious consideration of salvation, the role
of the cross, and the necessity of the church was pretty much left behind. In
that view, which McKnight cleverly calls the “skinny jeans” view of the Kingdom,
there is such an emphasis on cultural engagement and social witness that there
isn’t much concern about evangelism or personal piety.  He contrasts this, perhaps with a nod
to Willow Creek baby boomers, with the “pleated pants” gospel, which, as you
can guess, overemphasizes personal evangelism and conventional views of
constricted salvation aimed at getting people to heaven and perhaps a
moralistic view of one’s inner life.

(Of course there are also old school
fundamentalists with a conservative, narrow faith who wear skinny jeans, and
there are some pretty radical voices coming from guys in pleated pants. So,
yeah, his clever set-up is only somewhat helpful, as if age or aesthetics were
the determining factor as to whether one has a typically liberal view of a
social gospel or a more typical evangelical view of a privatized one. These
caricatures do help get the conversation started, at least, so don’t let that
trip you up. Skinny jeans or pleated pants.  Ha

In contrast to both kinds of wardrobe
malfunctions (that’s my little contribution to the cleverness afoot) Scot wants
to say clearly that the Kingdom of God is more than personal salvation or the
promise of a heavenly afterlife, but he also insists it is more than working
for social justice, much more.  In The
Kingdom Conspiracy
, McKnight covers Biblical and theological ground
that others have explored, although he brings his own urgent angle. The must-read
book on this part of the story in my view is the impeccable Good News and Good Works: A Theology of the
Whole Gospel
by Ronald J. Sider (Baker; $20.00) which, interestingly, insists
that the theme of the Kingdom of God is the central Biblical motif that brings
together the personal and the public, word and deed, spiritual renewal and social

Still, in every age we need reminded of
the epic tragedy of this terrible dilemma, this tendency for so many towards
imbalance. How sad that there are still those that are all about social concern but care little for winsome
evangelism, or those who ignore our cultural obligations and social witness due
to their overemphasis of church planting or evangelism or spiritual formation. It
seems easy to say it is “all of the above” and proclaim “the whole gospel.”  Ahh, but it isn’t so easy to convince
everyone who follows Christ that it is “both/and” and that the gospel is
multi-faceted, and the Kingdom is creation-wide.  Which brings us back to this question of what we mean by the
Kingdom, the reign of God, Christ’s Lordship, God’s will done “on Earth… ”
And — wait for it, there’s more… and there is the questions of the relationship
between the Kingdom and the church.  As you can tell from the subtitle of McKnight’s book, this is
his biggest burden.

IMcKnight - KC.pngn this very contemporary assessment,
our author is convinced that both the Biblical material and the needs of the
day demand that we reassert the primacy of the local church as being the
crucible of the Kingdom.  Yes, yes,
the Kingdom of God is the longed for creation restored, and Christ’s Lordship
is to be proclaimed (and lived out) in all of life, across all of culture. The
weight of the argument of The Kingdom Conspiracy, though, is
that this happens through the local church.

Even now, I can imagine eyes rolling as
some readers say – well, duh; of course. For others, I can hear the
possibilities of them buying this book slamming shut from States away. Those
pleated pants and skinny jeans are acting up again, resisting McKnight’s
challenges, even though both camps really need to consider this book.
We all do.

Again, to be clear, this isn’t a new
idea. It seems to me that it has resonance in one way or another with both the
Roman Catholic and Episcopal traditions and with the Anabaptist views of the
Brethren and Mennonites.) Consider, for instance, the exceptionally important
work of Catholic Scripture scholar Gerhard Lohfink and his massive, celebrated
work, Does God Need the Church? (Michael
Glazier Books; $39.99) a title that
McKnight surprisingly doesn’t cite. Think
of lovely recent books like Slow Church:
Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus
(IVP; $16.00) that surely have a culturally-engaged,
socially involved Kingdom vision, but put the locus of God’s redemptive work
within the community of faith living together in a world falling apart. (By the
way, co-author of Slow Church,
Christopher Smith will be here in Dallastown for a book talk on Friday night,
November 7, 2014.)

Another personal favorite, a wonderful
book that needs mentioned here is The
Community of the King
by Howard Snyder (IVP; $18.00.) It remains one of my all-time favorite
books, and certainly one of the best on the local church, and he argues that
the church, while not the entirety of the Kingdom coming, is at the heart of
it.  McKnight agrees, and his willingness
to assert this clearly is a large, important gift.  It is a good book about the Kingdom of God, but he laments
our recent Kingdom visions to be somehow unconnected to the work of the church.



Some of us who have encouraged followers
of Christ to have a prophetic imagination and Christian mind about all manner
of things — all spheres of life are being redeemed and we must be “kingdom
people” in all we do, after all — have drawn on the reformational worldview of
what some call neo-Calvinism.

(Please note that neo-Calvinism is a
theological tradition and social movement these days stemming from the feisty and
wholistic cultural reforms of the Dutch theologian of the late 1800s and early 1900s, a
journalist, academic, statesman, and Prime Minister, Abraham Kuyper and is not the same as the popular, strict “new Calvinism” which is how some
journalists describe the recent gospel coalition of those new to older forms of
Calvinism and Puritanism. Neo-Calvinists are those who make much of the
wide-as-life, creation-regained vision of renewed thinking in the line of the Dutch
public theologian Kuyper; neo-Calvinism is the wholistic
creation-being-redeemed vision that informs important voices as diverse as
Francis Schaeffer and Brian Walsh, Neal Plantinga and Richard Mouw, Nicholas Woltersdorff
and Calvin Seerveld, Herman Dooyeweerd and James Skillen, Anthony Bradley and Al Wolters, Comment magazine and Jamie Smith. I name these authors to offer further hints, spots on the map, for
whom these names might ring a bell.)

It is a fascinating aspect of Kingdom
that Scot McKnight interacts with this tradition, realizing that
his Anabaptist vision is at odds with this reformational heritage.  You see, if, as Kuyper explored and as
most neo-Calvinists proclaim, Christ’s Kingship includes all dimensions of life
and all zones of cultural affairs, then non-church spheres are every bit as
much as God’s Kingdom as is the churchly sphere.  Bankers and teachers and dancers and engineers are as much
priests as are, well, priests in the church.

McKnight seems to realize that some form of Kuyperianism is
capturing the imaginations of many these days (Andy Crouch’s wonderful CT review of For the Life of the World was titled “Kuyper Goes Pop”) and McKnight
seems to realize that a robust creation-regained worldviewish vision of the
Kingdom incarnated in all of life is one excellent way out of the dilemmas
posed by the inadequacies of the individualized traditional gospel of the
pleated pants crowd and the socially engaged emerging faith of the skinny jeans
tribes.  And so, he takes on this
ascending perspective.

He briefly examines Mouw’s delightful
little book on Kuyper (Abraham Kuyper: A
Shortabraham-kuyper-short-personal-introduction-richard-j-mouw-paperback-cover-art.jpg and Personal Introduction;
Eerdmans; $16.00) and ponders “Kuyperian
secularism.” In a footnote he applauds Steve Garber’s splendid book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the
Common Good
(IVP; $16.00) calling it “important” but suggests it doesn’t
talk enough about the church, a fault he attributes to Andy Crouch’s Culture Making: Recovering our Creative
(IVP; $20.00) as well.

I point this out because I know that
some of our BookNotes readers will be glad for this conversation, and will want
to follow the discussions prompted by McKnight’s re-assessment of Kingdom
theology.  It is great to see a
good thinker and writer of McKnight’s stature (and popularity) grappling with
these themes of neo-Calvinism that have so influenced some of our favorite
thinkers and writers and leaders.

Allow me a big aside, a story which might help you
unpack this a bit, if you don’t intuit where this is going.
Or at least it might clarify my concerns with the implications of this.

I mentioned my appreciation for the
great book The Community of the King
by thec of the k.gif radical Wesleyan Howard J. Snyder. 
I’m glad that book is still in print, and I still recommend it

You may want to know that it was the
second book I ever reviewed in a real magazine, a brief review appearing in Sojourners back in the 70s.  I suggested, however, after glowing
remarks, that to insist that the Kingdom is mostly found in the supportive
relationships within the local fellowship, the church, is to not only to fail
to enunciate the wide-as-creation scope of Christ’s Kingdom, but to fail
church members by not adequately honoring the complexity of their callings to
work in the world, outside the proverbial walls of the sanctuary.  I took Snyder to task, as I recall, for
telling the story of his friend and parishioner Archie, a good man and fine grocer,
with nary a word of his Kingdom obligations as
a grocer.
From where does he buy his food, how does he work with vendors that
mistreat their migrant workers, what is his role in the global food industry of
cash cropping? How does Archie educate consumers about chemical additives and
such? What does it look like to be a Christian grocer, not just a grocer who
happens to be a good churchman? One person replied to me in a letter, those
decades ago, suggesting I was nuts.  Another thought I was needlessly hard on old Archie.

Well, perhaps God has caused the stones
to rise up, like Jesus predicted, since we now have a major culture movement
about these very things, concerns about GMOs and healthy food and fresher
produce and fair trade, most of which have been raised by folk not known for
their Christian religiosity.  If
the Kingdom is conflated with the church, you see, and the church therefore
minimizes member’s work in the world as holy vocations, we end up with a
disconnect between Sunday and Monday, and guys like Archie, good church members
that they may be, fail to create wholesome grocery stores, fail to fight for
innovations in the supply chain, for more sustainable policies, for fair
treatment of migrants, etc. etc. 
Whole Foods has done that, of course, and the Biblical God of the
renewed creation is pleased, I’m sure, although Christ should have gotten the
glory.  This critique of
over-emphasizing the communal/relational/liturgical aspects of the local
church, a (minor) frustration with Community
of the King
remains my concern with the present McKnight volume.  He may criticize Crouch, Garber, Mouw,
or Kuyper, but what does he say to
Archie the Grocer?  He is right to
poke the paucity of the skinny jeans kingdom and the old social gospel. But can
his favored sources — Yoder, say, or Hauerwas, even — provide an account of
Christian discipleship in the world that allows folks to make sense of their
workplaces, their citizenship, their engagement with the arts, with
entertainment and leisure, with the structures of media and technology that
surround them? Without a full-orbed Kingdom vision, will a churchy faith enable
us to make noble sacrifices promoting a prophetic imagination in these late
modern capitalist times? Or does a vision of the Kingdom tied so closely to the
church necessarily call us and our interests out of the institutions of life,
and unwittingly promote an escapist pseudo-gospel?  I know McKnight does not intend for his church-based Kingdom
approach to have this effect.  I
cannot see how it would not.

Scot McKnight-Image.pngOf course, McKnight mostly expounds the
Scriptures, and this is mostly rich, good stuff. I was thrilled reading much of this, and learned quite a lot by
looking at his sources, his good footnotes and the two fabulous appendices.
Along the way he reflects helpfully on the strengths and weaknesses of the old
evangelical left and the Christian right, he explores the work of Tom Wright,
Jurgen Moltmann, Rauschenbusch and the social gospel, James K.A. Smith, Brian
Blount, and many more who have offered hints at the nature of the Kingdom and
the relationship between the Kingdom and the local church. We always need
reminded of “the Constantinian temptation” and in this, McKnight’s project isn’t
unrelated to the much-discussed To Change
the World
by James Davison Hunter (Oxford University Press; $27.95.)  Again, I like that he tweaks both the “skinny
jeans gospel” of recent missional hipsters, and the “pleated pants gospel” of
the mega-church baby boomers – fully aware (I think, anyway) that these are
playful caricatures and goofy foils for his case. But with that, he leads us to
a more full-orbed and Biblically-solid explanation of the Kingdom and the
centrality of the church gathered.

So, his case, again, is two-fold: In
contrast to the inadequate formulations of the exclusively personalistic or
social gospels, he offers a robust, multi-dimensional, incarnational, wholistic
Kingdom that is Christ-centered and promissory about the renewal of the cosmos.
But he further insists, then, that this Kingdom of God a-coming is, in fact,
seen most clearly in the moral community called the local church. “Kingdom
mission creates communities of the redeemed” he insists.  So, if you aren’t a church planter,
well, I guess your work isn’t related to the Kingdom of God. You know that
lovely and provocative For the Life of
the World
we have been promoting? 

Okay, sorry — I’m being a little
facetious. You’ll have to read it yourself to see if I’m being fair. He deserves a fair reading, as he is a
good author and important writer and this is his most significant work in years.

I will admit that I love reading nearly
anything on the gospel and anything that helps us understand and love and
promote the gospel is good. And McKight has always been a very reliable guide for me. (He has a book on Mary, a book on fasting, a book on the Sermon on the Mount, and more.) 

McKnight  inspires
us with missional energy and visionary hopes and big dreams – note the word “radical”
in the subtitle – even if he constricts the scope of the Kingdom and seems
therefore to minimize the significance of so much of what ordinary lay people do
in their day to day (non-church) life. Yet, I trust McKnight on this because,
in his aforementioned books, he elevates the “one life” we live, in Christ,
relating faith to our work, politics, recreation, sexuality and more. I don’t
know if his view of the Kingdom which is so thoroughly offered here will erode
the importance of his books on whole-life discipleship like One.Life but it seems like it might. (If
the church is really where it’s at, the locus of the Kingdom, then, really, why
must we fuss so much about public theology and aesthetics and justice and
living faithfully across the many zones of life?)

This is a question I’ve hosted since
the late-1970s when I studied both Richard Mouw (a Dutch Kuyperian) and the
late John Howard Yoder (a Mennonite, who has influenced McKnight) as they
engaged in Reformed/Anabaptist discussions about the role of creation and
creation’s order in our views of redemption and the vocation of being “in but
not of” the world of the fallen powers. 
I’ve heard Mouw tell how the distinctions between he and Yoder were once
summarized when Yoder said, “Mouw, you always want to say reality is created, but fallen, but I want to say
it is fallen but created.” Ponder

The relationship of faith and real life,
church and world, Kingdom and creation, Christ and culture, remains a burning
question for me, and I think they are a constellation of questions that are
some of the most burning for the church of our era, at
least in the West.
(McKnight certainly agrees that these matters are urgent,
and he has followed the debate and contributed to it, as well as most. In The
Kingdom Conspiracy
he mentions many public theologians who grapple with
these matters, influential thinkers as diverse as Miroslov Volf and Os
Guinness, Walter Wink and Nicholas Woltersdorff; he discusses books such as the
recently-re-issued Resident Aliens by
William Willimon & Stanley Hauerwas.) 
This is a living conversation that gets to the heart of what the Bible
teaches, what Jesus said and meant, and what we mean by being Christians “for
the life of the world” as the recent, popular DVD by that name asks.  McKnight’s view of the Kingdom, it may
seem, would resonate with the last episode of FLOW, which reminds us that the
weekly gathered community worshiping together is a rehearsal of the
wide-as-creation restoration that is promised. Church is, finally,
eschatological.  Or at least I
think that is what he’d say…

So, a few big thumbs up to the always-interesting
Doc McKnight. Kudos for this good work, the inspiring reminder that the local
church has a huge role to play in the “radical mission” of the Kingdom of God.

Still, as I’ve already suggested, I
think he gets it wrong, here, or at least he overstates his case, but geesh, in
these days, inviting people to church certainly isn’t that bad of a fault (as
long as it doesn’t devolve into a fetish about churchy stuff and fail to equip
the laity to serve in their homes, neighborhoods, workplaces and such.) Despite
being so very important, so very insightful in so many ways,
so very interesting to read, I still want to insist that the local church need
not be over-emphasized and our view of the Kingdom should be as wide as the
Bible says it is – “the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof!”  McKnight is a careful and generous
scholar, and his serious, exciting book deserves to be studied carefully (and
reviewed seriously, more seriously than I am able to do here.)

The blurbs on
the back are notable and serious — Soong Chan Rah reminds us that

misappropriation of faddish terms can be an unfortunate reality for American
Christians. The casual manner in which we toss around phrases like “kingdom
theology” and “missional churches” can have an adverse effect on our efforts to
form a robust ecclesiology… With prescient analysis and pastoral insight,
Scot McKnight succeeds in providing a scriptural and theological text for those
who have heard the word so often but failed to think through its meaning.

Greg Boyd says,

McKnight brings much-needed
clarity to what ‘kingdom of God’ means -and doesn’t mean – and how it relates
to the church and its mission. This book needs
to be read by everyone – scholars and laypeople alike – who want to understand
and consistently live out what it means to be a follower of King Jesus.

I am glad for any author that calls us
to church: to deeper liturgy, to worship well, to intentional body life, to
parish commitments, to congregational revitalization. Yes, of course! We are confident
that this is an important book that is sure to deepen your understanding of the
Bible and contemporary theological trends, and make you think – hopefully with
others – about the purpose of our discipleship, what it means to be Kingdom
people, and the joy and implications of the Lordship of Christ, in the church
and, yes, in the world.


Although they deserve much more time
and space to review fairly, here are two other great books that came to mind as
I wrote this, one quite new, one newly released in paperback:

Jjoy to the world greg forster.jpgoy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its
Cultural Influence & Can Begin Rebuilding It 
Greg Forster (Crossway)
$18.99  When reading McKnight and
his concerns about the hipster skinny jeans gospel that emphasizes social
reform to the exclusion of evangelism or sound doctrine (not to mention his
concern about the cheesy pleated pants gospel of merely personal salvation with
little concern about betterment of the world or social reform) This is an
amazing book and despite the fun retro cover, has little to do with any
romantic return to the 50s.  With a
stellar, foreword by rigorous Manhattan pastor Tim Keller, this offers ruminations
on the cultural mandate, the Kingdom coming in all of life, the promise of
restoration and hope, all inspired by lines from that marvelous hymn by Isaac

I love the Timothy George quote on the
back of Joy to the World: “This book is against sequestration – the
sequestration of Christian life into ‘spiritual’ enclaves and churchly ghettos.
But it also wants to the church to be the church – uncompromised, vibrant, and
filled with joy.” Our friend Amy Sherman notes that “Forster’s deft grasp of
history, philosophy, and theology enables him to offer up this rigorous yet
accessible book.”  Forster (PhD,
Yale University) is a program director at the Kern Family Foundation, a socially
engaged organization, even as he affirms the central role of the church. He
laments that the church has lost its culture-shaping voice and civilizational
influence.  He draws on the vivid
and very public language of Joy to the
, where the “Earth receives her King” and blessings flow “far as the
curse is found.”  What would
McKnight say about this?  How is
McKnight’s view of the Kingdom different than Forster’s?

Texplicit-gospel.pnghe Explicit Gospel  Tim Chandler (Crossway)
$14.99 I will admit that I love reading nearly anything on the gospel and anything
that helps us understand and love and promote the gospel is good.  Chandler is a passionate young pastor of
a successful Reformed church plant in Texas, and is a person who is
increasingly known and respected. (That he recovered from a dangerous brain
tumor is a great blessing. His latest book, btw, is a great study of Philippians,
To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain.) We
should always be immersing ourselves in these conversations – just what is the gospel,
why did Jesus so regularly describe the gospel as the gospel of the Kingdom and what does that mean and look like?  We should so value Christ and his beauty
and his saving work that we are explicit about our commitments. Ahh, but,
again: what is the gospel about which we are to be explicit.  

This wonderful book compares and
contrasts and holds in tension a mostly individual gospel understood mostly
through systematic theology which unpacks atonement/justification and the more
wholistic gospel of cultural restoration based on the Biblical narrative of
creation-fall-redemption-restoration. He wisely explains what happens when
faith communities (or individuals, I suppose) dig too deeply into a
personalized gospel of personal salvation without the Biblically-required
vision of the Kingdom.  And, similarly,
he shows how some of those who proclaim the full gospel of the Kingdom soon
neglect central theological truths (about salvation, about the cross) dreaming
big dreams of a renewed creation.  His point is clear: we need both vocabularies and both
approaches to b speak about the Kingdom and the gospel as the Bible does. This
isn’t exactly the “pleated pants gospel vs. the skinny jeans gospel” of
McKnight; as Chandler portrays these two ways in to the understanding of the
gospel, both are strong, faithful, solid approaches (at their best.) We need to
talk about Christ as simultaneously as savior and Lord; the good news includes
personal salvation and cosmic hope. The Explicit Gospel would be a good
book to frame why McKnight is so concerned about sloppy appropriation of
Kingdom language and missional projects that are unhinged from the local church
and confused about the nature of salvation, renewal, restoration and the like.



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