Monday, January 26, 2015

KC (2) Back-Story

Scot McKnight, like many writers who are influenced by post-modernism, emphasises the back-story to the gospel in his new book called Kingdom Conspiracy. He argues that we cannot understand who Jesus is and what he has achieved, unless we understand the context in terms of the history of Israel.

Bible scholars today are searching for the best way to tell the bible’s story (Chapter 3).
He begins by describes the traditional gospel presentation as C-F-R-C. This is true, but not complete, so it creates a distortion.

The C-F-R-C is the story of salvation in the Bible. It goes like this:

  • God is the author of Creation (the C) and made all things good…
  • Adam and Eve chose to go their own way, sinned against God, did the very things God said not to, and this lead to the fall (the F) of humans into sin.
  • Next comes R, which stands for redemption…. Jesus Christ and his redemptive work in his life, death, burial, resurrection, and exaltation on the cross establishes in the here and now a beachhead for the kingdom.
  • Redemption will only be completed at the second coming when God will usher in the full kingdom of, called the new heaven and the new earth… This will be the consummation (the final C) of redemption (Chapter 3)...
Scot argues that this story is flawed, because it does not need Israel and the Old Testament
Those who read the Bible solely through the C-F-R-C plot have an annoying propensity to read Genesis 1-3 to get their C and their F in place, but then they skip all the way to Romans 3 or to the crucifixion scenes in the gospels to get their R (Chapter 3).
To make the story first about us, or first about me and my salvation, is to reduce the story and to rob Jesus of the glory of being the central actor (Chapter 3).
Scot proposes a new framing story that he labels A-B-A. It is outlined in the following quotes.
Plan A extends from Adam and Abraham to Samuel. The p period is marked by one major theme: God rules the world through his elected people, but God is the one and only King.
Adam and Eve decide they want to rule “like God” instead of ruling “under God”, which means Adam and Eve are usurpers.
Plan A has four characteristics.
  • God alone is King.
  • Humans, from Adam and Eve to Abraham, are to rule under God.
  • Humans usurp God’s rule.
  • God forgives the usurpers and forms a covenant with Abraham (Chapter 3).
Plan B comes in when the Israelites want a human King (1 Sam 8).
  • God alone is still King.
  • Israel is to rule God’s created world under God.
  • Israel wants to usurp God’s rule.
  • God accommodates Israel by granting it a human king.
  • The story of the Old Testament becomes the story of David.
  • God continues to forgive Israel of its sins through the temple system of sacrifice, purity, and forgiveness.
God’s rule was gone, and monarchy had arrived; treaties became vogue.
Plan A takes a divine detour in Plan B, where God accommodates Israel’s selfish desire. During Plan B arises the memory and a hope for the return to Plan A, to God’s rule in Israel with not human king (Chapter 3).
Plan A revised

Under Jesus, Plan A take on a new form. Here are the major elements

  • God alone is King
  • God is now ruling in King Jesus.
  • Israel and the church live under the rule of Kind Jesus.
  • Forgiveness is granted through King Jesus, the Saviour.
  • The rule of Jesus will be complete in the final kingdom (Chapter 3).
We cannot enter into this story without surrendering. Why? Because if Jesus is the one and only King we must surrender to Jesus as the King. There is no kingdom mission apart from submitting to Jesus as King and calling other so surrender before Kind Jesus.
Kingdom mission means an ever-deepening discipleship (Chapter 3).
Although A-B-A is an improvement over C-F-R-C, I found it a bit clunky. I do not expect it to become popular. There are two main weaknesses.
  1. A-B-A hardly mentions the powers of evil. Scot does not seem to understand the effect that evil had on and in the world after Adam and Eve rebelled. He ignores the big authority shift that occurred and how it limited God’s ability to restore the earth.

  2. Scot just starts his story with Abraham out of the blue. I think this that he has to do this because he has an evolutionary view of human origins, so Abraham is the first “concrete” person he can hang his hat on, so has to begin with him. He does not have a back-story to explain why God needed Abraham. His story does not explain why God did not do anything for more than a thousand years, and then chose Abraham. He makes it seem like God gradually got tired of being grumpy and decided to forgive humans and have another go with Abraham. This does not really work as a back-story.

My book Kingdom Authority provides a much fuller and complete back-story (history) for the ministry and victory and Jesus. It uses the entire Old Testament and does not start with Abraham. I explain how the rebellion of Adam and Eve brought a huge authority shift that gave the power of evil immense authority on earth. This authority shift severely constrained God’s ability to work on earth.

The Old Testament is the history of how God gradually got back into a position where he could do what he wanted to do on earth. It took a long time because it was a difficult task and very human helped with it. God chose Israel because he needed a place to work and a people to give him authority to work in that place. When he had secured the authority he needed, and everything was in place, He sent Jesus to accomplish another big authority shift that destroyed the spiritual powers of evil. He is now constrained because his people do not understand what was achieved by this big authority shift. Kingdom Authority explains how that hindrance will be broken.

God’s strategy cannot be reduced to four letters. The best I can do is a brief summary.

  • Kingdom Authority Gift
    Authority on earth given to humans.
  • Bad Authority Shift
    Human sin gives authority to spiritual powers of evil bringing in a millennium of darkness. Evil gets a place in heaven and God shut out of earth.
  • First Authority Shift Back
    Enoch, Lamech and Noah work with God to put a constrain on the powers of evil.
  • Land and People Authority
    Abraham provides God with a people who can give him authority to work on earth. Moses provides a land in which he can work.
  • Authority Setback
    Kingship perverts authority
  • Big Authority Shift
    Jesus destroys the authority of the spiritual powers of evil. They lose place in heaven and his followers gain a place in heaven. He gives authority on earth back to humans.
  • Last Authority Obstacles removed.
    Calling of the Jews and collapse of human government leads to fullness of the kingdom.
  • Final Authority Shift
    Consummation of all things as Jesus hands all authority back to the Father.

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