I pre-ordered One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow by Scot McKight on Kindle. That means that while others are waiting for their paperback to arrive by mail from amazon, I already have my copy and I’ve started reading.
Few people answer the “so what” like Scot McKnight, theologian, biblical scholar, and professor at North Park University in the Chicago area.
Having read the first few chapters, here is how I think of One.Life: outreach to Christians whose unfortunate religious experience missed the main point of being Christian. It’s about the tough search for the notion of following Jesus in what is supposedly the religious society of Jesus.
And let me share with you, from the introduction and the two chapters I’ve read so far, how McKnight practically and clearly gives the meaning of Jesus’ call to “follow me.”
McKnight describes how as a child he “got saved,” according to the lingo of the church in those days. Later, he clarifies that there is nothing wrong with the vital concepts of putting faith in Christ, trusting Christ, receiving the benefits of forgiveness/justification, entering a relationship with Christ, and so on. But the “get saved” scenario is a distortion that makes it all about me.
Then, as a 17-year old, he describes how he was taken to a deeper level, but one still sadly missing the point of Jesus’ life and message. He was taught to follow the rules. Read the Bible. Pray. Attend church. Evangelize. Etc.
His definition of the Christian at that point was: someone who has accepted Jesus; and the Christian life is the development of personal (private) practices of piety, separation from sin and the world, and a life dedicated to rescuing sinners from hell.
But the real breakthrough in his life came in, of all places, a college class on the gospels (with Walter Liefeld).
Jesus didn’t teach separation, but dined with sinners. He didn’t seem to think private practices were the height of righteousness. He didn’t call people simply to have forgiveness, but called to something much more.
McKnight realized in that class, as they read deeply the life of Jesus and the story of the disciples who followed, that a Christian is better defined as someone who follows Jesus.
So far, you say, everyone has heard that concept. What’s new?
What’s new is that Scot McKnight is eminently qualified to tell you what “follow me” means.
Here is how I describe the essence of Jesus’ way in my book Yeshua in Context: Yeshua enacted the messianic age and wherever he was the kingdom blessings were present.
In other words, the way of Jesus is not a personal agenda for each person to attain salvation or even mystical unification. It is not a rules-based discipline of continual merit with God. It is not inwardly focused at all.
It is a big dream. Here is one way McKnight puts it: What God has planned can be called the dream of God, and God has made us to give our One.Life to that dream of God.
But that still sounds vague and wishy-washy, you say. Well, it’s only the beginning. McKnight will flesh it out into a practical shape that is not one-size-fits-all.
His chapters will include Imagined.Life, Love.Life, Justice.Life, Peace.Life, Wisdom.Life, Church.Life, Committed.Life, Sex.Life, Vocation.Life, Eternity.Life, God.Is.Love.Life, and Cross.Life.Resurrection.Life.
Think of it as a practical primer defining the idea of following Jesus. Who couldn’t use that?