Review: Embracing Grace Part 2 & Part 3

I just came back from Labuan so I’ll need myself to get reorientated. Thanks to John Frye again for giving us part 2 & Part 3 of his review of a book I hope comes to Malaysian bookstores soon, and more people will begin so how the insights might help them as a Christian and one who’s serious about the gospel. Somehow I get the sense there’s still a lot of ungrace in our world (even the “Christian” world), and we often so boldly claim we’ve got the “gospel” right (and figured out). Kyrie Eleison.

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From Part 2

We continue to think with Scot McKnight about “what is the gospel?” as he writes Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us.

Chapter 1 opens “The gospel is more like a piece of music to be performed than a list of ideas to endorse. …Thus, it is a gospel that is both proclaimed and performed.”

A Story to Perform

“…[W]hen the gospel is embodied it tells the gospel story better than anything Hollywood can flash on the screen and better than any novelist can put on paper. … We don’t want to be told that the gospel all of a sudden will solve all our problems and make the world shine its happy face on us…because we know it isn’t true.”

The gospel is neither “glitzy” nor “tame.”
It doesn’t erase all problems.
It’s not about “being nice to one another” and all will be well.

The gospel is not about being phony and pretending to be perfect. It doesn’t create walls that separate people, but invites “everyone to come to the table and listen to Jesus.” In a “come-as-you-are-culture,” people are looking for an authentic gospel with permeable walls.

“A stronger way of saying it is this: this generation is challenging the Church to perform what it proclaims, or, to use a less elegant phrase, to put up or shut up.”

Scot recounts the “performance” of Patrick of Ireland, tells the story of NorhtBridge Church in Illinois near the Wisconsin state line, and affirms Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis.

Chapter 1 ends with “Proclamation and performance of an authentic gospel combine into credibility.”

…next: the beginning of the gospel…

From Part 3

EIKON if YUKON (a little humor there)

Chapter 2– The Beginning of the Gospel

McKnight affirms that if we’re to get the gospel right, we have to begin at the beginning. Thus, Chapter 2 sweeps us back to Genesis 1:1 and into the creation story.

Because the concept of “the image of God” is vital to the gospel, McKnight introduces the phrase Eikon of God. Adam and Eve were “Eikons.” Eikon is the Greek term for the Hebrew tselem which means “image.” Scot does this because the phrase “image of God” has been over-used and diluted in eons of theological debate.

“When God made humans [Eikons of God], he gave them hearts, souls, minds, bodies, and wills to make them individuals; God gave them other individuals just like themselves so they could live in community; and he gave them a world in which to live. … The gospel is about every one of these dimensions of human life–the human’s relationship to herself and himself, to God, to others, and to the world and to the society in which we live.”

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood:
The Life of “Fat Freddy Rogers”

After a brief overview of a fat, lonely kid named Fred Rogers, who went to seminary and then founded the kids’ TV show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Scot notes, “Mr. Rogers, so I believe, gave a generation or two of kids a profound sense of their specialness, their Eikonic status, and showed that we were made to live out this life in our neighborhood.”

INDIVIDUALISM IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE
TO THE GOSPEL OF EMBRACING GRACE

Why? Because individualism excludes from the discussion of the gospel our relationship to God and to others, leaving us on our own to determine who we are.

Eikons Are Made to Embrace

We’re designed to relate: to relate to God, to others, and to our world.

Scot McKinght closes Chapter 2 with this: “Humans are by nature Eikons: that is who we are. By nature, we are designed with the inalienable right to be embraced and to embrace: embracing God who made us and embracing ourselves, embracing others, and embracing our world.”

“The gospel that tells our story begins with this beginning.”

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