I've been working through Scot McKnight's King Jesus Gospel. The previous posts include:
Intro: Evangelism Explosion
Chap 1: The Big Question: What is the Gospel?
Chap 2: Gospel Culture vs Salvation Culture
Today it's Chap 3: From Salvation to Story
In this chapter, Scot argues that "The Plan of Salvation and the Method of Persuasion have been given so much weight they are crushing and have crushed the Story of Israel and the Story of Jesus" (43). To put the plan of salvation in proper perspective, he argues, we have to understand it in the context of the story of God walking with Israel which culminated in the story of Jesus.
He also reveals his hand in this section, he is going to argue that "the word gospel belongs to one and only one of our four sets of terms [story of Israel, story of Jesus, plan of salvation, method of persuasion], and I will contend that it belongs to the Story of Jesus as the resolution to Israel's Story" (44). In other words, the gospel is not the plan of salvation but the good news about Jesus.
McKnight will no doubt get to the implications. I think we can again see the two I have already mentioned--getting it right and where we put our emphasis.
I do think that Scot, like Tom Wright, overreads the role the story of Israel played in the thinking of the NT authors. When we draw from history, we tend to be very selective. We use what Lyotard called petits récits. Wright and McKnight in this chapter blur, in my opinion, into theological interpretation (rather than historical exegesis) when they import too much of a grand récit from the OT into the localized meanings of specific passages in the NT. And they run the risk of creating too unified a grand récit of the NT use of the word "gospel" as well.
In short, creating an overarching sense of the gospel in the New Testament moves beyond exegesis into theologizing, just as drawing on some supposed unified story of Israel is neither OT exegesis nor a story presupposed in its entirety by any one NT text. It is theologizing. I have no problem with such theologizing, only that it so often pretends to be exegesis.
The "grand narrative" that Wright and here McKnight are building is constructed out of biblical materials but it goes well beyond the "local narratives" presupposed by individual NT texts. It blurs into theological interpretation and at that point is not exegesis.