Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed has weighed in on Andy Stanley’s recent message and Al Mohler’s reaction to it. For him the issue is order: Is it necessary to accept the inerrancy of Scripture first before one can get to the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection which lies at the heart of the Gospel message? Put it another way, do you think Jesus knew who he was and his unique role and calling within God’s plan for the redemption of creation because he read about it in the Bible, or because he just knew it within himself? Mohler would say yes, but McKnight says no. Our faith is in the truth of the Gospel message, not the records of that truth:
Before the apostles, during the period of the apostles, and before there were written records, before the Gospels were written, during the time of the apostles writing and yet before there was anything like a canon or what we now call the New Testament … before this and during this… the gospel was alive and well, and the gospel was being preached and taught, and people were being saved. Salvation depends entirely on the truth of the gospel.
What made that gospel the means of redemption was the truth of the gospel, not the written record of it. Because Jesus was God’s Son, because Jesus died for our redemption, because Jesus was raised from the dead, and because he was raised to rule over all creation, the gospel is true. To be saved in the Christian sense is to affirm the truth of who Jesus is, to engage with him from the heart, and to accept what he has accomplished.