In an evening filled with laughter and theological discussion, world-renowned scholar and writer Scot McKnight shared a message in Baugh Auditorium last night.
According to Oklahoma Christian University Director of Church Resources Grady King, McKnight has authored over 75 books, including his most recent novel “Pastor Paul,” which he spoke about this evening.
In a Q&A following the speech, McKnight did not hesitate to call out multiple facets of modern-day Christianity. He began by commenting on the contradiction of party politics with the evangelical faith.
“I think it is undeniable that the church in the United States is declining in its numbers, but it is clearly declining in its significance in our culture,” McKnight said. “I think it was a massive mistake in the 1970s and 80s when James Kennedy, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell decided to align that group of evangelical fundamentalists with the Republican party.”
Continuing in this line of thought, McKnight went on to state a thought surmised by many evangelical thinkers of our time.
“I can think of no good thing that has happened to evangelicalism as a result of its alliance to the Republican party. All I can think of are negative things,” McKnight said. “I’m not taking a political position. I would call myself a classic conservative. I’m not a Republican, I’m a Christian. I believe that we have made undeniable damage to the church’s weightiness because we align ourselves so much with political parties.”
McKnight also commented on megachurches in America and how he feels many of these churches do not align with the Gospel.
“We want large audiences and really cool bands and really great-looking people on the stage,” McKnight said. “When we pull the curtain back on the stage of these megachurches, I think that is hideous, and it is a subversion of the Gospel. What we want on the stage are representations of people who follow the path of faithfulness and integrity and holiness and goodness. That’s who we want on the stage embodying the Gospel.”
Following this thought, McKnight asked the audience a personal question—do they read their Bibles enough? He encouraged Christians to lead the charge in caring about how often they open God’s Word.
“We Christians have the Bible more today than any other time in history, but do we read it?” McKnight asked. “Be people who read the Bible.”
Though McKnight grew up as a Baptist, he said he currently aligns himself with the Anglican faith. Though he joked about his denomination’s superiority, McKnight ended the evening with high praise for the Churches of Christ and their affiliated universities.
“The Churches of Christ create students in the universities unlike any students I’ve ever taught in seminary,” McKnight said. “Your people know the Bible. These other students don’t. Because you value the Bible, I applaud what goes on in Church of Christ schools. In Church of Christ churches, you believe the Bible is the Word of God and you want to teach it. All I know is the students from the Restoration churches know the Bible.”