Published on September 28, 2012 by Sarah Waller  

Author and theologian Scot McKnight challenged a Samford University audience to view the teachings of Jesus through a new perspective, saying he thinks "we have gotten confused about the meaning of the Gospel."

Delivering the annual Dotson Nelson Lecture in Reid Chapel Thursday, Sept. 27, Dr. McKnight encouraged students to not view the Gospel based on justification or justice, but instead, on Jesus.

"The Gospel is framed through Jesus," Dr. McKnight said. "The question you should always ask yourself is who do you think Jesus is?"

A professor at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Ill., McKnight has expertise in such topics as the historic Jesus, early Christianity and the emerging church.  He has written more than 20 books including The Blue Parakeet and The Jesus Creed, and it a prolific blogger and speaker.

The lecture series continued into the afternoon where McKnight narrowed his focus and spoke on the ethics of Jesus. Following his discussion, he created an open dialogue with the audience, hearing opinions and answering questions.

Howard and Martha Holly established the Dotson Nelson Lecture Series in 1984 with the purpose of serving Samford students as they grow both spiritually and intellectually. The series was named after Dr. Dotson Nelson, Jr., a former faculty member and pastor at Mountain Brook Baptist Church.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.