North Park University Professor Attends Easter Prayer Breakfast at White House

Mcknight with Obama
North Park University's Dr. Scot McKnight met President Obama at the April 4 White House Easter prayer breakfast. (Photo by Kristen McKnight)

Scot McKnight invited to president's annual Easter event

CHICAGO (April 5, 2012) – A North Park University professor attended President Barack Obama's third annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House April 4. Dr. Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, Biblical and Theological Studies Department, was among the invited guests.

"That President Obama is willing to host an Easter breakfast, invite only Christian leaders, and include a personal address himself, and involve singers like Sarah Groves and a sermon by Joel Hunter, is a symbolic way for President Obama to express his faith," McKnight said afterward. "Events like this do not impose faith on Americans, or even privilege the Christian faith, but they do give the President an opportunity to express his faith and support the Christian message of the death and resurrection of Christ."

It was clear that Obama did not invite only "progressive Christians," to the breakfast, McKnight said. "I was impressed by the spectrum," he added. Others in attendance included Rev. Eugene Cho, lead pastor of Quest Church, Seattle, a congregation of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), McKnight said. North Park University is affiliated with the Chicago-based ECC.

In his remarks, the president thanked the Christian leaders for "the compassion and the kindness" they express through their ministries. "I’ve seen firsthand some of the outstanding work that you are doing in your respective communities, and it’s an incredible expression of your faith. And I know that all of us who have an opportunity to work with you draw inspiration from the work that you do," Obama said.

Reflecting on the "wonder of Easter morning," the president said, "It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on the triumph of the resurrection, and to give thanks for the all-important gift of grace. And for me, and I’m sure for some of you, it’s also a chance to remember the tremendous sacrifice that led up to that day, and all that Christ endured—not just as a Son of God, but as a human being."

McKnight attended the breakfast with his wife, Kristen. "It was an honor to be invited, and we will treasure this the rest of our lives," he said.

McKnight joined the University in 1994. He is a New Testament scholar, author of more than 30 books, teacher and sought-after speaker. This year, his book, The King Jesus Gospel: The Good News Revisited, was named resource of the year in the evangelism category by Outreach magazine. Another book, The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others, won the Christianity Today book of the year in 2005 for Christian Living. McKnight also writes a blog titled, "The Jesus Creed."

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