Monday, May 05, 2008

The Resurrection of Jesus

In the last week I have been studying passages in the NT (minus the gospels) that deal with the theological significance of Jesus' death and resurrection.

One of the first things that became obvious is that there are significantly more passages that deal with Christ's resurrection than his death. A number of passages also assert that the resurrection is absolutely central to Christianity and without it Christianity is nothing (there are no corresponding statements made about the death of Christ). In short it is safe to say that the New Testament Christians saw the resurrection as more important than the death of Christ. Interesting how times have changed...

The resurrection seems to be so important to the Christians because it proves that death is not the end - that there will be an afterlife, that there will be postmortem judgment and restitution, and in the act of resurrecting Christ God affirms Christ's teachings and publicly indicates the type of behavior God chooses to reward. As a result, the resurrection inspires Christians to live self-controlled lives, imitate Christ, and suffer martyrdom gladly.

4 Comments:

Blogger Beyond Words said...

This goes right along with your silly quote of the day post. By focusing on death and sin, even if we believe we're forgiven, we keep spinning our wheels--as if we believe the effectiveness of the cross is so fragile a few good works can undue it or melt down the gospel. Maybe those places where love and healing and justice happen are where resurrection power is breaking in. Come to think of it, those who to limit the gospel to the cross hamper their experience of resurrection, ascension and pentecost.

6/5/08  
Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Andrew, it's interesting to see you doing just what the people in your silly quote of the day did.

They looked at the New Testament minus the gospels and came up with what "the New Testament Christians" including Paul taught on this (or at least what they think he taught), including the ideas of "justification by faith alone in Christ alone as the heart of the Christian gospel" and that "To be a Christian is to believe in Jesus, repenting of sins and trusting for salvation in his atoning, reconciling, justifying, substitutionary death on the cross." And you criticise this because it is different from "Christianity in the pre-Nicene period", a period which you must be defining as starting after the apostles.

You looked at the New Testament minus the gospels and came up with what "the New Testament Christians" including Paul taught about the cross and the resurrection, and derived from this the interesting point that "the New Testament Christians saw the resurrection as more important than the death of Christ". But surely this is just as different from "Christianity in the pre-Nicene period" as what you criticised in others. I remember us discussing here how your ante-Nicene fathers were embarrassed by the resurrection.

So why isn't your own statement just as silly as your silly quote of the day? Or else, why don't you allow others to use the same hermeneutic that you use, that it is right to take as important for Christians today the teachings of "the New Testament Christians" recorded in the epistles, even where these are in tension with those of certain 2nd and 3rd century teachers?

6/5/08  
Blogger Andrew said...

Peter,
The pre-Nicene fathers by and large saw the resurrection as very important too for largely the same reasons.

6/5/08  
Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Andrew, I was thinking in terms of what you wrote in February in a comment about Lactantius:

Lactantius does believe in the Resurrection but only comments briefly on it that it was a proof of the resurrection to come, and that we will likewise attain immorality if we imitate Christ's passion.

So the Resurrection didn't have an important part in this pre-Nicene father's theology, of whom you also wrote:

Lactantius, as I said in an earlier post, is typical of pre-Nicene Christian theology.

6/5/08  

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