on the resurrection

Good thought here from Tim Keller posted to his Facebook page:

If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said?

The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.

#Boom!

on the resurrection of Jesus

if you want in on some GOOD discussion on the resurrection of Jesus from a historians point of view (what exactly can a historian say about the resurrection?) – you need to go over and check out Brian LePort’s blog and read up, even contribute if you want.  Read carefully and learn much.  🙂

He quotes from Vermes’s Jesus the Jew – then asks:

Of course, where one stops being a historian and begins being a philosopher or theologian can be a difficult differentiation to make, but Vermes statement does seem to present wise caution when we speak of the resurrection from the perspective of a historian. What do you think of the limitations set by Vermes? Is further speculation permissible or should the historian stop with these details (assuming one agrees with Vermes conclusions that Jesus was killed and his tomb identifiable) and let the philosopher, theologian, and lay reader decide what they believe about the missing body?

What say you?  Go over and share there.

On the Resurrection

What Eugene Peterson has to say about the resurrection is so good I am reposting it from last year. 

On Recovering our Resurrection Center:

We live the Christian life out of a rich tradition of formation-by-resurrection.  Jesus’ resurrection provides the energy and conditions by which we “walk before the Lord in the land of the living” – the great Psalm phrase (116:9).  The resurrection of Jesus creates and then makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit.  The do-it-yourself, self-help culture of North America has so thoroughly permeated our imaginations that we ordinarily don’t give attention to the biggest thing of all – resurrection.  And the reason we don’t is because resurrection is not something we can use or control or manipulate or improve on.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the world has had very little success in commercializing Easter – turning it into a commodity – as it has Christmas?  If we can’t in our phrase, “get a handle on it” or use it, we soon loose interest.  But resurrection is not available for our use.  It’s exclusively God’s operation.

What I want to do is rediscover our resurrection center and embrace the formation traditions that develop out of it. I’m going to deal in turn with the three aspects of Jesus’ resurrection that define and energize us as we enter the practice of resurrection lives.  I will then set this resurrection life lived out of the reality and conditions of Jesus’ resurrection in contrast to what I consider the common cultural habits and assumptions that are either oblivious to or make detours around resurrection.  I will name this “the deconstruction of resurrection.”  Finally, I will suggest something of what is involved in cultivating the practice of resurrection: living appropriately and responsively in a world in which Christ is risen  (13-14).

from: Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life (NavPress, 2006).

I’ve been realizing this Easter just how much we evangelicals tend to focus on the cross and how little we spend time reflecting on the fact and reality of the resurrection life of Jesus in us.  Somehow, sermons on the cross come across as more powerful – they garner more response, especially a response of guilt and sorrow and repentance.   In contrast to Peterson – we prefer to live cross-centered lives.  We evangelicals, we like messages on the cross, we like to keep things centered on the cross because we see it as the heart of the gospel.

But what about the resurrection?  Is it a side dish?  A happenstance that is a side note?  A marginal note?  No, it’s none of these things.  Well, we wouldn’t readily admit that but what do our thinking and actions show?

I think Peterson is on to the correct view – our lives should be resurrection centered – centered on the new life we have in Christ not merely because of the cross but almost certainly because of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.  Without the resurrection nothing would matter (cf. 1 Cor 15:14, 17), not the death of Jesus on the cross, not forgiveness, not “pistis Christou” or “dikasone Theou” or imputation or any of that.  Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead there is no freedom from the power of sin and death; there is no forgiveness of sins; there is no newness of life; no future; no nothing.

In fact, it is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that we have all these things: forgiveness, freedom, new life, healing, redemption, righteousness, and so on.   How can there be anything more important?

Key Question:  Is it fair to say we should in some sense move beyond the cross and on into the resurrection life to which Jesus has called us?

Think about it.  What say you?

Concerning “Easter on the Hill” in TX.

I couldn’t agree more with Jim’s assessment of an Easter service put on by Celebration Church in Texas on Sunday “staring” none other than Tim Tebow.  I guess I have to be careful but I agree with Jim that it is a crazy situation because one gal drove 17 HOURS just to see and hear Tebow speak – not necessarily to attend a service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  Read the link for more.

Just A Note: Concerning Tim Tebow, Celebrity-Christians, and Idolatry.

Book Giveaway: Wright’s ROSG.

Mark Stevens is giving away a copy of NT Wright’s massive work: The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3) (Augsburg 2003).

While readers of my blog know I am not overly enamored by Wright’s work, I have heard this is a good work on the Resurrection. Wright also won Mark’s Scholar’s showdown, by one vote over his friend Gordon D Fee – who I think is a far better scholar and exegete than Wright as Wright is supposedly more a historian than a Bible scholar per se, which explains the fact that he doesn’t really “do” exegesis.

So, perhaps from a historical point of view (not an exegetical point of view – since you probably can’t really exegete historical events and realities – perhaps it will be a good read.

So, if he sends it, I will read it!

The Bible as Story

As a follow up to my last post about doctrine and the rightness of being – I want to post here that somewhere I read a comment “the Bible is full of propositional truth” – and this got me thinking.  Yes, but not really.  Well, sort of.  Let me explain. 

I don’t think the right way to look as the Scriptures is that of propositional truth but that of story.  I haven’t read any of Kevin Vanhoozer’s work but I do have his book “Is there meaning in this Text?” (which I need to get to)- anyways, he has another book titled “The Drama of Doctrine.”  It sounds interesting but I think a possible subtitle of the Bible might be “The Drama (Story) of Redemption.” 

This is not to say that there is no propositional truth in the Bible but to say that I don’t think it’s front and center as to what the Bible is about – it is about the story of redemption – God’s redemptive purposes in this world.

So, if the Bible is best seen as Story, and not just any story mind you but HIS/STORY – of which you and I are all a part – how does it work?  Well, there is the beginning.  That’s when God created the world.  There is the end.  That’s when we all go to live with God eternally in the new world.  And there is the climaxthe Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!  That is the point to which the story works – Jesus rising from the dead – Resurrection – through which we have Redemption.  But that is not all – while there is an end, I think that is still in the future (today, tomorrow, who knows?). 

I have come to be a bit of a believer in the notion that endings of the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Luke/Acts – were written in such a way as to leave part of the story openopen to fulfillment

Open to fulfillment?  Yup. 

By who?  By you and me and all who are followers of Jesus Christ – through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

In part, he left this world, and on Pentecost, through the sending of the Holy Spirit, he passed the baton on to the Apostles and to the rest of us – the sending of the Holy Spirit was a charismatic empowerment for us to do what he has called us to do, which is to carry on the great story of redemption (and reconciliation)! 

So what are we to fulfill?  Why, The Great Commission of course!  (which in part is the ministry of redemption/reconciliation).

And here is the best part: Each and every one of us has a part to play in The Great Drama of Redemption!  Not just Pastors and Bible teachers and other various special spiritual people.  How about that?  “No Disciple Left Behind!”  Lol!  In fact, we are “the rest of the story.”   We live out the story of redemption and reconciliation in and through the daily lives we live as followers of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

So, what about those propositional truths?  I think they are perhaps better seen as principles for us to live by as we go about fulfilling our part of the story!

I think too, if we do a really good job living out our part of the story (living in faithful witness to Jesus) – others are gonna wanna join in! 

What say you? 

(reposted) – Eugene Peterson: On the Resurrection

What Eugene Peterson has to say about the resurrection is so good I am reposting it from last year. 

On Recovering our Resurrection Center:

We live the Christian life out of a rich tradition of formation-by-resurrection.  Jesus’ resurrection provides the energy and conditions by which we “walk before the Lord in the land of the living” – the great Psalm phrase (116:9).  The resurrection of Jesus creates and then makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit.  The do-it-yourself, self-help culture of North America has so thoroughly permeated our imaginations that we ordinarily don’t give attention to the biggest thing of all – resurrection.  And the reason we don’t is because resurrection is not something we can use or control or manipulate or improve on.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the world has had very little success in commercializing Easter – turning it into a commodity – as it has Christmas?  If we can’t in our phrase, “get a handle on it” or use it, we soon loose interest.  But resurrection is not available for our use.  It’s exclusively God’s operation.

What I want to do is rediscover our resurrection center and embrace the formation traditions that develop out of it. I’m going to deal in turn with the three aspects of Jesus’ resurrection that define and energize us as we enter the practice of resurrection lives.  I will then set this resurrection life lived out of the reality and conditions of Jesus’ resurrection in contrast to what I consider the common cultural habits and assumptions that are either oblivious to or make detours around resurrection.  I will name this “the deconstruction of resurrection.”  Finally, I will suggest something of what is involved in cultivating the practice of resurrection: living appropriately and responsively in a world in which Christ is risen  (13-14).  

from: Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life (NavPress, 2006).

I’ve been realizing this Easter just how much we evangelicals tend to focus on the cross and how little we spend time reflecting on the fact and reality of the resurrection life of Jesus in us.  Somehow, sermons on the cross come across as more powerful – they garner more response, especially a response of guilt and sorrow and repentance.   In contrast to Peterson – we prefer to live cross-centered lives.  We evangelicals, we like messages on the cross, we like to keep things centered on the cross because we see it as the heart of the gospel.

But what about the resurrection?  Is it a side dish?  A happenstance that is a side note?  A marginal note?  No, it’s none of these things.  Well, we wouldn’t readily admit that but what do our thinking and actions show?  

I think Peterson is on to the correct view – our lives should be resurrection centered – centered on the new life we have in Christ not merely because of the cross but almost certainly because of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.  Without the resurrection nothing would matter (cf. 1 Cor 15:14, 17), not the death of Jesus on the cross, not forgiveness, not “pistis Christou” or “dikasone Theou” or imputation or any of that.  Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead there is no freedom from the power of sin and death; there is no forgiveness of sins; there is no newness of life; no future; no nothing.  

In fact, it is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that we have all these things: forgiveness, freedom, new life, healing, redemption, righteousness, and so on.   How can there be anything more important?

Key Question:  Is it fair to say we should in some sense move beyond the cross and on into the resurrection life to which Jesus has called us?

Think about it.  What say you?

on preaching hell

Trevin Wax posted a segment of a talk by D.A. Carson in which he was discussing the question:

How do you perform deeds of mercy and keep a strong emphasis on proclaiming the gospel?

He goes on to talk about one person involved in the Gospel Coalition who insisted the best way to do this is to “Preach Hell.” 

At one point Carson says:

I will not soon forget a Gospel Coalition member who said, “I’ll tell you how to fix the problem. Preach hell.”

We looked at him. This particular chap is known for his bluntness. We wondered: How does that answer the question? How do you preserve gospel faithfulness while doing deeds of social mercy? We knew this chap. He is into racial integration in his church. He is very concerned about these things. How do you keep those things from swamping the whole direction of the church?

“Preach hell!”

The men listening to him were puzzeled and asked him to explain.  He did and you’ll have to read Trevin’s post to see the responses.   But I’ll give one part of the response:

[Preaching Hell shows] ….. that you are interested in the relief of suffering both in time and eternity.  You start fudging on that corner and you lose that eternal dimension.”  

(emphasis and brackets mine).  I can understand this unnamed person’s points and find them valid.  At the same time, however, I think I would prefer to take a somewhat different tack (and this may be along the lines of what Carson suggested in the posted segment where is suggests preaching the gospel.

I would suggest the way to urge performing deeds of mercy and keeping emphasis on the gospel would be to take the same tack Paul did with the Corinthians:

1 Cor 2:2 “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

As I see it, this is the best and preferred approach to dealing with the tension of promoting social action and gospel proclamation.  Preach Christ and him crucified.   In this context you can easily warn people of the coming judgement of God and its potential consequences, which for some may very well be eternal separation from God and his presence, also known as hell.  Again, this is an important doctrine and it does need to be preached and people really need to be warned about it.  Yet, I think it needs to be integrated into preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified and risen from the dead.  Most importantly, however, I want to argue that preaching Christ and him crucified an risen from the dead, helps keep the focus where it needs to be: on Christ

Eugene Peterson: on the Resurrection

On Recovering our Resurrection Center:

We live the Christian life out of a rich tradition of formation-by-resurrection.  Jesus’ resurrection provides the energy and conditions by which we “walk before the Lord in the land of the living” – the great Psalm phrase (116:9).  The resurrection of Jesus creates and then makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit.  The do-it-yourself, self-help culture of North America has so thoroughly permeated our imaginations that we ordinarily don’t give attention to the biggest thing of all – resurrection.  And the reason we don’t is because resurrection is not something we can use or control or manipulate or improve on.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the world has had very little success in commercializing Easter – turning it into a commodity – as it has Christmas?  It we can’t in our phrase, “get a handle on it” or use it, we soon loose interest.  But resurrection is not available for our use.  It’s exclusively God’s operation.

What I want to do is rediscover our resurrection center and embrace the formation traditions that develop out of it.  I’m going to deal in turn with the three aspects of Jesus’ resurrection that define and energize us as we enter the practice of resurrection lives.  I will then set this resurrection live lived out of the reality and conditions of Jesus’ resurrection in contrast to what I consider the common cultural habits and assumptions that are either oblivious to or make detours around resurrection.  I will name this “the deconstruction of resurrection.”  Finally, I will suggest something of what is involved in cultivating the practice of resurrection: living appropriately and responsively in a world in which Christ is risen  (13-14).  

from: Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life (NavPress, 2006).

I’ve been realizing this Easter just how much we evangelicals tend to focus on the cross and how little we spend time reflecting on the fact and reality of the resurrection life of Jesus in us.  Somehow, sermons on the cross come across as more powerful – they garner more response, especially a response of guilt and sorrow and repentance.   In contrast to Peterson – we prefer to live cross-centered lives.  We evangelicals, we like messages on the cross, we like to keep things centered on the cross because we see it as the heart of the gospel.

But what about the resurrection?  Is it a side dish?  A happenstance that is a side note?  A marginal note?  No, it’s none of these things.  Well, we wouldn’t readily admit that but what do our thinking and actions show?  

I think Peterson is on to the correct view – our lives should be resurrection centered – centered on the new life we have in Christ not merely because of the cross but almost certainly because of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.  Without the resurrection nothing would matter (cf. 1 Cor 15:14, 17), not the death of Jesus on the cross, not forgiveness, not “pistis Christou” or “dikasone Theou” or imputation or any of that.  Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead there is no freedom from the power of sin and death; there is no forgiveness of sins; there is no newness of life; no future; no nothing.  

In fact, it is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that we have all these things: forgiveness, new life, healing, redemption, righteousness, and so on.   How can there be anything more important?

Think about it.  What say you?