On a number of occasions, I’ve quoted “The Cross is Not Enough” (Clifford & Johnson). I can’t think of a recent read that has had a more profound personal effect on me. I reveiwed the book last June by saying:
“For me, this book sets right the biblical focus on a life-affirming, world-engaging, cross-incorporating, resurrection-empowered discipleship that has too often been eclipsed by a narrow focus on cross-centered propositionalism.”
[If you haven’t already seen it, click here to read the entire review.]
Their first resurrection theses — “The resurrection is the lynchpin of Christianity.” — is a summary of Paul’s argument in this past Sunday’s sermon text, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. [See Sunday’s sermon slides here.] The resurrection, as Paul argues and Clifford & Johnson acknowledge, is essential to every dimension of our faith and living. For example:
- The resurrection brings divine meaning to the total agony and suffering of Christ on the cross.
- Jesus’s resurrection is God’s divine yes: I am forgiven.
- Without the resurrection of Christ there can be no future resurrection of the dead.
- Christian hope without the resurrection of the dead is an everlasting pie-in-the-sky existence.
- To deny the resurrection of Jesus is to deny the resurrection of the dead and to deny hope.
- The resurrection is true and it works!
It’s time that we recover the God-intended understanding of the cross and resurrection that holds both of these Christ-events together. Doing so will require a greater focus on the resurrection to set right the current imbalance. Doing so will enable us to experience the fullness of life made possible because the resurrected and living Christ is alive in us.