The Resurrection is not a Bludgeon  

Posted by Joe Rawls in

Alister Mcgrath, formerly of Oxford University, is now a professor of theology at King's College, London. He is the author of a seemingly endless series of books (his Introduction to Christian Theology is highly recommended) and he is one of my very favorite non-brain-dead evangelicals. In a recent article in TimesOnline he discusses the tendency of movements--political, intellectual, or religious-- to identify themselves in terms of what they are against. He then contrasts this with the attitude of the first-century Christians toward the Resurrection of Jesus.

There is a comparison to be had here with early Christianity as it celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection was not seen as a way of scoring points against anyone else, but as an event that transformed the human situation. Yes, enemies were declared to be defeated--such as the fear of death and a pervasive sense of hopelessness in the face of human mortality and transciency--but the Resurrection set out new possibilities, offering humans hope in their struggle against these ancient enemies.

The first Christians thus did not affirm the Resurrection of Christ against anyone. The "victory" of the Resurrection was not seen as a way of stigmatizing other people, or proclaiming their defeat. Celebration here did not entail condemnation. The Christian Church may well have deployed its ideas aggressively or prejudicially at later points in its history, and merits criticism for doing so, yet this is a defection from its original vision. Belief in the Resurrection was seen as a positive option, "good news" for all humanity.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 11, 2009 at Thursday, June 11, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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