Resurrection Reflections is a three part series written by Summit Church members during the 2011 Easter Season.
In part 2 of the series Zach Hanlon, small group leader and blogger, reflects on why the resurrection is such amazing news for humanity:
“Theological ‘aha-ha’ moments are relatively few and far between for me and for the church at large. The Christian faith hasn’t changed in thousands of years and every facet of theology has been explored. So it isn’t a surprise that I have had exactly four of these moments in my life. The first was my understanding of the Gospel, my sin, the eternal predicament that put me in, and God’s gracious response. The second was my understanding of the sovereignty of God in 2007. This was followed closely by the third- an understanding of the Trinity and how that relates to the effect of Christ’s death.
These are all deeply important theological truths that have impacted me in unique ways, but in this Easter season, I am particularly thankful and reflective on the fourth theological ‘ah-ha’ moment, which came this past year.
Doug Wilson and N.T. Wright have recently written about the resurrection, heaven, and the hope of redemption that Christianity brings in the present and future. These two authors helped me understand the importance of the resurrection and the hope it should generate in my life. And that is what we’ve been celebrating during this season at Summit.
The cross is the center of the Christian faith, but only in as much as we understand the resurrection. Christ’s resurrection cannot be an afterthought in our lives or our theological understanding of the gospel. The power of the cross is effectual only if Christ raised from the dead.
He did. That’s why we celebrate Easter.
I understood why the cross was important and how the resurrection into that equation, but my ‘ah-ha’ moment wasn’t about theological syllogisms. It was about theological implications. Christ rose from the dead; so what?
So what? This is where Wilson and Wright come in. I can’t review both of their books in this short space, but let me just share some highlights from each:
NT Wright- Surprised by Hope:
In this book, Wright helps us to reevaluate our escapist mentality about the future. You will never hear me say: ‘ I can’t wait to leave this place and go to Heaven’ because of the case that Wright makes in this book. Heaven isn’t another place where God will bring his followers while the earth is destroyed. God is in the process of renewing his people and his Creation right now. This is one of the implications of Christ’s incarnation. The fact that he entered into creation to defeat death and sent his church on a mission isn’t so that he can trash it all in the end. Our goal as a people of God is to bring renewal to some small portion of our community, so that when Christ does return again, our small works done through his power will take their proper place. Future hope, that’s the power of the resurrection.
Douglas Wilson- Heaven Misplaced:
In this book, Wilson’s case is direct, clear, and well-articulated. Christ rose from the dead, death is defeated, Christ is ruling on his thrown now, we have a mission, and Christ is returning and this place is where he is going to ‘set up shop.’ Check out Revelation 21- the New Jerusalem will come down to earth in a grand renewal because Christ died, not only to save sinners but also to redeem all of creation.
Wilson doesn’t shy away from the practical implications of this. We have certainty that natural disasters, ecological disasters, and the anticipated death and explosion of the sun will NOT swallow all of humanity and seal it’s fate. We can work for renewal physically and socially, knowing that we are on the winning side of that battle. Christ will return and renew the rest of creation! We can rest assured that God didn’t tell us to take dominion over all creation, send his Son to dwell among us, and tell us to make disciples of all nations just so that all of our works of obedience can be trashed in the end. Politics, the environment, community service, art, music, literature, physical fitness, coffee, cake, money, all aspects of God’s good creation will be renewed. And we can play a part in that, as the resurrection shows us.”