This Week

  • Today: 10:00 Worship; Making Peace Seminar: 11:00
  • Monday @ 5:30 p.m.: Girl Scouts
  • Tuesday Bible Study: @ Jeremiah’s, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Spiritual Council @ 11
  • Thursday: National Day of Prayer, Muskingham Gazebo, Noon.
  • AA Meetings: in the Parish Hall:
    • Tuesdays, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Discussion
    • Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Big Book
    • Fridays 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Discussion

Making Peace Seminar Today!

Session 9. a 12-week video series by Jim Van Yperen based on his book, Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict. Meetings will be Sunday mornings, 11:00 a.m.

Resurrection Crux

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12).

The logic in verse 12 is not about the relative merits of resurrection versus no resurrection, but about the power and consistency of belief. Paul was saying, You used to believe and now some of you don’t believe. So, which is more likely to be true: Jesus’ resurrection or the quality of a belief that flip-flops between two mutually exclusive positions. Clearly, the only thing that had changed was the belief of some of the Corinthians. Christ had not changed. History had not changed. The weak link in this line of argumentation was not the resurrection of Jesus, but the vacillating belief of those who changed their minds.

Nonetheless, Paul then entertained the possibility that the doctrine of the resurrection may be in error by noting that it logically follows that “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised” (1 Corinthians 15:13). If we assume that there is no resurrection, then Christ cannot have been raised. And the conclusion of the argument is the loss of hope and the installation of pity upon those who make such an assumption.

But that’s not the end of it. The “no resurrection” scenario is worse than just killing hope because “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Notice that the conclusion of Christ’s resurrection rests on us, on our own regeneration. If Christ has not been resurrected, then there is no cure for our sin. And if there is no cure for our sin, “those also who have fallen asleep (died without regeneration, without faith) in Christ have perished” (1 Corinthians 15:18)! Paul said that if there is no resurrection, then it would follow that Christ was not resurrected, and Christians are not regenerated. He stated it as simply as possible.

Next Paul called attention to the fact that everything hangs on the resurrection. Christianity is holistic. It all hangs together or it doesn’t. It all works together or it doesn’t work at all. Christianity is a comprehensive worldview. It effects everything. Note also that Paul did not suggest a kind of intellectual systematic theology, as if the various elements of faith and belief are like puzzle pieces that we need to fit together in order to make a whole. Rather, Paul jumped from what may be considered to be an intellectual idea (resurrection) to the personal passions of hope and pity.

One of the reasons that the doctrine of the resurrection is important is that it is a kind of bridge between three different elements of our personhood. It is intellectual, of the mind. It is physical, of the body. And it is emotional, of the heart. The idea of resurrection is an idea (an abstraction), but it is an idea about the physical body. If it is true, there is a physical element to it. And it produces the emotions of hope or pity. Paul’s argument is that if the doctrine of the resurrection is not true, then those who believe it are the most pitiful people in the world. Why? Because resurrection is about the ultimate state of our being, and if we are deluded about that, then we are ultimately deluded—and beyond all hope.

Paul’s argument is that if the doctrine of the resurrection is not true, then those who believe it are the most pitiful people in the world. He then went on to prove that the resurrection is true.

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