Yeah, those who know me well know that I have as many books that look good to me and I want to read as Layne Lebo has favorite Bible verses. Still, this review at Jesus Creed makes me really want this book by Michael Pahl. The point of interest for me is the juxtaposition of two different views of theology. The more “traditional” view of theology centers on the Garden and the Cross. They see history as the story of the fall and God’s work of salvation. Where this can be lacking is in its ability to look at how we now ought to act. Was salvation really the key?
What the text seems to claim, is that theology comes out very different if we concentrate on the resurrection instead of the cross. Instead of salvation from hell, we concentrate on being given a new life through Christ’s resurrection. We are invited to join in God’s mission of Gospel (good news) for the world. I am reminded of the words Christ quoted from Isaiah when reading in the synagogue. (Layne used this passage in the sermon this Sunday at McBIC.)
18 THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4.18-21 NASB)
Note that Jesus says two interesting things here. First, there is no sense of salvation from sins, but instead the Gospel is at the center. (Yes, I know that this is pre-cross, so that may be part of this.) Second, Jesus tells them that this part is already fulfilled in their hearing. Maybe I’m missing a Greek nuance here (Melanie Howard, are you out there?), but this seems to reset my tendency to focus on salvation and forget about the necessary discipleship and the hard work of “working out” my salvation into new life.
I’d love to read this book to get a sense of how this would fit with the totality of Scripture. I’ll leave with the passage Pahl apparently uses to kick off the discussion. I’ll also expand all the way to verse 28, as McKnight suggests in his review. Note the importance and centrality of the resurrection.
1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
The Order of Resurrection
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,
24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15.1-28 NASB)