55 Resurrection Theses for the Third Millennium
We (Ross Clifford and Philip Johnson in The Cross Is Not Enough – pictured above) have traversed a lot of material about the resurrection in this book. We began by alluding to Luther’s famous ninety-five theses, and although we do not presume to put ourselves on the same level as Luther, in the spirit of his call for church renewal and reform we conclude this book with our 55 “theses.”
(1) The resurrection is the lynchpin of Christianity. No other dogma provides the glue that holds faith, life, and practice altogether.
(2) The church must recover a balanced understanding of both the cross and the resurrection.
(3) The resurrection does not exist just to validate the cross.
(4) The resurrection defense is about the truth of the Easter event, but the traditional defense must extend into showing its relevance to all areas of life.
(5) Without the resurrection of Christ there can be no future resurrection of the dead.
(6) Christian hope without the resurrection of the dead is an everlasting pie-in-the-sky existence.
(7) Resurrection is holistic and therefore more empowering than reincarnation.
(8) To deny the resurrection of Jesus is to deny the resurrection of the dead and to deny hope.
(9) The resurrection is not a New Testament “surprise.” It is found in the Law, Prophets, and Writings of the Old Testament.
(10) The risen Jesus gives confidence about the authenticity of the Bible; he affirms the Old Testament and the Spirit guiding the writers of the New Testament.
(11) The answer to the question, what does God look like? can be found in the resurrection of Jesus.
(12) The resurrection confirms the hope that Jesus is indeed coming again.
(13) The first Easter showed that the women were the most faithful followers of Jesus through his death, burial, and resurrection. They are rewarded with the first-day-of-the-week appearances.
(14) The resurrection brings divine meaning to the total agony and suffering of Christ on the cross.
(15) Without the resurrection the call to mission in Acts would be empty nonsense.
(16) Mission that focuses only on the death of Christ is not the good news.
(17) It is the resurrected Christ who empowers, guides, and gives strength to the church in mission.
(18) The resurrection is not hidden from humankind. We are without excuse. It is found in both special revelation and the modes of general revelation in nature, culture, and history.
(19) Those who proclaim the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the dead should expect to be mocked and rejected in parts of the church and by scoffers in the marketplace.
(20) The resurrection speaks to the post-Christendom seeker, the modernist follower, and those who are both/and in worldview.
(21) Jesus’s resurrection is the lynchpin and the glue of every authentic evangelistic utterance.
(22) Jesus’s resurrection is about evangelizing and ministering to whole people; it is not about rescuing disembodied souls to float on ethereal clouds in heaven.
(23) Jesus’s resurrection and the resurrection of the dead show that we must care for the whole person.
(24) When the resurrection is upheld as the lynchpin, the binary view of evangelism versus social justice evaporates.
(25) Looking for Aslan and Gandalf in myth and fairy tale can help point us toward the fulfillment of resurrection in Jesus.
(26) Preaching that does not at least make the cross and resurrection equal is counter to the true gospel.
(27) The resurrection brings us to our knees before the one who is both judge and king.
(28) The resurrection is countercultural because it goes against the grain and transforms our way of life. It overturns all idolatrous and disempowering paradigms.
(29) Jesus’s resurrection is the critical sign of the coming kingdom.
(30) Without the resurrection that brings divine judgment there will be no justice, leaving all the atrocities of history unanswered.
(31) Ethics needs the fulcrum of the resurrection: it validates the message and shows the cosmic dimension of God’s ethical concern for the world, for the environment, and for us.
(32) The resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead do not involve planet earth ending up in a cosmic dustbin. The resurrection, to the contrary, shows that there is to be both a new heaven and a new earth that are our eternal home.
(33) The resurrection of Jesus means that God loves all creation.
(34) The resurrection is radical discipleship as it claims to empower, equip, and strengthen us to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is about living by the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
(35) Radical discipleship is taking up my cross and following the risen Christ.
(36) The way of Jesus is only complete by way of there being a resurrection.
(37) The resurrection asks: If you claim to be a resurrectionist would there be enough evidence to convict you?
(38) Anyone who believes in the resurrected Christ will, like doubting Thomas, confess of Jesus, “My Lord and my God.”
(39) The resurrection declares that God cares for the whole of me.
(40) The resurrection is as essential for the justification of the sinner as is the cross.
(41) Jesus’s resurrection is God’s divine yes: I am forgiven.
(42) When life falls apart and God seems utterly remote, the resurrection makes it clear that God is indeed with us.
(43) It is because of the resurrection of Jesus that we can truly have a powerful prayer life that connects us to the one who has already walked in our journey.
(44) In the resurrection of Christ I can become an effective self.
(45) The resurrection of Christ must lead to a transformed personality.
(46) The resurrection of Christ enables me to operate within a godly framework of a boundless self.
(47) The resurrection shows Jesus as the firstborn of a new community that commenced on the first day of the week.
(48) A dead, nonresurrected Messiah is as useful to the church as was Samson after his haircut.
(49) If the church truly believes in the resurrection, why then are there only Stations of the Cross? This anomaly is true of much of both the evangelical and Roman Catholic worlds.
(50) The resurrection declares there is neither Jew nor Greek and neither male or female, and there are no class distinctions.
(51) Jesus’s resurrection speaks against all nonperson abuse and, in particular, sexual abuse in the church.
(52) The resurrection of Christ calls the whole church to repent.
(53) In different eras the resurrection has been the heartbeat for the church’s theology and mission. To our great shame the resurrection’s importance and influence in church history has become a forgotten truth.
(54) Wholehearted worship is a passionate way of resurrection living.
(55) The resurrection is true and it works!
The “Theses for the Third Millennium” has been adapted from the Outstanding book by Aussies – Clifford, Ross; Johnson, Philip. The Cross Is Not Enough, The: Living as Witnesses to the Resurrection. Grand Rapids: Baker. Kindle Edition, 2011 (Kindle Locations 6561-6580).