Monday, April 23, 2007

Whatever happened to the resurrection in our missiology?

I love this Easter season in the lectionary - spending time in the post-resurrection narratives.

One thing I have noticed and been surprised by - particularly in the readings in Acts - is that the first generation of apostles/disciples understood themselves primarily to be witnesses to the resurrection rather than the cross (or more precisely, expounding a theology of the cross). Obviously the cross was important but the main emphasis is on witnessing to the fact that God raised Christ from the dead. That was what had changed everything. I have been reflecting on how different that is from our modern emphasis on the cross over the resurrection.

Giles Fraser in the Church Times a couple of weeks ago complained that evangelicals have a very under-developed theology of the resurrection. For them all the action happens on Good Friday and Easter Sunday is almost a bit of an afterthought.

What would it look like if in our mission we 'led' with the resurrection rather than the cross? Not that it would be right to play one off against the other but just in terms of regaining a balance. What would that look like?


Kyle said...

I think it means talking about God's new world rather than a way of ordering one's personal, internal spirituality. People like to talk about the cross as if the only purpose were the matter of one's own personal sinfulness, but it really is the resurrection that turns the tide on the bigger problem of sin and death that affects the entire world, and us along with it.

Jamie said...

Interesting question. Like you said, not to set one against the other, but it does make us consider where and why our emphasis is where it is and the resulting outcome. Thanks.