Saturday, July 15, 2006

Christ as crucified, and Christ as risen

‘Viewed “according to the flesh” (kata sarka), Jesus is “Christ crucified”, an image of weakness and degradation; viewed by faith he is the “Lord Messiah” (1 Cor 12:3), the place where God’s transforming power breaks into the perishing world’
(An Introduction to the NT, David deSilva, 587).

A nice quote, with just a couple of qualifications necessary that I’m sure David wouldn’t grumble with.

First, it is precisely as Christ crucified, that Jesus is the Lord Messiah (cf. 1 Cor 2:2). Christ can only be proclaimed as the crucified, but when he is, he becomes present as the risen One!

Second, Jesus isn’t a place, but understood primarily by Paul in personal terms, as a risen and glorious Person. The relational connection believers have with the risen Lord may well be described in spatial terms, as Paul hints at with the ‘in Christ’ language, but this spatial metaphor is bound to the relational, thus I would prefer an interruption in the above sentence.

Oh yes indeedy, I feel very pernicious today!

But as I read this yesterday, the words literally gripped me and drew my thoughts to the debates surrounding ‘natural theology’ and the nature of faith.

Only in faith can we recognise the crucified one as Christ, a perception that cannot be reduced to a logically compelling deduction from the evidence for the resurrection. But when, in faith, we grasp the activity and love of God in the crucified Christ, the very power and presence of God mediates the risen One to us.


At 7/15/2006 5:38 PM, Anonymous Steve Sensenig said...

I love that last paragraph. Great words, Chris.

steve :)

At 7/15/2006 5:59 PM, Anonymous Derek Brown said...

Thanks for the insights Chris. And thanks for your faithfulness to the mystery of Christ crucified!

At 7/15/2006 8:53 PM, Anonymous Volker said...

I understood "the place" to mean the point in time when Christ entered the world as messiah (i.e. the place and time when he was born). Does that make sense?

At 7/16/2006 2:23 AM, Anonymous Alan Bandy said...

I see because I believe - is that the gist of the last paragraph.

At 7/16/2006 2:43 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks Steve and Derek.

Hi Volker, I don't think David is referring to a time with this language - not here anyway, though he wouldn't exclude it, I'm sure. My problem has is related to the sytactical relations of teh sentence, linking the Person of Christ directly with the space metaphor. Pernicious? A tad!

Hi Alan,

Yes, excatly!

At 7/17/2006 2:57 AM, Anonymous byron smith said...

a perception that cannot be reduced to a logically compelling deduction from the evidence for the resurrection

What about as the result of inductively (or abductively) persuasive evidence? Historical evidence rarely if ever admits of 'logically compelling deductions'. Or is this a sell-out to natural theology?

At 7/17/2006 11:42 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks, Byron, for that comment. Yuo are quite right, of course, Lessing-like and all, that histoy hardly coughs up deductivly compelling logic. I guess I would say that even for an indiuctive process, to make sense of Christ crucified as Lord, this needs faith, and can never be reached apart from it.


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