Thursday, April 12, 2012

“The Cross is not enough” book review – Chapter 2

As part of my post-resurrection Easter spiritual practice, I’m reading Cross Is Not Enough: Living as Witnesses to the Resurrection by Ross Clifford and Philip Johnson, Australian Baptist thinkers. I thought it would be a good discipline to blog as I read my way through the book. Chapter one is here

Chapter two

This is a wonderful chapter. Since the main argument is about the importance of resurrection, not just for belief, but for life, it proposes 12 resurrection zones for living

  • forgiveness
  • whole person
  • empowerment
  • future hope
  • eschatology
  • Eden breaks in
  • confidence
  • face of God
  • ethics
  • judge/justice
  • new community
  • mission

Each zone is explained, linked with Scripture and often accompanied by a story that clarifies and applies. It is great stuff.

The section on new community is a standout, with a side bar exploration of the stories of Genesis and how they allow healing for people treated as non-persons, how “the gospel reverses nonperson status, declaring that in order to be right with God one must be right with one’s neighbour. In Christ there is no nonperson status.”

On the basis of these 12 resurrection zones, Clifford and Johnson call for a “resurrection culture”, which should shape who we are as leaders, as followers and our environments.

Despite it being a wonderful chapter, it did leave me pondering a few questions. As I thought about each of the above 12 zones, I realised that all 12 could be applied to Incarnation. And many of the 12 could also be applied to Ascension. So is there a danger that we will need a book in a few years to argue for the Incarnation in theology and life? Followed by a book on the Ascension? So is the argument of this book simply about a needed corrective? If so, could it actually end up making the same mistake it is seeking to correct, that of imbalances in theology? Further, can any part of God’s theology be isolated and then argued that it is pre-eminent? Or might it be that theology is a weave, in which every strand is both individually rich, yet so much the richer when woven together? So yes we need resurrection for forgiveness, yet forgiveness that also weaves into resurrection themes of creation, incarnation, ascension and Spirit is even richer still?

I look forward to the next chapters, as I continue to ponder the questions. In the meantime, I’m left saying to myself and God’s creation “Alleluia. Christ is risen!”

Posted by steve at 07:35 AM