The Crucified Christ or the Resurrected Christ?

What/who was more significant for Paul? And what/who should be more important for us?–the crucified or the resurrected Christ?

An increasing number of people seem to be moving away from the cross and toward the resurrection in interpreting Paul, in part as a reaction to some interpretations (including mine) that strongly emphasize the cross. I think I would urge them to slow down just a bit. Not that the resurrection is bad, or someting to be soft-pedaled or footnoted as an appendix to the cross.

I have always stressed that the crucified Christ is the resurrected one and vice versa. In NT theology they are inseparable.  For Paul, we participate in both the cross and the resurrection, but the new life we experience–the resurrection life we have now–is always, paradoxically, imbued with the cross. It is cruciform. Because the resurrected Jesus is one with the crucified Jesus, when he inhabits us and we him, by his Spirit, we can expect the same kind of life-giving cruciformity in us that we see in him and that Paul wrote about (and experienced). Yes, we are empowered by the resurrection–or, better, by the resurrected One. But to separate the resurrection from the cross is an error with serious consequences.

As I hinted in my Palm/Passion Sunday post, this choice is a false (and potentially dangerous) one.

2007-05-07 20:59:20

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