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The Centrality of the Resurrection,
This review is from: The Challenge of Easter (Paperback)
The resurrection is absolutely central to the Christian faith. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19, "and if Christ is not raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied." Understandably then, both Christ's historical resurrection and the resurrection hope of all believers are routinely targeted by Satan and the powers of this world.
In The Challenge of Easter (excerpted from the 1999 book The Challenge of Jesus), N.T. Wright, Anglican Bishop of Durham, U.K., offers a succinct rebuttal of popular attacks on the resurrection and articulates an apology of its primacy and power from biblical, historical, and cultural contexts and exhorts believers to live out the hope of the living Christ.
Wright points out that the Church from its earliest days was a "resurrection movement," and that the recurring biblical phrases "the kingdom of God" and "the resurrection of the dead" were key components of the first century Jewish worldview which would never have been understood by that audience to mean a merely "spiritual" experience. He shows that Christ's resurrection inaugurated the reality of the kingdom in time and space, something the apostles clearly understood as the starting point for their entire ministry.
Though at times a controversial figure (a discussion beyond the scope of this review), Wright demonstrates a passion for this truth that all believers should take to heart. He reminds the reader that the fact of the resurrection undercuts both the false hope of realizing the kingdom of God through human effort alone and the misdirection of simply waiting for God to someday return and take care of it all on His own. In his words, Christ laid the foundation of the coming kingdom through the resurrection, commissioned us to build on that as we follow Him in proclaiming the victory to a fallen world, and will return in glory to complete the work.
Challenge of Easter is an accessible yet scholarly take on this key issue that is ideal for solidifying this fundamental truth for new believers, expositing it for skeptical seekers, or devotional meditation to recall it to our hearts and minds and challenge us again to living it out boldly.