Denying the Resurrection?
TGC recently put out a post called “3 Ways to Deny the Resurrection (Without Being a Liberal)”. Well, I read it because, hey, I’m a good Christian and I don’t want to deny the resurrection. First off, I should tell you that TGC is The Gospel Coalition. They’re known to be pretty conservative and some of their contributors are conservative Calvinists
The next thing I noticed was the addendum to the title: Without Being a Liberal. I really hope he’s talking about being a theological liberal. I know a number of political liberals who are Christians and are very on board with the resurrection.
The first two ways to “deny the resurrection” are very similar. They are “do you have a disproportionate focus on this world?” and “do you sin?”. I don’t like either of these questions. I’m sure we all would answer both of them “yes”. Who doesn’t think that they should be more focused on heavenly things and who doesn’t sin.
In the author’s attempt to try to get us to focus on holy living, he gets into a theological problem. Denying the resurrection is apostasy. Am I apostatizing every time that I sin? But, what about grace? I don't think someone's salvation is in danger because of sin. God's grace is what saves us and our works and focus on Jesus flow from that. That tension is part of Christianity. Works versus grace. God's love saves us, but we show our love because of our salvation.
I really don’t like his last question: “Are you a committed member of a church?” Again, the author is saying that you can’t be a Christian if you aren’t doing this. And nowhere in the Bible to we read anything close. We meet as Christians for worship and the sacraments. It’s a good thing. We are given many examples in the New Testament. In Hebrews, we are urged not to quit worshiping together. But, again, failing to do so is not a gospel issue.
The author also fails to take into account some practical reasons that people aren’t a member of a church. In small towns, it can be hard to go to church if you work during the time of the service. People get emotionally hurt in churches and sometimes need a break. The same thing can happen with being overworked by a church. In any case, whether a person is actively participating in a local church is not a sin issue and it certainly has nothing to do with salvation.
You can’t deny the resurrection without recanting your faith. The resurrection is the core miracle in Christianity. To deny this is to leave Christianity. That’s why sinning, being too worldly, and not being in church enough don’t deny the resurrection. God gives us too much grace for that.