Sunday, February 26, 2012

Multiplying questions

I am trying to write something sensible about the resurrection, three thousand words or so as an alternative to recent scholarly blockbusters.

It is really hard to do. The questions seem to multiply rather than answer themselves!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Peter, have a look at William Lane Craig's website reasonablefaith.org - the most recent "Defenders" podcast series (his "adult Sunday school" class) covers the Resurrection from c. #13 thru to #20.
Craig did his 2nd doctorate (!) on the Resurrection under Pannenberg.

+Martin

Suem said...

I'd love to see a little of what you have to say, Peter. Last year during Lent and Easter, I thought about the cross. This year I have decided to ponder the resurrection and am finding it is something which challenges the understanding!

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
I seem to remember you having a similar problem at this time last year! Is the purpose reassuring Christian believers of what they have been taught, or defending the resurrection as a reasonable belief to a secular audience?
Just out of interest, our former Aus PM John Howard once quipped after losing a leadership ballot, and before he became PM for 11 years, that for him to return to the leadership would be like "Lazarus with a triple bypass".

Some possible approaches:
- Personal testimony regarding the power of the risen Christ in your and others' lives.
- Tracing the centrality of the resurrection through the Apostles' ministry in Acts.
- Raising doubts about other historical events using similar arguments to those blockbusters.
- Using the concept of "witness" to talk about the eye witness testimony of the apostles, and the witness of the church today to the risen Jesus.
- Raising question: why do so many of us believe in life after death, when we don't believe it happened to Jesus?
- Don't know if this is too painful, but a careful analogy between the destruction and renewal in Christchurch, with the renewal Jesus brings us from our brokenness.
- "The God who raises the dead", looking at other instances of God raising the dead in the Bible and leading to the pinnacle of Jesus himself.

carl jacobs said...

Peter Carrell

You should be comforted by the fact that the Fuzzy Broad Church of Anglicanism allows you to say pretty much anything you like about the Resurrection.

1. You can say that Jesus physically walked out of the tomb on the third day.

2. You can say that it was a spiritual resurrection, but his body wasn't really re-animated.

3. You can say it is a moral lesson - a huge metaphor for the resurrection life we are supposed to be living today.

4. You can say it was all a mass hallucination.

5. You can even say that it didn't happen because there is no god, and there is no after-life.

Why, you can even affirm that each of the above statements is consistent with the Nicene Creed. What you can't do is assert that any particular position on the Resurrection is heretical to the point of establishing a different religion. Nor can you cross jurisdictional boundaries as a result.

Priorities have to be kept straight after all.

carl

Bryan Owen said...

It may be more than you're looking for, but N. T. Wright's paper recently delivered to the Conference of Italian Bishops entitled "Christ is Risen from the Dead, the First Fruits of Those who have Died" might be helpful.

Father Ron Smith said...

I must say that I find Carl Jacobs' remarks about the Anglican view of Christ's Resurrection offensive.

If only he could get off his high horse of 'super-orthodoxy' (self-accredited) for just a moment, he might realise that for an Anglican - unlike sola-Scriptura Christians - we have been given the freedom to use our intellect when we read our Bibles, and do not try to reconcile every single incident as recorded by different witnesses - in order to make an easily-understandable, literally homogenised, definition of doctrine.

Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit, and through our unity with Jesus Christ in our Baptism, and in the sharing of Christ's wisdom in the shared Eucharist, we find grace available to wrestle with the detail, without trying to set it in stone.

The Resurrection - after prayer, contemplation, catholic teaching, and Eucharistic fellowship - either becomes a lived experience, or it remains a series of conflicting stories, to be further sifted until it is found fruitful for further exploration.

The Resurrection cannot be dogmatically or scientifically proven - but nor can it be dismissed as a convenient theory of zealous apologists. It needs to be received, accepted and believed.

And I'm afraid Carl's galling remarks would not be helpful to any seeker on this site.

Anonymous said...

"The Resurrection cannot be dogmatically or scientifically proven - but nor can it be dismissed as a convenient theory of zealous apologists. It needs to be received, accepted and believed."

But it isn't received, accepted or believed by Richard Holloway, that ex-Christian and ex-bishop who started out as an Anglo-Catholic, then adopted proud liberalism before losing his faith - just as happened to Professor "Sir" Diarmid McCulloch, another ex-Anglo-Catholic now ex-Christian. One would have to be a fool to follow these men in the shipwreck of faith.

+Martin

carl jacobs said...

I am somewhat confused, Father Ron Smith.

All I did was accurately recount YOUR position. To the last jot and tittle. I said nothing that you haven't previously stated on this (and many other) weblogs. Repeatedly. Relentlessly. There is nothing in my post to which you could actually object without first denying what you have already written. And now you call that exact position offensive.

It is a mystery. Or perhaps not.

carl

Father Ron Smith said...

Martin; my name is not Bishop Holloway - nor is it Professor McCulloch. However, I do respect their ongoing search for objective Truth - without necessarily being in thrall to their perspective. Openness is all!

As for Carl Jacobs, I am often confused as to what he is actually trying to say - discerning his remarks as quite often double-entendre. His understanding of catholic theology is different from my own, which is based on Baptismal and Eucharistic experience of the Crucified, Risen, Ascended Christ.

Father Ron Smith said...

Another post down the drain??
I will try again.
________________________________

Martin. My name is neither Richard Holloway nor Diarmid McCulloch, so I am not responsible for their view of the Church. However, I do admire their understanding of the need for social justice.

As for Carl Jacobs. If he is really confused, I would diagnose that as a condition which often applies to his postings here. He cannot equate me with all 'Anglo-Catholics' - whom he seems to despise. I am simply one of them - with a mind of my own, given to me by my maker to 'nut out' the gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ, with the help of my Baptism, theological studies, and experience as a priest of Christ's omni-presence in the Eucharist on a regular basis.I believe in the Triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - Who unites the Church at the Altar - not in a
universal papal magisterium.

carl jacobs said...

Peter Carrell

FRS wrote: He cannot equate me with all 'Anglo-Catholics' - whom he seems to despise.

I am rather surprised you let this remark stand since it is:

1. Patently false.
2. Presented without substantiation.
3. A personal attack unrelated to the details of the argument.

It is the angry reaction of an angry man. I suppose anger is a common reaction when one has nothing else of substance to say. He can't actually deny anything I said. Even so, I don't appreciate being slandered in such a manner simply because he is angry.

carl

Anonymous said...

If Ron Smith was to able to follow through logically, he would have grasped my point about the ex-Christians Holloway and McCulloch (about whom he seems a little defensive). I'll spell it out for him: a few years ago the Anglo-Catholics H. and McC. held pretty much *identical* views on the Bible and theology as Ron Smith (not that either is a Bible scholar or a theologian - McC. is a historian while H. is really a religious journalist who abstracts the work of others) but they didn't become complacent or lazy - they *continued* to consistently apply that *same view of the Bible as Ron Smith* has when it comes to sex to the whole area of dogmatic theology and found that their previous religious beliefs started to deconstruct - as many of us knew would happen.
I can understand that Ron doesn't want to be as consistent or brave as his erstwhile (and present?) heroes, but maybe he can still question his unconscious religious assumptions? To wit:
If Ron doesn't understand that his dogmatic beliefs about 'encountering Christ in the Eucharist' is actually based on a fundamentalist understanding of (some) Scripture (which he has dismissed in the area of sex), then he doesn't do logic.

(I'll spare him the trouble of replying: "Logic? Who needs logic?")

+Martin

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to a recent piece about Holloway - it turns out, as he says, that he lost his faith just a few years after ordination but carried on pretending to believe until he retired. What a hypocrite.

http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/books/interview_richard_holloway_writer_broadcaster_and_former_bishop_of_edinburgh_in_the_scottish_episcopal_church_1_2140139

-Martin

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks again for helpful comments.

Carl: I apologise: you are right, I should not have let such a sweeping judgement through.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, I presume you are speaking of my 'sweeping judgements', and not your friend, Carl's ?

Peter Carrell said...

Yes, Ron.
If you have a complaint about the moderation process (for I understand that robust things are said about you) I will consider that ... meantime, perhaps all commenters could remember that this is intended to be a site where all are welcome to comment, whether Christian or not, but all are asked to comment in a Christian manner, that is, in truth and with grace, playing the ball and not the man, etc.

Peter Carrell said...

Yes, Ron.
If you have a complaint about the moderation process (for I understand that robust things are said about you) I will consider that ... meantime, perhaps all commenters could remember that this is intended to be a site where all are welcome to comment, whether Christian or not, but all are asked to comment in a Christian manner, that is, in truth and with grace, playing the ball and not the man, etc.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Peter. I value your moderation. You do provide a very useful sounding board here for the many different view-points in the ongoing Communion relationships.
Agape.