The Nature Of Bodily Resurrection: A Debatable Issue -- By: Scot McKnight

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 33:3 (Sep 1990)
Article: The Nature Of Bodily Resurrection: A Debatable Issue
Author: Scot McKnight

The Nature Of Bodily Resurrection:
A Debatable Issue

Scot McKnight*

In an admirable, restrained, irenic tone, Murray J. Harris has finally essayed to respond to Norman L. Geisler’s criticisms of his positions and legitimate status in the Evangelical Free Church of America (=EFCA). (Harris is a tenured professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.) Geisler has surely called into question the theological examination given by Trinity to prospective faculty members. Harris has, as he clearly states, refused to respond to Geisler, not because he was afraid or because he thought Geisler an unworthy opponent or because he sensed that the issues being raised were unimportant. Rather, Harris declined to refute the criticisms because he recognized that time and time again Geisler failed to present his views accurately in context and so created many misunderstandings, the correction of which would have taken Harris more time and space than was prudent. But to avoid further slander of the EFCA Harris has finally taken pen to hand. His book is good and readable and should finally show all concerned that Harris believes, and always has believed, “in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and also in the bodily resurrection of believers” (p. XXV).1 Harris is quick to point out, however, as does W. C. Kaiser, Jr., in the foreword, that his exegetical positions are not the official views of the EFCA or of others at Trinity.

In responding to Geisler, Harris has written what is in effect two books: (1) The first 300 pages comprises a semi-popular presentation of the background and doctrine of the resurrection; (2) the final 130 pages are a more direct response to Geisler. But should any reader look for fisticuffs, he or she will be disappointed. Only in chap. 18 (“The Antecedent of the Controversy: The Bishop of Durham Affair”), chap. 19 (“The History of the Controversy” [i.e. with Geisler]), and chap. 22 (“Reflections on the Controversy”) does Harris respond directly to Geisler. In fact chaps. 18–19 could have been written in a much more polemical manner than they presently appear. In effect, then, only chap. 22 takes on Geisler’s statements. Here Harris tackles Geisler’s (1) misrepresentations (by misquotation, by distortion, by omission, by ignoring Harris’ clear distinction

* Scot McKnight is assistant professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that of believers in certain respects), (2) methods of argumentation, (3) competence in Greek, and (4) apparent indifference to the “consensus of the fait...

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