Resurrected As Messiah: The Risen Christ As Prophet, Priest, And King -- By: Gavin Ortlund

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 54:4 (Dec 2011)
Article: Resurrected As Messiah: The Risen Christ As Prophet, Priest, And King
Author: Gavin Ortlund

Resurrected As Messiah: The Risen Christ As Prophet, Priest, And King

Gavin Ortlund*

* Gavin Ortlund resides at 48 N. Hermosa Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91024.

I. Introduction

On pages 232-34 of his influential book The Cross of Christ, evangelical pastor and author John Stott, referencing a recent emphasis on the resurrection by Michael Green, poses the question: “[D]oes not this book’s whole emphasis lie too heavily on the cross, and insufficiently on the resurrection?”1 Stott acknowledges that the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ belong together, and that the resurrection is essential to the gospel message. Yet, for Stott, the cross and the empty tomb do not seem to stand together as saving deeds,2 and while the resurrection is included in the gospel message, “the gospel emphasizes the cross, since it was there that the victory was accomplished.”3 Ultimately, the resurrection seems to be reduced to the role of attesting to the significance of Christ’s death: “the resurrection was essential to confirm the efficacy of his death, as the incarnation had been to prepare for its possibility.”4 For Stott, the resurrection confirms, rather than contributes to, Christ’s redeeming work; it is proof of salvation, not part of salvation.

Earlier Reformed thought placed greater weight on the soteriological significance of the resurrection. Both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism, for example, citing Rom 4:25,5 drew a connection between Christ’s resurrection and believers’ justification.6 Jonathan Edwards made the same connection: “the justification believers have at their conversion

is as partaking of the justification that Christ had in his resurrection.”7 John Calvin also emphasized that the cross and resurrection stood together as saving deeds, carefully delineating their distinct soteriological contributions.8 Nevertheless, Stott is not alone among more recent Reformed and evangelical theologians in downplaying the soteriological significance of the resurrection.9 While often referenced for its apologetic valu...

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