Christ’s Resurrection and Ours (1 Corinthians 15) -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 06:3 (Fall 2002)
Article: Christ’s Resurrection and Ours (1 Corinthians 15)
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Christ’s Resurrection and Ours (1 Corinthians 15)

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is an associate professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Wellum received his Ph.D. degree in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and has also taught theology at the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in Canada. He has contributed to several publications and a collection of essays on theology and worldview issues.

To any astute observer of contemporary culture, it is hard not to notice the current interest in and preoccupation with “spirituality.” Whether one attends the latest in movies, watches the current TV talk shows, or peruses the magazine racks or the New Age sections at local bookstores, one cannot miss the fact that “spirituality” is alive and well today. As Christians what are we to think about this present-day trend? D. A. Carson answers this question succinctly and correctly when he writes: “The current interest in ‘spirituality’ is both salutary and frightening.”1

On the one hand, it is salutary. Christians should rejoice in the fact that people are beginning to realize that rampant materialism, individualism, and philosophical naturalism are not sufficient to explain our humanity and satisfy our deepest longings. There must be more to life then merely the pursuit of personal peace and affluence. As Christians, we know that God has made us in his image and for his own glory and that without the pursuit of knowing him and enjoying him forever, we are truly a lost and empty people.

On the other hand, it is also frightening for the simple reason that not all “spirituality” is necessarily Christian spirituality. As Carson reminds us: “‘spirituality’ has become such an ill-defined, amorphous entity that it covers all kinds of phenomena that an earlier generation of Christians, more given to robust thought than is the present generation, would have dismissed as error, or even as ‘paganism’ or ‘heathenism.’”2 It is at this point that Christians need to be particularly vigilant. If we are not careful we may, even with the best of intentions, adopt contemporary views of “spirituality” as Christian, without realizing that these very same views are rooted in an alien worldview structure, and as such, in the end, will lead to a denial of the gospel.3 This temptation is especially strong today. Living in what has been dubbed a postmodern and pluralistic culture, our present danger is to adopt notions of “spirituality” that do...

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