SBJT Forum -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 18:4 (Winter 2014)
Article: SBJT Forum
Author: Anonymous

SBJT Forum

SBJT: When one thinks of crucial and important chapters on the resurrection in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 15 immediately comes to mind. Briefly describe the significant contribution this chapter makes to our thinking about the theme of the resurrection.

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles and the co-author of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway, 2012) and God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2015).

Stephen J. Wellum: It is certainly the case that 1 Corinthians 15 is of singular importance in our understanding of the resurrection. Ironically, this wonderful chapter was written by the apostle Paul in response to some of the sad theological errors present in the Corinthian church. In responding to these errors, Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, writes this chapter and details for us some very important truths regarding the resurrection. It is crucial to remember that the Corinthians did not deny the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection as central in securing for believers salvation from sin and hope for the future. Instead, what they denied was their future resurrection. Unfortunately they did not “see” the organic connection between Christ’s resurrection and ours and thus began to deny the reality of a future bodily resurrection for believers as part of our redemption in Christ. In other words, they did not grasp the biblical relationship between what Christ did in his death and resurrection and its implications for us.

Was this an insignificant error, something which Christians can differ on yet still be Christians? Paul did not think so. He responds to their false thinking in the strongest of terms. In fact, he argues that a denial of a future bodily resurrection for believers, in reality, is a denial of the gospel! Why?

Because what is true of Christ as our covenant head and Redeemer must also be true of those who are in faith union with him. Denying our bodily resurrection is tantamount to denying Christ’s resurrection, but since Christ is raised from the dead, we, as his people, must also be raised otherwise Christ’s work has failed and our salvation is incomplete.

The significant contributions this chapter makes to our understanding of the resurrection are manifold. First and foremost, the chapter is a great reminder of the centrality and utter significance of Chris...

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