New book by Clifford and Johnson

Resurrection

I just got home this evening to find a copy of “The Cross is Not Enough – Living as a Witness to the Resurrection” waiting on my doorstep. This was a nice surprise, I’ve been looking forward to this book. Having had the opportunity to discuss it with Ross and Philip on a couple of occasions over the past year, I know we’re already on a similar wavelength on the (sometimes forgotten) centrality of the resurrection for Christianity and the implications this has for everyday worship, witness and discipleship in this increasingly multireligious and multicultural society of ours. The cross is not enough, the good news is: he lives! Guess what I’ll be reading over the holidays?

For further reading:

The gospel begins with the resurrection

Living the resurrection

Resurrection and the Missional Impulse

Negative Theology from a Christ Centred Perspective

What is an Anabaptist Christian?

8 Comments

  1. Rob, I haven’t completed yet as I’ve been reading a number of books simultaneously.
    But from what I have read so far I would say this: I in complete agreement with the central premise of the book, that the cross is not enough, and that we fail to preach the ‘good news’ authentically if the resurrection is not at the centre of it.
    I also agree with the authors the theological implications ripple far beyond the field of apologetics (and it’s ironic that it takes pair of apologists to point this out). If anyone out their fails to see how the resurrection connects with practical theology and Christian living, if they think it is little more than an appendix to the gospel, I would suggest you get your hands on this book quick smart.
    That being said, I do find some aspects of the book curious. Firstly, the book seems somewhat back to front in placing practical theology before biblical theology. Personally I would have begun with a detailed exploration of the gospel in Acts, the Pauline letters and the Gospels but the authors leave this for the second half of the book for reasons I haven’t quite grasped yet. I also felt they moved from resurrection narrative to resurrection theology too quickly. I like how N T Wright speaks of the resurrection in terms of “climax”, with all the implications that flow from this, and I’m surprised they didn’t explore this more explicitly at the beginning of the book as I know they’re favourably disposed to this line of thought and I would have thought it would have bolstered their arguement for a more holistic gospel. I also would have dug deeper into the political (and military) implications of the resurrection since this is a pet subject of mine. Maybe that’s just my ideosyncracy, but again I think it would bolster the case for holism. Finally, having mentioned Babbinton’s definition of Evangelicalism early on, I’m wondering if they’ll explore the post-Evangelical implications of shifting from a cross-centred Christianity to a resurrection-centred Christianity. I haven’t completed the book yet, so maybe I’ll have more to say on this when I have, and maybe if some of my questions still aren’t resolved they could form the basis of some interview questions!
    And I think this is the basic intent of the book. To raise questions, to start conversations, to get us thinking about the resurrection and its implications. I can only hope that more would join in this conversation so I’d love you all to get stuck into reading it too!

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  2. I read another review and thought, well, this sounds good so I bought it and am now half-way through it. I agree with a lot of what you say (being half way through it). There is also a curious feel to the book in that I sometimes think we’re coming to the end of a chapter only to have it keep going. That might not make much sense! I also think that the basic premise of the book is right – our focus has for too long been on the Cross, the Suffering, and the Sacrifice – leaving the Victory of the Resurrection only for Easter Sunday. I am enjoying it though. I think it’s quite an important book – and now I also wish I hadn’t got it only on Kindle – it’s one of those books you want to hand around and get others to read!
    Rob!

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  3. It’s also worth looking at this through the seven dimensions of religion: http://mattstone.blogs.com/christian/2011/12/the-seven-dimensions-of-religion.html. What does a shift from cross-centered Christianity to resurrection-centered Christianity suggest for story, ritual, experience, leadership, ethics, doctrine and the material (including art and architecture)? This is a question I ask myself. Though in in my case I’ve tended to phrase this in terms of a shift from cross-centered Christianity to Christ-centered Christianity given my narrative focus and Anabaptist leanings and the effect that has on my language.

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  4. Perhaps your readers who have taken an interest in The Cross Is Not Enough might enjoy carrying on a conversation with the authors. There is a book-blog where the co-authors invite readers to join in a friendly circle to converse about the effects of Christ’s resurrection and the topics taken up in the book. The URL to the newblog is:
    http://thecrossisnotenough.wordpress.com/

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