Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stand for the Rule of Faith, Part 12

Today I will finish looking at the regula fide, or Rule of Faith. Also, I will be taking a break until Monday, October 5, as I will be attending "Woodbadge for the 21st Century", a Scout leadership training program.

In the last line of the Apostles' Creed we read, "[I believe in] the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen." In the treatment of Christ's own resurrection I touched upon the matter of the resurrection of our bodies. His resurrection is the promise of our future resurrection. The point of Christ's work is that death doesn't get the last say. He came to save the whole person, not just the immaterial, spiritual part. The body and soul are created together such that neither is a complete person without the other. The Hebrew word nephesh, commonly translated "soul", refers to the totality of one's being. Christ came to save the whole person. A belief in the bodily resurrection is a Christian non-negotiable. Our resurrection and Christ's are so related that to deny one is to deny the other (1 Corinthians 15), and so to deny the reality of our salvation in him. The moment a person stops believing in the bodily resurrection he or she renounces the right to claim the title "Christian". In presenting the gospel to unbelievers it is vitally important to stand for the resurrection of the body, yet how many gospel presentations mention the resurrection today?

Paul certainly included the resurrection and coming Judgment in his message at Athens (Acts 17: 31). The resurrection is a message of hope for believers because we believe in "life everlasting" in a state of bliss with God. But for the unbeliever the resurrection is a message of warning. There is a judgment to face and an eternity of suffering to be endured for all who do not know Christ (Rev 20: 11--15). No wonder Paul said, "Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Cor 5: 11, NASB). Our calling is not merely to inform. Our calling is to stand for the Gospel in its totality and do all in our power to persuade men and women to take seriously the message of hope in Christ and the reality of the coming Judgment of God on the world.

I believe our evangelism is weak today precisely because we do not feel in our hearts the reality of these eternal verities. We do not contemplate the blessing of the resurrection of the saints nor the awful suffering of the wicked who die under God's wrath. The life beyond this one is a mere shadow in our minds. The Gospel has been reduced to a selling technique based on benefits to be had in this life without serious regard for the life to come. And because of that we've lost the sense of urgency in reaching lost people for Christ. It's time for the Evangelical community again to take seriously the resurrection of the body and stand for the salvation of the whole person. Take a stand!


  1. I tell you what, I am a five point tulip calvinist, but when it comes to soul winning, I throw all my reformed theology out the window!

  2. Our theology should empower and inform how we do evangelism, not be a hindrance to it. An excellent book of evangelism from the Reformed perspective is J. I. Packer's Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.

  3. Thank you for a great series of posts. I enjoyed reading them. I am standing in the gap for perspective. Perspective meaning recognizing the 12 points you made in you posts in light of my position in Christ and what I deserve, which is hell. In this the word that comes to mind is grace and with it comes my gratitude and my desire for holiness. Thanks again.