Years ago, when I first started reading the Molt, I started with his infamous The Crucified God. The following quote stood out:
“If it is true that the inner criterion of whether or not Christian theology is Christian lies in the crucified Christ, we come back to Luther’s lapidary statement: Crux probat omnia. In Christianity the cross is the test of everything which deserves to be called Christian. One may add that the cross alone, and nothing else, is its test, since the cross refutes everything, and excludes the syncretistic This is a hard saying. To many it sounds unattractive and unmodern, and to others rigid and orthodox. I will try to disappoint both.” (p.7)
At the time I had finished John Stott’s The Cross of Christ and was loving the emphasis on the cross. Truth be told, when I came into contact with the Reformers and the Puritans, I was overwhelmed with the glory of the cross. I slowly came to have a better understanding as to why Paul wrote, “far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). The cross is central to Christianity. And I agree with David Bebbington that it’s one of the four hallmarks of Evangelicalism.
However… and yes, I need to provide a “however” here. I’m concerned that we have, at times, been guilty of ignoring the other side of the coin: Jesus not only died upon the cross but was raised from the dead! The cross of Christ must include the resurrection of Jesus. And yes, I have in mind a physical event found in history at which point Jesus the Messiah, fully God and fully man, was miraculously raised from the dead. I realize that the Molt spends time talking about the resurrection in chapter 5, so I don’t want to suggest that the Molt views Christianity as being entirely comprised of the cross with little or no attention to the resurrection. That would be a misrepresentation.
But I seem to read and hear a lot of statements in certain streams of Evangelicalism where there is much emphasis on Jesus’ death and very little emphasis on the resurrection. Of course, this is challenged around this time of the year because Easter is right around the corner. For my part, I think crucicentric thinking is an oversimplification of the Christian faith that must be connected to the resurrection of the Son of God! So while I have found much to think on from the Molt’s The Crucified God, I want to attach N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God to my interaction with and study of the Molt. Wright helpfully, in The Resurrection of the Son of God, ensures that the Christian faith is intricately connected to the powerful raising of Christ from death, victoriously defeating Satan, sin, sickness, and death.
Don’t get me wrong. I like how the Molt values and sees the cross as shaping the Christian faith. I love it. Yet I can’t stop talking at the cross. I need to keep talking about the resurrection too!
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Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.