Daniel Wallace’s “The Resurrection of Christ: Theological Implications”: A Journal Review

 By

Jeffrey S. Krause

Liberty University School of Religion

Theo. 313-B02

22 January 2011

 

Scriptural references are taken from:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

Additional Scriptural references are taken from:

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org All rights reserved.

Opening:

     In his article, “The Resurrection of Christ: Theological Implications,” Dr. Daniel B. Wallace does an excellent job in stripping away the excess dross that often bogs down discussions on the resurrection of Christ. Wallace was clear, concise and to the point in this article that is little more then four pages long. In short, Wallace did an outstanding job in articulating the necessity of the resurrection and he imparted to the Christian the need to focus on this unique, God glorifying event that changed the course of redemptive history; as well as the whole of history.

Strengths:

First and foremost, what Dr. Wallace has demonstrated in this short yet concise essay is nothing less then the full orbed demonstration of the deity and person of Christ via His resurrection. Wallace does this in a number of different ways. But, regardless of his different lines of thought, one constant is that he stays true to the written word of God and does not stray into philosophical speculation. Right from the start, Wallace speaks of the Resurrection as the pinnacle of the redemptive process when he states;

A number of Christians feel that their gospel presentations should include simply the fact of Christ’s death, but not his resurrection …If we neglect this part of the gospel, we offer a powerless gospel–one that cannot change lives.[1]

This statement strikes at the heart of much of modern evangelism which is often fond of appealing to the emotional aspect of Christ’s redemptive work when they state; “Did you know that Christ died for you?” In contrast to this approach, Wallace presents the reader with the objective reality of the resurrection as the vindication of the entire person of Christ. This comprehensive look at the resurrection is presented to the reader in nine parts, which read;

  1. 1.   The Ultimate Apologetic: Validation of the Miracles of the Bible
  2. Proof that God is the God of the Living and is a Living God
  3. Fulfillment of Jesus’ Predictions and of Scripture
  4. An Essential Part of the Gospel
  5. Implicit Demonstration of Christ’s Deity
  6. Guarantee of Believers’ Resurrection
  7. Balanced Perspective on the Spiritual Status of the Human
  8. The Indwelling of the Spirit and Resurrection Power
  9. Forgiveness of Sins

Wallace showed excellent balance and insight in these areas and was able to draw out almost entirely, all of the main points that the resurrection speaks too. It is helpful to notice in the list above, that the modern evangelistic proclamation (number 9) is only one fact among a broader spectrum of truths that are related to the Gospel. It is also valid to proclaim that the whole of apologetics and salvation is dependent on this one truth (the resurrection) that the apostle Paul describes so clearly when he states;

For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sistersat one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.[2]

Wallace’s summery statement in this short, yet concise work strikes to the point in clear fashion when he states;

To sum up: life, relationship, forgiveness, sanctification, the future, sanctity of the body. A whole philosophy, an entire world view, is wrapped up in the resurrection of Christ. Act as if your life depends on the resurrection of Christ–because it does!

This was a wonderful and clear ending to an essay that was a delight to read.

Weaknesses:

There were no weaknesses that were found within this essay because it is assumed that Wallace was attempting to give a simple overview on the topic of the resurrection. Granted, greater detail and exegesis would have been nice, but it was not necessary. Moreover, the comprehensiveness of this short study via its Scriptural passages outweighs any concepts that the author may have on an essay on this subject. In short, the author chooses to focus on what is included in Wallace’s essay and not what missing in regards to exegesis.

Personal Conclusion:

The apostle Paul strikes to the heart of the teaching of the resurrection when he states; “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”[3] Meaning, the whole of the redemptive message or rather, the “good news” of the Gospel is that Christ did in fact rise from the dead in resurrection power. Contrary to this truth, the Christian and the still yet unredeemed but future believer would be without hope or joy in this world (if the resurrection were in fact, false); an untenable position. Rather, the Christian has the hope of the Gospel as it is presented in the pages of Scriptural revelation and as it had been previously worked out in historical fashion. However, apologetically speaking, hope does not make something true. Rather, truth is based on factual occurrences, existence or declaration and on all of these points the testimony of revelation passes all tests.  To any and all who doubt the validity of the Resurrection of Christ, let them disprove this event by the same standards and methodology that they demand from the Christian. And when they attempt to do so, they will be in the end like Pilate, who in John 18:38, while staring “the Truth” in the face, stated, “What is truth?”[4]

Moving on and as mentioned in the strengths section, the resurrection of Christ and its objectivity should impact the manner in which pastors preach and the Body of Christ evangelizes. Following the apostolic example, the message of the church to a lost world is not and should not simple be “Christ died for you.” Rather, the church via the example of Scripture must proclaim “Repent and believe” – which is not a suggestion or a “self-help” method, but rather, a command. The former of these methodologies is un-scriptural in nature with no foundation in Biblical testimony. The latter is replete in Biblical testimony. For example, in Acts 2, Peter uses the pattern of resurrection (2:32), the Lordship of Christ (v. 36), and repent and believe (v. 38) to demand obedience to Yahweh. Neither of the latter two truths would be cogent without the first; that Jesus Christ was in fact raised from the dead. This pattern is likewise followed in Peter’s second sermon where he announces the resurrection of Christ (Acts 3:15), Christ’s Lordship (v. 16) and repentance and belief (v. 19); again with the same purpose.

Finally, it is interesting to note how the opponents of the Christian faith understand the necessity and implications of the resurrection more then some Christians do. This concept is seen in an evaluation of many of the world religions, or, with even a cursory look at “Christian-like” perversions of the one true faith. Islam claims that Allah’s prophet would never be allowed to suffer on the cross. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the resurrection was only spiritual in nature and hence, deny the bodily resurrection of the Lord. And the atheist-materialist often denies that Jesus even existed and hence, could not have been resurrected to eternal life.[5] Also, the thought of a corps resurrecting from the dead is beyond the atheistic-materialistic concept of what is possible due to; (1) their evidentiary and materialistic understanding of the universe and (2) the denial of the supernatural. One common thread in all of these differing worldviews (an all worldview outside the Christian faith) is the satanic foundation that they are built upon. Hence, with the denial of the resurrection in these false religions, it is safe to assume that the “father of lies”[6] himself understand the necessity and validity of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In closing, the Christian can by cogent faith and clear reasoning; (1) believe in the resurrection of Christ, (2) have knowledge that their sins have been remitted, (3) have the confidence of a life lived for the glory of God with an advocate that can sympathize with human needfulness and (4), declare to the world as Dr. Wallace so rightly stated; “He is risen! He is risen! That is the best news we can possibly tell a dying world!”[7]

Bibliography:

Nelson, Thomas, ed. English Standard Version . Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishing, 2001.

The NET Bible: New English Translation. Biblical Studies Press, 2006.

Wallace, Daniel B. “The Resurrection of Christ: Theological Implications.” Bible.org. http://bible.org/article/resurrection-christ-theological-implications  (accessed Feb. 22, 2011).


[1] Daniel B. Wallace. “The Resurrection of Christ: Theological Implications.” Bible.org. http://bible.org/article/resurrection-christ-theological-implications (accessed Feb. 22, 2011): pg. 1

[2] 1 Cor. 15:3-8, NET

[3] 1 Cor. 15:17, ESV

[4] John 18:38, ESV

[5] Yes, the author has classified atheistic-materialism as a world religion. Point-in-fact, it may be the largest henotheistic religion in the world, with “nature” acting as the ultimate god and mankind acting as lesser deities.

[6] John 8:44, NET

[7]Ibid., Wallace, pg. 5

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