Monday, March 07, 2005

Resuscitation or Resurrection?

Leonard Allen, in his book, "Things Unseen," takes a look at how Churches of Christ are (and aren't) entering the postmodern era.

He says that many Churches of Christ are more interested in the power of resuscitation than they are in the power of resurrection. The more I think about it, the more disturbing this becomes. It becomes even more disturbing that this observation made does not merely apply to Churches of Christ, but to the entire church in America.

OK, I might have just overstated that just a little, but I wish I had overstated it a lot. The problem is that it is next to impossible to overstate that point a lot.

How much energy do we spend trying to keep something alive that is near death? How long can we live on life support? Isn't there a church out there with a DNR order? How worth it is it to invest everything we have in order to prevent the inevitable?

The great temptation with resuscitation is that it fights death by avoiding it - perhaps with the belief that whatever is dying might actaully never have to taste death. However, no matter the method or the technology, everything dies.

The risk of letting something die is the fear that maybe there is no resurrection.

What if the Church of Christ needs to die in order to advance the kingdom? What if nothing can emerge unless there is death? What if the only thing between where we are now and resurrection power is our endless efforts at resuscitation?

Yes, I ask these questions to be provokative, but at the same time I'm not just firing blanks either. In order for there to be resurrection, something's got to die. What does that really look like in the Churches of Christ?

I'm glad Jesus died. Not because I like to think about the pain he went through for me. Seeing "The Passion" was simply horrific. But what kind of redemption can a resusucitated Jesus give? No! I want a resurrected Jesus. I need a resurrected Jesus! I simply wish His church was as interested in resurrection as He was.


David U said...

Chris, are you old enough to remember those E.F. Hutton commercials on TV? Hutton was a brokerage firm, and the setting for the commmercial would be someplace like a tennis stadium and someone would say "my broker is E.F. Hutton and he says"....and then it would show EVERYBODY in the stadium turning an ear to hear what that person had to say. That is the way I am when I hear the name "Leonard Allen". If Leonard says it, you can pretty much take it to the bank. That is just one person's opinion. On this subject, I think he is DEAD ON RIGHT. My initial response is this, if it needs resuscitation then it must not have been the real deal in the first place. God is not going to let His church die, so I would suggest we give that assignment back to Him!

Thanks for asking us to look at this serious question. Like you, I will choose resurrection over resuscitation every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Don't we do everything twice on Sundays?

Keep challenging us, bro. You are a modern day Prophet!

Keith Brenton said...

Hmm. Frankenstein or Christ. Tough choice. I'll have to think about it.

We do sing "Revive us again" a lot, don't we?

I'm not sure it's that bleak, though. I'm beginning to wonder if there's room in the kingdom for all kinds of churches: big, small, wise, foolish, proud, humble, rich, poor ... you name it.

Because there's room in the kingdom for all kinds of people, right?

We just need to die to self, live to Him.