Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Preach the resurrection.

I dreamed of preaching in an Unitarian church. Of defusing the anger: I had pissed off the females in the leadership council. By existing. (Yes, I have weird dreams). And I started by saying that the gospel is not about being good: there were people who were good in the congregation. Nor was it about being talented or beautiful, or social progress, or comfort, or equality.

The gospel is about the resurrection of Christ. Christ died: but God did not remain Dead. He made death, and he knows how to unmake it.

He rose. Without the resurrection, as Paul said, Christians are pitiable. With it, we are glorious.

And all modern theology that talks about liberation forgets that Christ died not for the revolution but to save us. It is only faith in Christ that can keep us true in the storm.

Mark 16:1-8 (9-20)

1When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

9Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

12After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

14Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 16The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

19So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

We do not have a universal faith. Though it would be wonderful if no one perished and all were saved, not all will be so. For Christ provides a division. Those who have trust in Christ are saved, not by anything they have done, but by God alone. It is his death in our place that deals with our sin, and his resurrection that is our hope.

We do not have a faith that tolerates other ways to salvation. It is not enough to be a good pagan, Muslim, Hindu or Jew. There are many such: but we have all have done evil in the sight of God. If we could, by sacrifice and spiritual discipline, attain salvation, there would be no need for Christ do die.

If death was not the enemy, there would be no need for Christ to rise again.

And we do not have a faith which is but words. It comes with the power of the holy spirit. This is why I have hope in the church. As men we ruin it. It is the holy spirit that will save it.

If you deny the resurrection you deny Christ.

If you deny the Lordship of Christ you have not the spirit of God within you.

And if you claim to be a church of God, when denying God, you are deluding yourself. The Unitarians are a warning: many mainstream christian congregations are being subverted by the wormtongues who have entered, demanding that we take care with their offense.

Our Lord instead upbraids us for our lack of faith. For his agenda is not that of this world. It is not to be afraid of giving offense, but to love. It is not to be scared of dogma, but to embrace him, who is dogma — the law, the divine word — incarnate.

Choose Christ, and then to all witness. The fools and faithless God will divine, and souls saved will be.

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