Cruciformity and Resurrecti-formity? Or… | Scot McKnight


Michael Gorman types the discussion nicely:

In the prior chapter we took seriously Paul’s claim in 1 Corinthians two:two that he had decided to know practically nothing except the crucified Messiah, and we saw that for Paul (and for these who contemplate Paul’s letters Christian Scripture) the cross is each Christophany and theophany, each ecclesiophany and anthrophany. That is, the cross reveals the identity of Christ, of God, of the church, and of correct humanity. But what about the resurrection? Did Paul not also tension the resurrection of Christ in, for instance, 1 Corinthians 15? And did he not speak of not only dying but also increasing with Christ in Romans six? So is life in Christ cross-shaped or resurrection-shaped? That is the query prior to us concerning Paul’s understanding of participation in Christ. (my emphasis)

This from his new book  Participating in Christ: Explorations in Paul’s Theology and Spirituality (#ad).

He poses the similar discussion then as inquiries:

Is it sufficient to concentrate on the “cruciform” character of participation in Christ? Or, in other words, what occurred to the resurrection and its implications for Christian practice? Is participating in Christ not also resurrection-shaped—that is, “resurrectiform” or “anastiform” [sic, anastasiform?] (a term primarily based on the Greek word for resurrection, anastasis) ?

Gorman, a master NT exegete particularly in Pauline texts, outlines his answer right here:

… cruciform participation in Christ is also, paradoxically, participation in Christ’s resurrection, as currently stated. On the other hand, I will insist that we have to sustain Paul’s emphasis on the cross and as a result grant the word “cruciform” a particular priority. Thus, rather than employing a term like “resurrectiform” in conjunction with “cruciform,” I will argue that we have to have a unique term that greater captures the crucifixion-resurrection dynamic, or dialectic, of participation in Christ according to Paul. As we will see, this contention is not merely a minor episode of “wrangling more than words” (two Tim. two:14), but a important exegetical and theological claim about the substance of Paul’s theology and spirituality—and their modern significance.

Gorman’s thesis then is that the resurrection life of the Christian is cruciformity for the reason that cruciformity is suffused with resurrection. The cross is the pattern of life although the resurrection is the energy of that life. The church, then, is faithful to the resurrection when it is cruciform.


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