Saturday, March 30, 2024

Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Seeing the Resurrection in a New Light

By Rudy Barnes, Jr., March 30, 2024   

         The crucifixion was the worst sin of humankind; and God nullified it with the resurrection.  The resurrection was God’s universal message that Jesus was God’s Word (the Logos) and the source of eternal life, and that God would never let it die.  It was a Word of eternal spiritual life that has remained the source of God’s truth for people of all religions since that first Easter.

The resurrection is the focal point of the Christian religion.  It’s about faith and belief in a miracle that’s beyond reason, but not unreasonable.  Jews and Muslims accept Jesus as a prophet, but not as the risen Christ.  While Muslims don’t believe in the resurrection story, they believe that Jesus will return on the last day to usher in God’s kingdom.    

Will Jesus return in a parousia as predicted by Paul and in the book of Revelation, or in the apocalyptic accounts in the gospels?   We don’t know, and it’s been over 2,000 years since the resurrection.  All mortal lives since then have ended with conventional deaths.  What happens when we die remains a mystery, but it’s a mystery we can live with until our death.

The church and Islam have both distorted God’s word by attempting to limit salvation to their religions.  Jesus was a Jew who never tried to start a new religion or claimed to be divine.  As a Jew any claim of divinity would have been blasphemous.  Jesus taught that salvation came in this life, not the next; and became eternal and beyond the reach of Satan in God’s realm.

The exclusivist doctrines of Christianity and Islam should be subordinated to the moral imperative of the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbors of other races and religions as we love ourselves.  It was a universal message that God’s Word (the Logos) is a common word of faith, as illustrated in the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).


In a world of increasing religious pluralism, the exclusivist doctrines of Judaism, Christianity and Islam should be subordinated to the universal moral imperative of the greatest commandment.  Only then can the light of God’s love dispel the darkness of exclusivist religious beliefs and reconcile all unbelievers into the family of God.

Today we can see the resurrection in a new light of religious reconciliation.  If Christians and Muslims believe God is love (I John 4:16-21) and in God’s validation of the teachings of Jesus as Logos (John 1:1-14), then Christians and Muslims can share a common word of faith in Jesus as Logos and the way, the truth and the life and the only way to salvation (John 14:6).  

         Easter is a time for new beginnings and spiritual rebirth.  The Hymn of Promise (UMH at page 707) tells us: In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be; in our death a resurrection, at the last a victory, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.   Easter promises a new hope for the reconciliation of all people of faith. 


On Paul’s understanding of resurrection, see I Corinthians, chapter 15; and on his understanding of atonement as it applied to the crucifixion and resurrection, see Romans 3:21-26.  Keep in mind that these are Paul’s words, not those of Jesus.  Paul promoted exclusivist doctrines of Christianity, while Jesus was a universalist.   

Related Commentary on Christian universalism and the Logos:

(1/28/14) Religion and Reason

(1/4/15): Religion and New Beginnings: Salvation and Reconciliation in the Family of God

(2/8/15): Promoting Religion Through Evangelism: Bringing Light or Darkness?

(4/5/15): Seeing the Resurrection in a New Light

(4/19/15): Jesus: A Prophet, God’s Only Son, or the Logos

(1/2/16): God in Three Concepts

(1/28/17): Saving America from the Church

(4/22/17): The Relevance of Jesus and the Irrelevance of the Church in Today’s World

(6/17/17): Religious Exclusivity: Does It Matter?

(7/22/17): Hell No!

(8/5/17): Does Religion Seek to Reconcile and Redeem or to Divide and Conquer?

(8/12/17): The Universalist Teachings of Jesus as a Remedy for Religious Exclusivism

(9/29/18): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Resurrection of Christian Universalism

(10/6/18): Musings on Moral Universalism in Religion and Politics

(10/13/18): Musings on a Common Word of Faith and Politics for Christians and Muslims

(12/1/18): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Mystical Logos

(12/15/18): Musings on the Great Commission and Religious and Political Tribalism

(12/22/18): Musings on Faith and Works: The Unity of All Believers and The Last Judgment

(3/2/19): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on a Post-Christian America

(3/16/19): Musings on the Evolution of Christian Exclusivism to Universalism

(4/20/19): Musings on the Resurrection of Altruistic Morality in Dying Democracies

(5/11/19): Musings on the Relevance of Jefferson’s Jesus in the 21st Century

(6/22/19): The Universal Family of God: Where Inclusivity Trumps Exclusivity

(6/29/19): Musings on a Politics of Reconciliation: An Impossible Dream?

(7/20/19): Musings on Diversity in Democracy: Who Are Our Neighbors?

(11/23/19): Musings on Jesus and Christ as Conflicting Concepts in Christianity

(4/4/20): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Resurrection of America’s Values

(12/23/20): Musings on the coming of a light that can dispel the darkness of the world.

(1/16/21): Truth and Reconciliation in Politics and Religion in a Maze of Conflicting Realities

(5/22/21): Musings on Morality and Politics and the Need for a Civil Religion in America

(11/6/21): Musings on the Need for Political and Religious Reconciliation in America

(2/19/22): Musings on Reconciliation to Resolve the Dilemma of Diversity in Democracy

(6/4/22): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Relevance of Jesus Today

(12/10/22): Musings on the Evolution of  Christianity into the American Civil Religion

(1/14/23): Musings on Reconciling the Abrahamic Religions with a Common Word of Faith

(2/4/23): Musings on the Need for Universal Religious Standards of Morality

(2/11/23): Musings on Resurrecting a Universal Jesus to Restore America’s Moral Compass

(2/18/23): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Jesus as the Logos in John’s Gospel

(2/25/23): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on the Irony of the Logos in John’s Gospel

(5/20/23): Musings on God’s Simple, Universal and Timeless Truth

(5/27/23): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on God’s Grace and Reconciling Love

(8/19/23): Musings of a Maverick Methodist on a Universal and Altruistic Jesus

(8/25/23): Musings on Changing Christian Doctrine to Promote the Common  Good

(12/23/23) Musings on the Advent of Jesus as the Light of the World and the Universal Logos

(1/6/24): Musings on Nationalism and Universalism in Religion, Legitimacy and Politics

(2/3/24): Musings on How Altruistic Values Can Prevent a Dysfunctional Democracy

(3/23/24): Musings on How Following Jesus, Not Worshiping Christ, Can Bring Light Into a Dark World

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