I've been surfing around Google (aka Topeka) for a while now, trying to find a Gospel Diagram that meaningfully includes the resurrection of Jesus.
(By "Gospel Diagram" I mean something like The Bridge, The Romans Road, The Four Spiritual Laws, or James Choung's Big Story)
In most evangelical tellings of the gospel, the resurrection is an afterthought (so is Jesus, by the way, but that's another story). I catch this in myself. I find myself frustrated that I skipped over "the resurrection part" or "the Jesus part." And that's really odd.
If you asked me if Jesus was the core of the gospel story, I'd say something like "yes" or "totally" or "all-encompassingly." And if you asked me if the resurrection was important, necessary, vital, or any like synonym, I'd continue to affirm the affirmative. Why does it get left out then?
I don't know.
I hate saying that. I'm sure I could tease it out (and I will), but right now, I'm thinking about it, meditating on it, rolling it around in my mind and I don't have a good answer.
Maybe instead of starting with the "Why?," I should start with the "So what?" So what if you leave the resurrection out (or include it as an afterthought, a logically necessary extra cherry atop an already complete sundae)?
Three things (at least) start to go wrong (I totally wrote three things before I had three things...hmmm):
First, we disconnect sanctification/glorification from our our soteriology. The Cross and the death of the Savior work wonderfully as a point, moment breaking in of our justification. In that moment, the Sin Bearer stood in for us and paid our penalty. Done. Accomplished. It is finished. But we're not finished. We're still becoming like Christ. Without a meaningful doctrine or gospel-inclusion of the resurrection, we loosen our grip on the foundation for Christ's ongoing work in and through us and for Christ's future finishing of this work.
Second, we disconnect the second and third persons of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, sent by the Father to the people who belong to God. The resurrection theology protects us from leaning into modalism, particularly the idea that God took off his Jesus hat and is now wearing his Holy Spirit disguise. The fact that Jesus is alive and active (real resurrection) blasts apart any notion that we are living in the Holy Spirit age, an age where Jesus sits on the back burner.
Third, we disconnect ourselves from our God-given fountain of hope. Now, this isn't a weighty theological concept, but that doesn't make it any less significant. Christ's resurrection provides us with hope that we too will be raised to newness of life, that we will be brought back from death. If we are united to him, how could we not? The gospel doesn't tell us "Earn this" but rather "This is who you are and who you will become". And so we hope.
Why we don't include the resurrection in our telling of the gospel, I still don't know. I'm going to have to think about that. But this I know, I want to include that part of the story. I need that hope.