I Want a Public Funeral Where Christians are Angry At Death

Luke 24: 36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence

I Corinthians 15: 39 ALL FLESH IS NOT THE SAME FLESH, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

I Corinthians 15: 49 And as we have borne the image of the manof dust, we shall also bear[f] the image of the heavenly Man. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

We don’t need to be happy when somebody is dead. As he explained, “ If I die before the trumpet sounds, I want a loud public funeral. I don’t want a quiet private exit. I don’t want them to think of me ‘as I was’. I want them to think that I am now dead. I want somebody to preach about the resurrection.” P 77

When a Christian is dead, we still have hope. R and I differed about a secondary part of that hope. He still believed in a conscious “intermediate state” for the “souls”. And to avoid assuming that the trajectory toward truth runs in only one direction (my way), let me describe my position as R might: I still believe that there is no intermediate conscious state, and part of the reason I think that is because most everybody who teaches such a conscious state thinks that death is our friend.

But R and I agree: the body is not our enemy, and death is not our friend. There are many wonderful things in this book, and I am already hoping that Rainbow’s family will soon publish other parts of his work. I even hope for a sequel called Glory to Earth!

When I read him describe the second coming on p 75, I wanted to ask: will Christ get all the way down here to earth, or only as far as the meeting in the air?

Revelation 21: 2-3 “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man…”

Let me list a few of the topics R addresses:
Is there healing now for the justified elect, and what does this have to do with spiritual warfare? p38
If sickness is no longer a consequence of sin (as it was in the Mosaic covenant), why then must Christians experience physical death? P 40 In what sense can sin be a punishment for sin?
Why are Lutherans wrong about the communication of attributes and ubiquity, and why is Christ present here now only in His deity but not in His humanity? P 64

R does a good job of showing the problems not only with Platonism but also with materialism. As he warns, “The materialist thinks that what is not public is not sin.” p 83 And then R attempts to steer a middle way between Platonism and materialism. As he points out, at least the Pharisees were not Platonists: but as those who believe in material resurrection, the Pharisees often became legalists, imposing extra-biblical rules on people. They were not Gnostics, not antinomians.

If I could talk with R today, I would argue with him that, in his concern for the body being consecrated to God, he also goes too far toward legalism. But then, as a fellow “Anabaptist”, I would argue that he does not go far enough in warning Christians about killing other bodies. He not only does not say anything against military “service”, but tends to assume its legitimacy. He is far more concerned about us not killing ourselves with immoderate drinking and eating.

Here are some topics we could discuss:
He extrapolates from “not work, not eat” to ruling out the idea of retirement. P 92
Some of his rules sound very “Methodist”, as if we should become bourgeois capitalists with a puritan work ethic. For example, “A Christian may be wealthy but may not live wealthy”. P 133. Or this: “We must say no to sleep”. P 127

Sometimes he even seems to be saying that we should only have enough sex for survival and procreation and to avoid immorality. P 95. Stoics ask, Can you do without it? But all that being said, R asks thoughtful and important questions. He even dares to write about “freedom from marriage”. P 129. That is not something you hear very often from those who practically equate the family with church, either by baptizing infants or by teaching parenting instead of the gospel.

To end on a positive note, R does a good job of telling the truth about death in its complexity. Yes, we want a loud funeral where people are sad and not fake, where people are angry at our “last enemy, death”. But our life here and now before death, and before the resurrection to come, is not ultimately important to us. Because Jesus Christ is risen, and we comfort one another with these words: we shall always be with the Lord.

As his daughter writes in the appendix about his recent death: we are waiting. One day the Lord shall always be with us.

P 134—“Martyrdom is not suicide… The mystic Teresa of Avila undertook a missionary journey to the Muslims to achieve martyrdom. She came back alive and disappointed…Somebody today could attempt martyrdom by preaching in the streets of Tehran, but that is not God’s will.”

Resurrection means that we
have in our future realities
which have the bad taste
to still be visible, for instance
unique and individual
resurrected blood vessels

so that between now
and then is not a difference
where what matters is not matter

why do you want to go to heaven
without waiting to get back
your own live eyeballs
new and improved
that day immortal and “spiritual”

eyeballs completely controlled
by the Holy Spirit of Christ

advocates of the incorporeal
talk about a landless land and a timeless time
up there
inhabited only by full essences
a world all clean
refined and very light
where time and space
will not matter

a matter-less world with no touching
that helps us
avoid awkward truths
like that conspicuous hole in the ground
when we’re dead
and waiting for the resurrection,

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5 Comments on “I Want a Public Funeral Where Christians are Angry At Death”

  1. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).”

    Al Martin is curious about your secret mortifications: “Let us dare not entertain secret thoughts–manifestations of unmortified self-will–that God is unfair in taking them from us. Instead, when our loved one had become our loss, we must consciously and deliberately direct our thoughts to the joy that has become Jesus’ gain.”

    So the death of Christians is a gain for Christ, not Christ’s enemy? It’s not Christians who are precious, but their death which is precious?

    When Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, I guess this means that Lazarus left heaven, and God lost, and the sisters of Lazarus gained.

    Why on earth would Christ return to earth (dragging all those Christians up there with Him down), when all the Christians on earth could just die and go where he is?

  2. markmcculley Says:

  3. markmcculley Says:

    I Cor 6:13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other

    Mark 7: Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?

    Luke 6:21 you shall laugh

    Ezekiel 3:3 And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.

    Revelation 10: 9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that death (nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation) will NOT be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Jesus, since his incarnation, is not everywhere present in his humanity

    but since His humanity and deity are one person, Jesus as person is in two places

    his human “soul” was not in heaven while his human dead body was on earth

    since the incarnation, his deity has never been separated from his humanity

    Jesus was dead, but now He is risen and His humanity is in heaven, not separated from His person

    but we ourselves are never in two place

    not in church in our bodies, but up in heaven in our souls

    not in the grave in our bodies, but up in heaven already before the judgment in our souls

    Romans 14—Therefore, whether we live or die, we Do belong to the Lord

    David Murray—Jesus was in heaven for these few days, His human soul still united to His divine nature, rightly being worshipped there for His saving work of suffering and dying for sinners.. Jesus also was on a cold slab of rock in a Middle Eastern cave While His human soul was separated from His body, His divine nature was separated from neither and never will be. His divine nature was as united to His lifeless body on earth as it was to His glorified soul in heaven. That means I can worship Him equally in the grave as in glory

    I Thessalonians 5: 1 For you are all children of light and children of the day. 6 So then, we must not sleep like other people, but we must stay awake and be serious… 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.

    not yet obtained?
    as long as live in this age, we are apart, absence, do not live with Him

    He will be with us when we are asleep

    I Thessalonians 4: 15 We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.

    1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

    Will the Christians who have died have an advantage over those who are still alive at the Lord’s coming?

    Hebrews 11: 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us

    not only did God the Son raise Himself from the dead
    but God the Son stays alive when you eat Him

    that’s what more than half of those who profess to be Christians believe

    it’s not that this is “too much to believe”
    it’s that the Bible does not teach it

    was God the Son in his living body before He died handing out another living body?

    that’s not incarnation, that’s docetism

    it’s not me asking “what would be the point of eating God the Son while He’s still living”
    it’s that the Bible does not teach it
    if that makes me a biblicist and a rationalist and a modernist, I don’t care

    God the Son offered Himself in death once for all time, not to us but to God

    yes, I believe in the unfinished work of God the Son
    His present intercession and His future coming to earth to raise the justified from the dead

    but the real humanity of God the Son is now seated in heaven
    neither the deity or the humanity of God the Son is seated in my stomach


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