The same is also true of James, in that the Lord likewise appeared to him (1 Cor. 15:7). Fuller concludes rather strikingly that even if the appearance to James was not recorded in the pages of the New Testament, “we should have to invent one in order to account for his post-resurrection conversion and rapid advance.”^43 Thus, the texts insist and most scholars agree that it is unjustified to separate the appearances from the early church power structure.

3.Centrality of resurrection

Third, while the truth of the resurrection may precede and determine church authority, to attempt to circumscribe it almost totally within this latter, narrow parameter is certainly misplaced. In other words, the resurrection is absolutely centralto the New Testament as a whole. It is related to far more than just sociopolitical factors in the early church, but this does not justify making any one of these other themes the chief focus, either.

Even a summary listing could take a separate chapter. For example, the resurrection is a sign for unbelievers (Matt. 12:38–40; 16:1–4) as well as a comfort for believers (John 11:23–26; Luke 24:36–39). It was an indispensable part of the gospel (Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:1–5) and the heart of early preaching (Acts 4:2; 4:33).

39 Joachim Jeremias, “Easter: The Earliest Tradition and the Earliest Interpretation,” pp. 306–307; Reginald H. Fuller, The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives(New York: Macmillan, 1971), pp. 34–42; C.H. Dodd, “The Appearances of the Risen Christ: An Essay in Form-Criticism of the Gospels,” More New Testament Studies(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968), pp. 125–126; Rudolf Bultmann, Theology, vol. I, p. 45. Bultmann also sees a probable parallel to 1 Cor. 15:5 and Luke 24:34 in Luke 22:31f.