Saturday, March 22, 2008

From the Pastor's Desk column for 3/17

I heard a joke a couple of weeks ago that the surest way to convert an atheist to Christianity was to challenge him/her to write a book disproving the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some of my favorite writers have actually come to know Christ as Savior and Lord this very way. It is amazing, but not surprising when you think about it, that the evidence in support of Christ's resurrection is so overwhelming. After all, the very truth and credibility of Christianity itself hinges on this event in human history. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:14-15, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.”
So in a real sense, if one could disprove the resurrection of Christ, the whole of Christianity would be proved to be a lie. But be careful. As I said before, many have attempted just such a thing and have found themselves instead changed by the truth. I recently took a college course where the instructor had previously been a skeptic of the resurrection. He mentioned that there are certain facts about the death and resurrection of Christ that most anyone, even skeptics can agree upon. For example, most would agree that Jesus indeed was put to death by the Romans by crucifixion. They would further agree that his disciples claimed to have Christ alive afterwards and spread this message in Jerusalem, which is where the death took place. Most critics will also allow that Paul(Saul) and James, the brother of Jesus who had doubted Him, both started out as antagonists of the teaching of Jesus' resurrection, but were later found to be among the most vocal advocates. Paul, in fact, wrote much of the New Testament that bears witness to Christ's identity and teaching and resurrection. It is Paul who gives us much of the best evidence for Christ's resurrection in his earlier writings, like 1 Corinthians. The other thing that is important to note is those who have attempted to explain away the truth of the resurrection of Christ have been unable to do so(remember what I said at the start of this article?). As I said before, many who have tried instead become convinced that the only reasonable conclusion is that the resurrection did in fact happen. You don't have to take my word for it however. Look into it yourself. God didn't intend for us to believe in Him blindly. You don't need to make a “leap of faith” to know Him. God is big enough to withstand a little scrutiny, if you are willing to consider the fact that He is in fact who He says He is.
As we get ready to celebrate the resurrection this Easter, I encourage you to look into it for yourself if you never have before. If you want to read more, I encourage you to check out some excellent resources online from authors such as Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel or Gary Habermas. These men have done all the hard work of research as skeptics who became believers. If you want to know more or have questions, I am always willing to talk further.

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