It is that time of year again. The faithful celebrate the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Liberal media will trot out “experts” like Bart Ehrman who will assert that the resurrection never occurred or John Dominic Crossan who will offer up that the body of Jesus was buried in a shallow grave and eaten by dogs. (When asked for the evidence he merely responded that it just makes sense to him). The Bible, according to them, is little more than religious myth and fables for faith. In response to Ehrman I offer “Interrupting Ehrman” and in response to Crossan I offer up “The Hysterical Search for the Historical Jesus”. For some Erhman, Crossan and others will raise doubts or even further facilitate unbelief for those who already doubt. For others the responses in the above articles will encourage and demonstrate a defense against these particular attacks.
The rejection of the historic Christian faith is not only present and active in the liberal media but is in the universities as well. The latest is the story that a “University backs professor for telling students to ‘stomp on Jesus’” . In this case a Florida university student was suspended for refusing to write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper, drop it on the floor and stomp on it. I wonder why they didn’t do that with the name Mohammad or with the Qur’an? I suspect in that case the professor would have been fired rather than protected. After all, offending Christians is fine but offending Muslims is simply not acceptable.
What about the “War on Easter? Schools, Cities Planning Another Round of ‘Spring Egg Hunts’”. I am not particularly concerned with the word “Easter” per se. In spite of what Bill O’Reilly at FOX may say this is an area where pagan beliefs have been mixed in with Christian belief and embraced as a cultural tradition with little spiritual meaning for many. It isn’t really part of the historical Christian faith but celebration of the resurrection is and has been the reason for this holiday for nearly 2,000 years. The reason these positions are accepted or even protected in schools and universities is the rejection of the resurrection and indeed a dismissal of the Christian faith as any more than a mere myth for a weak minded segment of the population. The new thing to embrace and elevate is the new Federally mandated religion of political correctness.
There is another way in which doubt is cast on the resurrection. Jehovah’s Witnesses specialize in this area. It is to deny the physicality of the resurrection, in their case to make it basically Xeroxing of the individual. “Resurrection: Watchtower Style” delves in to this more deeply.
Oddly, none of this is really new but some form of each of these ideas were around even in the First Century. The Apostle Paul spent the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 on the issue of the resurrection. In verse 1-11 he recites an early Church creed (developed in the mid 30s A.D.) the core teaching of the gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus including a citation of witnesses. In verse 12-19 he addresses the uselessness of the proclamation of faith if there is no resurrection. If there is no resurrection we die and that’s it. There is no forgiveness of sins because even Christ was not raised. Life is hopeless. The balance of the chapter argues that the resurrection is and was physical. There is a physical connectedness between the earthly body and the one that is resurrection. It is the same body with added properties. Christ’s physical resurrection is what secured victory over death itself.
This celebration is the culmination of God’s example of Sacrificial Love and the physical resurrection is the evidence that death has been conquered so that like the Apostle Paul we can say,
O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.(1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
He is risen! He is risen indeed.