11 comments

  1. I would prefer to be honest and say truthfully I am not sure about how or even if the bodily resurrection happened. I do know that Chapter 21 of John’s gospel and the later part of Mark (at least the last nine verses) were later additions and I am aware of substantial differences in the crucifixion and resurrection accounts (cf my own post – The Shaping of God) When Albert Schweitzer wrote his carefully researched book on the life of Jesus he walked away from the conservative backlash saying that he would prefer to go out to Africa and follow the teachings of Christ. I think he did that rather well.

    For you Jesus must be Lord, Liar or Lunatic. Very well then, surely knowing he is Lord is about as relevant as Knowing that Queen Elizabeth is Queen of England. The key question must be Is Elizabeth YOUR Queen? or more to the point: Is Jesus YOUR Lord? If he is then surely this means exactly what I said… that you follow his teachings. Just because someone tells me I must believe something else doesn’t mean what they believe must be better informed than my sources. Certainly Jesus didn’t fulfil every Old Testament prophesy but I can’t for the life of me see why this devalues his teaching which makes excellent sense….even in the places where it doesn’t support current conservative Church values and foreign policy.

    • The evidence of Christ’s resurrection is quite compelling, actually. For example, I’ve always been struck how the eleven surviving disciples proclaimed Christ’s resurrection despite the risk of doing so. In fact, ten of them (excluding John) were killed for their faith. A man may die for something he believes in, but he won’t die for a lie.

      • Well said, Tom. There are too many wannabe Bible scholars, who have attempted to refute what we hold dear, and truthful. As you so aptly put it. I have never heard of anyone willing to die for a lie. It would be total madness to do that. God said it, the Bible says it, and that’s good enough for me. We, who never saw Him, follow Him by faith, and not by sight. If it isn’t true, we have nothing to lose, but if it is true, and I do believe it is, we have nothing to lose, but those who don’t, well, they need to do the math.

      • First we don’t know why those martyred were martyred. Since some were killed before the Gospels were written – and in the case of the Gospel of John considerably before the first part of the Gospel was written if fact we don’t know if the resurrection stories were a factor. An equal case could be made for being crucified because they were followers of Jesus’ message. Since the details of their deaths are only briefly referred to and then outside the scriptures in the New Testament we don’t even know what they were teaching. Nor do we know what they believed about the resurrection since the Gospel writers were not necessarily witnesses. For example the post crucifixion part of the earliest Gospel (Mark) was added by another writer several generations later and the scholars generally agree that the 21st Chapter of John was added about the same time.
        Second contemporary writers at the time state that some of the disciples died of old age. This means your assertion that they were all martyred is unlikely to be true. For example:
        John, brother of James and son of Zebedee – banished to Patmos; died of old age
        John: The son of Zebedee, brother to James; from Capernaum; referred to by Jesus as one of the sons of thunder and identified as the disciple “whom Jesus loved”; he wrote the Gospel of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John; in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation; died in Ephesus.
        John did not die a cruel death, but of old age.
        According to Hippolytus, John was banished by Domitian to the Isle of Patmos, and later died in Ephesus: John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision (Revelation); and in Trajan’s time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found.
        Matthew/Levi – missionary to Parthia (Iran); died of old age
        Matthew: A tax collector in Capernaum; son of Alphaeus, possibly James’ brother; also known as Levi or the publican; wrote the Gospel of Matthew; died at Hierees, a town of Parthia (Iran).
        Eusebius referenced to Bishop Papias of Hierapolis, as early as c. 110 A.D., bearing witness to Matthew’s authorship of his gospel: ….Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.
        According to Hippolytus: Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Parthia [Parthia is near modern day Tehran in Iran] Simon the Zealot – bishop of Jerusalem after James; died of old age
        He was from Cana and was called Simon the Canaanite or Simon the Zealot (the Zealots were Jewish revolutionaries who opposed Rome); the son of Clopas, died and was buried in Jerusalem.
        According to Hippolytus, Simon the Zealot was the second Bishop of Jerusalem: Simon the Zealot, the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there at the age of 120 years.
        Thaddaeus/Judas son of James – missionary to Edessa and to the surrounding Mesopotamian region (Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran); died of old age
        He may have taken the name Thaddaeus (“warm-hearted”) because of the infamy that came to be attached to the name Judas; also called Lebbaeus; not to be confused with the author of the Book of Jude who was Jesus’ and James’ brother; preached to the people of Edessa, to all Mesopotamia, and died and was buried at Berytus.
        Hippolytus records: preached to the people of Edessa (upper Mesopotamica), and to all Mesopotamia (corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran), and fell asleep at Berytus (Lebanon, near Syria and Turkey), and was buried there.
        Matthias – local missionary in Jerusalem; died of old age
        After Jesus’ ascension the 11 Apostles met in the upper room where they were staying and cast lots to decide between two disciples, Matthias and Joseph called Barsabus, who was surnamed Justus.
        Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot to bring the Apostles number back to 12; was one of the 72 and preached in Jerusalem; died and was buried there.

        I presume you must have got your information somewhere else. What did you discover?

      • I suppose we could get into a tit for tat on what historical references do we believe. That will accomplish nothing, I suspect. May we agree that the apostles went into a hostile public square proclaiming the Good News at great risks to their lives? A prime example is St. Stephen. I don’t see men doing something like that if they know they are proclaiming a lie, as opposed to an eternal Truth. To quote St. Paul, whom I know you honor: “14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 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. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  2. Whether or not Jesus was physically resurrected is beside the point. Good persuasive books have been written supporting both sides of that issue. Surely he is alive today to the extent his followers live his message. If his followers show the fruits of the Spirit, exemplify first Corinthians 13 and appear to follow the Sermon on the Mount – then his coming is not in vain and his teaching is still alive. If his followers are intolerant to other religions, belligerent towards their enemies (ie want to be allowed to carry guns and support water-boarding), and see Muslims as a threat, then the resurrection wouldn’t mean much,

    • I totally disagree. Without the resurrection, Christianity is a lie, and jesus is fraud. He is either Lord, Liar, or Lunatic. There is no middle ground. Faith and Reason provide overwhelming evidence that he is Lord.

  3. Someone once told me that the odds of a man actually fulfilling every Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah was something like 1 in 10^17. i.e. more than the number of stars our galaxy. And Christ did that and more. How great is our God.

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