What Must Be Shown
What is required to give the good news to someone? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Recently, I’ve been given a column in the local newspaper here in Knoxville, that will be a monthly feature. It’s not much of a shock that when it is published, all the trolls come out to play. A friend on Facebook had recommended I not check the comments but personally, the comments are a good deal of fun!
It amazes me when I see what we’re up against. I have the claim that if I had done some real research, I’d know that Jesus never even existed. Most people just make assertions and don’t have any arguments to them. Interestingly, none of them seem to want to go after the resurrection itself.
Instead, it’s a desperate hope to hit it from another angle. If we can show miracles never take place, then we can disprove the resurrection! True, but that is a tall order and attempts to do so today only succeed at begging the question. Not to mention that since Keener has written his work on this, there’s a whole lot more evidence to deal with.
Also is the idea that if we can demonstrate one story is false, then all the stories are! If we can show a problem with the virgin birth, then we have no reason to accept the resurrection! If we bring up Matthew 27 as hard to believe, then we have no reason to believe Matthew 28!
Yet to directly go after the resurrection? Not happening.
What is happening is in fact our fault largely.
When we are out there teaching Christian doctrine, we are out there trying to demonstrate that Jesus rose from the dead. That is what one believes in order to be saved. One is to trust that God has given His support to Jesus of Nazareth and has demonstrated this by His resurrection.
Let us state some things the gospel is not.
It is not “You must believe in a 6-10,000 year old Earth in order to be saved.”
It is not “You must believe in a pre-trib rapture to be saved.”
It is not “You must believe the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. was the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse to be saved.”
It is not “You must believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture to be saved.”
It is not saying “You must believe in speaking in tongues to be saved.”
It is not saying “You must believe in predestination or free-will to be saved.”
Now that is not to say these other issues are unimportant, but they are not essential. We can and should discuss them, but we make a mistake if we present them as if they’re part of the gospel. They are aspects that matter if the gospel is true, but they are not the message.
If there is no resurrection, these opinions don’t matter for salvation or they’re outright false. It is only if the resurrection matters that either these can be true or that they matter. If we make them part of the message, then we are adding to the gospel.
This harms believers in that we convince them they have to believe one of these in addition to the resurrection. When the lesser belief is knocked down, then the resurrection also goes down with it. How many Christians have apostasized because they concluded the Earth was old or that there was an error in the Bible?
It also harms our testimony to unbelievers. After all, they too are of the opinion that every Christian has to believe this and if you can knock down this belief, you don’t have to take the resurrection seriously. Why should someone go after the resurrection when they can just keep tossing out Bible contradictions left and right and know that if any one of them hits, then their case is made?
By all means of course, have opinions on these other issues. Feel free to study them and make a case for them, but don’t confuse them with Christianity! The truth of Christianity does not depend on these claims! The truth of Christianity only depends on the claim that Jesus is risen! That is the claim that is absolutely essential that we must defend. Let us make sure we are majoring in the majors and minoring in the minors and not going the other way.
Originally posted on Nick Peter’s blog, Deeper Waters.