Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"A Christian who confidently denies the resurrection is an oxymoron"

Stephen Rankin, University Chaplain at SMU, on "Christian" resurrection deniers:
.... This time every year we get a slew of magazine articles, TV “documentaries” and (now) blog posts and Twitter comments about the believability of Jesus’ resurrection.

Lots of good possibilities for serious give-and-take between believers and non-believers.  I love talking to honest skeptics.

But there’s one group I admit I’ve grown weary of: Christian resurrection-deniers.  Not resurrection deniers in general, but those who claim to follow Jesus, who blithely assert that thinking people simply cannot believe the hocus pocus about Jesus rising bodily from the dead.  If resurrection means anything, so this line of thinking goes, it can only have metaphorical/symbolic significance.

Let me narrow my charge a little more.  A Christian struggling intellectually with belief in Jesus’ bodily resurrection, who honestly wants to know the truth and pursues it with transparent intensity and a willingness to learn; for this kind of Christian I have utmost respect.  After all, one of the major characteristics of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection is how Jesus’ own followers doubted!  But the easy, breezy, smooth-talking, read-the-latest-John Spong-Marcus Borg-Dominic Crossan-and-now-we-know-what-really-happened  Christian, tries my patience mightily. A Christian who confidently denies the resurrection is an oxymoron.

I repeat: it is not argumentation, doubt or critique of the resurrection that bothers me.  It is the facile dismissal – by Christians! – of a central belief of our faith. .... [more]

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