Jesus Christ has been arguably the most influential person to have shaped history as we know it; while there are many events in Jesus’ life deemed important, but the most important to the Christian faith is the belief in His bodily resurrection. So much so, that a major leader of Christianity who wrote the majority of the New Testament states,
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith. Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified wrongly about God that he raised up Christ – whom he did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Those, then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.” 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 (CSB)
If the resurrection was simply an elaborate farce or a story with exaggerated elements than all of our hope, all of our faith and the entirety of church history was all meaningless antics in an attempt to get our favorite pen pal to
notice us, come to find out that we don’t know who this pen pal is or even if they truly exist. And this is what the Apostle Paul is communicating to his fellow brethren in the Corinthian church, that if the resurrection is not true then Jesus was not who we thought he was. C.S. Lewis acknowledges this fact best though.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity
So, what should Christians do with such a pivotal foundation for our faith? We need to seek out the answers that show historical evidence that Jesus Christ did, in fact, die on a cross by crucifixion, was buried in a tomb, and was raised again bodily. These are the essentials of the Christian faith, so it would seem appropriate to have a firm hold in the reality of these events so that we can defend the faith properly. The Apostle Peter tells our fellow Christian brethren this in regards to defending the faith and witnessing to others.
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV)
Understanding the evidence and intricacies of our faith is the first step to being able to properly defend it against skeptics. The second step is to be able to share these things with kindness and respect. Failing to do these things will be the downfall of authentic orthodox Christians and its relevance to those who live outside of the faith.
Keep an eye out for Part Two