Do You Think It Happened, Or Not?

Greg Gilbert | April 5, 2015

The resurrection is the hinge on which all of Christianity turns. It’s the foundation on which everything else rests, the capstone that holds everything else about Christianity together. Which means—crucially—that when Christians assert that Jesus rose from the dead, they are making a historical claim, not a religious one. Yes of course there are “religious” implications to that claim, if you want to call them that, but none of those is in the least valid if Jesus didn’t really, truly, historically come back to life from the dead. Even the early Christians understood this point. They weren’t interested in just creating a nice religious story that would encourage people, help them live better lives, and perhaps provide them with a metaphor of hope blooming out of despair that might help them endure the storms of this life. No, the early Christians wanted the world to know that they really believed that Jesus had gotten up out of the grave, and they themselves knew that if he didn’t really do that, then everything they stood for was empty and false and utterly worthless. It’s like Paul said in one of his letters: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is…

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