Posts tagged ‘resurrection challenge’
OK. As I promised, I tried the Resurrection Challenge. That’s an effort to harmonize the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus as depicted in the four Gospels, the beginning of Acts, and a short passage in I Cor 15. Of course it’s impossible to harmonize them, so what I’ve done is list each event in the order they occurred and given them numbers to show that order. Where more than one thing happened at one time, or where I couldn’t tell what happened, I added a letter to the number. So for events 1,2,3 the accounts accord OK. Then you hit 4a-d where more than one story comes out of the different accounts. As you’ll see, these differing accounts are usually mutually exclusive. Really and truly these contradictions cannot be reconciled.
Resurrection rectification effort:
1- Some women went to the tomb early Sunday morning. (Mary, Mary, Salome, more?)
2- Before the women got to the tomb, the stone was rolled away. This involved an angel descending, an earthquake happening, and guards being stunned. The guards recovered and ran off.
3- The women arrived at the tomb.
4a – (Matt) The women saw an angel outside the tomb and he told them to go in a see that it was empty…
The following post was written on April 7th, 2007:
Last year about this time, I celebrated Easter as a committed believer of the Risen and Living Savior. I have done so every Easter I can remember except for a rebellious stint I had while in my 20s (we all have those, no?). The one thing I knew for certain was that it was impossible to be a true Christian without this conviction.
.…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. - 1 Cor 15:17-19 (NASB)
Of course I believed in the Resurrection. It is a foundational belief. It is essential. As C.S. Lewis would say, it is part of “Mere Christianity”.
I have always been an avid reader, and I always saw books in the library or store that had titles that just screamed, “Open my cover and browse my pages if you dare. For we are here to challenge your Christian beliefs!” My church pastors had words for authors of books like this: Pseudo-Intellectuals, who “professing themselves to be wise, they had become fools” (Rom 1:22). They were likely angry apostates, out on an agenda to debunk The Word of God, the Anvil that has worn our many Hammers. It was easy to pass by these books left on the shelf without thinking another thought…
My issues with the Bible were not the contradictions (and there are many) but with content. I could not reconcile my belief in a loving, merciful, compassionate God with the true God of the Bible who committed genocide, killed, sanctioned violence, discriminated, sanctioned slavery, committed evil acts, and created unjust or strange laws.
However, there are many individuals who focus on the contradictions of the Bible. HeIsSailing posted a great blog on Dan Barker’s Resurrection Challenge and the dramatic impact it had on his faith. As a result of taking this challenge he went from celebrating last Easter as a committed believer to celebrating his first Easter as a non-believer.
Here is the challenge:
The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul’s tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened…