Yesterday I attended a day conference about the resurrection held in Westminster Chapel. NT Wright and Gary Habermas were the speakers, along with a brief session with Antony Flew. He is the British philosopher who caused a real stir a few years ago by giving up his atheistic position to state that the evidence had convinced him of the existence of God. His position is essentially deist, but he was asked what it would take for him to accept the deity of Jesus. “Well, I suppose it would take something on the magnitude of what you’re talking about today, an otherwise impossible thing like a resurrection from the dead.” When asked the same question about the Holy Spirit, his response was the same – “If the resurrection is true then everything else would come with it.”
Here is a non-Christian thinking more clearly about Christianity than many Christians. How easy it is for us to slip into a very lazy apologetic, either directly or in testimony. It goes along the lines of, “Obviously I can’t prove my faith, it’s like a leap in the dark really, but you just believe and then you know it is true.”
This easter season, let’s be sure to clearly communicate that the Christian faith is founded very firmly on historical fact. The biblical record carries an unparalleled historicity. If Jesus rose from the dead, then the implications are massive, but if he didn’t really rise, then let’s give up and do something else with our lives. As preachers we are in the prime position to communicate the facts of easter and that the Christian message is not an invitation to take a leap into the dark. As preachers we may also need to sensitively follow up on a testimony given by someone else that both affirms them, but also clarifies that actually Christianity is based and built on fact.
2 thoughts on “Don’t Preach Lazy Apologetics”
‘When asked the same question about the Holy Spirit, his response was the same – “If the resurrection is true then everything else would come with it.”
Do you have to accept the claims of Jesus before you are able to believe the resurrection?
No. The resurrection is a matter of fact. Test the fact of the resurrection using whatever historical research test that you might apply to any other historical event. If Jesus rose from the dead, then there are implications that follow. For instance, if he rose, that sets him apart as someone whose claims should be taken seriously.
Believing the resurrection to be fact is the first issue. If that took place then consider his claims in light of that. There is no way in which accepting his claims influences the reality of whether or not he rose. If all his teaching, actions and claims were impressive, but he did not actually rise from the dead, then it would not make sense to somehow create a belief in his resurrection based on positive sentiment over his life. The Christian faith is not a leap in the dark, it is a faith founded on fact, the fact of the resurrection of Jesus.