Is Jesus’ resurrection true?

The Resurrection—Tischbein, 1778.
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Jesus, the one who died, lives! Belief in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is one of the central beliefs of Christianity. Jesus resurrection is true and historical fact. Paul addresses this question in 1 Corinthians 15:12:

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all others.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

I agree with what my current senior pastor, Adam Hamilton says in response to a question about whether he really believes in the resurrection, I don’t just believe it. I’m counting on it.

Do I have to subscribe to all the beliefs in Christianity to be a Christian?

There are some things which one needs to believe to be a Christian. They are what makes Christianity distinct from other religions, systems of belief or unbelief. One of the most basic guides to the Christian faith is the Apostles’ Creed. This is a statement of faith that helps to set the guidelines or the boundaries of what it means to be a Christian. While one may not understand the entire text, belief as outlined in the Apostles’ creed is necessary to be a Christian. The text of the creed as found in The United Methodist Hymnal:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What is God’s purpose?

The best response that I have to this is found in scripture:

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:14, TNIV)

God is.

God exists in relationship eternally, with creation, humanity and individuals. Perhaps God’s purpose is to love and be loved in return.

What would you add to this response?

I recently met with a congregant who shared some deep questions with me. I asked for permission to share them on this blog to more broadly share my response.

Top 5 Reasons I Stay in the United Methodist Church

I stay in the United Methodist Church because:

  1. I believe the doctrine and general rules of the UMC are aligned with the scripture and God’s work in the world.
  2. I have experienced the fruit of the United Methodist way of faith in my own life and witnessed it in the lives of others.
  3. I believe that the United Methodist Church is on the brink of renewal in the United States and that I am called to be part of that renewal.
  4. I believe the best years for the United Methodist Church are yet to come.
  5. I believe that the spiritual DNA of United Methodists is strong and yearning to be loosed for a new generation.

Evolution, Creation and Christianity

I got another great question from Nelson who had previously asked about Sex, Gender and the Bible. I must say some good questions all around. So here goes.

How do you respond to someone who asserts that it is impossible to believe in both evolution and creation?

First, let me define terms. By evolution, I am referring to the belief that species adapt and change over time and according to natural selection may become different species. By creation, I am referring to the belief that God created all things from nothing.

Both non-believers and deeply committed Christians may believe that evolution and creation are compatible or that they are incompatible. There is certainly not consensus among Christians on this issue.

I do not believe that creation and evolution are incompatible. I believe that God created all things, but do not rule out the possibility that God may have also created evolution as a part of the goodness of creation. I think that the beauty of creation is evidence of God’s work with or without evolution.

For me the question of compatibility or incompatibility of evolution and creation is not the core of my Christian faith. I would suggest that you first engage people in conversation around the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and what this means for your life as a way of shifting the conversation from the the perceived conflict of evolution and creation

God is big. Bigger than the boxes that we construct.