The following is an article I wrote for the local newspaper.
The OneNewsNow.com headline caught my eye, “Quarter of UK Christians reject Jesus’ resurrection.” Excuse me? I clicked on the link to find the following, “A recent British survey…revealed that one out of four self-described Christians in the United Kingdom do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Basically what this means is that these people do not believe that Jesus literally rose from the dead in the way the Bible communicates.
There is a huge problem here. Based on its own claims, Christianity centers around the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 15 that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Further, Paul says if Christ has not been raised, we’ve made God out to be a liar. In other words if Christ has not been raised, the God of the Bible is not worth believing and you definitely wouldn’t want to be called a Christian.
So how is it that self-described Christians do not believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus? It could be lack of information. They may just not know that the Bible teaches the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Or maybe they’re unfamiliar with the ample evidence for an empty tomb and risen Jesus.
The support is there. The Roman soldiers guarding the tomb knew it was empty. In fact, they had to make up the story that they fell asleep on the job to explain it. “The disciples stole the body. We fell asleep.” Even though there were grave penalties (see what I did there?) for falling asleep on duty.
The disciples themselves didn’t expect a risen Savior. They were scared and confused. They, of all people, needed to be convinced. Hardly seems like these would be good witnesses for a newly forming religion. Yet they turned out to be the leaders and many of them died as martyrs. Doubtful they’d have endured such suffering for a lie.
The first witnesses of the empty tomb were women. In those days, women were not reliable witnesses. They weren’t allowed to offer official testimony at all. So why share that women were the first witnesses unless, of course, it is all true?
And this, finally, is what it comes down to: truth. I suspect most do not believe the resurrection because it is unbelievable in our materialistic culture. The resurrection has been relegated to the category of “spiritual,” and today, “spiritual” is by definition subjective. Yet according to the Scriptures, this is the one thing the resurrection cannot be. It cannot be subjective nor easily dismissed.
Christianity’s claim of a resurrected Savior is beautiful, bold, and profoundly life-changing. What it is not, is up for modification. The truth claim of Christianity remains that “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20).