Friday, March 22, 2013

Did Jesus really rise from the dead? (Bonus: Free eBook!)

There are many challenges that get leveled at Christianity, but none of them hits at the heart of the faith like this one: "Did Jesus really rise from the dead?". Even Paul admitted as much in 1 Corinthians 15 saying, "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain".

So if you or someone you know is wrestling with this very question, let me point you to a couple things that came across my Google Reader this week (I know, it's going away, I'm sad too):

Aaron Armstrong addresses three of the most popular challenges in blog form:
Some things are harder to believe than others. Believing that Jesus was a bona fide historical figure… few, if any, seriously doubt there really was a Jesus of Nazareth who preached a message of repentance and reconciliation with God and was later crucified (even if many attempt to redefine the purpose of these events).

Then, there’s the resurrection…

For a lot of people, this is far more difficult an idea to swallow, particularly those of us who were raised on a steady diet of empirical naturalism.
The idea that Jesus was crucified—we can accept that. But that He rose again? That’s a bit much, isn’t it? Surely it had to have been made up.

Three alternatives to the resurrection

Because we don’t have a category for the supernatural, we look for alternative explanations—and there are a LOT of alternatives floating around regarding the resurrection of Jesus. Yet, there’s a lot of consistency between them, with the majority being variations on one of three options:
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Jonathan K. Dodson and Brad Watson address the larger question in book form:
If you doubt the resurrection, I’m glad. Anything worth believing has to be worth questioning, but don’t let your questions slip away unanswered. Don’t reduce your doubts to a state of unsettled cynicism. Wrestle with your doubts. Find answers.
If you call yourself a believer and a skeptic, don’t settle for pat proofs, emotional experiences, or duty-driven religion. Keep asking questions. Those who haven’t questioned their faith can easily become doctrinaire, even detached from the everyday struggle of faith. Whether you are a skeptic, believer, or somewhere in between, press into your faith or push into your doubt. Question your faith and question your doubts. Determine good reasons for believing or not believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If he really did defeat death, it changes everything. Doubt well and you can walk away from skepticism, cynicism, or blind faith into perceptive belief, intellectual security, and deeper commitment. You can know that you have honestly questioned the resurrection.
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Download Raised? Doubting the Resurrection by Jonathan K. Dodson & Brad Watson for free!
Kindle (.mobi)  |  iBooks (.epub)   |   PDF

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