Thursday, January 16, 2014

If They Found the Bones of Jesus (Part 2)

Further thoughts about why I would cease to call myself a Christian if the bones of Jesus were found:

Christianity is not a system of morals.

Let me be very careful here.  Christianity does have a moral component.  There is no doubt about that.  We are called to live a certain way individually and corporately.  We are called to a high standard of living with one another.  Jesus outlines this very, very clearly.

But much of what Jesus taught was not new.  Even the command to love one's neighbor as one's self was quoted from the Old Testament and is found in some form or fashion in just about every world religion and culture.  Many of the great moral teachers taught the same thing as Jesus.  In fact, this is one of those arguments used by atheists to diminish the Christian worldview.

If Christianity were just one more attempt to teach the world morality, then if they found the bones of Jesus, I could easily continue to call myself a Christian without any sort of intellectual problem.

But Christianity goes much further than simply being a moral system.  It goes much further than simply being a system of justice.  Christianity is about God's reconciliation of the world unto Himself.

Without the resurrection, the proclamation of Christianity falls short.  There is no reconciliation.  There's just one more dead wanna be Messiah.

Without the resurrection, we are still under the Old Covenant with its legal code.  Either become Jewish and work to follow the law or one is screwed.  And then those sticky questions arise as to whether or not one can be a gentile convert to Judaism or if one can only be a "God-fearer."

Without the resurrection, grace is essentially null and void.  It's right back to works/righteousness.  And hey, I've already figured out, I don't even come close.

Without the resurrection, I'm toast.

Might as well enjoy what I can.

But if Christ is raised from the dead...

Well, that changes everything.

1 comment:

Kathy Suarez said...

Your post makes me think of the comment thread on Timothy Brown's "Reluctant Xtian" blog. Brown demonstrates individual interpretation at its finest! If I wanted to join the Lutheran Church, could you tell me what the Lutheran Church teaches about the Resurrection? The Virgin Birth? The Eucharist? Gay marriage? If you tell me to read Luther and then use my "Bound Conscience," why do I need to join your Church? I can believe anything I want at home; I don't need to come to a church to believe anything I want. If you were to teach me the Doctrines, how would I know that you are speaking for the Lutheran Church? Who speaks for the Lutheran Church?

"But, as a seminary classmate of mine once said, were we to find the bones of Christ tomorrow, I’d still be a Christian. What is the faith in/on is the question there.

"I do think there are core texts to the faith, as you say, but all things are up for scrutiny. Some, I feel, should be judged differently than others due to their authorship, style, importance to the over-arching narrative of the Christ event, etc."

"So, what do I think one can “believe” to be considered “Christian”? At this point, I would say that someone trying to follow the Christ in life could consider themselves Christian. Are there Buddhist Christians, Hindu Christians, Jewish Christians? I don’t know. That’s muddy water for me. I think there are difficulties there. But I certainly wouldn’t write someone off without delving deeply into their thought process on it."