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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CrossTalk: I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body

One of the curious ironies of our time, is the more information that is made available, the more misinformation is swallowed hook, line and sinker. Urban legends and Internet hoaxes abound. Email boxes are flooded with believable-sounding stories from seeming authorities which have absolutely no grounding in the truth. Nor is it only the internet to blame. Politicized scientific increasingly touts the number of scientists who believe something rather than at the number of facts that actually prove it.

In every day life, we don't think that way. If you ask me if the sky is blue, I wouldn't consult the experts or look in a book. I would just look up and see. You don't believe the sky is blue because others say it is. You believe it because it is.

This is what Christians also mean when we speak of faith. God never expects that you will believe things to be true on the basis of human authorities -- parents, church leaders, scientists, philosophers, or books. Rather, He calls forth faith simply in what is. This is the kind of faith that God calls forth in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Don't believe it or disbelieve it based on what others say. Investigate for yourself. Learn the facts for yourself.

At first you may shrug your shoulders and say: how could I possibly know something that happened nearly 2000 years ago! But you don't think this way about the Roman Empire, the Greeks or even the ancient Egyptians. And Jesus' resurrection is by far the most talked about and documented fact in the history of the world.

Look at the reports and you will see not only the claim that it happened. You will also see dates and places. You can go and visit these places today. You can study history and verify that Herod and Pilate and Jesus were all in Jerusalem in 30 A.D.

Read about Jesus' appearances after He rose from the dead and you will find that he did not appear as a mere apparition or hallucination. Rather, He appeared in a variety of places doing a variety of different things. Jesus eats (Luke 24:41-43). Jesus walks (Luke 24:15). Jesus cooks (John 21:9-10). Jesus speaks (John 20:15). He even allows people to poke around in His wounds (John 20:27).

And how do we know about all these appearances? Not merely from a one-time flash appearance. Nor from a small and secretive cabal of true believers. Rather, from a huge group of eyewitnesses through the course of over six weeks and across scores of miles of territory (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). Most of these eyewitnesses lived long lives and were questioned and cross examined many, many times over decades. Their stories were checked out. They were compared with the stories of others for inconsistencies. Many of them were tested by fire, wild beasts and torture to see how sincere they were. They sat in the pew with fellow believers for decades after the resurrection of Jesus and their stories were written down so that you could know all this.

Look into these facts yourself. A good place to start is: <http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2011/04/23/risen-indeed-3/>. But wherever you start, you will wind up with the same facts. The next step is to ask what it means and how it changes your life.

For answering these questions, the risen Jesus has given the one, holy Christian Church. There you will learn how the event of the resurrection is the center of all history. But most of all, you will learn that it was especially for you. Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The spread of fatal, self-centered thinking in the West

How come after 56 million legal abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973, even conservative pundits reproach Santorum for giving priority to “social issues”? For starters, this term is a diabolical misnomer for mass killing. A social issue might be whether you wear a tuxedo or tails at a glamorous ball; whether you, a commoner, should court a princess or, on a different level, whether workers should be given three or four weeks vacations per year. There’s nothing “social” about depriving an unborn baby of his or her chance to ever be social in the sense of interacting with other human beings. The genocides perpetrated against millions of kulaks in the Soviet Union, Jews in Germany, Cambodians in Cambodia and Tutsis in Africa were not “social issues”; so by what right should the annual annihilation of more than one million fetuses be euphemistically reduced to a bagatelle in such a hypocritical manner?
Uwe Simon-Netto is a Lutheran columnist from Germany.

The rest of his article may be read here.