Posted by: pastortomvabeach | April 8, 2015

Thought For The Week April 12, 2015

I read an editorial article by Christopher Monckton, an Englishman who once served as an advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is a British public speaker,journalist, conservative political advisor, and the inventor of mathematical puzzle Eternity (which I’m told is well known but I know nothing about). He was writing about Easter and the reasons to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. In his article he presented an idea that I have heard before but that I’ve never heard articulated so well. I want to share some of his article with you to see if you might agree.

Monckton writes: “I once had the pleasure of attending a theological conference…in England, where the late John Macquarrie, in those days the lion of Protestant theology in Britain, gave an electrifying talk on what he called ‘the Christ event’ or, rather, in that endearing Morningside accent of his, ‘the Chri-i-ist eve-e-e-ent.’

“The approach he took was strictly, even severely, rational. He invited us to start where Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx starts in his astonishing Jesus: An Experiment in Christology and assume, ad argumentum, that that there is no, repeat no, God, that there were no, repeat no, miracles, that there are no, repeat no, exceptions to the laws of nature, and, therefore, that Jesus, if he existed, could not, repeat not, have risen and did not, repeat not, rise from the dead. Repeat not. Nope. No, sirree. No how. No way, Jose.

“Some of the prof’s young pupils were shocked by what, but for the words ad argumentum (for the sake of argument), would have been outright heresy. He saw this and was amused by it. He said, ‘Hold on to your hats. Let me show you where I’m inviting you to go.’

“‘Consider,’ he said, ‘The problem the self-proclaimed rationalists or atheists have. Even if the Gospels and the continuous teaching of the church had not been available to the skeptics, indeed especially if they had not been available, they would have had to explain how it was that the son of a carpenter from an unconsidered outpost of the Roman empire, executed by the empire for making some sort of nuisance of himself, had so inspired a handful of terrified no-hopers, before he was killed, that within 100 years the Chri-i-ist Eve-e-e-ent had happened.’

“To this day you can go as far afield as the remotest corner of southern India and find a Coptic Christian shrine that has been in continuous use since 100 A.D. I have been there. Tens of thousands worship there every month. How did that happen?

“Within 100 years of the Resurrection, as a matter of undeniable historical fact, you were defined by whether or not you were a Christian. Everyone in the known world and quite a few beyond it had heard of Christianity – and the same remains true today.

“Frank Morison asks, ‘Who Moved the Stone?’ Professor Macquarrie asked, ‘Who moved the world, and moves it yet?’ And, above all, how? How was the whole world moved by those 11 rather unsavory apostles and those who came after them? How did they do that?

“This new religion had none of the advantages of other religions. Not one. Its founders were not men of intellect; they were not statesmen, poets, or orators; they were not men of affairs; they had no money; they did not have the thousands of years the Jews had had; they did not use force of arms, as the Muslims did and (alas, as the Christians of Syria and Kenya have cause to know) still do; they did not come from good families; they did not have the backing of any government or state authority. To them, nothing was everything.

“Above all, they did not have a leader. He had been humiliatingly executed. This trembling group of disciples of a failed insurgent not only had no leader and no army, they had no Internet, no television, no radio, no newspapers, no printing presses, none of the weapons of public-relations spin. Indeed, until 70 years after his execution, they did not even have a written record of his life or of his message.

‘Now,’ said the professor, ‘You will have some idea of the problem the atheists and rationalists face. They cannot deny the obvious reality of the Christ Event – the startling, unprecedented explosion of our faith across the world in the first century of the Christian era.’

“So, how might the unbelievers account for it? They could try to say the Resurrection was a stage-managed trick. But would doctors and tax-gatherers, hard-boiled by profession, have been taken in? Of course not.

“The only way the disciples could have become sufficiently electrified to go out and conquer the world, after their leader had been executed, and without so much as a blunderbuss between them, is if so many of them had seen Jesus after his resurrection that they knew, just as clearly as doubting Thomas knew, he had truly risen from the dead. Like Thomas, they had seen him and talked to him and touched him and been amazed by the fact that a man whose wounds had undoubtedly killed him – one did not survive a Roman crucifixion – was just as undoubtedly alive. It was that fact, seen by their own eyes, touched by their own hands, heard by their own ears that put heart into the disciples.

“And if, gentle reader, you are a rationalist or an atheist, if you are an unbeliever, then answer me this: Who moved the world, and how? I mean, get real. A dead leader, a dozen losers, no money, no position, no weapons, no time, no hope, no nothing – and half the world is still Christian 2,000 years later? And without the Resurrection? Without Pentecost? Without God? Oh, puh-leaze!

“You may think we Christians believe half-a-dozen impossible things before breakfast. But our belief is nowhere near as bizarre, as obviously absurd and as hilariously mad as yours. He is risen, as He said. Get used to it, and make merry. Happy Easter to one and all.”

Well, what do you think? For me this is one of the best rational evidences for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It says that our faith rests on solid historical concrete evidence. Therefore let us do as Jesus said and Be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Go and tell someone! Make Jesus Known!

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