I am of the opinion if you can get a religious skeptic to look seriously and with an open mind at the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, they are in trouble. The great philosopher Dallas Willard says the historical evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is very convincing. But Willard says most people today are ignorant of the facts.
“Over the years I have noticed that many a skeptic has set out to disprove the claims of the Christian faith only to change their minds and become Christians.”
Willard points out that in their quest they are forced to examine the historical records and facts. And if you combine that with a love of the truth, Jesus says, they will hear his voice.
The former skeptics Willard refers to are Frank Morison, J.N. Anderson, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Sir William Ramsay and Gilbert West. Consider Frank Morrison, a gifted lawyer who was writing a book to be titled, Disproving the Resurrection of Jesus. Upon completing his research, he was compelled to write a completely different book that has since become a classic, Who Moved the Stone. Morrison demonstrated using courtroom rules of evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. There is no other explanation.
The opening lines of the book are very powerful:
This study is in some ways so unusual and provocative that the writer thinks it desirable to state here very briefly how the book came to take its present form.
In one sense it could have taken no other, for it is essentially a confession, the inner story of a man who originally set out to write one kind of book and found himself by the sheer force of circumstances to write quite another.
It is not that the facts themselves altered, for they are recorded imperishably in the monuments and in the pages of human history. But the interpretation to be put upon the facts underwent a change. Somehow the perspective shifted—not suddenly, as in a flash of insight or inspiration, but slowly, almost imperceptibly, by the very stubbornness of the facts themselves.
Christianity has never suggested that people take a leap into the dark but to step into the light. The Christian gospel is not a message that revels in ignorance. It is rooted in God’s revelation to man in the person of Jesus Christ. This is why you should honestly ask yourself these questions:
Is He real?
Did He rise from the dead?
Is He alive today?
You cannot be neutral toward Jesus. He tells us, that you are either with him or against him (Mathew 12:30). You have to choose.
At one point in his ministry, many of Jesus’ followers did not like his message and began to abandon him. Jesus then confronted his disciples and asked if they also want to leave. Peter responded:
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:69)
If we do not put our faith in you Jesus, who will we look to for eternal life?
That is a great question we all should ask.
In the Old Testament, the literal meaning of the word truth/true is “something which can be relied on or someone who can be trusted.” Remember, we are all dying men, and as we consider life after death, think about:
Who can I rely on? Who can I really trust?
Dr. Tim Keller boils this down into simple and logical terms.
If the claims of Christ are not true, then you should have nothing to do with him, for he is a wicked lunatic.
But if he did rise from the dead, his claims are true. Therefore we should take everything in our lives and put them at his feet. We should build everything in our lives around him.
Richard E. Simmons III is the founding director of The Center for Executive Leadership, a faith-based ministry in Birmingham, Alabama focused on counseling businessmen and professionals. His column appears every weekend in 1819 News. Richard is the best-selling author of The True Measure of a Man, Reliable Truth, and The Power of a Humble Life. His newest book, an Amazon best-seller, is Reflections on the Existence of God – a series of short essays seeking to answer life’s most enduring question: Does God exist? You can find Richard's weekly blog, podcast, and more at richardesimmons3.com. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.