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Christology Resurrected

October 25, 2010

In an article entitled “The Certainty and Importance of the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead”, R.A. Torrey writes, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the corner-stone of Christian doctrine.  It is mentioned one hundred and four or more times in the New Testament.  It was the most prominent and cardinal point in the apostolic testimony.”  In the consideration of the essential doctrines of Christ that were arenas of conflict during the rise of fundamentalism, one more must be looked at.  The rejection of the authoritative inerrancy of the Word, and the skepticism of all things not explainable by the scientific method, led many to deny the bodily resurrection of Christ.  For anyone even the least bit conversant with the Bible’s teaching concerning salvation, the resurrection is a huge issue.  In two of the core gospel communicating passages in the New Testament, the resurrection is tied directly to salvation.  Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  In 1 Corinthians 15:1 Paul sets out to declare the gospel.  In verse three he begins that task, “Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”  The resurrection is a crucial part of the gospel message.

Doubting all things miraculous and denying the supernatural, modernism set its sights on the bodily resurrection of Christ.  In different fashions, the modernists and liberals denied Christ’s resurrection.  Some of their oppositions were ridiculous, such as the suggestion that Christ fainted on the cross and was revived in the tomb.  Some harkened back to the Pharisees, the earliest of skeptics, suggesting the disciples just stole the body.  Whatever argument they proposed, the aim was the same, to undermine the fact of Christ’s bodily resurrection.  While all the issues being debated were vital doctrines to salvation, I don’t believe any targeted more fully the Gospel than this particular attack.  To quote Mr. Torrey again, from the same article, “While the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the corner-stone of Christian doctrine, it is also the Gibraltar of Christian evidence and the Waterloo of infidelity and rationalism.”  We cannot do without a literal, bodily resurrection of our Lord from the dead.  Our salvation and our eternity rest squarely on that truth.  Without it we are without hope.  Praise God we are not dependent on the doubts and sciences of skeptics.  We have a risen Savior who secures our salvation and promises our own resurrection to come and eternal life to follow.

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