As an associate pastor, my ministry is far more specialized than it was when I was a solo pastor in rural churches. As a result, I spend the majority of my time teaching in assorted settings. One of the things I love about this role is the way I get to respond to people’s questions about the faith.
When I come across a resource that helps me think through why I believe what I believe and teach what I teach, it’s like discovering a new tool for the toolbox. Thanks to Allan R. Bevere I came across one of those resources this week.
Professor Craig Blomberg, of Denver Seminary, wrestles with the question, “Must I Believe in the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus?” If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s the summary of his answer,
Without a supernatural, bodily resurrection we are still dead in our sins and of all people most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:12-19). Without Christ’s bodily resurrection we have no bodily resurrection to look forward to. Death ends everything and we might as well “eat, drink and be merry” (in moderation of course, so as not to get sick) and not bother with any of the sacrifice and self-denial that even just following Christ’s cause requires.
If there is no life after death, indeed if there is no embodied life after death as in the new heavens and new earth…then we are idiots to be Christians and should give it up immediately. If there is, on the other hand, then being a Christian makes all the difference in the world—and in the next!
At a conference I once attended the speaker said, “Jesus is alive every time we remember him in our hearts…” to which the more seasoned pastor sitting next to me replied, “Yeah…so is Elvis.” With my friend, I believe that Jesus is more than a memory. I believe in the bodily resurrection. Jesus is alive, whether we remember him in our hearts or not.