Make up your mind

In our postmodern, even post-Christian times, it seems fashionable to deny the possibility of the resurrection. Most arguments against start with a presupposition like that from James Tabor who is chair of the department of religion at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. According to him, the suggestion of a resurrection could be ruled out from the beginning. He wrote: “Dead bodies don’t rise – not if one is clinically dead – as Jesus surely was. So if the tomb was empty the historical conclusion is simple – Jesus’ body was moved by someone and likely reinterred in another location.” Dr. Tabor has also revealed that Jesus was probably buried in Galilee, outside the city of Tsfat.

Being exposed to such an open mind makes one confident that the religion students at UNC Charlotte have the opportunity for a world-class indoctrination, not education.  Tabor is not alone. He has plenty of company who have already decided that Jesus could not possible rise from the dead. Christianity can be simply dismissed.

Concerning such matters, the Apostle Paul agreed to a point: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile” (1 Corinthians 15:17). If the Muslims are right, Jesus never actually died on the cross, much less returned from the dead. A prominent Hindu leader opined: “Jesus was only injured and after treatment returned to India where He actually died.

This past Sunday, Kim and I attended a worship service hosted by Rise Again Ministries. Among the speakers was Bishop Roberts from Lynwood Park United Church of God in Christ. He preached with great energy and enthusiasm, underscoring his deep beliefs in the faith he calls his own. One line he spoke remains with me: “Your arms are too short to box with God.”

There are plenty of skeptics and cynics. In our country, they are free to express their faith or lack thereof. As Dr. Dale Moody, long-time professor at Southern Seminary, used to say about his good friend and fellow combatant Dr. Frank Stagg over all things theological: “He has every right to be wrong.”

Does Christianity rest on a sure foundation? Was Christ really the Son of God who came to earth to defeat the powers that thought they were in charge of the world? Did His death atone for our sin? Did He exit the tomb alive, having defeated our last great enemy? Does He reign supreme? Will He return in glory? Will God redeem and rescue His creation? Does any of this matter?

Make up your mind.

Christians around the world will profess their faith this week. They will celebrate Easter – not the end of the story, but the beginning of what God had in mind before creation. Will you join your brothers and sisters to worship and praise the risen Lord? Will you have someone by your side?

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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