Around every Easter some large news item or set of columns make their way to the surface in which a few journalists tackle the intransigent Christian faith, especially the resurrection of Jesus. The point is always some version of the same idea – how crazy are those people who believe in the resurrection? Interviews are always done with the same type of scholar – a liberal “Christian” scholar who has seen their way beyond the ancient, clear assertions of the biblical text. These are, by the way, about the only type of religious scholars left in state and major private university religion departments.
Enter the New York Times, where Nicholas Kristof interviewed Serene Jones, described as a Protestant minister. Below are two excepts from the short interview, and you can read the whole thing.
A couple of things are clear when you read this kind of thing.
First, liberal Christians have a different faith than orthodox Christianity. Nothing they believe is bounded by or informed by the text, and none of it coheres with the faith “once and for all delivered to the saints.” It has more in common with the current version of secular progressivism, which is to say that “Christian” ministers like Jones will say something different about their faith a decade from now.
They simply cannot take people with different points of view seriously. One topic discussed by Jones is the old scare-crow of an argument about the cross being “child abuse.” This chestnut has been defeated in more ways than you can shake a stick at, but they apparently don’t care to notice.
Liberal Christians are just better than, well, everybody. No theologian or philosopher in the past 2000 years who held to Christian orthodoxy has much to say anymore. We no longer need them now that we have the meaningless drivel that passes as “faith” among liberal Christians. I’m not an Ivy League Ph.D., but if I were marking her interview, it would be full of the notation, “Haven’t you read ‘so-and-so’? This view has severe problems.”
Her interview is a glimpse into the “Christian faith” that is allowable among many so-called academic elites. It is an old heresy that acts as the bottom of the theological slide. When people get there, they get off. It is a powerless faith unable to deal with real life.
It is the orthodox Christian, who stubbornly holds to her faith, that makes a difference. It is the Christian who boldly proclaims the resurrection of Jesus Christ until He comes who will have theological children.
Isn’t a Christianity without a physical resurrection less powerful and awesome? When the message is about love, that’s less religion, more philosophy.
For me, the message of Easter is that love is stronger than life or death. That’s a much more awesome claim than that they put Jesus in the tomb and three days later he wasn’t there. For Christians for whom the physical resurrection becomes a sort of obsession, that seems to me to be a pretty wobbly faith. What if tomorrow someone found the body of Jesus still in the tomb? Would that then mean that Christianity was a lie? No, faith is stronger than that.
This is simply wrong, both in fact and implication. Jesus rose from the dead, and our faith is based on this historical and theological fact.
1 Corinthains 15:14 “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
I’ve asked this of other interviewees in this religion series: For someone like myself who is drawn to Jesus’ teaching but doesn’t believe in the virgin birth or the physical resurrection, what am I? Am I a Christian?
Well, you sound an awful lot like me, and I’m a Christian minister.
As someone who takes the vocation of Christian minister seriously, I would answer in the opposite, and based on Jones’ answer, same goes for her.