Sunday, March 23, 2008

Must One Believe in the Resurrection to be a Christian?

Albert Mohler @ deals with the central issue of the Christian faith. He notes:

As I said in my On Faith column [see full text here]:

The literal, historical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the vindication of Christ's saving work on the cross. The issue is simple -- no resurrection, no Christianity. For this reason, belief in the resurrection of Christ is essential in order to be a Christian.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central miracle of the Christian faith. As the New Testament reveals, the resurrection represents the Father's complete satisfaction in the obedience of the Son -- even unto death. Sin and death do not have the final word. Indeed, they are defeated through the saving work of Christ. . . .

As Paul well understood, Christianity stands or falls with the empty grave. If Christ is not raised, we are to be pitied, for our faith is in vain. Those who would preach a resurrectionless Christianity have substituted the truth of the gospel for a lie. But, asserted Paul, Christ is risen from the dead. Our faith is not in vain, but is in the risen Lord. He willingly faced death on a cross and defeated death from the grave. The Resurrection is the ultimate sign of God's vindication of His Son.

The great good news of the resurrection is this -- those who come to Christ by faith will share in His victory over sin and death. Belief in the resurrection of Christ is clearly essential in order for one to be a Christian. The Christian church has understood this from the beginning, and the Apostle Paul left no room for doubt when he declared that those who are saved are those who confess with their lips that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead [Romans 10:9].

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