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rethinking, textual criticism

Something to think about this Easter

I love the brutal honesty of the gospel writers. Let the critics say all they want about the “interpolations” of scripture and the collective agenda of the synoptic authors to spin out a story that never actually happened, but you just don’t write an account of the resurrection of Jesus that includes his closest friends and eyewitnesses doubting in his presence after the fact (see Matthew 28:17) if your goal is to launch an air-tight worldwide religious movement.

Let’s just say I could have done a much better job myself, and you probably could have to, if deception was what the New Testament writers were going for. 

The fact of the matter is that doubt is a part of being human. That verse in Matthew 28 shows this wonderfully. Personally I doubt myself, I doubt other people, I doubt motives, I doubt political claims and religious dogmas, I doubt the existence of God, I doubt everything I’ve ever believed in as a person, let alone as a Christian.

Everyone does. The person who refuses to admit this is simply not being honest.  

Funny thing is, though, that if tomorrow morning I woke up and discarded all my belief in Christ and everything I hold onto in life, I’m just as certain that I would then doubt the veracity of my new position as an atheist or agnostic. Doubt is just a part of life.

So I’m all for free-thinking, healthy skepticism, and honest questioning, but I’ve noticed that most people who champion doubt over faith display a remarkable ability to question everything but their own doubting. Somehow we have become convinced of the infallibility of our own reasoning. Yet implicit in the message of the cross is a basic distrust of the powers of the human mind to really apprehend truth at all (see 1 Corinthians 2). 

What am I saying? Just that the New Testament bears out an honest approach to life, coupled with a startling breakthrough into the visible realm of a message from “beyond the veil.” And when men and women were first brought face to face with this revelation they really didn’t know what to make of it.

They only knew that their hearts burned within them as he spoke to them of the true meaning of the scripture.

They only knew that hope overflowed from hidden depths within them as they heard the news their teacher had come back from the dead.

They only knew that something had happened-something mysterious and drastic and mighty beyond all comprehension-which would forever change the world, and forever change the way men would relate to God and to one another.

Think about that this Easter!

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About Joshua

Writer, husband, father, friend.

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