Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Great Resurrection Hoax

I still remember the knot in the pit of my 20-year-old stomach.1824065

My faith was being challenged, along with the notion that Jesus had actually risen from the dead.  And I didn’t have any answers that satisfied my challenger – or that satisfied me.  It seemed that the resurrection of Jesus was either the greatest hoax ever or the greatest single historical event ever.  And I needed to find out which one it was.

Here is some of what I uncovered, both from the Bible and from non-Biblical documents, that set my heart ablaze and gave my faith bedrock conviction:

1.  Roman guard – How could the team of Roman guards, for whom failure meant the death penalty, have let anyone steal the body?  And if the guards stole it, why didn’t they just produce it and kill the Christian faith before it ever got started?

2.  Large stone moved away – How did the 1½- to 2-ton stone in front of the tomb get rolled up hill?

3.  Empty tomb – Why would both Jewish and Roman sources admit to an empty tomb if they had not in fact verified that the tomb was empty?  And if they had the body, why didn’t they produce it and put an abrupt end to all this resurrection talk?

4.  Broken Roman seal – How was the Roman seal, which stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire, broken?  And if the FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire set out to catch those who were responsible, why did they come up empty-handed?

5.  Grave clothes – How did Jesus emerge from his grave clothes and from the 100-pound gummy substance that held the grave clothes together?  

6.  Over 500 witnesses – What do you say in the face of over 500 witnesses who claim to have seen the resurrected Jesus in bodily form on several different occasions?

7.  Martyred apostles – Perhaps most compelling, why would eleven of Jesus’ twelve apostles (excluding John who was exiled to the island of Patmos) all independently die a horrific death as a martyr for their faith in the risen Christ if they knew the resurrection was merely a hoax?

Assessing whether Jesus’ resurrection is hoax or history has greater impact than perhaps any other assessment one can make.  

For if Jesus rose from the dead, then He must be who He claimed to be.

     And if He is who He claimed to be, then He must be God.

          And if He is God, then His claim to be the exclusive way to salvation has validity.

               And if He is God, then He has authority over my life. 

What do you say?  Was the resurrection a hoax, or was it history?  Perhaps even more important, what are you going to do about it?

Divorce-Proof Your Marriage (Well, Almost)

Divorce1What would you do if you learned that there is a common factor in marriages that reduces the divorce rate from about 50% to less than 0.1%, or one out of 1,152?  Does that grab your attention?  Does that make you want to apply it to your own marriage?

Many studies have shown that the divorce rate in the United States today is approximately 40% to 50%.  In other words, very close to one out of every two marriages in the U.S. today ends in divorce.Divorce2-1

What about marriages of people within the church?  Well, many of those same studies reveal that, very sadly, church-goers get divorced just about as frequently as everyone else in America.  Some studies reveal that this statistic depends of what kinds of Christians are being surveyed, and others provide possible explanations for such a high divorce rate.  But nevertheless, the sad statistic remains that the divorce rate within the church is very close to the divorce rate of the general public – almost one out of two.

However, a Gallup Poll that was conducted in 1997 by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement in Phoenix, Arizona revealed that the divorce rate among couples who pray together regularly is 1 out of 1,152.  That’s a divorce rate of less than one-tenth of one percent.  

Praying together can bind two hearts together with the heart of God.  Praying together can lubricate the frictions of daily marital life much like oil lubricates the engine of a car.  Praying together can smooth away the rough edges and put problems into perspective.  Praying together can touch the heart of God and tap the power of God in your marriage and in your lives.

Does the idea of praying with your spouse intimidate you and make you a little uneasy?  If so, you are not alone!  Why not start small – choose two days of each week on which you will hold hands and each one offer a one- or two-sentence prayer.  Then maybe after a few weeks, you’ll be able to build on that foundation and grow in frequency and length of praying together. 

Certainly there may be extenuating circumstances for which praying together regularly will not preclude the prospect of divorce.  But in most cases, praying together regularly dramatically reduces your chances of divorce.

Why not give it a try this week?  Why not ask your spouse if they will pray with you on a regular basis?  Something that lowers the divorce rate from 50% to 0.1% sure gets my attention!  I hope it grabs yours as well.