“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25, KJV)
I felt called this Good Friday to take a short break from the writing thing to address something I came across this week that left me troubled. An article in OneNewsNow.com claims, “A new poll reveals that less than half (46 percent) of the Christians in the United Kingdom believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the world’s sins.” I have not been able to find a similar poll for the United States, but as a Christian, I find it deeply disturbing that anyone who claims to be a Christian could possibly deny the very foundation of our faith: that Jesus Christ came into this world to sacrifice himself once and for all to save us all from our sins.
Such doubts are not new, of course. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:12–14 KJV). Clearly, there is no true Christian faith without a belief in the resurrection of Our Lord. Those who deny Jesus’ resurrection from the dead deny the very essence of our faith and are clearly stating that they are indeed not, by definition, Christian.
Similarly, I find polls from all over that claim self-described Christian people no longer believe in the existence of Satan. The Church of England has actually written him out of their baptismal rite! I personally find that terrifying—and clear evidence that Satan is, indeed, alive and well in the world today. There is a reason that though I am a member of a continuing Anglican church, I now belong to a church of the worldwide Traditional Anglican Communion, which broke with Canterbury back in the late 1970s. I could no longer worship in a church so clearly bent on preaching heresy.
Being nice, being kind to one another is not the essence of Christianity. Rather the essence of Christianity is to believe “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV). Millions of Christians confess this truth clearly at every mass via the Nicene Creed, saying, “And I look for the Resurrection of the dead; And the Life of the world to come.” Christ gave himself for us, a sacrifice once offered, that all believers might someday join him in heaven. This is stated so clearly in Scripture. What makes so many in the contemporary world so resolutely deny this truth—and so clearly reject this hope?
C. S. Lewis said it best in his Mere Christianity:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
As my own priest, Fr. David W. Munn, wrote in an email earlier this week, “Anyone who believes that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead and [did not die] for our sins are not Christians. Any priest who says Satan does not exist is calling Our Lord and the prophets liars.” Amen! Amen!
May Good Friday bring you a renewed spiritual appreciation of Our Lord’s sacrifice, and may your Easter celebration of his rising from the dead bring you new hope and new life.
Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com