My life begins and ends with Christ. This is the only way I can describe my spiritual journey. Christ is the only reality of which I am certain. Christ alone is the Rock upon which I stand. He is my door into the transcendent reality that is God.
When theodicy causes me to doubt God, Christ is real. When the Scriptures seem unbelievable, self-contradictory and in places immoral, the figure of Jesus shines from them like a beacon. When the Church and church people betray Christian values, Christ never fails.
In my intellectual life I am continually reexamining my beliefs. Socrates said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” If that is true, then the old Athenian would consider my life very worthwhile. I question everything all the time. I am a Christian skeptic.
I accept nothing on blind faith. On Easter evening I would have lined up behind doubting Thomas to touch the wounds of Christ. Even then I would have thought Thomas too quick to believe his own senses! Socrates was accused of corrupting the youth of this day by teaching them to question everything. He would have welcomed me as a co-conspirator. I never stop questioning.
Sometimes I wish I were not so distrustful of Christianity. How much easier my life would be as a pastor if I could just accept Church teachings on faith! How nice it must be to never question one’s religious beliefs or assumptions! I envy believers who never doubt and are absolutely certain of everything Christian. I am not one of them. I am certain of nothing … but Christ.
Time and again, when I come to the end of a rigorous bout of spiritual self-examination, Christ remains true. This Christ is not just a subjective Savior apprehended by personal faith; I am talking about the historical Jesus. When I ruthlessly examine the Scriptures with the most critical eye, I repeatedly come to the conclusion that Jesus is the real thing.
In particular Jesus’ resurrection is irrefutable. I have studied all the arguments of the atheists and radical Biblical scholars. When all the arguments have been examined carefully, it is clear that as far as we can know anything about the past through historical science, then we can know this: Jesus’ tomb was empty that Sunday morning. As improbable as it seems, the most reasonable explanation for the empty tomb is that Christ had risen from the dead.
If you doubt this is true, then I suggest you do your own investigation. Please do not take my word for it; I wouldn’t if I were you. Examine all the possibilities; look at all the evidence. Leave nothing out. As part of your search you might want to read a book that recently finished entitled “Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics” by William Lane Craig, Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. He does a very thorough job of exploring all the relevant issues.
If this is true – if Jesus truly rose from the grave - that changes everything. It changes the philosophical arguments for the existence of God. It changes the historical arguments for Jesus’ miracles. It changes our understanding of death. It changes our hopes and dreams. It changes our lives. It changes my life – over and over again.