It is neat to see that, at least in some circles, the historical notion of the Gospel is being revived. This is critical for the vitality of the church, for a gospel gutted of its history is a long-gone dead gospel. Listen to this excerpt from an article in a leading Australian newspaper published just a few days before Easter. It hits the nail on the head.
There is something about Christianity itself that puts believers in a precarious situation. I am talking about the overtly historical claims of this particular faith. Reports of the public execution of a famous teacher and healer, not to mention his supposed resurrection, are just asking for a raised eyebrow. The logic is simple: if you say that something spectacular took place on the stage of history, thoughtful people are going to ask you historical questions. It is as if Christianity happily places its neck on the chopping block of public scrutiny and invites anyone who wishes to come and take a swing. (From Sydney Morning Herald, 3-21-2008)
Indeed, the Gospel is not content to hide out in the private world of our individual emotions, but it thrusts itself onto the public stage of historical investigation. Either the events happened or they did not happen. And if they did not happen, if they are proven historically dubious, then they are not worth our devotion. But if Jesus is raised from the dead, then whole-hearted devotion is the only logical response.
Something to think about from “The Kingdom Perspective”.
[The Apostle Paul, giving a defense of the Gospel to Festus, a Roman official, and King Agrippa, said:] “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad.”
But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.”
~Acts 26:22-26 NASB