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FIRST-PERSON: More than blind faith

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–While on a visit to Japan several years ago, I was given the opportunity to visit a Buddhist temple. My guide was a young lady who appeared to be in her early 20s. She and I talked about many things during the course of the tour. Eventually, our conversation turned toward religion.

When I asked my escort her thoughts about Jesus Christ, she was polite but pointed. She believed that Jesus Christ was a good teacher but nothing more. When I pressed her about his claim to be God, she dismissed the notion. “In the history of the world”, she said, “many have claimed to be divine.” I smiled and replied, “Perhaps, but only one rose from the dead!”

Easter is the exclamation point to Jesus Christ’s claim that he is “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that “no man comes to the Father, but through Me.” The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the event that sets Christianity apart from all other religions. The Apostle Paul said it well, “And if Christ has not been raised [from the dead], your faith [Christianity] is worthless.”

Some insist the issue of Christ’s resurrection is a matter of blind faith. Charles Colson would disagree. In fact, he would offer a contemporary parallel that offers a compelling argument in support of the biblical assertion that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Colson served as special counsel to President Richard Nixon. He was also a co-conspirator in the infamous Watergate cover-up. As a result, Colson pled guilty to the crime of obstruction of justice and did time in a federal prison.

With the Watergate scandal unfolding, Colson began a soul quest that concluded with a commitment to Jesus Christ. Later, as he began to ponder one of the fundamentals of the Christian faith — the resurrection — Colson found his conspiracy experience to be most enlightening.

Reflecting on the Watergate scandal in his book “Loving God,” Colson writes:

“With the most powerful office in the world at stake, a small band of hand-picked loyalists, no more than ten of us, could not hold a conspiracy together more than two weeks…. Yet even the prospect of jeopardizing the President we’d worked so hard to elect, of losing the prestige, power, and personal luxury of our offices was not enough incentive to make this group of men contain a lie. Nor, as I reflect today, was the pressure really all that great…. There was certain to be keen embarrassment; at the worst, some might go to prison; though that possibility was by no means certain. But no one was in grave danger; no one’s life was at stake….

“This is why the Watergate experience is so instructive for me. If John Dean and the rest of us were so panic stricken, not by the prospect of beatings and execution, but by political disgrace and a possible prison term, one can only speculate about the emotions of the disciples.

“Unlike men in the White House, the disciples were powerless people, abandoned by their leader, homeless in a conquered land. Yet they clung tenaciously to their enormously offensive story that their leader had risen from his ignoble death and was alive — and was the Lord….

“Take if from one who was inside the Watergate web, who saw firsthand how vulnerable a cover-up is: Nothing less than a witness as awesome as the resurrected Christ could have caused those men to maintain to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive and the Lord.”

There are many religions present in the world. Each contains wisdom and philosophical insight that adherents find helpful. However, only one has as its author a man who claimed to be God and then validated that assertion by resurrecting from the dead. As a result, the followers of Jesus Christ everywhere celebrate his triumph over death. To them it is more than blind faith; it is a living reality.
Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church, McMinnville, Ore.

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  • Kelly Boggs