Can You Be A Christian Without Believing the Resurrection?

Can you be a Christian without believing the resurrection?

Christians are very different in many ways. We are Democrats and Republicans as well as independents. We come from all over the country and all over the world.

In my own congregation we have people from many places in Latin America, almost all 50 states, as well as many Europeans and Asians. We even have a Korean congregation as one of our campuses.

All of those different origins and backgrounds makes us different, but there is something that makes us very much alike.We are people who call Jesus Lord and Savior. We are united by our common love for Him.

So, can an individual be a Christian and not believe in the resurrection of Jesus?
Sometimes, we hear that this is the case. We hear that people are attracted to the ethic of Jesus. They love the idea of love. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” is an extremely attractive way to live. Most people believe in “do unto others as you would have them do to you” even though they don’t know who said it and popularized it.

Paul didn’t answer the question, “Can you be a Christian without believing the resurrection?” but He certainly dealt with the importance of the resurrection.

He told us that the resurrection is the essential element of the Christian faith. It is the resurrection of Jesus which affirmed the significance and power of His death.

As he took our place on the cross, the resurrection shows the power of the cross to bring hope, forgiveness, and righteousness in our lives.

Everything we read about those early disciples shows that the cross without the resurrection did not give them hope or joy. It was the resurrection that showed them the efficacy of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Those early disciples had a hard time believing the resurrection because they were overjoyed at the prospect (Luke 24:41). It was one of those things we often say was “too good to be true.”

But, it was true and because it was true they took the message of Christ’s resurrection to all the world they knew. Because of the resurrection, they suffered and died because they had seen the power of God in the person of Jesus and in His resurrection from the dead.

Without the resurrection, we simply do not see the power of the death of Christ on the cross. Recently, I read a pastor’s remarks that without the resurrection the crucifixion was simply the sad ending of a good man. But with the resurrection, his death gives us an eternal hope and that sad Friday turned into Good Friday.

Paul summed it up in this way, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17)). Paul said, without the resurrection “we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

But Christ has been raised and that makes all the difference.

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4 Responses

  1. As an attorney, I usually want to elicit “yes” “no” questions when cross examining a witness on the stand but definitely the answer to this question is no.

  2. I would contend that Paul did answer this question in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 when he describes the Gospel “by which also you are saved” (1 Cor. 15:2) when he includes the resurrection as a part of that Gospel. The Christian’s belief in the resurrection is as necessary as the belief in his sacrificial atonement.

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