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Pause for thought

Who moved the stone?

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I have always been troubled by what many people call “blind faith” but which is in reality no better than superstition or intellectual laziness. I firmly believe that the God I worship is not a God of confusion but the one who energetically wants us to understand as much of His glory and majesty as our human intellects will allow. I have many passages of scripture to back up this belief but let me share just a few:

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:…” Isaiah 1:18

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

Paul was exasperated by the Corinthians’ unwillingness to delve deeply into investigating his spiritual teaching:

“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready” 1 Corinthians 3:2 NIV

So we should not be timid in exploring and testing the premises which underlie our faith —  such exploration will only strengthen our beliefs and our ability to communicate them rationally to others.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,…” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

I was privileged to grow up in a christian family, so many of my beliefs originally came to me by osmosis from those around me until I attended university. Then the environment was very different and we were encouraged to “question everything” ( it was the 60’s!). I did.

If my church experience was to be more than just a comfortable social club with great music and fellowship, I needed to look at the very heart of my beliefs and particularly the resurrection of Jesus. 

The resurrection is the “sine qua non” (“without this, nothing”) of Christianity, and though my heart wanted to believe I needed my head to be in agreement. My education in science, mathematics, and logic gave me the tools of the scientific method, but this was not the kind of thing where you could (ethically) set up an experiment and repeat it and record results! I needed wisdom for a different approach, so I took the quote above from James 1:5 to heart and asked God for guidance.

The result was spectacular. 

By “coincidence” — I no longer believe in “coincidences” of this sort, but rather “divine appointments” — two books came to my notice. Both were written by agnostics who set out to dis-prove the supernatural events of that first Easter morning, but after presenting and examining the factual evidence available to them, they became firmly convinced that the biblical recounting must be true. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously had Sherlock Holmes say, “Once you eliminate the impossible, then whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”. The method of proof they use is the same standard we use in a courtroom: the evidence presented must convince you beyond a reasonable doubt of the verdict.

I won’t re-present the arguments here since time and space preclude me from doing so, but I do recommend the books to you as they are still in print, reasonably priced, and available on Amazon!  They are:

“Who Moved The Stone?” by Frank Morrison (a pseudonym of Albert Henry Ross)

And

“Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis

The arguments and evidence they present are compelling far beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact you will end up wondering why everyone is not convinced! You will certainly want to rush out and tell all your friends and neighbors. I am sure that the ending of “Who moved the stone?” will leave you tingling and you will wholeheartedly agree with Job: “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” Job 19:25 NIV

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

Saturday April 23rd, 2022
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