Chuck Colson on the Resurrection...

(TB: Chuck Colson gave himself to many works lots of us praise God for. Beyond his prison work and efforts to reform sentencing laws, there's his writing. One year Mary Lee and I gave one of his books to the other staff members of our congregation as a Christmas gift. Also I've recommended or given away his book Born Again any number of times. It's that rare bio that bears some resemblance to Augustine's Confessions. What a wonderful testimony of God's grace to recommend to unbelievers. Here's another piece of his writing that's meant a lot to me. I've used it in Easter sermons and commend it to you.)

“Watergate” and the Resurrection of Christ” by Chuck Colson

One of those involved in “Watergate”

After I became a Christian, my lawyer’s mind demanded evidence regarding the Bible. Was it legend, or could it really be taken as God’s revelation?

I read some excellent books. But ultimately it was my experience in Watergate, strange as that will sound, that convinced me the Bible is the authoritative, inerrant revelation of God. Let me explain...

In looking at the Bible, we Christians ought first to examine what Jesus says. “Thy Word is truth,” He proclaims unequivocally. Jesus always based His sermons on the Scriptures. He rebuffed Satan’s temptation by taking His stand solely upon the Word. “It is written, it is written,” He repeated. So if we claim faith in Christ, we should take His Word for the authority of the Scripture.

The critic, of course, says this is a circular argument. It is the Bible which tells us about Jesus, but we look to Jesus for the authority of the Bible.

So what breaks that circular reasoning? What is it that proves the authenticity of Christ?

It is the fact that He was bodily raised from the grave. The resurrection establishes His authority, for it validates His claim to be God. That’s why Paul minces no words, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless.”

So what is the evidence of His resurrection? The eyewitness accounts of the apostles were recorded, as was Hebrew custom, with meticulous care...

The 11 apostles and Paul went about the then-known world for 40 years proclaiming their monstrously offensive statement that Jesus had risen from the dead. Never—though they endured persecution, beatings, prison and ultimately, all but one, a martyr’s death—did they renounce the fact of the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Now what has all this got to do with Watergate?

Ehrlichman, Haldeman, Mitchell, myself and the rest believed passionately in the President. We had at our fingertips every imaginable power and privilege. I could phone an aide’s office and have a jet waiting at Andrews Air Force Base, order Cabinet members of generals around, change the budget.

Yet even at the prospect of jeopardizing the President, even in the face of all the privileges of the most powerful office in the world, the threat of embarrassment, perhaps jail, was so overpowering and the instinct for self-preservation so overwhelming, that one by one, those involved deserted their leader to save their own skin.

What has that got to do with the resurrection? Simply this: Watergate demonstrates human nature. No one can ever make me believe that 11 ordinary human beings would for 40 years endure persecution, beatings, prison, and death, without ever once renouncing that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead.

Only an encounter with the living God could have kept those men steadfast. Otherwise, the apostle Peter would have been just like John Dean, running to the prosecutors to save his own skin. He had already done it three times.

No, the evidence is overwhelming. Those men held to that testimony because they had seen Christ raised from the dead. And if indeed He was resurrected, that affirms His deity. As God, He cannot be mistaken in what He teaches and cannot lie. An infallible God cannot err. A holy God cannot deceive.

[From a speech delivered by Chuck Colson at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention 2/84 and reported in Religious Broadcasting 3/84.]

 

Comments

Arguments like Colson's are very compelling. But the scoffer would say, "Oh, the Catholic church destroyed the documents of the apostles recanting their testimony of the resurrection years ago."

So again, faith is a gift and the fool will always say in his heart that there is no God.

So Colson starts strong and ends weak - starts with the authority of scripture but ends in the reasoning of men, which can be torn down by the reasoning of men.

As soon as he allows the scoffer to call the authority of scripture "circular" and he says, "evidence", he has given in to human reasoning and the logical progression leads to a fleshly unbelief which may look authentic, not true belief based on the authority of scripture. In his attempt to deal with the scoffer he dismantles his own foundation and yet the scoffer will likely remain unchanged.

I'm not saying we should never reason like Colson does, but vain minds, like mine, love that sort of reasoning and so we have to be very wary of it.

Under the circumstances of the Roman Empire if the apostles had recanted they likely would have been spared.

"Born Again" was one of the first Christian books I ever read. The Washington Post appreciation of him is good

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/finding-freedom-in-prison/2012/04/22/gIQANabcaT_story.html

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