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Cynicism about Jesus as an Easter 'treat'

By Spencer Gear - posted Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Where were resurrection scholars such as Wolfhart Pannenberg, Gary Habermas, N T Wright and Norman L Geisler to support the bodily resurrection?

Fr Martin is a New York Times best selling author who wrote, Becoming Who You Are (2006); Jesus: A Pilgrimage(2014); Seven Last Words (2016); and In All Seasons, For All Reasons (2017). However, he's not a resurrection specialist and no evidence for a bodily resurrection was presented by him in Winston's article. She merely said he was 'an author'.

Leading literal, bodily resurrection supporter, Professor Wright, provided 817 pages of research and discussion on The Resurrection of the Son of God (2003). Surely an interview with such a prominent resurrection scholar who is a Professor at the University of St Andrews, Scotland should be sound journalistic practice for a balanced article.


The following citations are from scholars who support the bodily resurrection:

  • Pannenberg: 'The proclamation of Jesus' Resurrection hardly could have developed and prospered at Jerusalem, the place of his Crucifixion and burial, if his tomb had not been empty, gains its full weight together with the absence of any insinuation in Jewish sources that his body remained in its tomb or that the tomb was not known' (Pannenberg 1987:131).
  • Habermas: 'In the New Testament passages that define the Gospel content, the Gospel message which we are told to believe for salvation and eternal life is the Deity, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of Jesus. If you have believed in Jesus in light of these facts, that's the Gospel (as in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; see also verses 3-7; cf. Rom. 1:3-4; Rom. 10:9; or the Acts creedal texts in passages such as 1:31-36; 4:10)' [Habermas, Q&A Topics, 2005-2018].
  • Wright: 'The best historical explanation for the rise of the multi-faceted phenomenon we know as early Christianity is the combination of an empty tomb and the sightings of Jesus himself bodily alive (though in a transformed, not merely resuscitated, body) for a month or so after his crucifixion; and that the best explanation for the empty tomb and the sightings is the proposal that Jesus was indeed fully alive again and that his body had been transformed into what I have called a "transphysical" state' (NTWrightPage2018).

There is another issue with Winston's presentation.

b. Resurrection details were invented by scholars

This was Korb's interpretation of the resurrection: 'What I mean is that we can reach the lowest points of our lives, of going deep into a place that feels like death, and then find our way out again – that's the story the Resurrection now tells me. And at Easter, this is expressed in community, and at its best, through the compassion of others'. What has this change from literal to metaphorical understanding done? It has 'given the story more power' (in Winston 2014).

From where does this meaning of resurrection related to the low parts of our lives and finding a way out come? How do we know Easter is expressed in community and compassion to others? Who determines that this metaphorical meaning gives the story more power?

According to Spong, the resurrection says 'Jesus breaks every human limit, including the limit of death, and by walking in his path you can catch a glimpse of that' (in Winston 2014).


I have read the Gospel stories many times, including the passion-resurrection of Jesus, for about 50 years. Not once have I read these deconstructed details in the Gospel accounts, Matthew 27 and 28; Mark 15 and 16; Luke 23 and 24, and John 19 and 20and Paul's resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15.

From where do Korb and Spong's ideas come?

c. Out of a postmodern mind

As a typical postmodernist, Spong admitted there is 'no such thing as "objective history"' (Spong 1992:37).

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About the Author

Spencer Gear PhD is a retired counselling manager, independent researcher, Christian minister and freelance writer living in Brisbane Qld.

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