The Unexplained Success of the Church

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The Unexplained Success of the Church

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No one willingly dies to perpetrate a hoax. One dies only for something he is convinced is the truth. Had Jesus' death and resurrection been a fraud, surely at some point one or more of the disciples would have broken ranks and come forward to confess that it was all just a fabrication, or that at best they had vivid imaginations fueled by high hopes. But they all died for what they knew was true. One by one they witnessed each other die a martyr's death because of their beliefs. Yet all remained true. What reason can we find to explain that the Church founded on Jesus Christ transformed the world of the first century? The odds were enormous against such a small sect with so much opposition experiencing such success. "The resurrection of Jesus is the explanation the church herself gave, and is the only adequate one. Cambridge New Testament scholar C.F.D. Moule argues this way: 'If the coming into existence of the Nazarenes, a phenomenon undeniably attested by the New Testament, rips a great hole in history, a hole of the size and shape of the Resurrection, what does the secular historian propose to stop it up with?'" (Scaling the Secular City, p. 181). As Will Durant puts it: "That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels" (Caesar and Christ, p. 557). GN

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