Most likely because of Christmas, I have been thinking about what makes me or anybody else a true Christian. I am not for sure why this question has been on my mind. The question became an irritant because, on the 29th of December, I read an article in the New York Times titled “The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing.” The article made me think about those of us who call ourselves Christians. The article alludes to the idea that Bart Campalo (the son of Tony Campalo) who stopped believing in Christ, never believed in Christ in the first place. Why is that? Bart never accepted that Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the tomb three days after the crucifixion and conquered death.
Wow! I believe that “The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing” is like so many of us. How many of us who call ourselves Christians believe that Christ rose from the dead, conquered death and that we too can be resurrected? This piece of doctrine even goes beyond believing that Christ died for us. How so? Many people have felt that they have been forgiven of sins, felt the power of prayer, felt the guiding hand of Christ in their lives. But taking resurrection in a literal sense is an entirely different thing. Be honest, it sounds crazy. Our bodies reuniting with our spirits? Many of us might simply believe in or respect the teachings of Christ. Christ’s teaching is widespread throughout the world. In fact, I have read things written by atheist, Buddhist, Jews, and Muslims that quotes the teachings of Christ. In fact, if the qualification to be Christian was only to believe in or respect His teachings, much of the world would be considered Christian. This is where Bart Campolo fell. He believed in the teachings of Christ, but never accepted the “supernatural.”
I like the story in Acts chapter 8 about Philip and the Ethiopian. Phillip a disciple of Christ teaches the Ethiopian about Christ while traveling in a wagon. After hearing Phillip teach. The Ethiopian wished to be baptized, and asked Philip “What doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The word resurrection is never used in these scriptures, but I don’t think it must be. To be a Christian one must accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And by accepting that, one accepts everything that goes with it. That Christ rose on the third day, conquered death, and we too can also be resurrected.