In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the Apostle Paul highlights a central message he preached and taught, something he describes as "of first importance." This central, driving message for Paul was the gospel. In Paul's own words, this gospel is
...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third dayaccording to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
One thing I want us to notice is how provable - or falsifiable - Paul's main message is! Paul is basically asking us to fact-check his message. And when we do so (using this passage in 1 Corinthians, and the Gospel accounts, for e.g.) we discover that Jesus' death was public, his burial was public, and his resurrection appearances were (you guessed it!) public. All of these things really happened!
Michael Patton and Reclaiming the Mind ministries have drawn attention to this as well in this post. I ran across this graphic recently (see below, and here's the source) that contrasts the historic "provability" of Christianity with the "privateness" behind the revelation and beginnings of other world religions. A bit simplified? Perhaps. (Pictures usually are, by the way.) But helpful nonetheless.
If you want to read a bit more about this, I encourage you to check out the post at the Reclaiming the Mind blog where I found this, and where they develop this further.
I'm grateful for the work Michael Patton and Reclaiming the Mind ministries are doing to promote strong foundations on which Christians can grow. (A driving priority of the Brookside Institute as well!) I encourage you to keep an eye on what they're doing!
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