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In 1982, Pope John Paul II expressed that the denominations of Christianity should unite on truth through the resurrection:
Today’s Gospel passages have called attention in particular to two aspects of the gift of the Holy Spirit which Jesus invoked upon his disciples: he is the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of unity. On the first Pentecost day, the Holy Spirit descended on that small band of disciples to confirm them in the truth of God’s salvation of the world through the death and Resurrection of his Son, and to unite them into the one Body of Christ, which is the Church...
For our faith can be none other than the faith of Pentecost, the faith in which the Apostles were confirmed by the Spirit of truth (emphases added).i
What did John Paul really mean if in Catholic circles—and even in the Common Catechism written for the unification of Protestants and Catholics—the physical resurrection of Christ is being denied? Is he talking out of both sides of his mouth? Is the Bible to be trusted or not? Which of the two sides of the argument would the Pope like us to agree on—that Christ did rise, or that He didn't?
What Are People Saying about the Resurrection?
According to The Common Catechism: A Book of Christian Faith, the physical resurrection of Jesus is regarded as a “permanent problem” for modern humanity, and “full of difficulties.” The authors also say this:
Its message needs to be reinterpreted in a more meaningful manner since the raising of Jesus from the dead is a concept formulated ‘in the language of the Jewish apocalyptic’ which has hardly any relevancy in our modern sociocultural context.ii
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has similar views of the resurrection and ascension of Christ. In the following video interview, Tutu says that "thinking Christians" will recognize that the accounts of the resurrection and ascension of Christ are written with "language that is being used figuratively," and even that Christ's resurrection was "not the revivification of a corpse."
Theologian Robert Funk from the "religiously liberal" Jesus Seminar wrote this:
We should give Jesus a demotion. It is no longer credible to think of Jesus as divine...The plot early Christians invented for a divine redeemer figure is as archaic as the mythology in which it is framed. A Jesus who drops down out of heaven, performs some magical act that frees human beings from the power of sin, rises from the dead, and returns to heaven is simply no longer credible...We must find a new plot for a more credible Jesus (emphasis added).iii
Robert Funk's contemporary at the Jesus Seminar, Professor Marcus Borg, also teaches that the resurrection is not true:
The Bible, however, is unequivocally clear that Jesus died and physically rose again.
What Does Scripture Say about the Resurrection?
Matthew 28:1-10 tells us this:
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Scripture outright says that Jesus died as a man and was physically resurrected. And while He walked the earth, Jesus Himself predicted these things would happen:
And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead (Matthew 17:9).
Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again...But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee (Matthew 20:18-19, 26:3).
And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee (Mark 14:24-28).
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said (John 2:19-22).
Popular Catholics and Protestants are saying that Jesus didn't really rise, and they even seem to deny His appearance here on Earth in physical form. However, John 20 tells us that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead, and gives us an important lesson on faith:
Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”
Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:24-29 NKJV).
In the same way that Thomas insisted on seeing physical proof of Christ's resurrection, many people today won't believe until they have seen it for themselves. But the words Jesus spoke to Thomas are just as relevant for us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Christ wants us to have faith that His Word is true, whether or not we can fully see the proof.
The Papacy wants us to unite under a doctrine that they deem a "permanent problem" with "hardly any relevancy" for our culture. If Catholics no longer believe in the resurrection, then instead of uniting on the fact that Jesus did rise from the dead, we are really being asked to unite on the belief that he did not actually rise from the dead. The more we study the Papacy, the more we can see how unBiblical it has become.
The historian Ranke says this about Protestant-Catholic relations: "In the year 1617, everything betokened a decisive conflict between them. The Catholic party appears to have felt itself the superior. At all events it was the first to take up arms."
This article highlights quotes from historical and Catholic sources proving the Papacy's aggressive nature.
Hegelian dialectic thinking is applied in many situations in world politics. Often the ordinary people are used as pawns in the game of Hegelian psychology played by those who pull the strings of world control.
Most people can understand the reasoning behind nine of the Ten Commandments—don't kill, don't lie, don't steal. But what about the Sabbath Commandment? Why would God give such a law? Why should we follow it?