Defending The Resurrection Of Jesus: Yesterday, Today And Forever -- By: Ted Cabal

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 18:4 (Winter 2014)
Article: Defending The Resurrection Of Jesus: Yesterday, Today And Forever
Author: Ted Cabal


Defending The Resurrection Of Jesus:
Yesterday, Today And Forever

Ted Cabal

Ted Cabal is professor of philosophy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Cabal has served as the Dean of Boyce College, and has also taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dallas Baptist University. He has written a number of articles on philosophy and apologetics, and is the general editor of The Apologetics Study Bible (2007).

Karl Barth’s famous aversion to accepting biblical miracles as historically accessible included the resurrection of Jesus. This antipathy displayed itself in 1962 at George Washington University during a question-answer dialogue with 200 specially invited religious leaders. After Carl Henry identified himself as the editor of Christianity Today, he asked Barth:

“The question, Dr. Barth, concerns the historical factuality of the resurrection of Jesus.” I pointed to the press table and noted the presence of leading religion editors ... If these journalists had their present duties in the time of Jesus, I asked, was the resurrection of such a nature that covering some aspect of it would have fallen into their area of responsibility? “Was it news,” I asked, “in the sense that the man in the street understands news?”

Barth became angry. Pointing at me, and recalling my identification, he asked” Did you say Christianity Today or Christianity Yesterday?” The audience—largely nonevangelical professors and clergy—roared with delight. When encountered unexpectedly in this way, one often reaches for a Scripture verse. So I replied, assuredly out of biblical context, “Yesterday, today and forever.”1

Indeed! The historically verifiable, bodily resurrection of Jesus the Lord must be defended in every generation—a perennial responsibility with great privilege as part of Gospel proclamation. Christian leaders have done so from antiquity, and the Church now enjoys a wealth of resources for the challenge.

Defending The Resurrection Forever

Just what is to be defended forever? Since the resurrection of Jesus is the sine qua non of Christianity (1 Cor 15:17-19), it necessarily has been defended throughout the history of the Church. The proposition to defend perennially is succinctly expressed in the Apostles Creed: “The third day he rose again from the dead.” And for Christian orthodoxy this has always meant that the bodily raising of Jesus is a historical fact—because this was the clear witness of the apostle...

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