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Introducing Christianity to Mormons: Chapter 6

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Chapter 6: The Resurrection: The Cornerstone of Christianity

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Instead of being a distant deity, God involves Himself in the affairs of humanity. Because God is all-powerful, it is possible for him to break natural law and do anything He wills. Unlike a magician’s sleight of hand, then, miracles are real and meant to glorify God. If miracles can happen, then it is possible for a dead man to raise Himself from the dead. Indeed, the evidence shows that the man Jesus died an excruciating death on the cross, as prophesied in the Old Testament, and then rose again from the dead. While a variety of theories have been created to account for what happened to the body of Jesus, none are plausible besides the miraculous resurrection account detailed in the Bible.

Discussion Questions Chapter 6

1. Why is God’s ability to intervene in the world crucial to the case for Christianity?

If God is unable to intervene in the world, either He is powerless to effect change or He does not care for His creation. But this would go against His nature, as He is both omnipotent as well as full of love, grace, and mercy. Miracles take place as God involves Himself in the world’s affairs, including the resurrection of Jesus. Even His creation displays His fingerprints (Psalm 19:1-6)!

2. The swoon theory describes how Jesus was not dead when placed in the tomb. Provide three reasons why Jesus must have died. Why is the death of Jesus required for Christianity to be true?

Three reasons:

  1. The piercing of the heart, with the spear being shoved through the pericardium and lung, with blood and water separated when it came out–the Bible is very clear about this evidence.
  2. There is no proof that anyone ever survived the Roman cross. The professional guards made sure of that.
  3. The tremendous loss of blood suffered by Jesus–from being whipped to having a crown of thorns shoved into His cranium and then having nails go through His arteries. There was no transfusion available.

It doesn’t seem that most skeptics resort to the swoon theory because of this lack of evidence. However, the other possibilities (as discussed in this chapter) are just as unlikely. Indeed, it appears the empty cross and the historical resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation for all that He endured.

As far as the second part of the question, it is impossible to have a resurrection unless there is a death in the first place. Jesus really died, as the evidence cannot be mistaken.

3. Why does it not make sense that the disciples stole the body of Jesus?

I find it interesting that this is the lie used by the Jewish leaders to explain the missing body. But it’s impossible to believe it could be true for a number of reasons:

  • Why would the disciples commit a crime that, if they were caught, would have cost them their lives? There doesn’t seem to be a plausible motive.
  • If they did steal the body, and it was obvious they did it, why didn’t the authorities round them up and execute them? They seemed lackadaisical in their attempt to find out who the perpetrators were.
  • Why did the disciples not renege on their crime? Surely someone would have ratted out the others, but this is not the case.

Out of all the choices, I find this one to be one of the the least attractive theories.

4. Do you agree with J.C. Ryle when he said, “As long as you live, beware of a religion in which little is said of the cross”? Why is this symbol so important to Christian believers?

I find it interesting that the cross causes such controversy with adherents of other religions. It is a symbol that attracts a number of detractors. But I think this is very powerful, for it is the cross where the penalty for sins was eliminated for Christian believers. As Paul explained, “we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” Two thousand years later, it continues to remain a stumbling block.

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5. Most Latter-day Saints believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Why, then, do you think this particular chapter was included in a book describing basic Christian doctrines when Mormons and Christians generally agree? (Hint: Think about the mindset of a person who leaves Mormonism and is contemplating truth.)

To me, one of the greatest apologetic events that a Christian can point to is the resurrection of Jesus. For two thousand years, nonbelievers have tried to explain away the empty tomb by creating incredible theories to describe what happened. The much simpler solution seems to be that there is a God who decided to intervene in the world’s affairs. He is, after all, God! If God is capable of miracles such as this, then it seems very possible that there is a living God who conquered death, as the empty tomb is the Christian’s coup de grace.


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