John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Examining Our Presuppositions About the Resurrection

The linchpin of Christianity is the Resurrection of Jesus. That's the core. That's the hub of it all. That's the foundation. There is nothing more central to Christianity than the belief that Jesus came back to life after having been killed in a horrifically gruesome manner. So, it would behoove us to examine our thinking about this most central historical event.

The people I've encountered who reject this event tend to do so out of hand -- without really doing any research. They simply say, "Dead people stay dead, so there is no possibility of a resurrection." That kind of thinking will do us no good; what is required here is some research, and that research must begin with an examination of our presuppositions.

Suppose you asked me, "John, did you preach for an hour at Piedmont Church in Macon, GA, last Sunday?"

There are several presuppositions built into that question. First, you're assuming that I was in Macon last Sunday instead of Alpharetta. Second, you're assuming that I did the preaching instead of Jerry Dingmore (who normally preaches at Piedmont). Third, you're assuming that Piedmont Church exists.

These things are taken for granted in your question and must be agreed upon by both of us before we get around to the discussion on the length of my sermon last weekend.

If someone walks up in the middle of our conversation and says, "I don't believe John was in Macon, and I think Jerry preached if there even is such a place as Piedmont Church" -- well...we'll have difficulty proving that I was only on the platform for about 35 or 40 minutes.

Now, it's a lot easier to prove that I was speaking in Macon at Piedmont than it is to prove how long I spoke. Some of the time I was speaking, I was actually praying. Does that count? But to prove whether or not I was there at all...well...that's a bit easier.

We must approach the Resurrection the same way: There are certain presuppositions that we all carry into our investigation of the most significant event of human history.

For example, we must assume that there was an actual person called Jesus of Nazareth. There's no potential for resurrecting a person who never lived in the first place!

What else? What other things must we assume if we're going to meaningfully discuss the possibility of Jesus' Resurrection as an actual historical event?