Andrew Hamilton-Thomas responds to a recent survey which revealed a quarter of professing Christians think the resurrection of Jesus is a myth
As Easter Weekend fast approaches Christians are gearing up to mark one of the most important times of the year. But according to a new survey, a quarter of Christians don't believe in the resurrection. (And to those who think this is a statistical blip, a BBC survey from 2017 produced the same result).
The survey also found one in ten Brits consider Easter eggs to be more important that the resurrection when it comes to Easter. And only 36 per cent of Christian participants believed the Bible to be entirely accurate when it comes to the Easter story,
Meanwhile the earlier survey revealed:
- 17% of the general population believe the Bible word-for-word
- 31% of Christians believe the Bible word-for-word, rising to 57% among "active" Christians (those who go to a religious service at least once a month)
- Half of all people surveyed do not believe in the resurrection
- 46% of people say they believe in some form of life after death and 46% do not
- 20% of non-religious people say they believe in some form of life after death
- 9% of non-religious people believe in the resurrection, 1% of whom say they believe it literally
Can you not believe in the resurrection and still be a Christian?
The short answer is no. Jesus being put to death and rising again on the third day should form the core of a believer’s faith.
In John 11:25, Jesus tells Martha that he is the resurrection and the life, and that anyone who believes in him will live even after dying. Jesus constantly prophesied his death to his twelve disciples and even cryptically to the Pharisees (John 2:18-22). Jesus’ death and resurrection was arguably prophesied in the scriptures as early as Genesis 3:15.
Those who tick a box saying 'Christian' but don't have a true faith are nothing new. Paul addresses this issue in 1 Corinthians 15 where he writes, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is worthless, and so is your faith.”
He goes on to say “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” In others words, you’re no different from an unbeliever.
And that’s the problem with these types of surveys. They are completely unreliable because they cannot accurately distinguish between ‘tick-box’ Christians and genuine believers, but instead it groups them all together in the same bracket.
Matthew 25:31 tells us that it is only Christ himself who is able to separate the sheep (believers) from the goats (heathens), because he alone knows all things, and some who are believers now, will decide to become heathens later, and some who are heathens will eventually become believers.
If we say we are Christians we must believe that all scripture, including the gospel, is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) because we walk by faith and not by what we can prove (2 Corinthians 5:7). At the end of the day, if we say we are Christians but we don’t believe in Jesus’s resurrection, the only person’s we’re deceiving is ourselves.