Let’s pretend that we make up a religion. We want to make some money so we make up our own church and say that God has appeared to us in a visible way. Now we will have to be creative and think of something that some people would fall for. We decide to tell them that God appeared to us above an old communion table in an old abandoned Church. Sounds kind of crazy but we use a lot of Christianity and scripture and we are on our way to starting a false religion that will make us some money.
We (five people in our leadership group) put money down on that abandoned building and clean it up and put the table in a prominent place in our church building. We tell the people that God appeared above this table and told us to start this new religion. We get the best musicians we can and put on a show. We use some scripture now and then from different sources in order to fool some Christians and others into joining this false religion. Most people think we are crazy but a few people get hooked and are following us and giving us money.
Our church keeps growing and at our five year celebration we have 50 people in attendance. While we are celebrating, 50 terrorists bust in the back door and put a knife to each of our throats and ask: “Did God appear and speak through that table? If you say yes, then we will kill you!”
How many people do you think would die for our faith? We might be able to convince 45 people to die for the lie we created, but five of us would probably let them know it was a lie. Why would the makers of the lie, die for that same lie?
People have died for many different reasons and religions throughout the history of time. Why would so many die for lies? They die for lies because they think they are dying for the truth. The difference in Christianity is that the leaders of the religion died for the religion.
Why would the leaders of a lie die for a lie that they made up? All of the apostles but John, died cruel deaths according to history. Why would the apostles make up a story that Jesus had come back to life and then die for that lie? If it were a lie, someone surely would have come clean and told the truth to save his own skin. They would maybe die for the lie if they made money, but the early Christians became poor because of their belief.
When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth he told them in chapter 15 that they could believe that Jesus came back to life, not only because of Paul’s testimony, but they could go and ask the other Apostles and some 500 people who saw Jesus alive; “most of whom are still living.” The truth is that Jesus did come back to life and that is no lie!
Dr. Andy Spencer is the Senior Minister of First Church of Christ on Ledbetter Road in Xenia.