Foreword: The Background of Unbelief

There was a time when all Believers believed! As I remember, back in the 60's, there was a professor and theologian that called himself a "Christian Atheist." Back when words had meaning, this would blow your mind. A Christian is one that believes that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God. An Atheist, on the other hand, is one that denies the existence of God, who was and is the Father of Christ.

 There was a time when all Believers believed biblical miracles were real, that is, they were actually signs and wonders performed by the power of God, in violation of the laws of nature. Western civilization was founded on Christianity, and the Bible was considered God's revelation to mankind. In other words, biblical miracles were accepted as actually to have happened. Then came the movement called "rationalism." Man, in his wisdom, concluded that because God no longer worked miracles, in the biblical sense, they never existed.

 Although Western Civilization was Christianized, for the most part, a number of intellectuals could not bring themselves to accept miracles as recorded in God's Word. They believed God was the Creator and Grand Architect of the Universe (Genesis 1:1ff and John 1:1ff). This was because of the obvious indications of intelligent design (Psalms 19:1) found in their study of the universe. They were known as Deists. Among the founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are usually considered among their number. Thomas Jefferson even compiled a version of the New Testament omitting the miracles in the ministry of Christ, but emphasizing His great moral teachings.

 As Christendom became divided concerning miracles, those that held miracles as historical, called themselves "Fundamentalists," with emphasis on the virgin birth and the resurrection. The unbelievers explained away the resurrection of Christ by various theories such as the "swoon theory." The evidence of the empty tomb the third day was and is ignored. The fact that the guards "testified" Jesus' disciples stole the body while they were asleep would not hold up in any real court (Matthew 27:62-66 28:11-15). The fact they went to sleep on watch and lived, also gives lie to their story. The fact of the matter is that the resurrection of Christ is vital proof of Christianity.

 The resurrection of Christ the third day makes the other signs and wonders acceptable to any open minded individual. As the apostle Paul points out, God declares Jesus to be the son of God by the resurrection (Romans 1:3-4). Not only that, but if Christ was not raised: (1) there will be no general resurrection, (2) our faith is also vain, (3) the apostles are false witnesses, (4) we are yet in our sins, (5) those that have fallen asleep in Christ are perished, and (6) if we have hope in Christ we are miserable or most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

 Without the Lord working with biblical miracles to confirm the Word in the first century (Mark 16:20) Christianity is without substance and we would be without hope.

 Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK