by Mark Tooley
This morning I was awoken by LOUD music at a Pentecostal Hispanic retreat center across the street. I would like to have slept later, but it is Easter. The Methodist church I’ll attend later this morning will be more subdued.
The Hispanic Pentecostals across the street represent surging global Christianity. By some counts, for example, China will have 250 million Christians in 16 years, making it the numerically largest Christian country.
I wonder how many of these millions of Chinese Christians doubt Christ’s bodily resurrection? A Religion News Service article suggests Christians are divided over the resurrection. It contrasts a twenty something Canadian Evangelical youth pastor who believes with 82 year old Episcopal Bishop John Spong who infamously does not:
Spong’s Bible studies were enormously popular, attracting 300 people to each session, he said. His congregations grew as a result.
“When people hear it, they grab on to it,” Spong said. “They could not believe the superstitious stuff and they were brainwashed to believe that if they could not believe it literally they could not be a Christian.”
The article doesn’t mention that Spong lost over 40 percent of his membership while bishop of New Jersey. I’ve been to some of his events, which tend to be all elderly people.
A recent Rasmussen poll shows 69 percent of Americans across the board believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. Obviously this number is much higher among specifically church goers.
Spong’s school of thought lost the debate long ago, in America, and more dramatically around the world. But there will always be skeptics and scoffers, even and perhaps especially among elites within the churches.
Liberal Christianity of the kind Spong espouses never grows because few if any are motivated by its obtuse metaphors and syllogisms. Diluted religion provokes mostly indifference.
Christ’s bodily resurrection will continue to be the definitive Good News of all time for hundreds of millions around the world. There’s no other message that will ever equal it, because it has the advantage of being true.