Chapter 17 of Martin Thielen’s book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? is entitled Jesus’ Resurrection. His subtitle is “Is There Hope?” Thielen does a masterful job of affirming the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and showing that it is our HOPE.
I like how he brings in contemporary films (such as Cast Away and The Shawshank Redemption) to show the absolute necessity of HOPE. He also bears his own soul in telling about his sorrow of having to conduct the funeral for a pastor friend who died (with his whole family) in a car crash. Only hope (inspired by the resurrection of Jesus) could redeem this awful tragedy, he thought to himself.
He quotes the words from The Shawshank Redemption in which Andy says to Red, “Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
MY RESPONSE: I don’t disagree with Thielen about anything in this chapter. What concerns me is that he says nothing to challenge one of the scholars he quotes earlier in his book (Marcus Borg) on another issue. But Borg said the following about the resurrection of Christ: “I think the resurrection of Jesus really happened, but I have no idea if it involves anything happening to his corpse, and, therefore, I have no idea whether it involves an empty tomb, and for me, that doesn’t matter because the central meaning of the Easter experience or the resurrection of Jesus is that His followers continue to experience Him as a living reality, a living presence after His death. So I would have no problem whatsoever with archaeologists finding the corpse of Jesus. For me that would not be a discrediting of the Christian faith or the Christian tradition.”
Granted, Thielen is writing these last chapters to state what he believes Christians ought to believe. But I wish he were more forthcoming about those who deny the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.