Christian Faith: The Early Creed
The Christian faith is founded on Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Before the New Testament gospels were even written, the early Christian leaders declared their belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus through a statement of belief known as a creed. The earliest record of the Christian creed is presented by Paul and found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8:
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”
Christian Faith: Importance of the Early Record for the Creed
One of the biggest arguments against the Christian faith is that the resurrection story is a myth that developed over as much as a century after Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross. It was originally thought that the gospel accounts were written as much as 100 years after Jesus walked the earth. Recent scholarship in manuscript reliability and textual criticism now places the gospels at 30 to 50 years after Jesus. Why is the above passage so important? Because Biblical scholars, using the historical records of Paul and his early travels to Damascus and Jerusalem, place the above scripture at about 35 A.D., just 3 to 5 years after the death of Jesus Christ. This is dramatic, because those same scholars would hold that this basic creed for the Christian faith developed far too quickly for a myth to develop and distort the historical record of the resurrection.
Christian Faith: Jesus Christ and His Resurrection
Since the foundation of the Christian Faith is Jesus Christ and His resurrection, then the historical veracity of His life, death and resurrection are tantamount. For as Paul declared later in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:14-17):
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
Although the Christian faith is not based purely on evidence, it is definitely supported by evidence. Faith is not about turning off the brain and merely relying on the heart, or squashing reason in favor of emotion. No, Christian faith is about seeking and knowing Jesus Christ with all facets of the human character. It’s about loving Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
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