If Christ Didn't Rise From The Dead, Christianity Is Useless


The following is an edited audio transcript that was published on in June 2008.

What would happen to Christianity if Christ’s resurrection were disproved?

Virtually all of it would become useless.

I say that not because of any logical deduction, but because that is exactly what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, that if Christ is not raised from the dead, you are still in your sins and we are found to be false teachers (see verses 14-17). And if Paul the apostle says that, then how much more must I say that?

So if somebody could demonstrate that they were wheeling the body of Christ in a wheelbarrow from a tomb near Jerusalem and into this room — and I could be convinced that that was the case — then all my belief in Christianity would be over.

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Then I would either have to commit suicide or grasp for a totally different view of the universe.

The resurrection of Jesus affects absolutely everything for me. It establishes Jesus as the Son of God and it establishes him as having spoken truth in everything he says. Therefore if the resurrection were proved false, then his word, which governs my understanding of the Bible, and the Bible, which governs my understanding of all reality, would fall to the ground.

I would have to go like a beggar seeking for another vision of life. That would be a very tragic thing for me, because not only do I believe that it is true that he rose from the dead, but I also find it very beautiful and satisfying. It is the most wonderful news in all the world, but that would all evaporate if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.

So a person who doesn’t like Christianity can undermine the whole religion if he disproves Christ’s resurrection?

If someone doesn’t like Christianity, then he or she might look at some of the things that make it likable. But if you doubt its veracity or truth, then yes, go to Jesus and the Gospels and let this Jesus as he lived, as he died, and as he gave evidences of his resurrection, bear witness to you. See whether or not the witness of the incarnate, dying, resurrected and living Christ doesn’t authenticate itself for you.

I’ve often said to unbelievers (and believers who want to know how to talk to unbelievers), “How do you credit something that you weren’t there to see? Today we have video and recorders, but in times past when we didn’t have those kinds of technology, how were instances credited?”

The answer is witnesses.

The only way you can credit past events is by witnesses.

So either you despair entirely of any knowledge of past events, or you find ways to listen to witnesses and discern answers to these questions:

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“Are these witnesses true?”

“Do they have the ring of truth about them?”

“Are there enough witnesses that in their varied testimonies give us a faithful rendering of something that happened?”

I would just beseech people to listen to the witnesses of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Listen to the Jesus who speaks in a unified way through all those witnesses as a living person before and after his death. Let him have a say in your life as a witness to see whether or not he doesn’t vindicate his truth claims.

John Piper is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He is author of more than 50 books, including “Reading the Bible Supernaturally.”

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