The Benefit of the Doubt
Wiebe told me about another scholar, who has written an article which calls into question the resurrection of Jesus, claiming that those who encountered the risen Christ were in altered states of consciousness, and so were, in effect, only seeing things. Wiebe has begun an exchange with this scholar. The battle is joined.
I asked Wiebe: "Do you envision this man ever being so convinced by the evidence that he believes—and, more, that he worships, that he cries out in wonder, shame, joy, 'My Lord and my God'?"
Wiebe laughed a sad, wry laugh. "No," he said. "No, I don't."
That's not honest doubt. That's something very different—intellectual dogma, doctrinaire agnosticism, hidebound ideology, scholarly Trivial Pursuit. That's the refusal to be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.
Over that, I'll take Thomas and his doubt any day.
Mark Buchanan is pastor of New Life Community Baptist Church in Duncan, British Columbia. Illustration by Sterling Hundley
For more meditations on these verses and Thomas's doubt, see classic writings and sermons from:
- John Chrysostom (c.347-407)
- Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
- Origen (c.185-254)
- Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92)
- Alexander Balmain Bruce (1831-1899)
More links to meditations are available at Textweek.org
Past articles by Mark Buchanan include:
Running with Jonah | Do we really want to be closer to God? (Nov. 3, 1999)
Trapped in the Cult of the Next Thing | If ever there was a cult that gave us stones when we asked for bread, this is it. (Sept. 6, 1999)
Stuck on the Road to Emmaus | The secret to why we are not fulfilled. (July 12, 1999)
We're All Syncretists Now | Not religious, just spiritual. (Books & Culture, Jan./Feb. 2000)
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