In 1966 the smoldering battle between theologically orthodox and liberal Germans erupted when 22,000 believers filled the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund to protest against German liberal higher criticism and more particularly the theology of Rudolf Bultmann and his followers. Subsequently the German news magazine Der Spiegel ran a series of articles covering that event and also giving interviews with Bultmann, Conzelman, Bergmann, and Künneth. Bultmann was asked whether he was convinced, as he once wrote, “that a corpse cannot become alive again and climb out of the grave.” His reply was simple: “My opinion about the empty tomb is, in fact, the one expressed in the sentence you have quoted.” The writers of the New Testament make the physical resurrection of Jesus from the grave the touchstone of the Christian faith. If I must choose between the opinion of Bultmann and the witness of Paul, John, Matthew, Luke, and Peter, I will accept the word of the apostles.
This leads up to the thrust of this particular issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. It is a Reformation issue, and behind the Reformation lies the imperishable truth that Jesus is risen from the dead. Whoever denies the Resurrection denies that which undergirds the Reformation and indeed all biblical evangelism in our day.1
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