"The Scriptures corroborate that Christ did in fact die, and Scripture also makes plain the fact that Christ rose from the dead. Not only did he visit the Apostles, but verse 6 tells us that there were over five hundred more witnesses to his resurrected body."
The written record of an event saves us from great misrepresentation of the truth. Rumor mills and man’s wisdom rarely lead us to accuracy and more rarely lead us to sound orthodox belief. How many unbiblical beliefs can you think of right now that our culture has reached because large groups of people confirm for each other what simply sounds best to them? I had a professor in seminary, in describing this problem, note that we live in a world of widespread mutual consent. If enough people can validate a lie to one another, they will claim, and likely truly believe, that the lie is in fact true.
It would seem that we need a source of truth greater than any of us.
Many of the same heretical ideas we hear today are merely new manifestations of things the church has battled for centuries. In those early days, many church fathers and other leaders had to devote much of their time and attention to battling those heresies. Faithful shepherds of their flocks could not allow abhorrent teaching to seep into their communities and lead new Christians down paths that would derail their walks with Jesus or allow those teachings to create barriers for new converts to authentically trust in Christ. They, too, needed a source of truth greater than themselves.
We have already learned how the Nicaean council in particular was formed to establish language for doctrine against the heresy of Arianism. The church stood divided over different views of the reality of God, with the one side diminishing the deity of our king, Jesus. As these early Christ followers met they had two great sources from which to draw truth. First, some of them had studied under a faithful leader who had learned from a pastor who received his discipleship from another who heard the story directly from Peter or James or John.
Truth passed down became normal practice. When we see a widely accepted church pattern that goes across both geography and generations, we tend to trust that God’s hand orchestrates that consistency and thereby keeps these valid practices and beliefs intact. This is tradition.
The other source of truth, and the one by which tradition must be judged, is Scripture. We believe that “all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Because the words of the Bible are the words of God, it is our ultimate source of truth. Paul, as he was writing what would become Scripture himself, upholds the Scriptures available to him as the well of truth.
1 Corinthians 15:3-5 – “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve.”
It is from this very passage that the creedal writers found the language “in accordance with the Scriptures.” This early Christian confession substantiates Christ’s work in his death and in his resurrection. Paul makes it very clear that he has not invented the story of Jesus’ passion.
The Scriptures corroborate that Christ did in fact die, and Scripture also makes plain the fact that Christ rose from the dead. Not only did he visit the Apostles, but verse 6 tells us that there were over five hundred more witnesses to his resurrected body.
Jesus’ death and resurrection are not cleverly devised myths, nor are they the result of man’s wisdom or a bad game of telephone. These things are in accordance with the Scriptures. These creedal truths are in harmony with God’s own word, and, therefore, they are both trustworthy and good.
Mr. Matt Holland, Flower Mound Dean of Students