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Wow! What a Hole.

Not sure if you remember what famous Christmas movie the words “Wow! What a hole!” come from?

It is a line that always makes me laugh. I was reminded of it when thinking about the resurrection this morning. I was reading Tom Wright on the Easter story from Luke’s Gospel:

“He clearly intended to write of something that had actually happened, something that had not only changed the women’s hearts but had torn a hole into normal history.”

Yes, Luke was clearly trying to say “Wow. What a hole!”

Easter Day has been described as The Greatest Day in history, and it is.

The story of the first Easter leaves a huge footprint in the narrative of human history.

The splash that Easter leaves behind suggests a massive impact in space and time history.

Once again, this year The Spectator Magazine has excelled itself in its Easter coverage. One of the contributors to this edition is Justin Brierley, the author of the recently published The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God. Brierley revisits some of the themes of that book in his article, that is boasts the bold and daring title “A Christian revival is under way in Britain”.

Appeals are made to the noises being made by “New Theists” like Tom Holland suggest that there is a rising tide of openness to the place of Christianity in human history and contemporary life.

Brierley writes that:

“As a Christian I believe things that are dead can come back to life. That’s the point of the story after all.”

Whether Christian revival is gripping Britain today remains to be seen. What is clear is that certain key influencers, some from surprising sources, are affirming the importance of Christianity as a foundation of faith and morality. This may well be a precursor of a more widespread movement of people towards the Christian faith.

This is certainly a helpful climate for preachers to operate in. I have said to a number of younger preachers that it is easier to preach the gospel in the 2020s than it was in the 1980s. The “Death of God” movement of the 1960s had set in by that point, so that it was hard to persuade people to question the anti-supernatural mood of the time.

There is definitely a greater openness to the idea of the supernatural and the possibility that there might be a God. Many people are also more open to the idea that the Jesus narrative is a compelling story that has shaped human history in a unique way.

I often say in preaching that “the good news is only good news if it is true news!”

It does not matter how many celebrity endorsements Jesus receives; the gospel is only compelling if it is true. Human interest or human indifference do not make the gospel any more or less credible.

It has been suggested by some critics of the use of New Theist poster boys like Tom Holland, that this could imply a lack of confidence in the gospel. The Gospel is self-validating — the chief historical endorsement is the Easter message preached by nobodies echoing the Father’s action in raising Jesus. “He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash

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