April 7, 2019
By Dr Chet Harris
For the first time in 44 years I will not preach on Easter morning. I will sit in the pew anticipating a message centered on the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most important beliefs/doctrines for the Christian disciple. Our Christian worldview is governed and defined by the belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. If we relegate the resurrection to a metaphorical understanding the word mythology begins to ring true. When I was in seminary a certain professor taught that the Bible at best must be understood as a bulging metaphor laden with humanities historic attempt to make sense of their world. The characters in the Bible story are created actors for the benefit of telling a good moral story. When he preached, he sounded like a fiery evangelist extolling the truth in the Bible, yet he did not believe any of the referenced stories really happened. Sadly, on Easter morning many pulpits will resound with words about the resurrection of Jesus of which are merely metaphorical meanderings. The preacher does not actually believe in the bodily resurrection even though the preacher’s words are conveyed with passion.
It is not poor form to ask your minister questions regarding their biblical worldview. Asking the right questions is not inappropriate, but necessary. Questions addressing basic and foundational beliefs regarding the resurrection, virgin birth, second coming, heaven, hell, and salvation are a short list of the right questions every person in the pew deserves to have their ministers answer. All United Methodist ministers have ostensibly taken a vow of agreement with the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. Asking your minister their understanding of the major doctrines represented in the creeds is your right and privilege. We must not trivialize or deny what remains traditional orthodox beliefs. It is time to ask the right questions.
All for the Kingdom,
Rev. Dr. Chet Harris
East Ohio WCA Regional Director