Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Last Enemy to Be Defeated

"Even many Christian preachers and churches treat death as a stranger today. Nothing could be more ironic. When the Christian church collaborates with a pagan culture by covering up death, it seals its own death warrant. For the whole reason for the church's existence, its whole message, is a "good news" or gospel about a God who became man in order to solve the problem of death and the problem of sin, which is its root. Whether the story is true or false, it is fundamentally a story about resurrection from death, conquest of death. The resurrection is the heart of every sermon preached by every Christian in the New Testament. For the church to cover up death is for it to cover up the question whose answer is its own meaning. Nothing is more meaningless than an answer without a question. The "good news" of Christianity claims to answer the "bad news" of death. Without the "bad news," the "good news" sounds like a charming but superfluous fairy tale, a melange of commonplace ethical platitudes inexplicably encumbered with miracles and mythology, an echo of parental imperatives already long known and disobeyed. The "good news" becomes neither good news nor even news. The Sermon on the Mount does not answer the problem of death. The resurrection does. But the answer presupposes the problem, presupposes facing death as an enemy. No wonder teaching that answer without facing the problem strikes the hearer as irrelevant mythology to be ignored as death is ignored. If the question is a stranger, the answer will be a stranger too."

-Peter Kreeft, Love is Stronger than Death

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