The Resurrection Denying Pastor: If the Resurrection Doesn’t Constitute Christianity, then What Does?

by Brian Chilton

Jim Rigby is not a name that will resonate with many. However, Rigby represents far deeper than just the person behind the name. Rigby represents that which is wrong with certain branches of so-called Christianity. Jim Rigby, the teaching elder at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Austin, Texas wrote the following on his social media page on Christmas of 2015: “Apparently, because I don’t believe in a literal resurrection, I’m not really a Christian…This also means I won’t be going to Heaven with many of you.”[1] Mocking the traditional gospel message, Rigby continues his rant in saying, “All that matters is that we admit that we are worthless trash, but that Jesus likes us anyway. Oh, and we have to LITERALLY believe Jesus’ corpse got up…So, anyway, if you believe the ‘good news,’ your physical cadaver will get up too. Hopefully, someone will remember where you are buried and come dig you up.”[2]

Shocking as it may be, Rigby—a supposed Christian leader—treats the gospel message with more contempt than most atheists would. Houston, we have a problem!!!

There are many things I would like to say about Rigby’s comments. However, I will contain my comments to one general area.

Must one believe in the literal resurrection of Christ to be a Christian?

Well, let’s examine this with four points.

1. Every religion possesses qualifiers.

Norman Geisler writes that “The only alternatives to analogy are skepticism or dogmatism: Either we know nothing about God, or we assume that we know things in the same infinite way in which he knows them.”[3] Only the atheist would assume that one can know nothing about God. Thus, nearly every other worldview would accept that certain things are knowable about God…

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The Resurrection Denying Pastor: If the Resurrection Doesn’t Constitute Christianity, then What Does?