August 12, 2020

Best Quote Ever?

I’m looking forward to spending some time with Peter Enns later today at the Pastorum Conference.

In preparation, I took a look at his blog to see what he’s been writing about, and found this stunning quote from D.M. Williams. He has been running a series of articles on the Creed that Enns has been featuring, and this is from the final post: “Credo: He Was Raised on the Third Day.”

This is telling it like it is, folks. So relentlessly focused on the essential, it is simply breathtaking.

It is notable that on only two recorded occasions did Paul go so far as to make the claim that the gospel itself was at stake in a given controversy. The first in his letter to the Galatians and the issue on the table is whether or not Gentile converts needed to keep the Jewish Torah and the males among them become Jewish proselytes by having themselves circumcised.

…The other issue on which Paul is willing to stake everything is Jesus’ bodily resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15 he tells them, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (v. 14) and “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (v. 17) In other words, the gospel itself is at stake here. The resurrection of Christ is “a matter of first importance” (en protois–v. 3) and an article upon which all else hangs.

…I am always amazed at how quick we often are to sound the “The Gospel is at Stake” alarm. We evangelicals sometimes act like a flock of Chicken Littles, running around like we’ve lost our heads squawking, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The gospel’s at stake! The sky is falling!” at even the slightest rattling of our little hen-house of a subculture. We could save ourselves a lot of grief by remembering the centrality and priority of the resurrection and by putting everything else in (that) perspective.

…So ask yourself: If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Darwin was right about human origins after all, would you give up your faith? If it turned out that Jesus was risen but Protestantism was wrong and Catholicism or Orthodoxy was right (or the other way around), would you opt to become an atheist? If it turned out that Jesus is risen and that the New Perspective is more right than wrong about Paul, would that be grounds to abandon Christianity altogether? If it turned out that Jesus is risen but the doctrine of predestination is true (or false!), would you see no more point in following Christ? If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Genesis 1-11 is ancient Near Eastern mythology, would you apostasy? If it turned out that Jesus is risen but Mark and Luke made historical slips here and there and Jonah was actually a non-historical children’s story, would your faith be in vain?

Here’s the kicker: If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, not only are you needlessly worrying yourself over secondary matters, you may have adopted “another gospel.”

Comments

  1. A hearty Amen from this corner!

  2. I think you just invalidated about 1/2 of the sermons on a typical Sunday morning.

    Plus many of the various groups running around giving seminars on how to run your church, grow up your kids, live your life, etc…

    Ken Ham is no longer your BFF.

  3. I can’t think of anything to add to this post other than a loud and hearty AMEN!

  4. If Jesus is raised but it turns out that God will ultimately reconcile everyone to himself, would our faith be in vain?

    • Margaret Catherine says

      Vain, no. Meaningless, yes.

    • Danielle says

      Wouldn’t that be a little bit like one of Paul’s friend arguing that if the gentiles can be reconciled to God without the law, then the whole Torah was meaningless?

      It would not feel anything was taken away if God somehow managed to catch, corner, redeem or otherwise transform every bit of God’s creation. I would be amazed and glad to have believed that even a glimmer of such a thing had been possible.

    • Tokah Fang says

      I think Jesus may have told a parable that addressed this, something about late laborers getting payed a whole day’s wage…

  5. Excellent way of reminding us to ‘keep the main thing the main thing’!

  6. If it turns out that Jesus was raised from the dead, but he was not God incarnate, or the Trinity doesn’t exist, would it affect your faith?

    • I think that falls into a different category, Clay. After all, we are talking about the Creed.

      • I think Clay has a point. From what I recognize of some of the other comments here, not everyone is understanding this in the context of the Creed.

      • My point was that not all who call themselves Christians are creedal, and not all agree that those doctrines fall into a different category. What is the criteria for determining what is of first importance. I think it is dangerous to try to reduce the Christian faith to a lowest common denominator, such as belief that Jesus was raised from the dead. There are substantial differences between the various protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, and it seems like he is saying they don’t ultimately matter because they all acknowledge that Jesus was raised from the dead. Maybe I am misreading.

        • Why is this “dangerous” ?

          • Because, who is to say what that lowest common denominator is? Is it the creed? Is it merely the resurrection? The Scriptures aren’t written in a way that allows us to reduce the faith to one matter of significance. And the “lowest common denominator approach” is not how the historical church has always approached doctrine. The hisotrical Church has drawn lines in the sand on many points of doctrine, some of which most protestants would see as “non-essential”, but to the Church were of utmost importance.

        • I don’t see it as so much drawing a line in the sand as much as it is simply defining a term. A Christian is a person who believes Jesus rose from the dead. That has pretty much been a defining mark of Christianity since its beginnings. It’s like someone who’s playing baseball declaring themselves a football player when in actuality they’ve haven’t touched a football. They can insist they’re a football player if they want, but the facts say otherwise.

          • “A Christian is a person who believes Jesus rose from the dead. That has pretty much been a defining mark of Christianity since its beginnings.”

            While it’s true that belief in Jesus’ resurrection has always been a defining mark of Christianity, it is not true that the Church has always taught that every person who believes Jesus rose from the dead is included in the Church. That is a relatively recent development arising out of the Zwinglian-stream of the reformation. And yes, the Church has drawn lines in the sand by anathematizing heretical people and groups.

          • While it’s true that belief in Jesus’ resurrection has always been a defining mark of Christianity, it is not true that the Church has always taught that every person who believes Jesus rose from the dead is included in the Church.

            Perhaps I’m simply misunderstanding, but I don’t see how this relates to the conversation. The Church in its various incarnations has believed many things that many people would probably say are in error throughout history. I guess I’m operating under the assumption that the Church doesn’t ultimately decide who is and isn’t a Christian.

          • “A Christian is a person who believes Jesus rose from the dead.”

            I don’t think that does it as a definition. Jesus himself said, “Unless you believe that ‘I am’, you die in your sins.” – John 8:24. Belief in the resurrection is not enough. I think we at least have to add the idea that Jesus is God incarnate.

          • I wasn’t saying that the resurrection of Christ is the only thing a Christian has to believe. I’m saying that’s an integral part of the definition.

        • Chaplain Mike (or another mod),
          I tried posting a comment above, and it appears to be caught in the moderation queue for some reason or another. Any help in setting it free would be appreciated.
          Thanks!

        • Danielle says

          Many questions are important. But some are far more important than others.

          • I was just responding to your point about what makes a Christian. I don’t believe the Church has historically understood Christianity in the same way you do and the same way that is being presented in the article. The Church for the first 1500 or so years after Christ would have had no concept of a “Christianity” that is somehow separate and apart from “the Church”. To be a Christian was to assent to the doctrines and practices of the Church.

    • David Cornwell says

      Maybe my mind works in a weird way, but I’d have a problem believing that if Jesus were not God incarnate he would be raised from the dead. Something else might have happened, but not the resurrection. Then God would be playing cruel tricks on us. And that sounds more Satanic then of God.

      • In scripture lots of people are raised from the dead, so I fail to understand your point David.

        • David Cornwell says

          I told you my mind worked in a weird way sometimes! So maybe my point is pointless. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the resurrection of Jesus is unique. Most of those who have died, that I know of at least, have failed to appear to any of us. Paul was confronted by Jesus, not any other. Only Jesus has ascended to be with God at to rule at His side. In the end we will bow before Him, not another.

          It made sense to me when I wrote it, but…

      • Jesus is not the only person who has been raised from the dead. See Lazarus et al.

        • David Cornwell says

          We haven’t heard much from Lazarus recently however. Not even a book of the bible dedicated to him, or a denomination.

          • None of that proves that Jesus was God incarnate.

          • David Cornwell says

            OK, Clay G., I suppose real proof is lacking on almost any matter of faith. No amount of logic can prove that Jesus was God incarnate. And people can choose to believe the Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to Heaven, or not believe it. I’m not sure what “right theology” proves. I still like the “logic” Paul puts forth in Corinthians 15. For me that’s enough.

        • Lazarus didn’t raise himself – Jesus/God did it…but Jesus commanded it to happen. Nobody did that for Jesus, he was raised without someone standing outside the tomb calling for him. THAT’s the difference.

      • For what it’s worth I never think of Jesus as being “raised” from the dead. He “arose” more or less on his own power. This may sound silly but the way I think of it is that Jesus was a bit like any floaty pool or bath toy. You can hold it under the water but as soon as you let go it floats right back up.

        I don’t necessarily worry too much about the incarnation. It’s easily one of the greatest mysteries in the world and trying to think about it too much makes my head hurt. If it’s made someone else’s head hurt so much they don’t believe in it anymore I’m not going to give them a hard time about it. I might give them some asprin though. I put the Trinity in that same category.

        I guess my “bare minimum” would be something along the lines of Jesus death and resurrection uniquely enabling our salvation and some acknowledgement of his authority.

        • I agree…Lazerus was not so much raised from the dead (not resurected, for sure) as RE-ANIMATED by the same God who gave him his physical life in the first place.

          And the KICKER to rememmber is that Lazerus did not STAY alive. He went on to die again (bodily) and stay dead.

          Only Christ died, rose, and never died again.

  7. Danielle says

    Amen. This brings to mind those most profound of commands, “Do not be afraid.”

  8. Excellent! I am about to share this on Facebook, and fully expect my “Baptist to the bone” and hyper-Calvinist friends to be utterly shocked…and to not respond in any way whatsoever…

    • Lee, I’m curious to know how your friends “took” this post? Were you flamed?

      • Nope…As usual, dead silence. Now, I do often get accused of “chanting and throwing incense around and baptizing babies”, as an Anglican…but this is usually said behind closed doors. Only once has one of my good Baptist friends said to me, “I just hope you still have Jesus in your heart…” (even though you’re Anglican).

  9. While his point is fair, a number of the comments here seem to be taking an extremist position that NOTHING besides the resurrection is central to the Gospel. If my understanding of the article is correct, it is the gospel that is central, not simply the resurrection. For instance, look at the first issue Paul takes, that of adding to the gospel by requiring circumcision.

    “So relentlessly focused on the essential, it is simply breathtaking.” – does this mean that you think that 1. Resurrection and 2. Adding to the Gospel by requiring works for salvation are the ONLY essential points of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I hope not, because this would be a gross misunderstanding of the Gospel.

    • Ken, without the resurrection, Jeshua ben Joseph was a really nice wise man who lived a long time ago, like Ghandi, who wanted to make the world a better place and for people to be nice to one another and pray to God. Oh, and he made sick people better and had some folks following him around.

      Except [shout out to Jack Lewis] that he was either a grifter and con-man, OR he was mentally ill, because he kept saying that he was the Almightly and would live forever.

      And then he died anyway. Tough break.

      But he was a REALLY nice guy, other than that.

      • Oh…..and everything his friends wrote about him are in the “self-help” section at Barnes and Noble, next to the books about astrology, the anagram, Nostrodamos, and Reiki. Interesting stories, all of them.

      • Ken’s point if I read correctly (and I think it’s a good one) is that there is more to the gospel than the mere fact of Jesus’ resurrection. It includes the implications of the resurrection. The Church I belong to teaches that the gospel centers on the incarnation and the implications therof. It’s in the implications that things get sticky.

      • cermak_rd says

        And you know, that is my problem with Jesus. I can believe he was a gifted Rabbi, after all, his best material is exegesis on Leviticus 19, but the passages about claiming to be a god or the son of the Almighty? Nope, can’t accept that any sane Jewish Rabbi would be claiming such. My hunch would be that if Jesus existed, he never made those claims and that they were written in by his documentors after the community had created their synthetized Greek/Hebrew faith. Or that he was not a historical figure, or that those passages were meant to say different things at the time.

        • “My hunch would be that if Jesus existed… Or that he was not a historical figure…”

          I’m sorry, but calling the historicity of Jesus into question, really ignores the wealth of evidence that is out there.

          • cermak_rd says

            But there’s not much out there. Only the Gospels themselves, and those could have been written as fictional accounts like the Odyssey or Illiad. Spong suggests that Jesus was not one historical figure but an amalgamation of historical figures, for instance. So it is not outside the realm of imagination that he might not have existed, just like Sophocles might not have existed as an actual historical person.

          • There’s as much evidence of Jesus existing as there is any other number of historical figures. There’s also many things within the Gospels that point to them not being made from whole cloth. For example, there are many ways in which an author writing a fictional would do to make the account seem more believable. There’s very little of this sort of thing in the Gospels. Even someone like Bart Ehrman who writes books trying to discount much of Christian thought says that there’s plenty of evidence to believe that Jesus was real.

          • “Only the Gospels themselves…”

            But then you need to add the Acts of the Apostles, because it attests to characters who were there and present in the Gospels. Then you need to add the letters of Paul, because as a historical character he was attested to in the Acts of the Apostles.

            Then there is this whole business of this whole Christian group that Paul was persecuting, who were definitely associated with “Jesus of Nazareth”. No one claims that they came from anywhere except from this one same “Jesus of Nazareth”.

          • cermak_rd says

            I would be inclined to pass Paul off as a charlatan, to be honest. He claims to have been blinded, met the risen Christ, etc. but with precious little evidence presented. As Acts is traditionally thought to have been authored by the same author as Luke, I’d be tempted to toss it in the Gospel pile as possibly being written with other motives rather than telling a historical truth.

            I would think that most Christians would prefer for people like me to doubt Jesus historicity rather than concluding that he existed and was a fraud.

          • Whether or not you think Paul was a charlatan, the fact that we have a historical Paul, gives us a historical Peter (from Acts), which gives us a historical Jesus.

            As to your quote: “I would think that most Christians would prefer for people like me to doubt Jesus historicity rather than concluding that he existed and was a fraud.” I don’t know about that. Look at it this way. Those who deny Jesus have a similar mindset to those who deny an old earth. They ignore evidence because it doesn’t fit what they believe. So I am likely to discount a lot of other things they say too. I had a friend who once said to me, “I believe that Jesus was one of the greatest P.R. men who ever lived. But I don’t think he was God.” That, we can have a discussion about.

        • Right on point. If he was not who he said and did not destroy death than we are most to be pitied; deluded by a falsehood of monstrous proportion and breadth. The resurrection is the prime mover of everything Christian. As opposed to Lazarus who was raised by Christ, death being defeated in one human body, God raised God from death in the person of Christ defeating death itself. If that’s not true then you’re talking to a bunch of blithering idiots and Jesus wasn’t a good rabbi because he spoke falsely. It’s too easy and too convenient to say his followers made some falsehoods up after the fact. If they were fallacious men following a false teacher then their impotent writings should be quite plain after 2000 years of study and perhaps that’s how you feel. If on the other hand he was God in flesh, his adherents would be compelled to speak the truth they readily gave their lives up for and we must believe that they spoke with complete integrity. Lying about something that was already so far fetched,you might say it was beaten by its own unbelievability, is illogical. Why cherry pick and lie only about one or two things? Open the gospels to virtually any page and easily find something unbelievable. You have to take to take the whole enchilada or go order Italian.

          • Ps. He has been known to frequent Italian restaurants.

          • Very well put, Chris.

            And you can see PT Barnum making cr@p up for money, and others lying to give themselves power and get the pretty girls.

            But lying so that you can be laughed at, beaten, and (later) killed, but STILL sticking to the story???

            Unlikely to be seen in human nature.

            We can only conclude that the apostles, dicisples, and early Christians really BELIEVED what they were saying about this God-Man named Jesus. Someone could argue that they were nutso, but not that they stood by their faith and their Lord even unto violent death.

    • The Gospel is the proclamation and demonstration that Jesus is Lord and His Kingdom is at hand. If Jesus is not raised those things aren’t true. The implications of the Gospel on a person’s life are other issues altogether.

      • I don’t think you can separate the gospel and its implications so neatly. The proclamation and demonstration that Jesus is Lord and His Kingdom is at hand isn’t really the Gospel if doesn’t include implications for mankind. How we understand what God is doing through Christ and how the Kingdom comes about affect how we live our lives, our worldview, our worship, and ultimately our salvation. To reduce Christianity to “belief in the resurrection” as the only essential doctrine is too simplistic and ignores all the implications of Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection that have been drawn out and articulated by the Church throughout history.

        • That’s all true, but I think you’re confusing what is being said. The quote isn’t saying that the resurrection of Christ is the only thing that matters in regards to faith, but simply that without it there wouldn’t be any Gospel at all. Just like you can’t make chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips, there can’t be any Gospel without Christ’s resurrection!

          Sure there are other things involved, but none of them are quite as centrally important. Certainly debates that Christians spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on aren’t. The age of the earth, evolution, same-sex marriage, etc. – are good example of things that may be worth having an opinion on but aren’t things that we should say are jeopardizing the Gospel.

          • I could be confusing what is being said, but I don’t think so. If the author had limited his examples of “nonessentials” to those that you list (age of the earth, evolution, same sex marriage, etc.), then I might agree with his point. However, he also say that if it turns out Catholocism, Orthodoxy, or Protestantism is right, or vice versa, would you become an atheist? The point I read into this is that it doesn’t really matter what doctrines you hold to, as long as you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. All are “valid” expressions of Christianity because they hold to the lowest common denominator as he defines it. I disagree with this – I don’t think the differences and contradictions in these traditions can be glossed over without compromising the Gospel.

          • All are “valid” expressions of Christianity because they hold to the lowest common denominator as he defines it. I disagree with this – I don’t think the differences and contradictions in these traditions can be glossed over without compromising the Gospel.

            Which traditions are compromising the Gospel, then? I know Christians from all these traditions (actually, I play in a band who’s members come from all these traditions), and none of them seem to be compromising the Gospel to me. They all believe Jesus is Lord, and they all believe that salvation comes only through him. Which of them is the great compromiser?

  10. Amen to the 5th Gallizion Power on this!

    This was driven home to us by our (RC) chaplain at a tiny little military parish in the Germany hillside…(actually, just a stone’s throw from Coburg, but this is a Catholic story, so Luther can wait for now…)

    Father Greg said exactly the same thing…to set the scene, it was Advent or Christmas and we were talking about the discrepancies in the infancy narratives. (The whole “parish” could sit around one big table at the local “gasthoff” and have our bible study with a boot full of beer every other Sunday night!) Mind you, Catholics don’t get terribly hung up on mis-matched scripture, since we read the Bible as a “story” that winds throughout time, but this was the first time some of us had really looked at the Birth narratives, and began to parse the differences.

    And that is when it hit all of us, as this brilliant man said…..”What DIFFERENCE does it make??” Does it change your faith? If Christ was the Son of the Living God who became human, died, and rose on the third day, then Christianity is TRUE and Christ’s life and God’s plan are the only things worth human attention and faith.

    The rest is gravy.

    And if that was a news-flash to a group of Catholics, I am sure it will really rock some others’ worlds.

  11. Keep your eyes on the prize, my friends. God does not need us to defend His Gospel, he’s big enough for all that. He’s also big enough to embrace all the controversy, arguments and theological schisms we humans perpetrate. His arms are wide enough to hold ALL His believers and His heart is big enough to love everyone regardless of their beliefs. He does not need us to judge anything about one another, He’s big enough for that too. And just in case we are not humble enough to understand this, He sends us people like this to remind us that the truth of our salvation lies in the resuurection alone.

  12. David Cornwell says

    Wonderful post Chaplain Mike. Here is the centrality of absolutely everything important to our faith in Christ. His teachings and life would be important without the resurrection, but not central to the redemption of humanity. All my adult life I’ve heard that this and that, or such and such is essential to the true faith. Most of the time this is simply not so, and our proliferation of theologies and isms within Christianity should be testimony to our lack of agreement on any other “essentials” or “fundamentals.”

    Oh– does anyone know just how many angels can dance on the point of a very fine needle without jostling each other? Has that ever been settled by some denomination?

  13. If the scriptures are not true, and Jesus was a confused babbler pointing to fairy tales and pagan myths as prophecies of him, then I would not believe he was God’s son or was raised from the dead. Presumably, the son of the almighty God would not cite children’s fairy tales or pagan myths as prophecies of his coming.

    Also, if Luther was wrong and works righteousness is true, then nothing distinguishes Christianity from every other pagan religion, and I would default to atheism. I know myself and my base motivations too well to think I can accomplish anything really good in this world, unless the standard is much lower than that set even by the pharisees.

    • David Cornwell says

      “the son of the almighty God would not cite children’s fairy tales or pagan myths as prophecies of his coming.”

      Exactly.

  14. Beautifully put. Simplicity can do a lot of good, at times we get far too weighed down with complexities when all that is needed are simple but elegant and refined words.

  15. I would be curious to hear the same sort of passionate defense/exposition given to the other “gospel-at-stake” passage. What would this look like if he were making the same case from Galatians?

  16. I love it!! If only more people had these types of sentiments!

  17. David Cornwell says

    This discussion has confused me. To call belief in the resurrection “the lowest common denominator” makes no sense to me. To me it is just the opposite. It would be difficult to build a case for Christianity apart from this. Yes, the implications are all important. One cannot just stop at that point. That’s why I say and believe the creed. The creed has power because of the resurrection. The Sermon on the Mount takes on the power of the Kingdom because of the resurrection.

    I’m sure I’m just misunderstanding some of the argument. That’s why I do not like theology, but prefer the Story. Theological arguments only confuse and seldom bring light (to my mind, that is, maybe to someone else).

    But– this is why I like this blog. Here these things can be discussed and hopefully better understood. I’m trying!

    • In bringing up the lowest common denominator thing, I was reacting to the author’s question that if Jesus was raised from the dead, but protestantism, Orthodoxy, or Roman Catholocism was right (whichever of those one doesn’t agree with) but Jesus was raised from the dead, would you become an atheist. My answer is, yes, I would reject God if he turned out to be like what some theological traditions present Him as (Calvinism for example). I think Calvinist theology is a terrible distortion of the Gospel, and I want nothing to do with the Calvinist god, yet the author tells me not to worry about it because we both believe Jesus was raised from the dead. That is what I meant by approaching Christianity with a lowest common denominator approach – it glosses over crucial differences that affect how we know and relate to God.

      • If Calvinism were correct, you wouldn’t have a choice, so it wouldn’t matter anyway… 🙂

        Most self-proclaimed Calvinists don’t really live like they’re really Calvinists, anyway. As Stephen Hawkings once joked, “I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined and that we can change nothing about it still look both ways before they cross the street”.

        • Nevertheless, I answered “yes” to one of the author’s questions, so he says I may have adopted a different gospel. He seems to be drawing his own lines in the sand by saying that those who believes something on his list of “non-essentials” is really essential may not be true Christians. Ironically, in the end he’s doing the same thing he accuses others of doing.

          • I think you’re interpreting his question regard Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestants in the most narrow way possible, though. Ardent Calvinism represents a small minority (albeit, a very vocal one) of those who call themselves Protestant.

            He seems to be drawing his own lines in the sand by saying that those who believes something on his list of “non-essentials” is really essential may not be true Christians. Ironically, in the end he’s doing the same thing he accuses others of doing.

            I don’t know how you get this at all from the quote. He’s not questioning the salvation of anyone. He’s saying that those (Christians) who have put these secondary matter in the forefront have adopted another Gospel. Those are two different things.

      • David Cornwell says

        Thanks, you’ve helped me. I see, understand, and agree with what you are saying about Calvinism. I have a huge problem believing in many of their teachings also. If believing in the resurrection meant that kind of God, then, yes that would be a problem.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Calvinism has a similar Dark Side to Islam, and for much the same reasons.

  18. Marshall says

    I believe the central point about Jesus is that he brought the gift of the Holy Spirit: John 14, Acts 2. Thereby each individual has a direct line to the Father and All Truth. God is inside you and the Kingdom is all around you. People who search for faith through epistemology don’t have a good grip on either one, IMO.

  19. If one takes this approach to atomized “truths” to determining what is essential to the gospel, then Williams over-states what is essential. Is it really critical that Jesus physically rose from the dead? Or, rather, isn’t the real issue — the real essential — that reconciliation between sinning humanity and a holy God was really and truly accomplished? That is (ala Barth), isn’t it the *effect* of the resurrection that we are saved by, not the mere physical activity of the resurrection. Maybe the two are intrinsically linked, but that isn’t *essential*; in fact, who can fully understand either of these — it is the acceptance of the stated truth that is final: reconciliation has been achieved. That is the gospel. All else is secondary, open to endless speculation, interesting but non-essential. In point of fact, in Enns recent book he says that Paul got some things wrong about the OT (being limited as a first-century Jew) and Jesus said some things that weren’t true but were widely accepted by first-century Jews, but they illustrated a deeper truth well enough without getting into details. So if specifics of Jesus and Paul are non-essential, I can’t see Barth is far off — maybe there was a resurrection, but who really in their heart knows? Paul is referring to a first-century Jewish tale coming out of Palestine — the details aren’t the point. Reconciliation — that’s the essential. And what exactly does reconciliation *mean*? Non-essential, mates — the gospel “is” reconciliation. God’s final “yes” to humanity, as Barth put it. Go with it, and don’t keep worrying about doctrine, ecclesiology, story, narrative, authority, …