Ask Not if Pete Rollins Believes the Resurrection, Ask If he’s Made a Good Point.

Pete Rollins was asked if he believed in the resurrection during a time of presentation and discussion at Calvin College (which by the way, I think it’s great that Calvin invited him).  He blogs his answer and many are still talking about it.  Like many, I read it on my RSS Feeder and my first thought was, “Here we go again”,  second was, “He really does this paradox thing well.”  I loved Thomas’ (who just had a post picked on The High Calling blog) post about it yesterday and it’s been brought to my attention a couple of times now too (and I suppose I may have brought it to a few people’s attention as well).

Thomas got me thinking though.  After the Mid-Atlantic Conference he sat in my living room and we conversed and he was gracious enough to listen to my questions.  I’m not name-dropping here, he talks to anyone.  Anyway,  to one he responded, “I think it’s crazy if people take me too seriously.  I’m just trying to add a point here and there …”  Now maybe that was an understatement, but I appreciated that he didn’t say something like, “People need to wake up and listen to what I am saying …” and act as if he had it all figured out.  Because he writes/speaks from that humble posture, I think it’s wise to, at the very least, consider the point he’s trying to make.  Like the point that Bono was making when he dressed up as MacPhisto (the devil-character he created on the Zoo TV tour, he wasn’t endorsing the devil but quite the opposite).  In fact, if Rollins has a problem is that this thought is not original though he just does a great job in echoing it today.  Paul says in I Corinthians 13, that “…  but have not love then I am but only  a clanging cymbal.” 

I do not know really the context nor the person who asked the question.  For all I know, it could have been Sam Harris or John McArthur or Brian McLaren or a student  or professor.  It could have even been one of Pete’s friends planted in the crowd to give us something to blog about it.  In my history of attending conferences, numerous times there has been the person that wants to “expose” the speaker as a heretic. Then there’s the guy who needs to ask these questions in order to trust the speaker.  I’ve been that guy, may we be given wisdom for the journey.  But to the former, I remind you to be careful that you do not resemble the Pharisees that were trying to trap Jesus (like in John 8).

Now I’m told that Pete does believe in the literal, physical resurrection (so there are two of you reading this that are relieved), but what if he didn’t believe or stops believing it one day or stops one day and believes it again on another?  While I want to say that it would be an utter shame if he didn’t believe it, I think another shame is to miss this point.

Regarding his statement, I believe his argument is valid.  What point is it to believe in the resurrection if we don’t believe in all the words of the One that was raised?  What point is it to believe in the One that encompassed perfect love if we don’t share it in witness in the forms of words and action?  What point is it to believe in the abundant life, if we ignore those barely living and dying around us? 

I believe the Spirit uses that answer even if Pete denies the resurrection to promote the resurrection!  Let me ask it in this way. Can we not gain from his point? I say from my perspective he’s wrong on that point while he may be right that I neglect the needs around me, thereby demonstrating his point!

Let’s forget about this hyper-caffeinated, Irish philosopher for a second.   How important is the resurrection to us as believers?   We may be quick to say that it’s the central tenant of our faith but is it? Here’s something interesting to me, I wonder how many more people would believe in the resurrection if we did in fact care more for the marginalized in the many, many ways they appear.  Is this not a great conversation?


  1. Great post! i see Pete basically explaining what Nietzsche means with his ‘God is dead rant’!

  2. I really agree with this


  1. […] I’ve Been Enjoying: 1.    Tim writes about Pete Rollins’ “denial” of the resurrection. I think Tim’s on to something. We should […]

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