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Now, the ineffability of mystery doesn’t stop us from attempting to share it with others: we have a deep need to tell our stories. And so, we reach for superlatives (it was awesome, amazing — maybe even terrifying) and metaphors and similes (his face shone, it was like she was on fire). But, ultimately, our words cannot exhaust the immensity of what we have experienced.

Categories: Beliefs


Martin Elfert

Martin Elfert

The Rev. Martin Elfert is an immigrant to the Christian faith. After the birth of his first child, he began to wonder about the ways in which the Divine was at work in the world. Shortly thereafter, he joined Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC, where he and his new son were baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2005 and where the community encouraged him to seek ordination.


  1. In my view it’s very unlikely that the inclusion of resurrection in scripture was an error. The God of the Christians needed to have at least the characteristics of the other dying and rising gods of the time with which it had to compete.

  2. Not only do I not follow the line of reasoning in Martin Elfert’s answer, but I don’t think there is one. If the questioner is simply asking whether or not it is possible that the Gospel-writers wrote an error in their accounts of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances, the answer is easy: if you believe they were inspired by the God of truth, then you believe that what they wrote is true. This is not something that can be proven empirically; it is a matter of faith.

    But Martin Elfert’s answer says something else entirely. Without pointing out a specific error, he basically claims that the Gospels /must/ be erroneous. “Telling the story of such an event,” he says, “can never yield a description which is literally true, or factual, or without error.” That, however, is not an argument; it is merely an assertion. Words do not suffice to convey every facet of the significance of Christ’s resurrection; this does not mean that when words are used to report an encounter with Jesus, they must be erroneous merely because they are words.

    Martin’s picture of a reporter “hiding in a bush outside of Emmaus” seems flippant; in real life, the most probable source of Luke’s report about Jesus’ appearance to two travelers on the road to Emmaus (in Luke 24) is the two travelers themselves, one of whom Luke identifies. Nothing in the text indicates that anything in Luke’s account was contrary to facts. Martin’s notion that there must be an error in Luke’s report seems to emanate from a bias against the possibility of miracles, not from the text. If Martin wants to take it on faith that there is an error in the Gospels’ reports, he is free to do so, but if all he can say is that he assumes that the text is erroneous, then this really says nothing about the text, only something about his assumptions.

    Yours in Christ,
    James Snapp, Jr.