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Today, we want to look at ten questions about the resurrection of Jesus, how it relates to history, whether it actually happened, how we know it happened and how the resurrection relates to out Christian faith. This study combines several lessons on the resurrection and apologetics from this website. Let’s begin by reading one of the accounts of the resurrection in the NT. It is the account found in Luke 24:1-12.
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. (NIV)
1) What happened on the First Easter, according to the NT?
You have to read all four gospels to find out what happened that morning. it is not easy to harmonize them all. What we know is that a group of women went to the Jesus’ tomb very early in the morning to anoint the body of Jesus.
Some have called these women “the original spice girls”. They brought spices to anoint a dead body to make it smell better. That may seem a little strange to us. We would not want to have anything to do with a body that had been dead for thirty-six hours. We would think that would be disgusting but in the ancient world this was considered an act of love.
People generally would not go near a dead body because it would make them unclean. If you touched an unclean body, you would be unclean for seven days (Numbers 19:11) but an exception was made for family members and loved ones who have to bury the dead. Burial had to take place within twenty-four hours (Deuteronomy 21:23). One of the worst crimes in Judaism was to leave someone unburied.
What does this tell us about these women? They obviously loved Jesus. What they were doing was an act of love. They also obviously did NOT believe that Jesus was risen from the dead. They went to anoint a dead body. What was on their mind was not resurrection but death. They went very early in the morning, just after sunrise. The men were still asleep.
When they got to the tomb, they were surprised. The tomb was open. Mary Magdalene jumped to conclusions. She immediately assumed that someone stole Jesus’ body. She ran back to tell the disciples. She may have been the most emotional of the women. The rest of them stuck around and entered the tomb. When they entered, they saw an angel who told them that Jesus was not there but had risen. In fact, they rebuked the women for being there. Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee” (24:6).
The women left but Mary returned to the tomb weeping. She saw someone. He asked her why she was crying and who she was looking for? She thought he was the gardener until he called her by name. Mary Magdalene became the first one to see the Resurrected Christ. She was the first witness to the resurrection. She was the first one who said, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). Jesus did not appear to his family first or even to the Twelve Apostles but to Mary Magdalene.
Why did Jesus appear to Mary first? Was it because they were married, as novelist Dan Brown suggests? There is no evidence to support this idea. It is also important to note that when Mary first discovered that Jesus was alive, she didn’t even call him by his first name. She called him “teacher”. What do we know about Mary Magdalene? She was a sold-out follower of Christ.
Mary did not just follow Jesus when he was alive; she followed him when he died. She was present at the crucifixion. She was also present at the burial. She did not do any anointing of his body after his death. That was done by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:38-42) but she was present at the burial. She was also there on Easter Sunday. She went, not once but twice to the tomb early in the morning. None of the men went with them that morning. Jesus also appeared to the other women on their way back home from the tomb. The men were the last to get the message and did not even believe it at first.
It is interesting to me how the mood of the characters in the resurrection story changes dramatically. First, there is SADNESS, as the women come to the tomb to anoint a dead body. They were still grieving the recent loss of the one they loved and believed to be their Messiah. They were still traumatized by his violent death just days before.
As the women are walking to the tomb, the mood of sadness changes to WORRY. They become concerned about how they will even be able to get to the body of Jesus because there is a big stone blocking the tomb. They ask, “Who will roll the stone away for us?” (Mark 16:3) When they get to the tomb and see the stone rolled away, the mood changes from worry to SHOCK. They wonder why the stone is moved. They are thinking that someone has broken into the tomb. Mary ran back to tell the disciples.
As the other women entered the tomb, their mood changes from shock to FEAR after they go inside the tomb and all of the sudden two angels appear out of nowhere and start talking to them. These angels were not just wearing white. They were shining bright. Matthew’s account says that their faces were like lightening and their clothes white as snow (28:3). Luke says that they were wearing “shining garments” (24:4). They were absolutely terrified. Luke says that they bowed their faced to the ground (24:5).
When they heard what the angel says that Jesus is alive and then see him on the way back, their mood changes from fear to JOY. When they get back and tell the disciples what happened to them, the mood changes. It goes from joy to UNBELIEF. The disciples did not believe these women. There is a big contrast between the high-strung excited women and the cautiously skeptical men.
Then, the mood shifts from unbelief to RIDICULE. They thought these women were crazy. Luke says that “their words seemed like nonsense” (24:11) but the mood changes again from ridicule to INVESTIGATION on the part of some of the disciples to check out the story of the women. One thing is very clear from this account. None of the early Christians believed that Jesus would rise from the dead. The women were not expecting Jesus to do that. They came to anoint a dead body and the men were not anticipating that to occur either. The men initially rejected the testimony of the women about the resurrection.
2) Can you be a Christian and not believe in the resurrection of Christ?
What would you say to a person who says this? “I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians. They love Jesus. They believe in him passionately. They pray and worship regularly. They are moral people. They just do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead”.
Are those people Christians? Can you be saved and not believe in the resurrection? What does the Bible say? Does it say that you have to believe that Jesus rose from the dead to be saved? Yes. The resurrection is part of the gospel message that you have to believe in order to be saved, according to Paul.
I Corinthians 15:1-4 says, “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”. Paul says here that the resurrection is part of the gospel message. It is part of the salvation message that is to be preached.
Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. Here Paul says that belief in the resurrection is a condition of salvation. You have to believe in the resurrection of Christ in order to be saved. That would mean that it is a foundational doctrine of the faith. It is essential, not optional. If you passionately love Jesus but do not believe that he rose from the dead then the Jesus you love is a dead Jesus. It is not the Jesus of Scripture. They worship another Jesus.
3) Did Jesus rise from the dead physically or spiritually?
Many denominations are completely liberal. They do not take the Bible literally but they still claim to believe it. Liberals in these churches still claim to believe in the resurrection but they believe in a spiritual resurrection. They want to accept the Bible but throw out the miraculous. What would you say to them? The Jews did not even have the concept of a spiritual resurrection. Resurrection for the Jews meant bodily resurrection. If the resurrection was spiritual, why was the tomb empty?
The Jehovah’s Witnesses also do not believe that Jesus arose bodily. They believe that he rose spiritually from the dead. They believe that that his spirit rose. They believe that Jesus right now is a spirit and has a spirit body. They get that from I Peter 3:18 which says that Christ was “put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.” How would you answer them?
Peter is not saying that Christ’s body died but that his spirit continued to live. Jesus was made alive in the power of the Holy Spirit or by the Holy Spirit, as many other NT passages teach. Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you’. Jesus predicted that his body would be raised. He said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19, 21). We know that Jesus was not raised as a spirit creature for four basic reasons.
One, the tomb was empty on Easter Sunday. If Jesus’ body did not rise, then why was it not in the tomb on Sunday morning? There is no answer to this question.
Two, Jesus’ resurrection body could be touched and handled. He had hands and feet (John 20:17; Matthew 28:9). That is positive proof that he had a physical body. It was the same body because his disciples saw the wounds in that body from his crucifixion (John 20:27).
Three, Jesus’ resurrection body could eat food (Luke 24:41-43; Acts 10:41). That shows he had a real body. He could chew and swallow food. He ate a piece of broiled fish. Do spirits like fish?
Four, Jesus said was NOT a spirit and he said that after his resurrection. Luke 24:37-39 says, “They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
4) What is the relationship between faith and reason?
What is the relationship between faith and reason? There are three views on faith and reason. Some say that all you need is faith. You do not need reasons for your faith. Reason is bad. It is the enemy of faith. We just need to believe. Faith and reason are incompatible. “Faith only” people are called FIDEISTS. Many preachers in the church today fall into this category. They teach that the spirit is good but the mind (human intellect and reason) is bad.
Others say that reason is good and faith is bad. They teach that all you need is reason. All truth should be determined by reason and not faith. Anything that goes against human reason should be rejected. “Reason only” people are called RATIONALISTS. Atheists believe that faith is believing something without reason or evidence. It is completely irrational. That is why they reject faith and follow reason instead. Both of these views are incorrect.
The third view is the COMPATIBILIST approach. It says that we need BOTH faith and reason. It says that both faith and reason are compatible. Reason is just the ability to think. God created reason. He created us with a brain. He tells us to reason.
God says in Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, ‘Says the Lord,’ ‘Though your sins are like scarlet; They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.’ Jesus said that we are to love God with our “heart, soul, and mind” (Matthew 22:37).
We are to love God with our MIND, as well as with our heart and soul. Emotion is not enough. Our mind is to be involved in worship, as well as our heart and soul. God is not only to be worshipped in spirit, He is to be worshipped in truth (John 4:24). You have to have BOTH. Jesus said that God doesn’t accept worship that is in spirit but not in truth.
Many who are in a false religion are real sincere. They worship with all of their heart but sincerity is not enough. You have to have truth. Faith without reason is dangerous. You can believe anything. If you have blind faith, you never question anything. You take everything at face value. Every member of a false religion exercises faith but their faith is in the wrong thing.
5) Would it make any difference if Jesus did not rise from the dead physically?
Would you still believe the Bible, if certain historical events never took place? Would it make any difference to your faith if you woke up one day and read in the newspaper that some archaeologist discovered the bones of Jesus? Would that affect your faith as a Christian?
Would you believe anyway? The Apostle Paul said that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, it would make a big difference. In fact, he said that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, we have five problems. What are the five results of denying the resurrection of Christ (I Corinthians 15:12-19)?
a. If Christ did not rise from the dead, our preaching is VAIN (15:14).
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then preaching about Christ is useless. Evangelism is a big waste of time. Paul devoted his entire life to preaching the gospel. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then Paul has been wasting his time. Christianity is worthless. The skeptics are right. Close the doors and sell the church. All of the missionaries should come home.
b. If Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is VAIN (15:14, 17).
Christianity stands or falls with the resurrection. If Jesus rose from the dead, Christianity is true. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the whole Christian faith is destroyed. Some say that it doesn’t matter what happened to his body. Paul says if Jesus did not rise, your Christian faith is vain. It is worthless. It is completely pointless to preach and it is pointless to believe the message that is preached about Jesus.
It does you absolutely no good. It accomplished nothing. It saves no one. A dead Christ cannot save anyone. If there is no resurrection, there is no redemption. If there is no resurrection, sinners will have to stand before a holy God who hates sin and must judge it. Without the resurrection, we are without hope. The resurrection is the proof that we have that God accepted Christ’s payment for our sins (Romans 4:25).
c. If Christ did not rise from the dead, Christians are FALSE witnesses of God (15:15).
Paul uses courtroom language here. A false witness is someone who goes into the courtroom and under oath commits perjury. Paul is saying that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, all of the apostles are liars. They concocted a story that they knew was false. They went and preached to the world that he rose from the dead and that they had personally seen him when they know that he did not.
If that is not true, that would make Peter and Paul liars. It would put the apostles in the same category as Joseph Smith and Muhammad. It would make them false teachers and deceivers. They not only say things that are false, they have said things that are false about God. If there is no resurrection, Christians are just con artists.
d. If Christ did not rise, those who died believing in Christ have PERISHED (15:18).
What does that mean? It means that they went to Hell. They not only lived all their lives in sin, but the dying ones have perished. They stood before God as a sinner and without a savior. There is no hope even for Christians who died. You will never see them again. They are gone forever.
e. If Christ did not rise, we are to be PITIED more than all human beings (15:19).
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, why would Christians be pitied by the world? They are not just wrong there are stupid. They are not only deluded and deceived, they are risking their life and being martyred for a lie.
6) Was the body of Jesus recently discovered by archaeologists?
Was the body of Jesus recently discovered? No. There was a report around 1980 of archaeologists finding the bones of Jesus. It caused a big sensation. On March 28, 1980, just outside of Jerusalem, some construction workers accidentally uncovered a 2000 year old cave holding 10 coffins. The bones were said to be 2000 years old and were found in Israel. This discovery was called “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”. It said that this was actually the tomb of Jesus and his family. It is called the Talpiot Tomb and is outside the old city of Jerusalem.
It had the names Jesus, Joseph and Mary. In fact, Jesus is the son of Joseph in the coffin. There is a Mary buried there as well. It said that Mariamene is Mary Magdalene. Did they find the body of Jesus? No. Not long after professional archeologists completely repudiated this. There is not a shred of evidence that this was the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. All of these names found in the coffin were actually quite common during the time of Jesus.
The names “Mary,” “Joseph,” and “Jesus” are among the most popular names in the ancient Jewish world. James Charlesworth of Princeton Theological Seminary says that there a first-century letter written by someone named Jesus, addressed to someone else named Jesus and witnessed by a third party named Jesus. Mary is the most common female name in the ancient Jewish world. About one in every four women in first century Judea had the name Mary. The name Mariamne is never used of Mary Magdalene in the New Testament.
While we may not find a burial box of Jesus, we may have found the ossuary of his brother James. It was an empty box. It did not have any bones in it. It did not come from the Talpiot Tomb. It was held by a private collector and bought by an antiquities dealer in the 1970s.
About thirty years later, a Hebrew and Aramaic expert translated it in 2002. The inscription on the side of the box reads “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus.” All of these were common names but to have all three on the same box from the same family was highly unlikely.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) accused Oded Golan of forgery. He was charged with 44 counts of fraud. They argued that he added the words “brother of Jesus” to this first century ossuary box from Israel, scientifically dated to the time of Christ. He went through a seven year criminal trial in Jerusalem.
All kinds of experts testified in the case. In the end, he was acquitted of all counts of fraud and forgery. We still do not know for sure if the burial box is authentic. If it is, it is the greatest archaeological discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls.
7) Is the Resurrection of Christ just a matter of religious faith?
Can you prove that Jesus rose from the dead or is it just a matter of faith? Is the resurrection of Jesus something that you just believe in or is it something that you can prove? The Bible says that it is something that you can prove. That is what Luke says (cf. Acts 1:1-4).
Acts 1:3 says, “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many CONVINCING PROOFS that he was alive.” Luke says three things here about the resurrection.
First, he says that you can actually prove the resurrection of Jesus. He uses the word “proof.”
Second, he says that the proofs are strong. The Greek word that he uses is proofs indicates the strongest type of legal evidence. In today’s language, it would mean “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This passage indicates that there is solid evidence for the resurrection.
Three, Luke says that there are many proofs for the resurrection. Jesus “gave MANY convincing proofs that he was alive” (not just one or two). The evidence is overwhelming. The case for Christ is strong. You can prove it. That raises an interesting question. If it is true that there are not only proofs for the resurrection but MANY CONVINCING PROOFS of the resurrection, then why doesn’t everyone believe?
The reason is because there is a difference between PROOF and PERSUASION, as John Calvin pointed out. You can prove something logically and use all kinds of evidence to back up your position and not convince someone. Why? Not everyone is open minded. Not everyone is rational. You can debate someone on a topic (e.g., politics, religion) and win the debate and not persuade your opponent. As Dale Carnegie said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Everyone is not open to reason.
8) If it can be proven, what are the proofs of the resurrection?
The resurrection has proofs. It can be proven. Unfortunately, many Christians today do not know what the proofs are.
Three Undeniable Proofs of the Resurrection
What is the evidence of the resurrection? Let me share with you three proofs of the resurrection that no critic can deny.
1. Jesus’ tomb was empty on Easter Sunday
The first proof of the resurrection was the empty tomb. It is a historical fact that Jesus died on a Roman cross. It is also a fact that his tomb was empty on Easter morning. That is a fact that no critic can deny. It is mentioned in all four of the Gospels. If anyone does deny it, ask them, Where is the body of Jesus?
It has never been found for two thousand years. Opponents of Christianity have not really denied this. They simply said that the disciples must have stolen the body. That was the official Jewish response to the resurrection (Matthew 28:12-15).
Did the disciples steal Jesus’ body? No. They couldn’t have stolen the body, even if they wanted to, because the tomb was guarded by armed Roman soldiers and had a huge stone on top of it. They had no opportunity. It was guarded by professional soldiers. They also had no motive to steal the body, since they were not even expecting Jesus to rise from the dead. Even the women who went to the tomb on Easter went to anoint a dead body (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1).
John adds an important detail. He says that the body was gone but his grave clothes were left in the tomb (John 20:5-7). If they did steal the body, they would have taken everything. They would not have stolen the body completely naked. They would have been in a hurry that that would be dishonoring to the body.
Even if you believe that the disciples did steal the body, that does not explain all of the appearances of Jesus to people for forty days? The stolen body theory explains the empty tomb but it does not explain the appearances.
The biggest problem with the theft theory is that involves a psychological miracle. It involves people stealing a body and then being willing to be arrested, tortured, fed to lions and killed for something that they know to be false. History has shown that people WILL give their lives for what they believe is true (Muslim finatics), but not for what they know is false. This theory has the early Christians dying for something that they know to be false
2. The early church believed Jesus rose from the dead
This is a fact that no critic can deny. Even the most skeptical NT scholar has to admit that the early church believed that Jesus rose from the dead. In fact, not only did they believe it, they were willing to risk their entire life on it. They were willing to die and be martyred for this belief.
The question then becomes, where did this faith come from? How did the early Christians get this strong faith in the resurrection of Jesus? How did then come to believe this? It did not come from contemporary Judaism. One could say that the early Christians must have been very gullible but, as we have seen, this was not the case. Some of them were very skeptical (Thomas) and slow to believe the message (Apostles).
3. People claimed to see Jesus after he died.
This is a fact which no critic can deny. The earliest Christians had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the resurrected Christ. This is the primary proof of the resurrection in the NT. What convinced the early Christians was NOT the empty tomb. What convinced them were the appearances.
9) What do we know about the many post-appearances of Jesus?
There are several things that are unusual about these appearances of Jesus.
Eleven Facts about the Appearances of Jesus
1. They occurred eleven times.
There are eleven appearances of Jesus after his resurrection in the NT. The appearances were as follows: 1. Mary (Mark 16:9; John 20:10-18). 2. The women (Matthew 28:8-10). 3. Peter (I Corinthians 15:5). 4. The two disciples (Luke 24:13-35). 5. The ten apostles (24:36-49; John 20:19-23). 6. The eleven apostles (John 20:24-39). 7. The seven apostles (John 21). 8. The Twelve Apostles (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18). 9. Five hundred Christians (I Corinthians 15;6). 10. James (I Corinthians 15:7; John 7:3; Acts 1:14). 11. The Twelve Apostles (Acts 1:4-8; Luke 24:50-53). One of these appearances was specifically directed to a member of his own family, James (his brother or half-brother).
2. They lasted people over a month.
They took place over a forty day period, according to Acts 1:3
3. They took place at appeared at different times of the day (at night with the doors locked in John 20 and early in the morning on Easter Sunday).
4. They took place several times on one day.
Five of those eleven appearances of Jesus took place on the same day (Easter Sunday).
5. They took place in different geographic locations.
They took place in Jerusalem and eighty miles to the north in Galilee.
6. They occurred to both men and women.
He appeared to the women first. Mark 16:9 says that Mary Magdalene was the first one to see the resurrected Christ. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, not to John or Peter or any of the other apostles.
7. They occurred to some people more than once. He appeared to Peter five or six times.
8. They occurred to both individuals and groups.
Jesus appeared to both large groups and small groups of people. He appeared to a group of five hundred people at one time (I Corinthians 15:6).
9. They occurred to both unbelievers as well as to believers.
Most think that Jesus only appeared to believers. They think that he only appeared to his followers. That is not true. We know that he at least appeared to two complete unbelievers and to one skeptic. Paul was an unbeliever when he appeared to him and so was his brother James (I Corinthians 15:7).
We know that because none of his siblings became believers until after the resurrection (John 7:5; Acts 1:14). Thomas was a believer. He was an apostle but he was an unbeliever when it came to the resurrection of Jesus, even though he had the testimony of many people. He told his friends that he refused to believe until he confirmed it himself (John 2
10. They occurred to both enemies as well as to his friends.
Jesus did not just appear to his friends. He also appeared to his greatest enemy. Saul was the greatest enemy of the early Christians. He made it his life mission was to destroy Christianity. He traveled to other cities to arrest Christians and Jesus appeared to him and stopped him right in his tracks.
11) They were interactive.
Jesus did not just make appearances; he ate and drank with people. They saw him. They heard him. They touched him. They were not just visions.
10) Is there any value in giving arguments for the resurrection to unbelievers?
Is it right to defend the Bible? Is apologetics a waste of time? It is right to try to convince people that the Bible is true? I have heard many people say that the Bible needs to be preached, not defended. It defends itself. It stands on its own. All you have to do is preach it. It is a very common viewpoint. I have heard many pastors say this. It is simply not true.
The Bible calls Christians to defend their faith. It tells us to do this. I Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”. Peter does not just say to tell people what you believe; he says that we are to give REASONS for what we believe. He says that we are not just to tell people about the Christian hope but to tell the reason for the hope that is within us.
Peter says that when we are approached, we should have a reasonable defense for our faith. We should be able to give rational arguments to an unbeliever why we believe what we believe. We should be able to answer objections that he or she raises.
Jude 1:3 says, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to CONTEND for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”
What does it mean to contend for the faith? The NIV says “contend”. The KJV says “contend earnestly” (contend really hard and put a lot of effort into it). The Greek word is έπάγονίζομαι. Our word “agony” comes from this Greek word. NLT says “defend the faith” once entrusted to us.” TEV has “fight for the faith.” These are commands in Greek.
Who is the command given to? Who is supposed to do this? Not just the pastor. The Book of Jude was not just written to the pastor. It was written to all Christians. Jude 1 says, “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, to those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ”.
What are they to defend? They are to defend “the faith” (the Christian faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints”), not the Methodist faith or the Baptist faith. There are many ways in which Christians differ on minor areas but there are some things that they are all agree on. There are two extremes here. Some do not take a stand about anything. Others fight about everything. They argue about doctrine, no matter how big or little. Everything is a major doctrine to them.