Lent VII Encountering God: What Have We Witnessed? Empty

Empty hands and empty words negate an empty tomb

This Week's Text:  John 20.1-18

Teaching Link: Encountering God: What Have We Witnessed? Empty 

Discussion Questions:

What images and ideas surface when you think of the word “empty?”  How many of them are positive vs. negative?

Read this passage from Dr. Philip D. Kenneson, Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Milligan College

I have been arguing that the church’s existence as a people set apart to witness by their corporate life to the God they confess and worship is not inextricably tied to a certain philosophical conception of truth.

This means that what will give our testimony authority will not be that what we say is “objectively true” such that any reasonable person would be required to take us seriously. Rather, what will lend our testimony authority is that by the grace of God we live in such a way that our lives are incomprehensible apart from this God. To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.

That is the challenge which the contemporary American church faces and the one at which we are failing miserably. I suspect that far too many of us are a long way from being living mysteries. I suspect, for example, that my neighbors have no trouble at all making sense of my life quite apart from any conception of God whatsoever.

Until that happens, I fear all the theories in the world about apologetics are in vain, and the truth we say we bear witness to will be heard as falsehood…

Is your life a mystery or is it predictable? Can who you are be explained apart from the reality of the risen Jesus?


View the video above.  What does Peter Rollins mean by "deny the gospel" and "affirm the gospel?"  


What are some ways the church has had “empty hands” and “empty words” while bearing witness to an “empty tomb?”  How can we change that?