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Watergate and the Resurrection

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon

What can a major political scandal teach us about the historicity of Christ’s resurrection?

Before his conversion and founding of Prison Fellowship, the late Chuck Colson spent seven months in prison for his involvement in the Watergate scandal as a Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon. In his book Loving God, Colson makes a surprising connection between Watergate and the events surrounding that first Easter Sunday:

Even political zealots at the pinnacle of power will save their own necks in the crunch, though it may be at the expense of the one they profess to serve so zealously.

Is it really likely, then, that a deliberate cover-up, a plot to perpetuate a lie about the Resurrection, could have survived the violent persecution of the apostles, the scrutiny of early church councils, the horrendous purge of the first-century believers who were cast by the thousands to the lions for refusing to renounce the Lordship of Christ? Is it not probable that at least one of the apostles would have renounced Christ before being beheaded or stoned? Is it not likely that some ‘smoking gun’ document might have been produced exposing the ‘Passover plot’” Surely one of the conspirators would have made a deal with the authorities (government and Sanhedrin probably would have welcomed such a soul with open arms and pocketbooks!).

… Take it from one who was inside the Watergate web looking out, who saw firsthand how vulnerable a cover-up is: Nothing less than a witness as awesome as the resurrected Christ could have caused those men to maintain to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive and Lord. (68-69)

While God’s Word is the foundation of our confidence in the resurrection, Colson’s reflections remind us how unlikely it is historically that the resurrection accounts were a grand fabrication.

David Burnette is a writer and editor for Radical, the resource ministry of Pastor David Platt. This post originally appeared on the Radical blog.