Just last Friday, a pastor saw the Risen Lord.
I wonder: how different is Pastor Stovell Weems’ sighting from those of the disciples and Paul? Would you say it was just as real? Less real? Completely inauthentic? How do we decide?
For me, his encounter is every bit as real as those experienced by the disciples. I defy anyone to demonstrate otherwise.
Of course, accounts of visions, hallucinations and dreams, however old or however new, are not evidence that the resurrection really happened. Paul happily admits that his experiences were in his head (Galatians 1.16). It is entirely reasonable to conclude that Pastor Weems’ encounter with an apparition-like Risen Lord is exactly the same as Paul’s, and identical to that experienced by Mary, Peter and John in the gospels. Like theirs it’s vague – “I could sense his personality”, “I didn’t see his face” – and dream-like.
There is a difference though: the nutty pastor recounts his hallucination first-hand. The disciples’ encounters were reported third, fourth, fifth… hand, decades down the line.