2. Metaphorical resurrection versus Literal
Among more liberal mainline denominations the view persists that the resurrection of Jesus is but a metaphor and is not to be taken in the literal sense.
While much of the recent divisions within mainline denominations in the West have centered around marriage and sexual ethics, the nature of Jesus' resurrection has also been contested.
In May 2018, Methodist minister Roger Wolsey penned a blog making the case for progressive Christianity including the statement: “Going to heaven after we die isn’t what the faith or salvation is about. … Jesus’ resurrection didn’t have to be understood as a physical one for it to be a real and meaningful one."
He argued that Paul and many of the early disciples encountered a "spiritually risen" Christ.
Tom Lambrecht argued the contrary in a September essay in Good News magazine, an orthodox Methodist publication.
"While not everything in the Bible is meant to be taken literally, surely Christ’s resurrection (and ours) is one of those that is. I am concerned about our church ratifying a theological framework that justifies turning physical reality into metaphor."
He stressed: "[T]he fact remains, however, our competing visions of divine resurrection — often found in differences between those in the pews and those in the pulpits — are among the most cataclysmic fissures within our denomination."
Voshell told CP Wednesday: "The demythologization of Christ's life, death and resurrection has been catastrophic for Christianity, as removal of the supernatural and the revealed means that Jesus becomes a mere teacher and not the God-man who saves us."