Must Read Monday 4-22-2019 Easter, etc.
After you acknowledge and recognize and revel in the reality of Easter – Christ is risen from the dead! Death has lost its sting! Reconciliation with God is available! – everything, and I do mean everything, pales. The headlines, as horrific and discouraging as they may be, look different through the lens of Easter.
So, a few comments about Easter before we plunge into the news.
First, Easter is not only a day – resurrection Sunday – Easter is also a season (technically the days between resurrection Sunday and Pentecost, 50 days following). So, Easter was yesterday and this is the season of Easter. But even more than that, Easter is a reality in which the witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus live every day. Easter changes everything! Along with the incarnation of Christ at Christ and the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday, Easter is the reality of God’s redemptive plan in human history. Easter people live differently because Easter people ARE different! We have seen and we believe! We are His witnesses! Let’s bring that Easter view to bear on the headlines news of our day.
There’s a kerfluffle on social media #EasterWorshippers making much of the fact that a number of Democrats are referring to the Christians targeted and slaughtered in Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka as Easter worshippers. We all know what they mean. They are referring to people who were in worship on Easter when suicide bombers detonated themselves causing horrific carnage. Why did they not use the term Christian? I don’t know but to dwell on the referent seems to make much of what I suspect is nothing. But it does provide an opportunity for Christians to engage with others on social medi and clarify that Christians worship God, honor Jesus as Savior and Lord and Easter is the day we celebrate His resurrection from the dead. Let’s not assume they mean to be malicious. Let’s assume we are called to be witnesses to the Truth.
Think the world already knows? Think again. The New York Times ran an Op Ed featuring an interview with the President of Union Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian (PCUSA) seminary in Richmond, VA. Suffice it to say, Serene Jones does not believe in the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection nor that the crucifixion of Jesus was God ordained.
She says of the resurrection of Jesus, “Those who claim to know whether or not it happened are kidding themselves. But that empty tomb symbolizes that the ultimate love in our lives cannot be crucified and killed.”
And of that crucifixion? She says, “The crucifixion is a first-century lynching. It couldn’t be more pertinent to our world today. Crucifixion is not something that God is orchestrating from upstairs. The pervasive idea of an abusive God-father who sends his own kid to the cross so God could forgive people is nuts. For me, the cross is an enactment of our human hatred. But what happens on Easter is the triumph of love in the midst of suffering. Isn’t that reason for hope?”
You tell me, is the empty tomb of a pre-70 religious teacher in Israel enough substance in which to anchor your hope? The answer is no.
She says the “heart of faith is a mystery,” but too she is wrong. The heart of faith is the reality of God who, by grace, has revealed Himself in Creation, the Scriptures, and in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
It troubles me that the President of a Presbyterian seminary doesn’t believe any of that.
Gallup is reporting a decline in church membership, but not church attendance.
Ed Stetzer is noting headwinds for evangelism as the culture continues to grow increasingly pluralistic.
It’s been 20 years since Columbine and there is evidence that it fostered a martrydom fantasy among some segments of evangelical Christianity in America.
Every organization – including every church – is now a media company. Do you have a media strategy and a social media strategy and if not, who are you reaching, with what message and to what affect? (I’ll talk about this on Friday with Chris Martin from Lifeway.)
Tons of other stuff but you’ve likely already stopped reading. If you want more just let me know and I’ll send you what I’m reading now! – Carmen