Know Your Bible

VOL. 9                           April 4, 2010                           NO. 14

 "...Intending After Easter..."


            The celebration of Easter is “a Christian festival marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (Encarta Dictionary). Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox (with the exception of the Eastern Orthodox Church which uses a different time table for calculating the date). For most people Easter is a Biblical observance in accordance with Luke’s account in Acts 12:4 which reads, “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternion of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people Herod had “killed James the brother of John with the sword” and arrested Peter to meet the same fate. Luke writes of Peter’s deliverance from prison by the angel of God and Herod’s violent death (Acts 12:5-24).

            If you tell a lie long enough people will believe it to be a truth. Remarkable as it may seem with many people, Easter is not in the Bible. It is found in the King James Version of the book of Acts but true Bible students understand the gross misrepresentation of the text by the King James translators. Albert Barnes writes, “There never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover. The word ‘Easter’ now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Savior. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the time of the apostles

            Paul warned the church at Colosse of those who would establish “festivals” and “not holding fast to the Head” (Colossians 2:16-19). With the exception of Christmas, celebrating Easter is one of the most important religious holidays enjoyed by the Christian religious world. Neither Christmas nor Easter were celebrated by the New Testament disciples, ordained by the apostles, suggested by Christ, or instituted by the Holy Spirit and yet many professing Christ pretend these celebrations are Biblical. It is only a pretense without Biblical authority.

            The result of attitudes that embrace Christmas and Easter is a view toward what is written in the Bible and what is not written in the Bible. The Lord told the people of Israel not to add too nor take away from His law (Deuteronomy 4:2). John affirmed in the Revelation that man should not add or take away anything from that message (Revelation 22:18-19). Yet every year thousands of people add Easter to the Bible and celebrate it as if the Lord instituted it. Is it wrong to celebrate Easter as a religious holiday inspired by God? No more than adding anything else one desires to the Bible.

            Jesus did institute one celebration that most of the religious world fails to observe in accordance with divine scripture. “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom” (Matthew 26:26-29). The New Testament disciples celebrated the resurrection every first day of the week.


---Kent Heaton 

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"The Church Will Never Be The Same"


            Several years ago, Time Magazine carried an article, with this caption, "The Church Will Never Be The Same," because, they say, "The baby boomers are coming back to church."  The article said among other things, "These returnees are described as traveling from church to church or faith to faith, sampling creeds, shopping for  a custom-made God."  It said of churches, "In an effort to attract them, more and more churches are becoming customer oriented."


            This reminded me of some striking parallels of the '60s and the church in our day. I found some common denominators among those who are causing confusion in churches, including churches of Christ.


      1. The boomers of the '60s were looking for highs. They could not live on the plains. They had to be on the mountain peaks. They needed a smoke, a pill, or a needle. What are you hearing today from those pulling away from the church? "We want a worship that makes us feel good or high." I might add, never mind how God may feel.


      2. Another similarity in the '60s and in our day: They both dislike order. In the '60s they wanted a spontaneous life-style doing whatever made them feel good. We are hearing the same cry today in the church: "We want a spontaneous worship. We are bored with order."


      3. Another similarity in the '60s and in our day: They both dislike authority. They want to do it their way. In the '60s they rebelled against parental, governmental, and religious authority. The new hermeneutic virtually eliminates apostolic authority and does away with pattern theology. Everyone does that which is right in his own eyes.


      4. In the '60s they wanted to do what came naturally. Then they did not wear socks, ties, nor underwear.  Their motto was: "Just hang loose." Personal freedom and comfort were their objectives. Does this remind you of today?


      5. Another striking parallel is this: They tolerated everything except the established order. They would neither judge nor condemn any. Today those pulling away from the church have tolerance for virtually anything with the exception of the established church.


      6. Both have the some theme. Remember in the '60s the peace sign. Truth, they said, was unattainable. Thus came consensus and situation ethics, but real peace eluded them. Today we are being told among our ranks that peace is the message. I disagree. Truth is the message. Peace is the hope.


      7. Both then and now they believe love is a cure-all. But, what kind of love are they talking about "Love Sweet Love" or agape love that suffereth long and is kind...rejoices in truth (1 Cor. 13). I see the "Me" generation in both of these.


            I beg those who are swept up in this movement to take another look. I beg the elders and churches and or schools who are catering to this movement to take another look before we lose the church that Jesus purchased with His own blood.  


---Bob Plunket

                                                                                                                                                                            in The Sower, Vol. 54, No. 3, May/June, 2009


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            A September 2009 survey shows that the total number of people calling themselves Christians in the United States has dropped 12 percent since 1990 while those claiming no religion has grown to 15 percent. Twenty-five percent of people in their 20s claim to have no religious belief and Protestant church membership has dropped 20 percent in the last 20 years. However, a separate survey shows that 91 percent of all Americans say they hope to go to heaven.


- via The American Religious Identification Survey

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