Wrong to Celebrate Easter?

Easter is a time when millions pause and think about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For many it is also a time of fun, games, and traditions such as Easter baskets and egg hunts. But not everyone is so fond of Easter.

Some Christians claim that Easter, like many other modern “holidays,” has roots in ancient paganism. While Jesus’ resurrection itself is described in the Bible, there is no mention of “Easter” (except for an unusual and contested translation of “Passover” in the original KJV.)

On top of this, it is argued that it is wrong to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on just one Sunday, since we should be celebrating it every day of our lives. Indeed, God deserves so much more than just one or two days a year, He deserves our all.

But is it wrong to celebrate Easter? Paul appears to answer the question in Romans 14. The chapter begins with the command: “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” Among the “opinions” over which we should not judge each other, two clear examples are identified:

  • “One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables 
  • One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.”

In both of these cases, Paul says only that “each person must be fully convinced in his own mind,” and he concludes in verse 13, “let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”

So is it wrong to regard one day above others as a time to remember divine truths? Not necessarily. Is it wrong to celebrate Easter with baskets and eggs? It appears that there is no problem unless it causes a brother to stumble.  But it is certainly a good thing for us all to be reminded that it is not a certain “day” that is holy, but Christ Himself, to whom we owe everything.

It is important for us to understand what does and does not constitute an opinion. So as a final question for personal consideration, which of these things do you think would also fall into the category of “opinions” as the word is used in Romans 14, and why?

  • Which translation of the Bible to use?
  • Choosing to be single or to marry?
  • Deciding to have a scriptural divorce or a scriptural remarriage?
  • Participating in or not participating in any particular church ministry?
  • Being present every time the church meets?
  • Choosing to drink wine or to abstain from it?
  • Wearing a bathing suit at the beach?
  • Choosing to use homeschool, private school, or public school?
  • Attending a private university, a public university, or joining the workforce?
  • Being a stay at home mom or having a professional career?
  • Choosing if and when to have children, and how many to have?
  • Driving a nice car and owning nice things?
  • Political stances on issues such as gun control, death penalty, or global warming?
  • Choosing to vote or to abstain from voting in an election?
Advertisements

What are You Thankful For?

This is the time of year when millions of Americans place a special focus on thankfulness.  Perhaps this is a favorite celebration for many because its focus has the potential to be so enriching for us emotionally and spiritually.  Indeed, even secular psychologists acknowledge what the Bible also indicates, that pausing each day to think about what we are grateful for has a positive effect on our wellbeing.

1 Corinthians 4:7 is a powerful verse on thankfulness because it reveals that not only is thankfulness healthy, it is also the only sensible response to the good things in our lives.

“For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

What good thing do you have that God has not given you?  James 1:17 tells us that “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

If it is good, God gave it to you.  Thankfulness, therefore, makes sense.  Alternatively, boasting about having something that someone else gave you out of their own charity seems rather silly.

But what is particularly thought provoking about the context of our verse in 1 Corinthians 4, is that Paul is not actually talking about physical possessions.  I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 3:18 – 4:7 some time for context.  You will find that the Corinthians were being tempted to boast about their own spiritual wisdom, and their own connections to well know spiritual leaders.  They were perceiving themselves as exceptional Christians.

It was in response to this pride that the Corinthians were warned: “For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

The implication is this: we are not only indebted to God for our possessions, but also for our knowledge of the truth, and our relationships with the “Pauls, Apollos’S and Cephas’s” that first taught us about Christ.

In fact, the Bible indicates that we are indebted to God for our very righteousness itself: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Also consider Romans 3:21-26 for more scriptural support.

What do we have, that was not given us by God?

Houses?  Cars?  Pantries full of food?
Relationships with other Christians?
Righteousness?

Eternal life?

We have nothing to boast about except the cross. (Galatians 6:14)  And yet, we have more to be thankful for this season than anyone else.

turkey-532962_1280