Playing With The Cross of Christ
Albert E. Farley
We are presently in the annual season when Christendom is celebrating the man-made religious holy day (holiday) called Easter. It is considered to be “…the most important holy day in the Christian religion.” (World Book) A growing feature of this ever-evolving observance is the presentation of “Passion Plays.” Today, drama is "in," but living the crucified life and preaching the cross of Christ is "out." Hollywood has bred a generation of drama and entertainment seekers, and the theater has moved into the church building. Their outdoor plays grace their lawns with props and costumes.
It is a vain exercise to examine the New Testament in search of the practice of Easter. It cannot be found there. Indeed, we do learn many divinely written truths of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and we firmly believe every one of them. The death of Jesus Christ upon the cross at Calvary and His resurrection are vital parts of our faith and are at the very heart of the saving gospel of Christ! If Christ be not risen, our faith and preaching are vain. Christ sent His apostles to preach the gospel to every creature in the world. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The gospel is composed of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ from the dead. The first gospel sermon preached following the resurrection of Christ contained these vital truths. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. 1 Corinthians 2:2, 15:1-4; Romans 1:16, 17; Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 2:14-47.
Easter is of human invention and origin. Some cite the book of Acts, chapter twelve, verse four (KJV), as Biblical authority for observing Easter as a religious holy day. However, there is no support there. Luke did not write Easter in this verse; he wrote pascha – Passover. King Herod intended to bring Peter before the people after the Jewish Passover. Easter is of pagan origin and was grafted into the Roman Catholic Church and pruned by her Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests through the centuries. Every reliable encyclopedia and historical reference book will testify of this truth. Today, almost all of the Protestant Churches have now adopted it as gospel.
Some others cite Romans 14 as authority for esteeming and regarding some days above other days. What these fail to note is that those who did this were those who were “weak in the faith.” They observed the days as individuals – not as congregations; not as the church. Hopefully, these weak ones grew stronger and turned from these weak and beggarly elements. Galatians 4:9-11. We are to let no man judge us in meat, drink, in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath. Colossians 2:16-23. Voluntary humility and will worship will not be accepted by God. Drawing nigh unto God with our mouths and lips while our hearts are far from Him in not following His Word is vain worship. We cannot worship God by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:8, 9. Our only hope is in worship that is in spirit and in truth. John 4:24. It must come from our hearts, but it must also be in accordance with His truth. 17:17.
The wife of a preacher in a major denomination was shocked to learn that churches of Christ do not observe Easter as a holy day. She pitied us and offered to send their members to perform for us! I kindly informed her we did not neglect the observance of the resurrection of Christ; we did so every Lord’s Day – fifty-two days of every year – through the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, prayer, Bible study, gospel preaching, and by giving as God has prospered us. She shook her head, sadly.
Friends, the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man to direct his steps. Carnal holy days and seasons cannot lead man to a more spiritual, closer walk with God. If they could, God would have given them to us in His Word. He has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. We rejoice when anyone is drawn closer to the cross but, judge for yourself. Look at the humanly devised religions with all of their holy days and seasons. Look at Italy, France, Germany, England, Mexico, etc.! Look at America! Are human holy days drawing man closer to God? No! There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12; 16:25.
How can we know what is right and true? We can know by reading and following the Holy Word of God in Christ. The holy scriptures provide for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, that we may be complete, fully furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. May God help us to stop playing with the cross and to start living it and preaching it. Romans 10:14-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-20; Galatians 2:20; 2 Timothy 4:1-5. –Editor.
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