On Easter and Good Friday, the Los Angeles Times published two anti-Christian articles. What do the two articles have in common? Both were published on two of the most significant holy days in the Christian year. And both are based on selective arguments that conflate personal opinion with objective truth.
Over the weekend, Senator and pastor Raphael Warnock stirred up theological controversy when he asserted in a now-deleted tweet that the meaning of Easter involves more than Jesus' resurrection and that by helping others, "we are able to save ourselves."
In a day when defending not just Christian truth but the concept of truth itself is controversial and dangerous, it will be tempting for Christians to retreat from the “culture wars” and thus from secular culture. This despite the fact that we are commissioned to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) as Jesus’ “witnesses” (the Greek word can also be translated “martyrs”) where we live and around the world (Acts 1:8).
Christians worldwide are preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The resurrection is the central event in the Holy Scriptures, the pivotal moment of the story of Christ, and the foundational belief of a Christian worldview. Even more, if it happened, it is the pivotal event in all of human history. Some skeptics, however, find the story hard to believe. A few have even gone so far as to assert that the story of Jesus’ resurrection was simply borrowed from pagan myths.
On this day of Holy Week, Jesus wanted silence. The gospels record no activities on this Wednesday. As best we can tell, he spent the day with his disciples at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany, a village two miles east of Jerusalem. Solitude with his Father was Jesus’ consistent pattern, from early in the morning (Mark 1:35) to evening (Matthew 14:23) and through the night (Luke 6:12).
Today is Tuesday of Holy Week. On this day, Jesus faced his critics in a daylong series of debates (cf. Matthew 21-23). Perhaps their most famous exchange came when his opponents asked our Lord, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:17). This was a very hot cultural button in the day.