How Not to Think About Easter

I was flabbergasted last night when a television show about Easter appeared – one which had absolutely nothing to do with Easter. Indeed, the most amazing – and pathetic – thing about this program was that it was produced by Christians – or so we were told.

I refer to the “Celebrate Easter” show which Channel Ten aired at 1am this morning. Given what a lousy show it was, it was probably a good thing that the half hour program was aired when most people would not have been watching TV.

So what wonderful Easter message was presented on the program? Was the death and resurrection of Jesus powerfully highlighted? Were there testimonies of lives wondrously turned around by an encounter with the living Christ? Was there discussion of the most important event in human history?

Nope. Not a bit of it. Believe it or not, the entire program was about the Parliament of the World’s Religions which was held in Melbourne late last year. A female reporter and a film crew walked around the conference filming all the various religious goings on.

Thus all sorts of different religious groups were interviewed and featured. Every conceivable religious tradition and expression was given a good run. So was there a final wrapping up at the end, proclaiming the uniqueness of Jesus Christ? Nope.

Instead, we were told that the Parliament reflects the very spirit of Easter. Yes you heard me right. This ecumenical shindig with all its competing religious truth claims was somehow an expression of what Easter is all about. Really folks, I am not making this up.

Not once were we told that there is something unique about the claims of Christ. Not once was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ trumpeted. Not once was the biblical gospel contrasted with the other religious traditions.

Not once was the truth of the gospel proudly proclaimed. Not once did we hear that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). Not once were we told that the Easter event sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world.

And yet we were sold a bill of goods that this was somehow a “Celebrate Easter” program. So who was responsible for this travesty? A group called the Christian Television Association Western Australia. Whoever they are, they obviously think they are being open-minded about things.

But the truth is, a lot of open minds need to be closed for repairs. If a group calls itself Christian, and claims to be offering a show to celebrate Easter, then surely something about Jesus and his work at Calvary should be featured.

The last thing that should be promoted by such a group for such a show is the baloney that all religions are alike, and that the only thing which matters is that we all just get along in some sort of holy huddle. This has absolutely nothing to do with the biblical gospel and the teachings of Jesus.

I have written several earlier pieces on the PWR, warning against this attempt to reduce all religious truth claims down to the lowest common denominator. It simply cannot and should not be done. See here for more on this:
billmuehlenberg.com/2009/10/22/parliament-of-the-world%E2%80%99s-religions/
billmuehlenberg.com/2009/12/02/christianity-and-religious-syncretism/
billmuehlenberg.com/2009/10/23/when-truth-goes-missing/

One expects secular television stations to run brainless interfaith drivel on their networks. But one surely does not expect Christians to jump on board with such nonsense. Sadly, this simply tells us just how far down the tubes so many Christian groups have gone.

They have renounced their spiritual birthright for a bowl of trendy PC porridge. They have decided that it is far better to be popular and non-controversial than to actually walk in the steps of their master. Jesus of course caused controversy and sparked deep divisions wherever he went.

And in the end Jesus was crucified for his efforts. Believers are told that they are not above their master, and Jesus promised that we can expect to receive the same sort of treatment that he received. But many church groups today want to be men-pleasers rather than God-pleasers.

Last century Dorothy Sayers wisely said, “Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ.” If there was ever a case of adapting the Church to men, it has to be this wretched program.

But of course the CTA is not the only group guilty of such foolishness and treachery. I recently quoted Peter Costello on the issue of climate change and the churches’ involvement. He said this:

“Our monthly Anglican newspaper broadly reflects the prevailing progressive left opinion. In December, in the lead-up to the government’s self-imposed timetable for securing the emissions trading legislation, it ran four extensive articles on the need for action over climate change. It published no contrary views. The Copenhagen summit was given more column inches than Christmas, quite an achievement for a religious newspaper. But the issue has hardly registered with it since.”

To which I replied: “Yes, an entire book could be written about the way some church groups have slavishly jumped on this bandwagon, elevating the issue to something higher than the gospel message itself. Indeed, it is exactly because so many church groups have abandoned the gospel message that they go all evangelistic about other trendy causes.”

It is clear that at least in respect to this particular program, the gospel of Jesus Christ has been abandoned altogether. The only questions remaining are these: Why does this group call itself Christian? And, Why in the world did they call this program “Celebrate Easter”?

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9 Replies to “How Not to Think About Easter”

  1. Sometimes you’ve got to wonder if our institutional churches remember what Jesus said:

    “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” Luke 6:26

    Instead of hearing a shrill, prophetic voice calling our debauched society to repent of its sins and turn to Jesus, instead we so often see the churches preaching the same, people pleasing message as the godless heathens.

    For some reason it is the churches whose names start with a vowel that are most guilty.

    Jereth Kok

  2. Serves you right for watching late-night TV, Bill! 😉 Or TV at all for that matter. I find myself watching pretty much nothing right now and not missing it at all!

    But you’re absolutely right – how could they call it ‘Celebrate Easter’ when it was anything but?

    David Keen

  3. Hi Bill,

    I hadn’t heard anything of the CTA for years. I didn’t know it was still in business (assuming it’s the same organisation). Sounds like it shouldn’t be. I remember the short 30 second CTA television ads from years ago as containing a very watered down “Christian” message and thinking even then what an opportunity lost. Sounds like the organisation has continued on a downward spiral into apostasy.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  4. Bill,
    It’s no longer shocking to me. From a seeker sensitive approach to the gospel, the church is now in transition to embrace fully the interfaith and inclusive emergent gospel, which will accomodate everybody. The Bible clearly tells us that in the last days, many will depart from the true faith. But what is truth. The enlightened allows individual interpretation. Those who hold to the absolute old gospel truth as the apostles taught, will soon be regarded as arrogant, narrow minded, and unreasonable.When you hear of ‘reputable’ christians leaders accomodating new age and emergent beliefs and practices, it can even rattle our own faith and make us think, maybe they are right. To name a few, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Chuck Colson and even some reform preachers are already ecumenical, interfaith, and cooperating and leaning to the ‘new gospel’. Will we be shakened in our faith or will we still cling to the old rugged cross, even when we are rediculed as modern days pharisees. Pray that we won’t be shakened but remain faithful and dependent on He who loved and called us and promises to keep us.
    Barry Koh

  5. All true Christians know there will be a falling away and let’s face it this is not the first time that Christians have been blamed for the misfortunes of the surrounding world. In an earlier age we might have found our fate in the arena. In this respect there is a diary written by a young woman who despite being begged by her father to renounce her faith chose to face the beasts in the arena. The measure of faith of such people is sometimes beyond understanding but this is what we must face and hold fast to. This is our path and the narrow road to Christ. Do we really want to live in this world for another thousand years of war and greed.
    Regarding pseudo religious programs, I no longer care for the likes of Geraldine Dooge and her presentations where she usually lines up various believers “sic” and non believers to simulate fairness then fill the program with cartoon demons supposedly to illustrate hell etc, ultimately denigrating the topic in a rather subliminal way.
    Jesus is our saviour; he is the love of our lives and our hope for eternity.
    The other day I read an article about him throughout which was the question how could a “simple” carpenter change the world? Seriously one would gather from this usual piece of drivel that he should have been a Wall Street Banker to gain more standing. What a world we would have had then and worse still what a prospect for heaven.
    The major problem today is that most preachers in the established churches still preach the bible?? Instead of a modern, simple and accurate illustration of the teachings of our Lord. When Jesus said that the gospel should be preached to all the world he obviously knew that his words needed to be clarified in the language of the day and location without any alteration or misinterpretation. Lets face it, his was a clear and beautiful “spoken” message yet Jesus even clarified his parables to the disciples. Jesus often spoke in parables to illustrate rather than dictate his message because his time was not yet come. Later as his time approached he became more direct ultimately apposing the false pretensions of the preachers and the Lawyers of the day, exposing their hypocrisies and giving his life for the good seed of this earth. From his manner we can see how it was Jesus who dictated the time and place of his sacrifice and his need to return to Jerusalem to be crucified during the passover. Not the Jews or the Romans but Jesus’s free choice.
    In this we celebrate not his crucifixion but his sacrifice and his magnificent resurrection as our hope for his glory to come.
    Yes the fight will go on for a while because even his angels will war in heaven to cast satan down, but what a war worth the winning.
    Dennis Newland

    Dennis

  6. Sadly, your comments are so believeable. The apostate church is so fashionable and so comfortable, no wonder Jesus says “come out of her, my people” (Rev 19:4). “But we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1:23) is such an offensive starting point – but so necessary. When I ran for the CDP I found some ministers and a Bible College just gutless to take a stand incase they offended people.
    So, keep up your good work Bill – you stand in the gap where many fail.
    Rob Merrells

  7. So awesome that you are always awake! Praise God! You are a legend!
    Jane Byrne

  8. Dear Bill, thanks for being a strong watchman, this is an absolute disgrace! The name of ‘Christian’ has been stolen by impersonaters that seek a Christianity exclusive of its authority the Bible. We will know them by their fruits and the fruits this lot bear are simply antichrist! I was about to google around to find the name of this lot that aired the show and name and shame them for such demonic gargle when your article named it, keep up the forthrightness and despise the shame mate, we are to contend for the faith once delivered (Jude 3) I see you doing such and it encourages me to do the same so much the more.
    Blessings, Dorian Ballard

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