Celebrating the core of the Christian faith

Mar 29, 2018 by

Church of England Newspaper editorial.

Christianity is about Easter. Those who claim that Christianity can take its place among other religions as yet another theistic faith are wrong. As St Paul said, the cross is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. That God’s own self can and did so empathise with his creation and the human race that he entered our world, engaged fully with it, even suffering death and torture, is a dreadful dishonouring of God in the eyes of Muslims for whom Jesus is a minor prophet, far below the warrior-prophet Mohammed in stature.

Jesus absorbed violence in his love for humanity, so as to overcome it, and bring new life into the world, to bring a new start as the new Adam. Well-meaning multi-faith officials of course want to promote good relations with other religious groups, but are not acting as Christian if they try to do this by turning Jesus into just another prophet and teacher in order to fit in with secular Home Office policies.

Jesus crucified and risen is ‘foolishness to the Greeks’: in modern terms to the intellectual elite or secularist humanists, but there is no doubt it is still true. Christianity is seen as irrational, lacking in evidence and based on myth. The Church can however confidently declare Jesus ‘crucified and risen’, on the basis of the witness of the New Testament, but also adducing supportive reasonable evidence in the way that the great German theologian and philosopher Wolfhart Pannenberg did in his Jesus, God and Man.

Arguing that a new event is not ruled out philosophically, and that the data of the New Testament most reasonably and probably interpreted as pointing to the rising of Jesus, Pannenberg deployed modern critical methods and arrived at the probable conclusion that Jesus rose, the end time even came in advance, revealing him as one in being with the Father. Christians do not have to go with Tertullian and his ‘I believe because it is absurd’ view of faith – the evidence is there to be considered and stands up as plausible. We can give reason for the faith that is in us.

A recent report tells us that Christianity is dying out in the UK, and it is hard not to say that successive governments have been happy to give this process a helping hand, keeping Christianity out of any significant policy-making, notably in education. Was the government involved in the Girl Guide movement cutting an oath to God out of the Guide promise? Secularism is now strong in all government departments – but not for ‘minority faiths’ who come under the equality and diversity legislation as specially favoured.

Likewise in Universities ‘theology’ is almost totally displaced by ‘religions’ in the syllabus, except happily in Scotland. This rejection of Christianity as important to the nation is a profound mistake. It is also deeply irrational: as has been noticed by good preachers, a look at the 20th Century and the fate of nations that have embraced atheism include Nazi Germany, Stalinist USSR, China, North Korea, all places of death and nihilistic destruction. Christ is risen and his suffering love is the great defence against all such hatred, abuse, war, and cynical managerialism. Alleluia!



Read also: (newer items at the top)

Why did French hero Arnaud Bertrame give his life to save others? Christianity by Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

BBC’s religion editor Martin Bashir: Why Christianity is still relevant this Easter

The Mystery of the Three Crosses by Fr Dwight Longenecker, Patheos

Salvation in No One Else by Rt Revd Charlie Masters, Anglian Network in Canada

He rose again the third day according to the scriptures – Hallelujah! by Archbishop Cranmer

CSI Calvary – the compelling case for the Resurrection by Jules Gomes, TCW

The Gospel says there is Truth – that is the message of Easter by Julian Mann, TCW

Holy Week in an Unholy World by Shane Claiborne, Red Letter Christians

Good Words on a Good Friday by Christopher Morrissey, The Imaginative Conservative

Bishop of Blackburn’s Easter Message

Prince of Wales uses televised recording to call for solidarity with Christians facing persecution across the globe, Mailonline

The Lamentation: a reflection for Good Friday by Martin Sewell, Archbishop Cranmer

It Was My Sin That Held Him There by Greg Morse, Desiring God

What is Easter? by

Maundy Thursday teaches us that love and truth always go together – a crucial message today by John Stonestreet, LifeSite

An Easter message to you from St George’s, Baghdad

Church Planting Hinges on Easter The Gospel Coalition

Don’t Just ‘Prove’ The Resurrection. Talk About Why It Matters by Matthew Payne, The Gospel Coalition

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