In this period leading up to Easter I hate to think of all the clap-trap that is going to be thrown at the Church and society in general all around us. It’s not that I object to hot cross buns all year round, or even to fast reproducing chocolate bunnies, but it seems to me that, in this case, the world and the Church in general are riding tandem on the Easter issue.
Each is as bad as the other.
On the one hand the world is promoting Easter as a time for holidays, camping, buying and giving gifts, home maintenance, footy, and whatever-else-is-your-god and that’s it.
Oh, the local newspaper may have a short article on “What Easter means to me” by some Church leader which may or may not actually be about the death and resurrection of Christ.
Well, I am more concerned about the Church, and what I hear and see all around me often is not encouraging, to say the least.
The apostasy in many Churches is more noticeable at Easter, I believe, than at any other time including Christmas.
This week I am pointing out a leading exponent whose beliefs have poisoned the faith of many people. One to avoid!
Who Is Marcus Borg?
Who indeed, you might ask? Unknown by most, Borg has almost single-handedly been responsible for the falling away from the faith of at least one Baptist minister in the western suburbs of Melbourne. That assumes he once was in the faith – I don’t know.
The minister in question has been teaching members of his congregation that his views on Jesus, God and the Bible are driven largely by the writings of Marcus Borg.
‘Borg is Canon Theologian at an Episcopal Church in Portland, Oregon. Internationally known in both academic and church circles as a biblical and Jesus scholar, he was Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University until his retirement in 2007′, says his website.
He is the author of nineteen books – most of which denigrate Christ’s recorded miracles, His virgin birth, His resurrection and even His New Testament words.
How can such a man be considered an authority on Christ and His resurrection when he is obviously not even in the faith?
More appropriate to me – how can a Baptist minister fall for ‘cunningly-devised fables’, which the apostle Peter warned us about nearly 2000 years ago? [See 2 Pet 1:16].
The Victorian Baptist Union is powerless on the issue and impotent to deal with such rank heresy. The really sad thing is that the local Church leaders lap up his every word.
Denominational apostasy occurs when Church leaders’ teachings go off the rails and the denominational headquarters do nothing about it. I am not accusing the Victorian Baptist Union [BUV] of this charge just yet because it is not ‘legally’ responsible for the views held by the ministers employed under its umbrella. But there have been a number of disturbing developments in recent times, apart from the one described above:
A BUV Committee has recommended the re-appointment of a seminary professor who clearly condones a homosexual lifestyle among Church members.
The BUV openly supports the appointment of women pastors, in line with many other denominations in recent times, but out-of-line with the clear instructions of Paul in the New Testament.
Some Baptist Churches in Melbourne are even experimenting with new age and emergent Church practices such as yoga, labyrinths, contemplative and mystical prayer.
This is why it is most important to test and discern all the activities and teachings in your Church, and then act accordingly.
What Really Is Easter?
Surrounded by this gaggle of opinions on what Easter is all about, why can’t the Church turn directly to the historic Scriptures in which God Himself has revealed all we need to know about sin, salvation and Christian living?
Internet site ‘Got Questions’ says: ‘The name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring. A
festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox to honour her. The goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility.
Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration and the Easter bunny being a remnant of the goddess worship.’
When we celebrate the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection it has nothing to do with Easter festivities, apart from the timing.
In fact the two are diametrically opposed to each other: Easter celebrations emphasise the self, the materialism and the sinfulness of a society without God. But in Christ’s death we have our sins dealt with and in His resurrection we have a guarantee of ours.
How Should the Church Respond?
The Church generally is stuck with Easter, so it should make the most of the opportunity.
I think it is probably best for Churches to ignore distractions like Easter eggs, decorations, face-painting, bunnies, bonnets
and irrelevant activities, and concentrate on what happened at the first ‘Easter’, why it happened, and the world- and individual life-changing consequences of what happened.
Our faith is an historical one; if what is clearly portrayed as history in the New Testament is really only a superstitious myth, as Marcus Borg thinks it is, then, as Paul said, we are ‘of all men most miserable.’ [1 Cor 15:19].
I prefer to trust the eye-witness accounts written in the New Testament. How about you?