Even casual discussions with friends and loved ones who are outside of the churches of Christ can reveal a very strange mythology that has developed around them.
They are sometimes mischaracterized, maligned, and ostracized on the basis of misunderstood or poorly explained practices. Not all the criticisms, of course, are unfair or false, even if the scriptural basis for the differences among us goes unexplored. It is the mythology about churches of Christ that concerns us now, the kind of thing one hears about them from those operating according to ignorance or malice. Continue reading » Legends of the Churches of Christ
Christians from the very beginning have had to decide whether or not to honor the holiday observations of religions other than that of Christ. That first generation of Christians, being Jews, were confounded by the insistence of some that they continue to observe the “laws and ordinances” of the law of Moses. But this was soon answered by the apostles (Acts 15:24-31; Ephesians 2 15; Galatians 5:6) who plainly defined the old law as dead. Therefore the observation of special days and practices under the old law were now only matters of indifference. Continue reading » Doing the First Works: Observing Religious Holidays?
Many religious people throughout the world celebrate Easter traditions. These traditions vary from culture to culture, and religion to religion. Pagans celebrate fertility rites, while those claiming to follow Christ celebrate His resurrection. In either case, Easter traditions are not Bible traditions.
Easter’s Origin In Paganism
A man called “St. Bede” (672-735 A.D.) believed the origins of Easter to be connected to “Castre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding with April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored Easter eggs” (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2001). This same goddess is known in other cultures as Aphrodite (Cyprus), Astarte (Phoenicia), Ishtar (Assyria) and Ostara (Norse).
Continue reading » Easter Traditions
A number of years ago while I was taking care of some banking, one the tellers who knew me to be a preacher asked if I was “ready for the big day?” I paused a moment, trying to figure out what “big day” she meant. Then it hit me – she was talking about Easter. Like most people, she saw Easter Sunday as one of the “big” religious days of the year. When I told her that the church I work with did not do anything different on this “big day” I am sure she must have been surprised. She went on to observe that many people only “go to church” on Easter and Christmas. I certainly agreed with her on that one. I told her we try to help people see the need to worship God every Sunday, not just on Easter and Christmas. Her reply? “Maybe you need to have more Easters and Christmases!”
That pretty well sums up the attitude of many toward religious worship and service. Only when a “big” day comes along is it important enough to them to participate in religious activities. This certainly is not worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24; Hebrews 10:25).
Continue reading » The History of Easter