Yet the annual celebration of this event is as fresh today as it was on Resurrection Day itself. Joy in Jesus is a key part of our common DNA as the unified church of Jesus, not only at Easter, but every day of our lives.
I will deviate from my own blog outline when something really special happens. Such a moment came on Good Friday in the Wall Street Journal. I do not know Joseph Loconte, a professor of history at Kings College, but I would like to. He characterizes Easter as religious freedom:
“In all of the New Testament’s resurrection accounts, the method of Jesus for winning hearts and minds – his emphasis on peaceful persuasion – could not be plainer…Yet, in one of the tragic turning points in the history of the West…this biblical ideal was rejected. The church, imitating the Roman state under which it had suffered and ultimately thrived, soon endorsed the methods of Caesar: the use of imprisonment, torture or death to combat unbelief…
“The church of the martyrs became the church of the Inquisition…Protestants soon followed suit…nearly everywhere the church went – whenever it encountered resistance or disbelief – a culture of suspicion and violence followed.”
These are hard words and they are true. Loconte goes on:
“C. S. Lewis once declared: ‘If ever the book which I am not going to write is written, it must be the full confession by Christendom of Christendom’s specific contribution to the sum of human cruelty and treachery.’”
What modern forms of cruelty have you endured under church leadership?
My book, Streamside: Jesus’ Prayer for Perfect Unity (working title) is the book Lewis foresaw.
Our legacy is our history, but not our common DNA.
Loconte goes on the say that since the beginning of the 18th Century, the church has been trying to “recover its older tradition of toleration, as old as the New Testament itself.
Indeed, a firm basis for religious freedom would be found in the Bible, supremely in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus…Here is an Easter story – a message of the grace of God toward every human soul – for believers and doubters alike.”
Our true DNA lies in the Bible in its entirety.