(Photo: Facebook/Shane Idleman)
Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship Church, advises Christians to celebrate the power of the cross this Easter instead of focusing on the pagan aspects of the holiday.
Idleman says just like Christmas, Easter can be redeemed to be celebrated for its true meaning. In his recent blog post, he states that redemption is a familiar concept among Christians that can be applied to celebrations since "it's about why, who, and how we celebrate."
"Like Christmas, the historical roots and the secularization do not undermine the message in a sincere heart. Easter celebrates the reality of an empty tomb and the power of the cross to cleanse and redeem…to release us from sin and death. It offers hope and peace to a dying world...Holidays, in many cases, are redeemed when the focus is on Christ," writes Idleman.
While comparing Easter's similar pagan origins like that of Christmas and Halloween, Idleman says Easter is rooted in neo-paganism, ancient Celtic and pagan rituals while also noting that many Christians who celebrate Easter are not swayed or influenced by such "cult-like" experiences.
"This Easter, although we rejoice in the empty tomb, don't forget about the power of the cross…This offers peace and hope to a dying world…truly a cause for celebration!," Idleman writes.
Celebrating such holidays are subject to each person's convictions however, oftentimes, those who opt out of celebration can still be "ridged, arrogant and judgmental" which defies God's desire for people with a broken and contrite heart, he explains.
Idleman also writes that those who choose not to celebrate holidays tend to make up for the lack of celebration through other actions.
"There are those who derail Christmas and its commercialism, yet purchase a $2,500 Plasma on credit, book expensive vacations each summer, and never serve the community or help those in need. Time is spent posting videos exposing the root of holidays, but no time is spent in the prayer closet truly seeking God. Other's ridicule the secularization of Christmas and Easter but allow their family to watch ungodly entertainment," he writes.
Although Idleman says he respects those Christians who decide not to acknowledge certain holidays, he notes that some might be taking it too far.
"Should we not acknowledge days of the week whose names originate from false gods…Sunday from the sun god, Monday the moon god, and so on?," he writes. "Whatever your position, the question to ask is, 'Is my stance leading to love, joy, peace, contentment, gentleness, and kindness? Or is it leading to rigidity, arrogance, legalism, divisiveness, criticism, and anger over non-essentials?' The former is the filling of the Spirit; the latter is the slippery slope of judgementalism."
He adds, "Celebrating holidays is often not the issue; the issues is what, or who, we choose to worship…the attitude of the heart."