Indonesian police foiled Islamic extremists’ plan to bomb a church ahead of Easter celebrations in Serpong, just outside of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.
On Thursday, authorities discovered about 150 kg (3330 pounds) of explosives not far from Christ Cathedral Church.
Bombs were found beneath a gas pipeline and in bags near the church entrance. Police safely diffused the explosives after 10 painstaking hours, according to officials. more >>
One evangelical pastor and author recommends that Christians celebrate Easter anywhere except at church.
"Lock the front door of the church on Easter morning and post a sign there that says, 'He is not here – he is risen,'" said Eric Foley, pastor of Doers of The Word Evangelical Church, in a statement.
"That's the message the angel shares when the women come to anoint Jesus' body on Easter morning: 'Go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead; and behold, he is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see him.'" more >>
“[Jesus] was surely one of the great ethical innovators of history. The Sermon on the Mount is way ahead of its time. His ‘turn the other cheek’ anticipated Gandhi and Martin Luther King by two thousand years. It was not for nothing that I wrote an article called ‘Atheists for Jesus’ (and was delighted to be presented with a T-shirt bearing the legend).”--Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006)
For those who profess to be Christians, the week leading up to Easter is the most sacred time of the year, commemorating as it does the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet while Jesus is a revered religious figure, he was also, as atheist Richard Dawkins recognizes, a radical in his own right whose life and teachings changed the course of history.
Too often today radicalism is equated with terrorism, extremism and other violent acts of resistance. Yet true radicalism, the kind embodied by such revolutionary figures as Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, actually involves speaking truth to power through peaceful, nonviolent means. Separated by time and distance, Christ, King and Gandhi were viewed as dangerous by their respective governments because they challenged the oppressive status quo of their day. more >>
Every year, around this time, parents and churches ponder how to communicate the Easter story to children, as something more than dyed eggs. The problem is, of course, that it’s impossible to talk about the resurrection of Jesus without talking about death. And, in the case of Jesus, it’s really hard to talk about death without talking about crucifixion.
Some churches resolve this tension by deeming the cross too violent for kids. They talk instead about Easter meaning that Jesus is our “forever friend.” They say that Jesus “went away for a little while, and his friends were sad,” but that he soon “came back to see them.”
Most Christian churches, thankfully, still speak on Easter of the cross and the resurrection, but in many places this is, well, precisely because it’s Easter. The story seems particularly strange to the children in such places because “Jesus is my forever friend” is the standard fare the rest of the year. more >>
As we observe Holy Week there is no other issue, no other thought more demanding of our attention than that of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. On these facts-and most especially the resurrection-rest the whole Christian faith, mission, and message.
The apostle Paul wrote that if Jesus was not raised from the dead then our “faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15:14), in fact “futile” (v. 17), and we are without hope in both life and death. Without the resurrection, there would be no hope of deliverance from our fallen state. Humanity would remain forever alienated from God. People could never find true peace with themselves or others; we would be left to stumble through this life bound by our fears and insecurities. Society and nature-all of creation-would remain under the power of injustice, evil, greed, envy, and decay.
Thankfully we who know Christ can proclaim with confidence that “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!” However, the resurrection is not just a personal matter but also the redemptive act of God that touches the whole world! The apostle Paul wrote: more >>
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is urging China not to detain Christian members of unregistered "house churches" who plan to worship outdoors this Easter. But the agency doubts China's communist party will heed the word of caution until the administration can convince it to embrace human rights.
USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo chided government officials on Wednesday for their "ruthless intolerance" towards the unregistered Shouwang Church's public prayer services. He also urged Chinese officials to take a more peaceful tact with house church members on Easter Sunday.
"Beijing's action further alienates the fast-growing number of religious believers in China, particularly during Easter, the most sacred week in Christianity," said Leo in a statement. more >>