Easter is a time when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, fulfilling centuries of prophecy about the Messiah. It is a holiday known for also featuring secular components like Easter eggs, candy, egg hunts, and the Easter bunny. Some of these traditions derive from pagan observances dating back to the Roman Empire, which some find troubling.
Thomas Burke, dean of Humanities at Hillsdale College and a professor of philosophy and religion, however, believes that it is acceptable for Christians to partake in rituals during Easter that may have pagan roots.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Burke explained that given that these secular Easter traditions "no longer have those pagan associations and meanings," they are "perfectly legitimate for Christians." more >>
If you have ever wondered what sequence of events inspired the lyrics of the timeless Christian hymn "It is Well" by writer Horatio Spafford, theologian John Piper unveils the tempestuous story behind it during a hauntingly beautiful rendition of the song on Jimmy Needham's new album "The Hymn Sessions."
In a video performance of the song posted on Vimeo, Piper reveals the devastating tragedy that inspired the powerful song in the late-1800s.
"In 1871 the great Chicago fire virtually ruined Horatio Spafford. It was almost the biggest trial of his life but not the biggest," began Piper at the 3-minute mark in the video. more >>
One year after his son's suicide, Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life and pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California, said that his sermons during worship services beginning this Thursday evening, will be about how the message of Easter provides the answer to life's most devastating trials.
"Do you ever find yourself discouraged, or depressed or defeated, or even devastated by the circumstances in your life? If so, let me take a minute to encourage you about the pathway to hope and change and transformation that I've found in the Easter story of the resurrection of Jesus," said Warren during a video he released earlier this week (see video below).
"Five days after Easter last year, my 27-year-old son ended his own life. He battled mental illness since a child and despite the best doctors and meds and therapy, and prayers and love, he lost his battle for hope and our family was devastated." more >>
A Wisconsin-based atheist organization has sent a letter of complaint to Clemson University alleging that their football program includes "Christian worship."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison has warned Clemson University about the apparent religious content found in their football program.
In a letter sent out last week that was addressed to Clemson Senior Associate General Counsel Erin Swan Lauderdale, the FFRF outlined their argument that "Christian worship seems interwoven into Clemson's football program." more >>
LOS ANGELES – Saddleback Church founder Pastor Rick Warren plans to preach at two Easter Sunday worship services at Hollywood High School as part of launching a church campus in Los Angeles.
"We have been planning this for years and praying for it and I'm so excited to have a Saddleback campus in the heart of the great city of Los Angeles," says Warren in a promotional radio announcement.
The 1,800-seat Hollywood High auditorium along with the school's parking area will be used by Saddleback for the Easter services on April 20. No specific plans regarding where the Los Angeles campus will be located or when services will begin after Easter have been released by the church. However, more than 1,000 people have already expressed an interest in the regional and international campus by way of joining an email list and more than 300 volunteers have signed up to help host the Easter services at Hollywood High. more >>
Graphic designer and communications expert Stephen Fogg, who works for Crossway Baptist Church in Melbourne, Australia, recently gave special attention to the website pages of churches promoting Easter services by showcasing a top eight list on his blog.
"Easter is a great time to be inspired by the creativity coming from other churches. As I look online and see what other churches around the world are creating on their websites to promote their Easter services I'm amazed at the talent out there," writes Fogg. "I love the strategy, creativity and work that communication peeps, designers, videographers put into crafting a great online experience for Easter."
The list, along with images of the websites, includes (in no particular order) The Chapel in the Chicagoland, Ill.; Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.; Mars Hill Church based in Seattle; Fellowship Church in Texas; Hillsong in locations throughout the world; Mariners Church based in Irvine, Calif.; NewSpring Church in South Carolina; and Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago area. more >>