If you’re serious about being a Christian, Easter (like the other 364 days of the year) can be a very demanding time.
It’s more than just digging out your childhood “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” record, shopping for a new spring wardrobe or determining whether “Easter Parade” (1948, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland) is streaming on Netflix.
You may find your convictions put to the test.
What if a semi-religious buddy keeps badgering you to “phone in sick” and skip the sunrise service (and maybe next week’s service and ...)?
What if your college freshman confides that an atheistic professor is seriously undermining their long-held beliefs?
What if an agnostic co-worker sincerely asks for your input on the meaning and purpose of life?
Most people will readily whip out statistics, reviews and logical arguments to defend their favorite sports franchise, musical genre, restaurant, author, political cause or vacation destination. Not so with religion.
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide claim to regard the Empty Tomb as the most significant event in human history, but you wouldn’t know it by the amount of effort they put into understanding Christianity. Acknowledgment of (and reverence for) Jesus Christ tends to be a mile wide but an inch deep.
When someone asks a moderately tough question (about alleged Bible contradictions or why God permits evil to exist), many lackadaisical pew-occupiers develop a deer-in-the-headlights expression, squirm and self-effacingly chuckle, “That’s above my pay grade. You’ll have to ask the preacher.”
But if you truly believe that forgiveness of sins and eternal life are your reward (by the grace of God), nothing is above your pay grade. Stop passing the buck.
Following the Lamb of God doesn’t mean walking around with a perpetual sheepish grin.
I am a proud supporter of Christian apologetics. “Christian apologetics” does not mean apologizing for being a Christian. It can be defined as a reasoned defense for the validity of Christianity’s claims.
The apostle Paul wasn’t communicating solely to evangelist Timothy when he wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (Second Timothy 2:15). Due diligence is expected from all of us.
In 2019 we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to apologetics websites and books. For starters, in addition to the works of Lee Strobel, I would recommend “The Historical Jesus” (Gary Habermas), “Can We Trust the Gospels?” (Mark D. Roberts) and “Who Moved the Stone?” (Frank Morison).
For the sake of yourself, your family, your congregation, your friends and strangers you encounter, it is important to muster more than a peevish “Because!” when queried about your beliefs.
By all means, enjoy the Easter peripherals. But remember that the marshmallow Peeps will be on your lips just a few seconds and even the highest-quality clothing will eventually wind up in a landfill.