Sunday, April 4, 2010
The Meaning of Easter
Are Christians to carry out their faith solely through the convictions of their hearts, or is bodily implementation of that same creed necessary in addition to avoid the accusation, from either man or God, of apostasy or hypocrisy? Early Christians who believed in bodily resurrection identified with the latter view and deemed it crucial to live out their faith through their outward actions while retaining their inner beliefs. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 appears to support this notion, for the passage states, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." Elaine Pagels, a scholar of early Christianity, has argued that Christians who viewed the body as insignificant, perhaps the Gnostics, were more willing to make gestures of acquiescence to the Roman Empire as a result of their belief that only pure intentions of heart mattered to God. An argument may be made against this perspective if one considers the message of James 2: 26, which asserts, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." This reference suggests the importance of practicing what one preaches. In addition, in the book of Revelation, the church in Laodicea is severely chastised for observing a watered-down, "inoffensive" form of Christianity, in which worldly and spiritual matters have become almost irrevocably amalgamated into a "lukewarm" dichotomy. In this letter, God strongly urges church members to abandon their tendency to straddle the fence and take a stand with regards to the revealing decision of whether they truly love Him.