Sunday, April 28, 2013

How do people change? What is your view of sanctification?

In this next series of posts, I will be examining several common views of sanctification including the Lutheran position, Wesleyan view, and Reformed view of sanctification. I will be critiquing each one to see which one is the most biblical.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you. What is your view of sanctification-meaning, how would you describe it, and what is our role and God's role in it?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What is repentance?

Repentance is a subject that comes up often. Repentance needs to be correctly understood, so that those who have sinned can learn how to biblically respond to their sin. The answer is repentance, but what is this? From the texts of Scripture, one can observe that repentance is a turning away from sin and turning to God instead.  Wayne Grudem defines repentance as a “heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.”[1] Jay Adams would add to this definition with, “Repentance is a rethinking of one’s behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. It is coming to a different opinion or viewpoint, one so different that it calls for different thought patterns and a different lifestyle.”[2] John Colquhoun gives a slightly more complex definition of it with:

A gracious principle and habit implanted in the soul by the Spirit of Christ, in the exercise of which a regenerate and believing sinner, deeply sensible of the exceeding sinfulness and just demerit of his innumerable sins is truly humbled and grieved before the Lord, on account of the sinfulness and hurtfulness of them. He feels bitter remorse, unfeigned sorrow, and deep self-abhorrence for the aggravated transgressions of his life, and the deep depravity of his nature; chiefly, because by all his innumerable provocations he has dishonored an infinitely holy and gracious God, transgressed a law which is ‘holy, and just, and good,’ and defiled, deformed, and even destroyed his own precious soul.[3]

All of these definitions contain common characteristics. They call for a recognition that something is wrong in a person’s life and needs changed. They note that a different way of living is needed, and that the whole body, including the emotions and the mind, are involved in the change. They also recognize that an offense has been committed which ultimately relates to God. Repentance is going to have fruit, or effect, that comes from it, if indeed it is a biblical one. John the Baptist called for the people to “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” What would the fruit of repentance look like? John MacArthur points out that the Jewish Rabbis considered Isaiah 1:16-17 to record nine activities related to repentance.[4] These activities or fruits can be seen in “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.” One then can see that there are results that flow from repentance, such as the washing, the removing of evil, the ceasing of wrongdoing, etc.
It is helpful at this point to know that the Bible uses different Greek and Hebrew words for the English word repentance, and the meaning of each is significant. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word Shub is frequently used, and means to change a course of action. It can be used to describe a turn to or away from God, but mainly it means turning from rebellion against God to God (Num. 14:43, Josh 22:16, 18, 23, 29; 1 Sam. 15:11, 1 Kings 9:6).[5] In the New Testament, Metamelomai, Metanoeo, Epistrepho are the Greek words that are commonly translated as repentance. The primary word for repentance in the New Testament is Metanoeo, and, “it always speaks of a change of purpose, and specifically a turning from sin.”[6] Metanoeo differs from Metamelomai in that Metanoeo speaks of true repentance and turning to God, while Metamelomai expresses a regret that does not always involve turning from sin to God. This is significant because many people commonly assume that regret or penance is the same thing as repentance. Penance is not the same as repentance, however, and the difference needs to be established. Two places in Scripture where the difference can be seen are in Matthew 27:3 and 2 Corinthians 7. Here we see that:

The example of Judas makes it clear that metamelomai and metanoeo are not simply interchangeable in the NT. When Judas recognized that Jesus had been wrongly condemned, he regretted (metamelomai) his betrayal (Matt. 27:3). However, he did not find the way to genuine repentance (metanoia). We find the same distinction in 2 Cor. 7:8-10. Paul did not regret that he had written a sharp letter to the Corinthians, for the sorrow it caused had led its recipients to true repentance (metanoia), to an inner turning to God.[7]

The difference between repentance and penance then is that penance is sorrow that does not lead to a change of heart and direction, while repentance involves a sorrow for sin and leads to a change of heart and direction. The example of Judas in Matt. 27 shows this, with Judas regretting his actions but not turning from his sin to God and asking forgiveness. The example of Esau in Heb. 12:17 is another example of regret without repentance. Esau was sorry he lost the birthright, but did not confess his sin and turn to the Lord. Penance often is a sorrow for the consequences of sin, but not a godly sorrow that turns the sinner to Christ for the change that is needed. It is sort of like the kid who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar and is sorry for the spanking he gets, but not sorry for the sin against God and his parents. Even a resolve not to commit the act again, or as many would make, “New Year’s Resolutions,” do not necessarily mean repentance has taken place. On the difference between penance and repentance, John Calvin remarks:

Others, because they saw the various meanings of this word in Scripture, posited two forms of repentance. To distinguish them by some mark, they called one ‘repentance of the law.’ Through it the sinner, wounded by the branding of sin and stricken by dread of God’s wrath, remains caught in that disturbed state and cannot extricate himself from it. The other they call ‘repentance of the gospel.’ Through it the sinner is indeed sorely afflicted, but rises above it and lays hold of Christ as medicine for his wound, comfort for his dread, the haven of his misery.[8]

While Judas and Esau are examples of what repentance is not and what penance is, Psalm 51 provides a beautiful example of true repentance. David begins by admitting that what he did was sinful and primarily against a Holy God that had every right to judge him for it. David does not shift the blame like Saul in 1 Sam. 15: 24-31 (another example of penance, not repentance) but takes full responsibility. He cries to God for mercy and asks to be washed from the stain of his sin. David notes the effects of his on his body (broken bones) both in this Psalm and in even more detail in Psalm 32. David has turned from his sin and to God, asking forgiveness and then singing of the joy and gladness that follow as effects of repentance. There are a great number of other places in the Bible besides Ps. 51 that mention repentance. Some of these references include: 1 Kings 8:46-53; 2 Chron. 6:36-39; Job 42:1-6; Jer. 25:4-5, 34:15-16; Eze. 14:6, 18:30; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 17:30-31; Rom. 2:4; and Rev. 2:5, 22-23, 3:15-19.

Difference between Worldly Sorrow and Repentance[9]

Worldly Sorrow                                                 Repentance_______________________________
Short lived                                                                        Long term

Involves emotion                                                            Involves emotion and will

Makes vague resolutions                                                Makes specific restitution

Wants public attention                                                Humility

Desires immediate return to position
and ministry                                                                        Recognizes need to rebuild trust

External displays of contrition                                    Internal development and change

Finds fault in how treated in discipline            Exhibits submission to the humbling of discipline

Hesitates to follow counsel in reconciliation
and restitution process                                                Initiates action in restoring broken relationships and                                                                                                 making restitution

[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 713.

[2] Jay Adams, How to Help People Change (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 142.

[3] John Colquhoun, Repentance (East Peoria, IL: Versa-Press, 2010), 2-3.

[4] John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 181.

[5] Sinclair Ferguson, The Grace of Repentance (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 16.

[6] MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, 178.

[7] Verlyn D. Verbrugge, ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology Abridged
Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), s.v. “Metamelomai.”

[8] John Calvin, The Institutes of Christian Religion, ed. John T. Mcneill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, vol.
1 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), 596.

[9]Taken from Davey, In Pursuit of Prodigals, 64.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Church Reconciliation: Conclusion

Once people have addressed their own hearts (and have asked forgiveness, if they have sinned against the person) and determined that this is a sin that cannot be overlooked, they should approach the offender in private, as Matt. 18:15 says. They should seek to correctly understand the situation (James 1:19) before passing a final judgment, for it could be that they have misunderstood things. They should think the best of others, speak the truth in love (2 Sam. 12:1-9; Eph. 4:15), and treat others in a way that they would want to be treated (Matt. 7:2). It is advisable for those who are going to plan beforehand what they are going to say and how they will say it. For example:

1.     Plan the issues that need addressed (try to be as specific as possible).
2.     Avoid unnecessarily offending the other person with words and topics that do not need to be addressed.
3.     Use analogies or metaphors that the other person will understand and value.
4.     Describe the effects the problem is having on one’s self and others.
5.     Provide suggestions for a solution to the problem.[1]

If the person who has sinned listens and repents, then Matthew 18 and Luke 17:3-4 indicate that the other must forgive them. Reconciliation and efforts at greater unity continue, but the matter can end privately without others being involved. As Cheong states, “Ideally both you and the offender should not only understand the deeper struggles within your own hearts underneath the expressed and experienced sinfulness, but also understand what ongoing faith and repentance look like.”[2]
If the person does not listen and repent, then Matt. 18:16 says to “take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”[3] These witnesses were not witnesses to the original offense, if they were, they should have gone earlier. If the offender disputes what actually happened, another witness to the incident or direct evidence needs to be presented, for it is not enough to be one person’s word against another. The witnesses are to witness the confrontation, help call the offender to repentance (if indeed they have sinned), to be ready to bring the matter to the church (if needed), to make sure the confrontation is handled biblically, and to protect both parties. Jesus does not say how much time should proceed between the person not listening and then taking witnesses to talk to them, so biblical wisdom, love, and time for the Holy Spirit to work must be given to allow the offender ample time to repent. Leeman states:
    In short, the length of the process is determined entirely by how long it takes to convince the parties involved that a person is characteristically repentant or unrepentant. The church must examine the circumstances of the sin on the one side of the balance, and all the other evidences of repentance on the other side. Sometimes new information will emerge that will tilt the scale in one direction or another. But when the church is convinced that it has all the relevant information on both sides of the scale, and that the balance has stopped moving, it’s called to act in the direction of whichever side is heavier. That process might take a minute, or it might take a year.[4]
This may seem harsh and unloving, but sin must be dealt with before it destroys the person and others involved. Consider Paul’s words in Titus 3:10-11: “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”[5] The witnesses that should be taken should be those who are trustworthy and objective, and who care primarily about doing what is right in the Lord’s eyes, rather than pleasing a particular party. Gregg Allison writes, “As it proceeds to confront, expose, rebuke, and correct its members who are engaged in true sins that require discipline, the church must follow some explicit rules of engagement (Gal. 6:1). The aim is not to destroy life, wreak vengeance, or make an example out [of] the person; the approach and corresponding attitude is not one of harshness, arrogance, or anger.”[6] The goal is the same as the previous step, in that the offender repents and asks forgiveness, and the parties seek reconciliation. If the offender does repent, then the process stops, but if they do not repent, then the matter is taken to the church. At this point, church leadership should be aware of the situation, and be brought in. The elders of the church should then try to meet with the offender and call them to repentance. If this fails, letters to the offender warning them about their sin and calling them to repentance should be given.[7] These letters will also serve to aid the church should the offender sue the church. The last letter before the church is told should let the offender know when the church will be told, and what will happen if they persist in their sin.
In telling the church, Matt. 18:17 indicates that if the offender refuses to listen to the witnesses, then it is time for the church to be told. Again, enough time should be given to allow the Holy Spirit to work and bring repentance. If there is no repentance after the time given, then church leadership should bring the matter up to the members. Leadership needs to communicate to the church the biblical basis and necessity of church reconciliation, what has happened with the offender, and about the attempts at reconciliation. The church should be told in an orderly manner and with limited scope-to members of the church rather than non-members. The elders also explain how fellowship is to be broken with them (2 Thess. 3:14; 1 Cor. 5:9,11), which means that normal fellowship and Lord’s Supper are affected (communion is withheld). The whole church (members) are encouraged to pray for the offender, and to call the sinning person to repentance (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Thess. 3:15). If the offender repents, then they are to be restored in fellowship and in the Lord’s Supper (2 Cor. 2:5-8). If the person does not repent, then they are to be removed from the church.
Matthew 18:17 states that “if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” The church needs to know that the person in rebellion has communicated at least 3 things, namely, desiring to live life without God by refusing to submit to him, desiring a life outside of the community and care of the church as they refuse to listen to the church, and desiring to live a life the reflects Satan and his ways.[8] When the offender refuses to listen to even the church, they are put outside the church and turned over to Satan. In 1 Tim. 1:19-20, Paul says that “By rejecting this [holding faith and a good conscience], some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”[9] In other words, they are put outside the realm of the church in Satan’s domain, in hope that they will repent and return. Matthew 18:17 also says that they are to be considered a Gentile and tax collector, which means as unbelievers. As an unbeliever, the person should be evangelized and not mistreated (Gentiles and tax collectors were objects of Jesus’ ministry-cf: Matt. 8:5-13, 9:9-13, 11:16-19). The church should be instructed not to carry on relationships with them as if nothing was wrong (cf: 1 Cor. 5:6-11; 2 Thess. 3:6), but to appeal for them to repent whenever those from the church come in contact with them. The church should welcome the offender back if he or she repents (2 Thess. 3:15) and restore them to fellowship again. In everything, the church should make their love for them known (2 Thess. 3:14-15).
Church leadership should be very careful not to bring church discipline against members for the wrong reasons. They should also keep careful records of membership covenants and all notices of church discipline, in the event that the church is sued. The church needs to demonstrate that it required members to fulfill certain obligations, such as submission to God’s Word and church leadership, and that a failure to do this will result in consequences. A large number of situations can come up in church discipline cases, such as what the church will do if the offender says he or she just wants to leave the church, or what will be done if the offender is a leader in the church. In these cases, church leadership will need to seek biblical wisdom and consider the different matters carefully. Overall, church leadership must continually remind and teach the church about the necessity and love involved in church restoration. This may not be an easy process, but must be faithfully carried out to honor Christ.

[1]For a further description, see Sande, Peace Maker, 173-184.

[2]Cheong, God Redeeming His Bride, 96.

[3]See Deuteronomy 19:15 in regards to the importance of witnesses in a matter.

[4]Leeman, Church Discipline, 73.

[5]See also Rom. 16:17-18.

[6]Allison, Sojourners and Strangers, 200.

[7]For an example of a warning letter, see Appendix 9.6 in Cheong, God Redeeming His Bride.

[8]Cheong, God Redeeming His Bride, 147.

[9]See also 1 Cor. 5:1-5.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Church discipline part 3

Not all are convinced that this distinction between formal and informal church discipline is helpful or biblical, however. Cheong challenges the notion of separating discipline into formal and informal aspects by pointing out there really is no such thing as informal gospel missions, informal redemption, or informal ministry of the word. He states, “when we shift to using language like ‘informal church discipline,’ we suggest we are doing something beyond God’s purposeful and on-going ministry of the Word as the means for redemption. In other words, the term ‘church discipline’ implies more of the exception rather than the norm when considering our radical life of gospel mission.”[1] Cheong also points out that the one-another passages in the Bible (i.e. Col. 3:9; Eph. 4:15) cannot be divided into the categories of informal and formal church discipline, for they encompass both.[2] Rather than using the terms “informal” and “formal” church discipline and thus focusing on the process of the discipline, it would be better to focus on the person, and to remember that “God views their unbelief and lack of repentance as a personal rebellion from the very start.”[3] Regardless of where church leadership ends up on their position between distinguishing the two, they should agree that every aspect of church reconciliation is important. A personal conversation between two individuals is no less important than telling the matter to the church. Church leadership therefore, needs to equip the church so that the church can be faithful in putting out candles before they become forest fires, metaphorically speaking.
Typically, churches see church reconciliation beginning with Matt. 18:15, which says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” In actuality, there is a step that needs to be taken before this. This step is that of self-examination, as found in Matt. 7:1-6, Luke 6:37-42, 1 Cor. 11:31-32, and Gal. 6:1. Here, those who has been sinned against or are aware of a sin that needs addressed in someone else’s life must first look at their own life, and make sure that they have confessed any sin or personal fault towards the other person in the conflict, and that they are not tolerating the same sin their own life. The picture that Christ uses is that of a speck and a log (plank), and Jesus makes it clear that a person must remove any logs from his or her own eyes before correcting others. Leon Morris observes in relationship to this passage in Matthew that Jesus, “pictures a person who fixes his gaze on something quite unimportant in someone else and who does not notice what is much more significant in himself…The meaning is not that in every case the person passing judgment is a worse sinner than the one he criticizes. It is rather that what he finds wrong in his brother is a very small matter compared with the sin God sees with him.”[4] Church leadership needs to equip church members carry out self-examination before a hasty confrontation, so that when people do address others about their sins, they are doing so with the right motives and heart. Once the person has addressed these issues in their life, they still need to consider other matters before going to confront the other person about their sin. They must have the purpose of reconciliation (exchanging enmity for friendship) and not retaliation or embarrassment (Matt. 18:15). They must keep in mind that they are sinners who have been forgiven an unpayable debt, and that they are to relate to others in a manner that reflects the gospel and the gratitude of being forgiven (cf. Matt. 18:21-35). Secondly, they need to consider if this is a matter that can be covered in love (Prov. 10:12; 1 Pet. 4:8) or if it is significant and should be addressed. Sins that should be addressed include those that are dishonoring to God, damaging to relationships, hurting others, or hurting the offender.[5] Any sin that would fall under Gal. 5:19-21 should be confronted as well. There are additional considerations if the offender is not a Christian, which will be addressed later. 

[1]See Cheong, God Redeeming His Bride, 66-7.

[2]Ibid., 68.  

[3]Cheong, God Redeeming His Bride, 72.

[4]Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 166.

[5]See Ken Sande, The Peace Maker (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004), 150-4.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What God Has Done

...then I saw all that God has done.  No one can comprehend what goes on under the
sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning.  Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it. Ecclesiastes 8:17

There is an ambitious project underway to map the human brain.
"None of this will be easy," Obama said in outlining the initiative, dubbed BRAIN, or Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies.  "But think about what we could do once we do crack this code."
Such a brain map would be used to develop novel technologies to produce images showing the brain at work - how, for example, a memory gets formed, how it is stored and how it is retrieved.
The scientific hurdles include the fact that there are as many neurons, or nerve cells, in the human brain-about 100 billion-as there are stars in the Milky Way.  The neurons are linked by about 150 trillion connections known as synapses.
Some estimates suggest that if current technology were used, it would take years to map the roughly 10,000 synapses that branch from just a single neuron.  By comparison, the sequencing of the first human genome involved the mapping of only three billion base-pair sequences of DNA.
Only 3 billion.
In other words, this isn't rocket science.  It's not even genome mapping.  No, it's way beyond both of those rudimentary things.  Couple that with the fact that once you get the brain 'mapped', you still haven't explained the thoughts.  Not the registering of events like a recorder, but the meditations and imaginations of thought.  The interactions between brain and soul.  The ghost in the machine.
In the mens group this morning, we talked a little about how we know some things now, in part, but in heaven, we'll know in full.  Yet even that doesn't begin to encompass all that will be revealed to us over the course of eternity regarding the person of God.  Things of which we have no concept, or reference point for, currently.  
Things that the intricate workings of the brain only hint at.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Church Discipline/Reconciliation part 2

Church discipline, or reconciliation, can be defined in a number of similar ways. For example, Jay Adams mentions that church discipline “is God’s provision for good order in His church that creates conditions for the instruction and growth of the members.”[1] Robert Cheong notes that church discipline is “God’s ongoing, redeeming work through His living Word and people as they fight the fight of faith together to exalt Christ and protect the purity of His Bride.”[2] Jonathan Leeman adds:
Corrective church discipline occurs any time sin is corrected within the church body, and it occurs most fully when the church body announces that the covenant between church and member is already broken because the member has proven to be unsubmissive in his or her discipleship to Christ. By this token, the church withdraws its affirmation of the individual’s faith, announces that it will cease giving oversight, and releases the individual to the world.[3]

Teaching the church the correct understanding of what church discipline actually is, and the purpose of it, will go a long way in helping members to support it. Besides teaching what church reconciliation is, members must be taught that a failure to carry it out reveals a serious spiritual deficiency that the Lord will not overlook. The churches of Pergamun and Thyatira in Revelation 2 were admonished, in part for their failure to practice church discipline and to tolerate sin. James Hamilton notes in regards to churches who fail to practice church discipline that “They will not understand how the church is to apply God’s holiness to their lives. They will be impure churches, and their membership will include unbelievers. Those unbelievers will be surprised to hear Jesus tell them he never knew them (Matt. 7:21-23). Those churches will have blood on their hands (Ezek. 3:18, 20) and their pastors will give an account (Heb. 13:17).”[4]
Hebrews 12 is an important chapter in gaining a biblical understanding of the love involved in discipline. Verses 5-6 say, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives (ESV).” Here, God’s love toward his children is shown through his discipline. If God, as a loving Father uses discipline to correct, then so must the church. The authority given to the church to do this will be fleshed out in the discussion on Matt. 18. Prov. 5:23 and 13:24 also indicate that a failure to discipline is a failure to love. While it would seem like discipline is unloving, “we should counter by contending that it is just the contrary-to fail to discipline our people is to hate them.”[5]
One question that often emerges is, “What sins should a church discipline for?” In a general way, discipline is needed with any sin, and will become more intensified the more tolerated and evidenced the sin is. Frequently, there is a distinction made between informal and formal church discipline. Under what is considered “informal” discipline, correction, instruction, encouragement, etc. is given person to person in the general context of life. For example, when a parent corrects a child, or one member of a care group speaks truth into another’s life, this would be considered “informal” discipline. These would be sins that could be addressed privately, and could include any sins that become evident in a person’s life.  Formal church discipline is typically understood to be when the leaders of the church become involved and bring the matter to the church’s attention, and would include sins that need to be addressed publically. Leeman classifies the two in terms of sins that one would expect of Christians, and ones that would not be expected, so that formal church discipline would take place when this line is crossed into sins that are not expected of Christians.[6] The sins that would call for formal discipline are more severe, and often fall under the categories of ones that would destroy Christian unity and relationships, snare people in corrupt or immoral behavior, involve rebellion and rejection of God’s Word, and hurt the testimony of the church.[7]

[1]Jay Adams, Handbook of Church Discipline (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 16.

[2]Robert. K. Cheong, God Redeeming His Bride (Scotland: Christian Focus, 2012), 9.

[3]Jonathan Leeman, The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010),

[4]James M. Hamilton, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 586.

[5]Poirier, Peace Making Pastor, 254.

[6]Jonathan Leeman, Church Discipline (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 49.  

[7]Stephen Davey, In Pursuit of Prodigals (Woodlands, TX: Kress Biblical Resources, 2010), 30-2.


It's past us now, but the recent 'holiday' made me wonder again about all the symbolism
associated with it.  In SS class, I asked the question, 'where did the word Easter come from?'.  The first answer I received was that Easter was in the bible.  Someone else began looking up the word Easter on their smartphone.  I did a quick search and found that only the KJV (and not even the NKJV) had the word in it.  Therefore, I concluded that the word was misinterpreted in the original KJV, whether intentionally or not.  Further research led me to understand that the word used was simply referring to the passover, which was being celebrated at the time when Jesus was crucified and resurrected.  There's one misconception shot down.  So where did the word come from?  What about the bunnies?  The eggs? All seem to be connected to pagan rituals or religions.  This in turn made me consider the wisdom of promoting 'easter egg hunts' at our church.  I know that scripture is put in the eggs, and the gospel is presented, etc.  But it really appropriate?  I know the same can be said about Christmas, and Halloween, and maybe those should be addressed as well.  Believe me, I've had my awkward moments when directly questioned by my kids regarding the existence of Santa Claus.

I'm not usually one to be overly concerned about issues that appear to have their roots in paganism and that Christianity seems to have tried to reclaim.  But I'm there something wrong with this picture we present to our kids about bunnies and easter and colored eggs?  Where is the logical, reasonable connection to Christianity, to the resurrection?