New message? Bring back the old one
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 )
In Christianity, Jesus’ physical resurrection is central to the belief that Christ is who He says He is and has done what He was called to do. For the rest of the world the gospel with its Easter message is a fairy tale that just wouldn’t die.
In countries like Malaysia, the significance of Easter is suppressed. Easter is essentially a very powerful message of love : God so loved the world that He sacrificed His only begotten Son to redeem all mankind. The resurrection? Confirmation that Christ is God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God. The Malaysian government fears Christians’ open confession of Christ’s identity may upset, confuse or even sway people of other faiths. Thus Easter is necessarily a non-event, to be celebrated within the private confines of church buildings only. This is quite understandable as Malaysia is a Muslim country.
It is therefore ironic that in western democracies like Australia where Christianity is supposed to be the dominant faith, Easter is controversial. Not all churches are on the same page as to how they see the event. Take for example, ‘liberal’ denominations which pride themselves on an enlightened , new age approach to the Faith. They see the Easter story as a hidden allegory of spiritual self-renewal. It is perhaps part of their denominational mission to ‘liberate’ minds, to explain away, often subtly, and align biblical events within the framework of a credible worldview. To do this plausibly, the gospel will have to be tweaked and Jesus must necessarily be relegated to the figure of another ‘very good man’, like Gautama Buddha or Prophet Mohammed. All very commendable, very intelligently rational. But many people find it puzzling and often ask the relevant question: if they believe in what they are preaching, that what they preach is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth why preach under the mantle of the Church then? Why not launch a different belief-system? Does not the oddity of approach here speaks overwhelmingly of the old-religion type of faith most Christians prefer?
To find out which version of the gospel message gets people’s hearts and minds, this Easter day you may wish to visit a church where Christian doctrine and beliefs have not changed for the past 2 millennia. It will be hard not to be struck by the feeling that you are witnessing a physical ’overflow of faith’, even though this is the 21st century.
In a world reeling from frequent and frighteningly random terrorist and terrorism-inspired attacks (this article was written in the aftermath of the attack in London), people need the stronghold and comfort of an unchanged and unchanging Faith. One built on rock. Anything else is sinking sand.
Kimmy Fam is a member of the Skipton St UCA, Ballarat and is currently studying for her LLM at the University of Melbourne.