The Easter weekend was very busy and I did not get a chance to sit down with my Sunday edition of the Denver Post until last night. What I read propelled me into an immediate rage. I was barely able to sleep last night as I contemplated the many nasty things I wanted to write about the article that graced the front page of the newspaper on Sunday morning. Let me tell you about it.
The article was entitled "Messages of Hope" and it went on to describe what all the Christian preachers in the Denver metropolitan area were going to preach about on Easter Sunday. Now I don't have anything against hope. After all, it is one of the three cardinal virtues. In fact I have often argued that hope is the forgotten step-sister in the triad of faith, hope and love. I don't think hope gets enough press so I would be happy if preachers around the Denver metro area decided to commit a Sunday to preaching about the doctrine of hope. But that is not what happened, as you will soon see.
The first paragraph of the article informed me that, "After a year of turmoil overseas and at home, Denver area preachers, pastors and priests plan to present a message of rejuvenation and renewal at services on Easter Sunday." At this point I was beginning to feel the bile rising up in the back of my throat. The focus of Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the reason His resurrection is so vitally important is because it provides those who believe in Him a ransom from their own sin. The Bible mentions nothing about the difficulties associated with imperial wars of aggression overseas or race riots in midwestern cities in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika. Indeed, the Bible is utterly unconcerned with the impact of trivial matters such as those upon people who live within the land. I did not like the way this article was going. As expected, it got worse.
"Some Christian leaders," I read, "will invoke events that made headlines during the past 12 months, most notably the racial strife ignited in Ferguson, Mo, in August, in their words to the faithful. Others plan to stay with a more universal Easter message, celebrating the resurrection of Christ while urging congregants to see the good in the world and in each other." I exploded. My mac and cheese went flying across the kitchen table and onto the floor where the dog quickly lapped up the chunky pieces.
The "universal message of Easter" is indeed that Jesus is alive but where in the world does it follow that because Jesus is alive we should all go forth and "see the good in the world and in each other?" There is none who is good, not even one. There is none who does right, not even one. All men are utterly and totally depraved and incapable of a single good deed. The endeavor of seeking the good in self or others will always end in complete frustration because there is not one inkling of good to be found in anyone. The message of Easter is indeed that Jesus is alive and because He is alive He is able to save some men from their sin. But to immediately jump to the doctrine of men's original innocence and natural goodness positively guarantees that no person will ever come to repentance and faith in Him. It eviscerates the entire message of Easter. But it got worse.
Thomas Wolfe was a featured preacher at the annual Easter Sunrise service at the Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver. I have thought about going to that service for all of the 36 years I have lived in the Denver metro area. To date I have not gone. The primary reason I have not attended, in addition to it being just too early to get up in the morning, is my expectation that biblical truth would not be preached and a man-centered service of man worship would take place. What did Mr. Wolfe have to say to "the faithful?" He said, "The power of the Easter message is in its ability to awaken in people the realization that the capacity for change rests within them. The hope is that people discover that capacity for hope within themselves." My dog and wife had left the dining room. I was now sitting by myself, fuming in a rage that was approaching uncontrollable. I sought to calm myself with thoughts of the Rockie's opening day victory over the Brewers. That helped a little. I reached for a serving of Welsh rarebit and chomped on it for a while. That brought my pulse down below 100 bpm.
Can a leopard change its spots, asks the prophet Jeremiah? The anticipated answer to his rhetorical question is NO! Can a man change his sinful nature? NO! Can a man discover a capacity for hope within himself? NO! As I considered the absurd heresies that were being spouted by allegedly Christian preachers on Easter Sunday it occurred to me that they were all perfect examples of the ministry of the False Prophet. If you do not know who the False Prophet is you will have to look it up as I don't have time to explain it here today. Nevertheless, all of these men who were standing and publicly speaking on behalf of the God of the Bible were in fact hardening men in their sins and supporting and enabling them in the worship of their real god....civil government and the men who operate it, praised be its name. I concluded that most Easter sermons in Denver were filled with lies and those who make the spiritually suicidal decision to believe those lies are now bound for hell, unless God gives them the gift of repentance prior to their exit from this sin-filled life.