Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land to Families: Current Liturgical Season Provides Many Opportunities to Teach Immortal Truths
Families Can ‘Redeem Time’ While Sheltering in Place to Teach the Historic Christian Faith and ‘Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go’
May 4, 2020
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—For the past two Fridays in The Christian Post, where he serves as executive editor, Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land has been calling on families to use this shelter-in-place time together to follow the Bible’s command to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
This is a perfect chance to “redeem time,” he says, and for families to take this slowdown to reground themselves in the Christian faith, especially with Ascension and Pentecost on the calendar for May 21 and May 31, respectively.
In Part II of his regular “Ask Dr. Land” column each Friday, Land says that this particularly rich liturgical season provides many opportunities to teach immortal truths by engaging a plurality of the senses, including sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
“We can heighten and deepen our understanding of the significance of these eternal truths as we celebrate the Ascension and Pentecost,” Land says. “Easter and the Resurrection are not the end. Easter, including Good Friday, victoriously concludes the supreme purpose of our Savior’s incarnation. The cross always casts a shadow over the manger and the joy of the birth of a Savior. Easter and the Resurrection symbolize Jesus’ triumph over death and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:55-58) and the fact that He purchased salvation for all who accept Him as their personal Savior and Lord.
“Ascension Thursday or ‘Holy Thursday,’” he continues, “is celebrated 40 days after Easter and will be celebrated this year on May 21, as well as being observed by many churches on the following Sunday.”
The Ascension commemorates and celebrates the pivotal event recorded by Luke in the book of Acts: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-12 KJV).
Adds Land, “The symbolism and the significance of the Ascension signifying Jesus’ triumphal return to heaven as the Lord of glory should be an encouragement and an inspiration to all Christians. As the Apostles’ Creed states so eloquently, ‘On the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of God the Father almighty; and He will come to judge the living and the dead.’
“And then, 10 days later, as Jesus had promised, He sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who came in a new and mighty way upon believers, empowering them in unprecedented ways to preach the Gospel of Jesus crucified, resurrected and ascended to the right hand of God the Father (Act. 2:1-41).”
The celebration of Pentecost, Land notes, also reminds Christians of the origin and linkage of their faith to biblical Judaism because the Feast of Passover celebrates the liberation of the Jews from their enslavement in Egypt, an observance of which occasioned Jesus’ inauguration of the Lord’s Supper. Just so, Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks (sharuot) celebrates God’s revelation of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai 49 days after the Exodus from Egypt. Passover and Pentecost are two of the three “pilgrimage festivals” of ancient Judaism when the residents of Judah were expected to make the pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem.
“For Christians, of course, the paramount significance of Pentecost is that 50 days after Easter,” Land reminds, “as Jesus had promised, the Holy Spirit descended on the Lord’s disciples and inaugurated a new era in Christendom, the ‘Age of the Spirit.’ From this point onward, the Holy Spirit permanently indwells each believer, empowering them in unprecedented ways to serve our Savior and His purposes.
“I can think of no more appropriate admonition to America today where we live in cities we did not build, reside in houses full of bounty that we did not fill, drink from wells we did not dig, and eat from vineyards and olive trees that we did not plant (Deuteronomy 6:7-9), then we are too often tempted to forget the God from whom our blessings have come,” Land concludes. “My fervent prayer is that all of us who name the name of Christ as Savior and Lord will seize upon the opportunities provided by the extra time at home caused by the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the wonderful themes provided by this season in the Christian calendar between Easter, Ascension and Pentecost, to dwell upon the marvelous blessings of God in Christ and to disciple all those within our hearing and influence.”
SES has announced its 2020 National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA), set for Oct. 16-17 in Charlotte. The seminary will focus on the theme of “Hold Fast” for the 27th annual conference by welcoming some of the nation’s top apologetics speakers. The early bird deadline for tickets is Aug. 1, and SES is offering a free apologetics Bible to early ticketholders.
To interview Dr. Richard Land of Southern Evangelical Seminary, contact Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or ext. 102.