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Posted: 12/10/2005 5:18:01 PM EDT
On what basis do we celebrate Christmas?

Scripturally, two observances are commanded in New Testament times - baptism, and the Lord's Supper.

So, is observance of Christmas Biblically mandated? Biblically permitted?

What value is there to observance of a religious holiday by the non-religious?



Some relevant texts -


Ro 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind



Am 5:21 ¶ I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies Am 5:22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.


Discuss.
Link Posted: 12/10/2005 5:35:26 PM EDT
For the same reason we celebrate our birthday's every year. Only this day is a bigger celebration that just anybody's birthday ever!!!!

Happy birthday Jesus!
Link Posted: 12/10/2005 5:38:17 PM EDT
Tough call.

I see it as somewhere in the middle - neither good nor bad; indifferent.

From a scriptural standpoint, I can think of plenty of reasons not to celebrate Christmas.

OTOH, celebrating Jesus's birthday is hard for me to call evil per se.

Problem is, Christmas is about 2% concerned with Jesus, and 98% concerned with worldliness, materialism, vanity, greed, and so on.

I don't have a tree this year. Well, actually, I do have a tree (I was dating a girl last year who got aggravated when I didn't put up a tree, so I let her buy me one, and I've still got it) but it's not displayed yet, and isn't likely to be.


Now, on the other hand, Easter (as celebrated today, especially by the largest church) is downright pagan.
Link Posted: 12/10/2005 6:17:05 PM EDT
Christmas may be, to Christians, about the birth of Jesus, but the date of it, and the tree, are pagan solstice worship traditions.
Link Posted: 12/10/2005 6:20:38 PM EDT
Absolutely pagan. The Bible states that we're to follow God's Holy Days, and we're not to add to nor take away from them. It also says not to inquire after how the pagans worshipped their gods, because they do so many vile things that God hates.
So it's wrong to follow the pagan rituals in the first place, and then to put the name of Jesus into it makes far worse.

Jer 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Jer 10:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
Jer 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Jer 10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
Jer 10:6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.


Ex 34:11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Ex 34:12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
Ex 34:13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
Ex 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
Ex 34:15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;
Ex 34:16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.
Ex 34:17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
Ex 34:18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.
Ex 34:19 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
Ex 34:20 But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.
Ex 34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

I included keeping the seventh day as the Sabbath, since it was right there.


That's why we don't celebrate christmas, halloween, easter, valentine's day, new year's day, etc.
We do keep Days Of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Trumpets, Feast of Tabernacles, Day of Atonement, and the Passover.
Link Posted: 12/10/2005 8:39:02 PM EDT
Christmas is quite Pagan, but then so is Christianity.

"On the site where the Vatican now stands there once stood a Pagan temple."

"Where today the gathered faithful revere their Lord Jesus Christ, the ancients worshiped another godman who, like Jesus, had been miraculously born on December 25 before three shepherds. In this ancient sanctuary Pagan congregations once glorified a Pagan redeemer who, like Jesus, was said to have ascended to heaven and to have promised to come again at the end of time to judge the quick and the dead. On the same spot where the Pope celebrates the Catholic mass, Pagan priests also celebrated a symbolic meal of bread and wine in memory of their savior who, just like Jesus, had declared:

He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation." Freke, Timothy & Gandy, Peter, The Jesus Mysteries

"He is born! He is born! O come and adore Him!
Life-giving mothers, the mothers who bore Him,
Stars of the heavens the daybreak adorning.
Ancestors, ye of the Star of the Morning.
Women and Men, O come and adore Him,
Child who is born in the night."

"He is born! He is born! O come and adore Him!
Dwellers in Duat be joyful before Him,
Gods of the heavens come near and behold Him,
People of Earth, O come and adore Him!
Bow down before Him, kneel down before Him,
King who is born in the night."

"He is born! He is born! O come and adore Him!
Young like the Moon in its shining and changing,
Over the heavens His footsteps are ranging,
Stars never-resting and stars never-setting,
Worship the child of God's own begetting!
Heaven and Earth, O come and adore Him!
Bow down before Him, kneel dwn before Him!
Worship, adore Him, fall down before Him!
God who is born in the night."

Egyptian hymn to Osiris, Murray, M.A., Egyptian Religious Poetry
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 3:56:00 AM EDT
Wow.. that makes two of us on this site that have read that book.

Jesus and the Lost Goddess was better though.
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 6:08:11 PM EDT
I read that one at the beach (Galveston) last year. It was a good read, and has definitely changed may way of thinking a bit.
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 6:20:23 PM EDT

Christmas is quite Pagan, but then so is Christianity.


Interesting.
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 7:05:50 PM EDT
No it is not.

Thinly veiled catholic/pagan celebration.

It is not forbidden in the bible to celebrate Christs birth, nor could I as a Christian forbid the celebration of Christs birth.

It is contrary to Christs teaching to forbid those who promote the name of Christ in any way.

If there is a problem with how they are worshipping they will in the end deal with Christ himself on it.

Myself, I know the origins of this celebration are in the depths of pagan Rome, and I do not recognize it other than as santa claus and rudolf time for family and togetherness.

But no, I dont forbid recognizing Christs birth.

The thing people miss is that it is NOT his birth that meant anything. It is his DEATH that means everything.

Dram out
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 7:36:03 PM EDT
Santa died for all our sins
Link Posted: 12/11/2005 8:59:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/11/2005 8:59:59 PM EDT by Tonster]

Originally Posted By tfod:
Santa died for all our sins



Close....it was that cute little baby who is in that nativity scene...
You see once he grew up he went around spreading good news and was killed on a cross.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 2:25:05 AM EDT
The purest form of Christianity is found in the first century church, before men began molding it to their whims, and before they started adopting pagan traditions dressed up in a Christian veneer.

For the first 350 years, there was no Christmas.

Not until the Roman church repackaged Saturnalia.

One of my goals is to "weed the garden" and get back (as nearly as possible) to a first century faith.

This means leaving behind things rooted in paganism, which we are specifically warned about by Yahweh.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 3:58:27 AM EDT
Very interesting replies.

I agree with the at best optional nature of Chrsitmas I'm hearing, and even slight opposition to it.

I wonder if that is aprtially true in me because of the way its been commercialized.

I don't even turn music radio (even Chrsitian radio) on anymore as I'm sick of hearing Christmas carols.

Link Posted: 12/12/2005 5:06:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
The purest form of Christianity is found in the first century church, before men began molding it to their whims, and before they started adopting pagan traditions dressed up in a Christian veneer.

For the first 350 years, there was no Christmas.

Not until the Roman church repackaged Saturnalia.

One of my goals is to "weed the garden" and get back (as nearly as possible) to a first century faith.

This means leaving behind things rooted in paganism, which we are specifically warned about by Yahweh.



Brohawk, not trying to start a pissing contest or anything, just curious.

Do you truly believe you can get back to 1st Century Christianity? There are a few problems.

1) We don't have a lot of info thanks to the early Catholic Church harmonizing records. Most of what we do have is condemnations of heretical beliefs those sects held.

2) There were so many brands of Christianity in the 1st century, how do you choose which to go with? The main reason for the Catholic Church forming was to prevent schisms due to different beliefs. Some of the 1st century Christians didn't view Jesus as God, for instance.

Wicca gets picked on due to trying to recreate a religion with limited info. Isn't trying to recreate 1st century Christianity a similar proposition?

Link Posted: 12/12/2005 5:22:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Dino:


Brohawk, not trying to start a pissing contest or anything, just curious.

Do you truly believe you can get back to 1st Century Christianity? There are a few problems.




Yep. I never said it would be easy.

Here, 2,000 years later (lacking time travel), the best we can do is an educated guess.

The Bible is my primary source. It has the record of what Yeshua actually taught, and a record some of the early moves at defining doctrine (such as Paul's conflict with Peter).

Are my attempts at this imperfect? Most probably.

I'll just do the best I can with what I have.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 5:45:56 AM EDT

1) On what basis do we celebrate weddings? God created marriage but not the celebration (Gen 2:24). The bible never established wedding celebrations but Jesus attended at least one (John 2). I think celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ certainly is permitted.

2) I'm all for moving Christmas and eliminating Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and anything else that smacks of paganism. Maybe we should make it the last Sunday of December from now on?

Shok
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 5:49:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By QShok:
1) On what basis do we celebrate weddings? God created marriage but not the celebration (Gen 2:24). The bible never established wedding celebrations but Jesus attended at least one (John 2). I think celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ certainly is permitted.



Shok



I'd say marriage is a God-ordained institution.

Matter of fact, I'd say we should celebrate weddings MORE than we do today.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 5:52:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:

Originally Posted By Dino:


Brohawk, not trying to start a pissing contest or anything, just curious.

Do you truly believe you can get back to 1st Century Christianity? There are a few problems.




Yep. I never said it would be easy.

Here, 2,000 years later (lacking time travel), the best we can do is an educated guess.

The Bible is my primary source. It has the record of what Yeshua actually taught, and a record some of the early moves at defining doctrine (such as Paul's conflict with Peter).

Are my attempts at this imperfect? Most probably.

I'll just do the best I can with what I have.




Should be pretty simple to eliminate alot of things adopted since the second century such as the cross. 1st Century Christianity didn't use the cross as a symbol but fish and bread. Have you adopted that symbole yet?

Shok
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 6:20:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By QShok:



Should be pretty simple to eliminate alot of things adopted since the second century such as the cross. 1st Century Christianity didn't use the cross as a symbol but fish and bread. Have you adopted that symbole yet?

Shok



Not yet, but it's worthy of consideration.

I heard a pastor say wearing a cross is like wearing a little electric chair.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 6:24:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:

Originally Posted By QShok:



Should be pretty simple to eliminate alot of things adopted since the second century such as the cross. 1st Century Christianity didn't use the cross as a symbol but fish and bread. Have you adopted that symbole yet?

Shok



Not yet, but it's worthy of consideration.

I heard a pastor say wearing a cross is like wearing a little electric chair.





How so?

<--genuinely curious.


Link Posted: 12/12/2005 7:21:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By QShok:

2) I'm all for moving Christmas and eliminating Christmas trees, Santa Clause, and anything else that smacks of paganism. Maybe we should make it the last Sunday of December from now on?

Shok



Removing the Paganism from Christianity is like removing the wetness from water. Remove enough and you'll have nothing left.

Link Posted: 12/12/2005 7:25:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By arowneragain:


How so?

<--genuinely curious.





A cross was an implement of torture and execution of a condemned criminal.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 7:27:36 AM EDT
The only problem I have with a cross is when I see Jesus still on it.

Link Posted: 12/12/2005 7:28:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Kundry:

Removing the Paganism from Christianity is like removing the wetness from water. Remove enough and you'll have nothing left.




You say that like it's a bad thing.


Seriously, I don't think observing Christmas will endanger one's salvation, but I cannot participate in pagan-based rituals and maintain a clear conscience.

To me, it's a matter of obedience and believing that Yahweh meant it when he commanded us to avoid such things.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 10:03:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:

Originally Posted By Kundry:

Removing the Paganism from Christianity is like removing the wetness from water. Remove enough and you'll have nothing left.




You say that like it's a bad thing.


Seriously, I don't think observing Christmas will endanger one's salvation, but I cannot participate in pagan-based rituals and maintain a clear conscience.

To me, it's a matter of obedience and believing that Yahweh meant it when he commanded us to avoid such things.




BroHawk,
Do you follow the Holy Days listed in the Bible, or are you still researching them?
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 11:24:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GoGop:

BroHawk,
Do you follow the Holy Days listed in the Bible, or are you still researching them?



I picked up a copy of this book:

biblicalholidays.com/feasts.htm

I'm planning to make the transition in the coming year.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 12:07:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:

Originally Posted By GoGop:

BroHawk,
Do you follow the Holy Days listed in the Bible, or are you still researching them?



I picked up a copy of this book:

biblicalholidays.com/feasts.htm

I'm planning to make the transition in the coming year.




The blurb from the book says...


This giant, 585 page telephone-size book gives an an extensive look at the nine annual holidays: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, Purim and the weekly holiday--the Sabbath! This books explains the historical, agricultural, spiritual, and prophetic purposes of each holiday, showing how each points to Christ


Brohawk -

Since we already HAVE Christ, why would we need Holy days whose whole point was to progressively reveal then THEN unrevelaed , but now FULLY revekaed, Christ?

Its like going back to training wheels once you already know how to ride a bike.

Link Posted: 12/12/2005 1:45:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/12/2005 1:49:00 PM EDT by garandman]

Originally Posted By Kundry:

Removing the Paganism from Christianity is like removing the wetness from water. Remove enough and you'll have nothing left.




Biblical Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.

Exorcising religion from that claiming to be Christianity could only be a good thing.

Remove enuf, and you'll have what God intended.



Link Posted: 12/12/2005 1:48:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dino:

Brohawk, not trying to start a pissing contest or anything, just curious.

Do you truly believe you can get back to 1st Century Christianity? There are a few problems.

1) We don't have a lot of info thanks to the early Catholic Church harmonizing records. Most of what we do have is condemnations of heretical beliefs those sects held.

2) There were so many brands of Christianity in the 1st century, how do you choose which to go with? The main reason for the Catholic Church forming was to prevent schisms due to different beliefs. Some of the 1st century Christians didn't view Jesus as God, for instance.

Wicca gets picked on due to trying to recreate a religion with limited info. Isn't trying to recreate 1st century Christianity a similar proposition?




Not to answer for Brohawk, I would echo his sentiments.

By that I mean stripping all the trappings of "Chrsitianity" beyond what can be Biblically supported(Biblical meaning Textus Receptus based translations / transliterations)

As such, it would be quite easy to define 1st century Christianity.


Link Posted: 12/12/2005 4:59:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/12/2005 4:59:59 PM EDT by Tonster]

Originally Posted By garandman:

Originally Posted By Dino:

Brohawk, not trying to start a pissing contest or anything, just curious.

Do you truly believe you can get back to 1st Century Christianity? There are a few problems.

1) We don't have a lot of info thanks to the early Catholic Church harmonizing records. Most of what we do have is condemnations of heretical beliefs those sects held.

2) There were so many brands of Christianity in the 1st century, how do you choose which to go with? The main reason for the Catholic Church forming was to prevent schisms due to different beliefs. Some of the 1st century Christians didn't view Jesus as God, for instance.

Wicca gets picked on due to trying to recreate a religion with limited info. Isn't trying to recreate 1st century Christianity a similar proposition?




Not to answer for Brohawk, I would echo his sentiments.

By that I mean stripping all the trappings of "Chrsitianity" beyond what can be Biblically supported(Biblical meaning Textus Receptus based translations / transliterations)

As such, it would be quite easy to define 1st century Christianity.







I am all for that Brothers!!!!
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 5:58:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:

Originally Posted By GoGop:

BroHawk,
Do you follow the Holy Days listed in the Bible, or are you still researching them?



I picked up a copy of this book:

biblicalholidays.com/feasts.htm

I'm planning to make the transition in the coming year.




My dialup times out before that page will open.

My church produces free booklets, and one of them deals with the difference between holidays and Holy Days. You can order one, or download it;

Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?



www.ucg.org/booklets/index.htm
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 3:33:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:


Brohawk -

Since we already HAVE Christ, why would we need Holy days whose whole point was to progressively reveal then THEN unrevelaed , but now FULLY revekaed, Christ?

Its like going back to training wheels once you already know how to ride a bike.




The same reasoning could be used to say to Jews, "Why celebrate Passover? Your people left Egypt thousands of years ago."

The reason holidays are instituted is to keep knowledge and experiences alive, to pass them from one generation to the next.

The Messiah is symbolized in these holidays, with different aspects of Him emphasized in the various observances. What a great teaching tool, and what a great way to honor Him.

Besides, Yahweh promised a blessing for those who keep His festivals/holidays.

I'm in a process of refining my faith, discarding the dross. All current views are subject to modification as enlightenment comes, but I believe I'm going in the right direction.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 4:47:30 AM EDT
It never ceases to amaze me the contraversy that exists over these holidays.

Even Easter is not immune, as we had one man refuse to even come to church on Easter because we had an easter-egg hunt for the little kids while the adults were shown The Passion.

Jesus wasn't born on December 25th.

There were no evergreen trees involved.

However:

There is nothing wrong with commemorating the birth of Christ, even though we are not commanded to in scripture.

There is nothing wrong with giving gifts to one another echoing the actions of Christ who "lead captivity captive and gave gifts to men."

There is nothing wrong with having a Christmas tree. It may have pagan origins, but if you don't put up the tree to commemorate a pagan ritual but to celebrate Christ as your family has done for years, there is no sin in it. Those who worship God now do so "in spirit and in truth". Besides, there is no "thou shalt not have a tree" in scripture anywhere.

There is nothing wrong with taking the time to focus on family and to re-establish the important bonds of fellowship that should bind us to the important people in our lives.

There is nothing wrong with having a period of time where most of the world actually stops to think about peace on earth and good will to men.

There IS something wrong with making Christmas a mad dash to buy a bunch of useless crap and go into serious debt.

Christmas isn't a sin. It isn't a scriptural command either, but I don't believe God is offended by the concept of Christmas being celebrated.

Now when it comes to how some people treat Christmas, I believe He is offended, but that is more a result of their treatment than of the root concept.



Link Posted: 12/13/2005 5:03:09 AM EDT
The real question is: Is Christmas unbiblical?

And no...it is not.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 5:36:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:


There is nothing wrong with having a Christmas tree. It may have pagan origins, but if you don't put up the tree to commemorate a pagan ritual but to celebrate Christ as your family has done for years, there is no sin in it. Those who worship God now do so "in spirit and in truth". Besides, there is no "thou shalt not have a tree" in scripture anywhere.




JW,

There are specific warnings in the Bible against adopted pagan ways and mixing pagan traditions with the things of God (Yahweh).

When I talk to people about the pagan origins of Christmas they usually respond, "We Christianized it."

"Christianized?"

I can point to verses that unequivocally command us to avoid pagan ways, but I haven't been able to find a verse that authorizes us to take a pagan custom, dress it up in "Christian" terms and symbols, then use it in honoring God.

There are pagan things and things of God. God Himself told us not to mix them.


Respectfully,
Bro(Hey-I didn't make the rules)hawk.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 5:36:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jaltered:
The real question is: Is Christmas unbiblical?

And no...it is not.



Got chapter and verse?
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 5:39:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/13/2005 5:43:18 AM EDT by John_Wayne777]

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
JW,

There are specific warnings in the Bible against adopted pagan ways and mixing pagan traditions with the things of God (Yahweh).

When I talk to people about the pagan origins of Christmas they usually respond, "We Christianized it."

"Christianized?"

I can point to verses that unequivocally command us to avoid pagan ways, but I haven't been able to find a verse that authorizes us to take a pagan custom, dress it up in "Christian" terms and symbols, then use it in honoring God.

There are pagan things and things of God. God Himself told us not to mix them.


Respectfully,
Bro(Hey-I didn't make the rules)hawk.



And if I saw someone that went out tomorrow and tried to add a pagan custom to Christian worship, I would agree with you.

The people around today, however, didn't invent the concept of the Christmas tree. It is not, has not been, and will never be about adopting anything pagan in their minds or hearts. Ditto Christmas wreaths hanging in lots of churches....

To get too worked up about Christmas would require getting worked up about wedding rings, easter eggs, etc, and to what end? What tangible good would it produce?

Link Posted: 12/13/2005 6:08:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

And if I saw someone that went out tomorrow and tried to add a pagan custom to Christian worship, I would agree with you.



What a difference time makes in making a tradition permanent. People are brought up doing these things and continue to do them because that's the way it was modelled for them.

They don't stop to ask, "Where did this come from?"


The people around today, however, didn't invent the concept of the Christmas tree. It is not, has not been, and will never be about adopting anything pagan in their minds or hearts. Ditto Christmas wreaths hanging in lots of churches....

To get too worked up about Christmas would require getting worked up about wedding rings, easter eggs, etc, and to what end? What tangible good would it produce?




To me, it's a matter of obedience. When God says, "Don't do this", I tend to think He meant it, rather than rationalizing away a direct command.

And yes, there is a difference between legalism and obedience.

I'm not trying to tell you what you should do.

I'm explaining why I made the decisions I have on this subject, and all I'd ask is an open, honest consideration of whether the points are valid. After that, follow your own conscience according to Romans 14.

Link Posted: 12/13/2005 6:11:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

There is nothing wrong with having a Christmas tree. It may have pagan origins, but if you don't put up the tree to commemorate a pagan ritual but to celebrate Christ as your family has done for years, there is no sin in it. Those who worship God now do so "in spirit and in truth". Besides, there is no "thou shalt not have a tree" in scripture anywhere.




Jer 10:1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
Jer 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Jer 10:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
Jer 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Jer 10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
Jer 10:6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.


This specifically says not to decorate trees in your home or on your property, and in more general terms not to learn the ways of the heathen. We are not to learn, use or adopt any pagan rituals.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 6:16:44 AM EDT
The Reformation is not a finished work - it continues today...
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 7:13:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
I'm explaining why I made the decisions I have on this subject, and all I'd ask is an open, honest consideration of whether the points are valid. After that, follow your own conscience according to Romans 14.




There is a difference between deliberately seeking and adopting a pagan practice with the intent to blend it into my faith and the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is not the object of worship nor is it a means of worship. It has not been about a pagan definition for countless millions. The same goes for easter eggs, wedding rings, etc.

I look to Paul's discussion of meat offered to idols for guidance here. Something that may have once had something to do with pagan practice is NOT pagan if eaten by a Christian who gives thanks to God who is the source of the meat in the first place. Those, however, who thought that because they had that freedom in Christ they could go participate in pagan feasts were wrong. Deliberately seeking out and participating in pagan rites and worship is indeed wrong. But those who have a Christmas tree without thought or intent towards any pagan rite or ritual aren't guilty before God of doing any wrong.

The same arguement can be made about women wearing veils. The veil was a symbol of a woman's chastitiy and it was for that sake that Paul said they ought to wear the veils, because of the cultural expectations that had grown around said veils. Women who didn't wear veils were seen as unchaste like the temple prostitutes.

If someone has a weak conscience and feels bad about the tree, then they should skip the tree and anything else that violates their conscience.

Others rightly have no condemnation over the issue because the tree is not about any pagan practice for them, but is rather one of the trappings they grew up with of a time where the family came together specifically to commemorate the birth of Christ. That's what the tree is to me. When I was young, we gathered together at my Grandfather's house (he was a minister, btw...) On Christmas Eve we would all gather in the living room and he would read the Christmas account from Luke while we all listened.

The Christmas tree in the corner was a visual reminder of what time of year it was, and Who all the fuss was supposed to be about in the first place.

There is no sin in the tree as there is no sin in 5 year olds hunting for Easter eggs, or when bride and groom exchange wedding rings.

Personally I don't give a flying squirrel if there is a tree or not, as it is ultimately unimportant to me. Those of weak conscience should skip them. Those who have their priorities straight who have no conviction over them shouldn't worry about it.

Those I have seen who would cause strife and division in the church over them (and there have been a LOT of them) ought to sit down and be quiet.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 7:47:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/13/2005 9:12:46 AM EDT by Brohawk]
Obviously there are differing views on this topic.

Each should search the Scriptures, seek Yahweh's counsel, and conform his own conscience to what is revealed.

As I noted above, although my conscience has led me away from this tradition, I don't believe that observing Christmas will endanger another believer's salvation.

Thus, I won't let it become a point that brings division between Brothers.

JW is one of my Brothers here, and that's worth more than winning a urinary competition.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 8:31:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/13/2005 9:31:16 AM EDT by John_Wayne777]
"5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse."

1st Corinthians 8

"29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? "

1st Corinthians 10

Link Posted: 12/13/2005 9:29:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Obviously there are differing views on this topic.



Indeed.

I have seen this same contraversy many times. It never goes anywhere good.



Each should search the Scriptures, seek Yahweh's counsel, and conform his own conscience to what is revealed.



Indeed.

I quoted 1st Corinthians for a purpose:

In their day there was a contraversy over meat offered to idols. Those saying that meat offered to idols should never be eaten had good reason: The council of Jerusalem had sent out a letter saying exactly that. Those saying that eating meat offered to idols was not a sin were ALSO right, as Paul (who was a leading Apostle at the time he wrote 1st Corinthians...) said that though a piece of meat had been offered to an idol, if a Christian ate it with thanks to Christ for His provision that there was no sin involved.

Paul encouraged those who ate the meat to not deliberately seek to offend the consciences of their bretheren with weaker consciences, and he encouraged those who didn't eat not to place the rule of their conscience on those who saw it differently.

The same concept of Christian freedom ought to be applied to topics like Christmas trees, Easter eggs, wedding rings, etc.



As I noted above, although my conscience has led me away from this tradition, I don't believe that observing Christmas will endanger another believer's salvation.

Thus, I won't let it become a point that brings division between Brothers.



Which is precisely the scripturally correct thing to do.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 10:13:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/13/2005 10:17:03 AM EDT by NewbHunter]

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

...

1st Corinthians 8

"29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks? "

1st Corinthians 10

There must be something in the water lately, because I have gone from being a legalist to a libertene in no time flat!



I agree with JW. I think that verse is the crux of this whole argument. Not long ago, my pastor went through a series about this particular thing. I wish I had my notes for his sermon right in front of me, but I don't so I can only paraphrase from memory.

Basically, his message said that the Bible lists things that are definitely wrong/sinful, things that are definitely good/righteous, and then there are things that it doesn't speak of at all, which are gray areas. These gray areas can be sinful for some and not for others. And that Christians should not try and judge another just because they do something that falls within a gray area. Doing so is legalism.

The Christmas tree is one of these gray areas. The Bible doesn't specifically command someone to not have a tree in their house.

I know, Jeremiah 10 does talk about a tree, but reading the rest of chapter 10 it is clear to me that the context is that in which the tree is used as a means of worship of a god other then the One True God. If the tree is not worshiped, but merely a decoration and a reminder of Christ's birth, then how is it being used as a form of idol worship and how is it sinful to have one?
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 10:33:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
The Reformation is not a finished work - it continues today...



+1.

Link Posted: 12/13/2005 10:35:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NewbHunter:


I know, Jeremiah 10 does talk about a tree, but reading the rest of chapter 10 it is clear to me that the context is that in which the tree is used as a means of worship of a god other then the One True God. If the tree is not worshiped, but merely a decoration and a reminder of Christ's birth, then how is it being used as a form of idol worship and how is it sinful to have one?



It's sinful because it says not to learn/do the things the pagans do/did. Some on here are saying it's alright to follow pagan rituals if you attach them to God or Jesus instead of a false god, but that is forbidden in the Bible. The tree is thought to be somehow less evil because of it's longstanding tradition of men, but in truth it's no different than making a golden calf and calling it some kind of prayer reminder to Jesus.
Changing the name or intent of a pagan idol is merely semantics.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 10:54:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GoGop:
Changing the name or intent of a pagan idol is merely semantics.



If YOU do the changing.

The Christmas tree has no pagan association in the minds and hearts of untold millions. It is not a symbol of some persian cult, but is to their minds A symbol of the season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

It was not an intentional persuit of pagan ideas by people who have Christmas trees. It does not hold the meaning of a pagan practice at this point in history. Thus millions have trees with a clear conscience and a clear account before God.

There is a reason The Spirit gave us that section about meat in 1st Corinthians.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 11:07:53 AM EDT
Yeah, because we have to eat.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 1:04:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:

Originally Posted By garandman:


Brohawk -

Since we already HAVE Christ, why would we need Holy days whose whole point was to progressively reveal then THEN unrevelaed , but now FULLY revekaed, Christ?

Its like going back to training wheels once you already know how to ride a bike.




The same reasoning could be used to say to Jews, "Why celebrate Passover? Your people left Egypt thousands of years ago."



Passover was FORWARD looking to Christ, even tho it also commemorated a past event.

To continue to celebrate Passover is to continue to look for Christ.


The reason holidays are instituted is to keep knowledge and experiences alive, to pass them from one generation to the next.


Besides, Yahweh promised a blessing for those who keep His festivals/holidays.


He also reqired sacrifices. Are you slaying and burning animals on an altar?


I'm in a process of refining my faith, discarding the dross. All current views are subject to modification as enlightenment comes, but I believe I'm going in the right direction.


Lots of prayer is the key. God bless in your endeavors for Him.


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