Christmas Celebration ...

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amishrockstar

Puritan Board Freshman
I have a question about a 'touchy' subject ...
Many Christians acknowledge the 'pagan' roots of Christmas yet say that those are irrelevant because the holiday isn't celebrated for pagan reasons anymore (I would agree with this). I've also heard Christians say that it's good to take something that was once pagan and 'make it' Christian (I don't really agree with this).
I'm curious if anyone on PB holds to those statements and how he/she would answer the objection from an anti-Christmas believer (I'm not talking about myself here) who might state that we simply cannot take something that is pagan and worship God with it (or make it Christian); someone might say (and has said) that Saul (in the O.T.) got into all kinds of trouble for taking a part of what God specifically said to destroy and attempt to worship Him with it --1 Sam. 15:12-15. Is Christmas--in a round about way-- participating in the sin of Saul? Are we attempting to take a piece/part of something which was pagan and try to worship God with it?
Any thoughts?
--Thanks
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Matthew,

The celebration of Christmas as a Church should be evaluated on the basis of the Regulative Principle, not according to arguments about Christianizing pagan practices.

However, there are some, like those you mention, who say that celebrating Christmas at home with one's family is sinful because it "used to be pagan." One response I've been thinking about lately draws from Paul's discussions of eating meat that has been sacrificed to an idol. We know that the idols to which the food was sacrificed don't really exist. If our conscience doesn't forbid us we are free to eat. Now think about Christmas. It was once a pagan holiday. So what? We aren't sacrificing the food to the idols, and we aren't setting up yule logs and praying to Sol Invictus. Whether eating or drinking, we glorify God, and Paul has no problem with glorifying God by eating food which has been sacrificed to an idol.

Thoughts?
 

Dena

Puritan Board Freshman
Matthew,

The celebration of Christmas as a Church should be evaluated on the basis of the Regulative Principle, not according to arguments about Christianizing pagan practices.

However, there are some, like those you mention, who say that celebrating Christmas at home with one's family is sinful because it "used to be pagan." One response I've been thinking about lately draws from Paul's discussions of eating meat that has been sacrificed to an idol. We know that the idols to which the food was sacrificed don't really exist. If our conscience doesn't forbid us we are free to eat. Now think about Christmas. It was once a pagan holiday. So what? We aren't sacrificing the food to the idols, and we aren't setting up yule logs and praying to Sol Invictus. Whether eating or drinking, we glorify God, and Paul has no problem with glorifying God by eating food which has been sacrificed to an idol.

Thoughts?



i must say, this is, hands down, the best, most convicting/convincing line of thought i've ever considered on the subject (on Christmas being celebrated in the home.)
 

Dieter Schneider

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have a question about a 'touchy' subject ...
Many Christians acknowledge the 'pagan' roots of Christmas yet say that those are irrelevant because the holiday isn't celebrated for pagan reasons anymore (I would agree with this). I've also heard Christians say that it's good to take something that was once pagan and 'make it' Christian (I don't really agree with this).
I'm curious if anyone on PB holds to those statements and how he/she would answer the objection from an anti-Christmas believer (I'm not talking about myself here) who might state that we simply cannot take something that is pagan and worship God with it (or make it Christian); someone might say (and has said) that Saul (in the O.T.) got into all kinds of trouble for taking a part of what God specifically said to destroy and attempt to worship Him with it --1 Sam. 15:12-15. Is Christmas--in a round about way-- participating in the sin of Saul? Are we attempting to take a piece/part of something which was pagan and try to worship God with it?
Any thoughts?
--Thanks

Well - Al Martin's series answers it well (scroll for all 5 audio messages). You can also find messages here (scroll)
You will, however, have to take time over it, which you ought to if you are serious. If you are looking for something quick .. .well Al Martin is not for you.
 

Bygracealone

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but I'll post this quote again since it speaks directly to this question.

BOQ
The fact that Christmas is full of pagan practices is universally recognized. "Yet many Christians contend that such practices no longer bear pagan connotations, and believe that the observance of Christmas provides an opportunity for worship and witness bearing."24 Many Christians argue that they do not worship the Christmas tree, and that the pagan origins are so far in the past as to be harmless. But such a view, while common in our day, shows a total disregard of the biblical teaching regarding idols, the paraphernalia associated with idolatry, and the monuments to idolatry.

God has such a strong hatred of idolatry that Israel was not just commanded to avoid the worship of idols. Israel was also specifically ordered to destroy everything associated with idolatry. "Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: and ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God. . . . [A]nd that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God" (Deut. 12:2-4, 30-31).

When Jacob set out to purify the camp (i.e., his household and attendants) the earrings were removed as well as their foreign gods (Gen. 35:4), because their earrings were associated with their false gods. They were signs of superstition. When Elijah went to offer his sacrifice, in his contest with the prophets of Baal, he did not use the pagan altar. He did not take something made for idols (e.g., Saturnalia) and attempt to sanctify it for holy use (e.g., Christmas), but instead he rebuilt the Lord's altar. Christians should not take the pagan festival of Yule or Saturnalia and dress it with Christian clothing, but rather sanctify the Lord's day, as did the apostles. When Jehu went up against the worshipers of Baal and their temple, did he save the temple and set it apart for holy use? No! He slaughtered the worshipers of Baal: "they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day" (2 Ki. 10:27).

"Moreover, we have the example of good Josiah (2 Ki. 23), for he did not only destroy the houses, and the high places of Baal, but his vessels also, and his grove, and his altars; yea, the horses and chariots which had been given to the sun. The example also of penitent Manasseh, who not only overthrew the strange gods, but their altars too (2 Chron. 23:15). And of Moses, the man of God, who was not content to execute vengeance on the idolatrous Israelites, except he should also utterly destroy the monument of their idolatry."25

God does not want His church to take pagan days, and those pagan and popish rites and paraphernalia that go with them and adapt them to Christian use. He simply commands us to abolish them altogether from the face of the earth forever. You may not be offended by the Yule log, the Christmas tree, the mistletoe, the holly berries and the selection of a pagan day to celebrate Christ's birth, but God is offended. God commands us to get rid of the monuments and paraphernalia of paganism.

If your wife was promiscuous before you married her would you be offended if she had pictures of her old boyfriends on her dresser? Would it bother you if she celebrated the various anniversaries relating to her past relationships? Would you be offended if she kept and cherished the various rings, jewelry and mementos given to her by her old boyfriends? Of course you would be offended! The Lord God is infinitely more zealous of His honor than you are; He is a jealous God. Could Israel take festival days to Baal, Ashteroth, Dagon and Molech and alter them to make them pleasing to God? Of course not! The Bible makes very clear which kings of Judah pleased God the most. God is pleased when idols, their temples, their religious dress, earrings, sacred houses, sacred trees, poles, ornaments, rites, names and days are utterly cut off from the earth, never again to be restored. God wants His bride to eliminate forever the monuments, the days, the paraphernalia and the mementos of idolatry. "Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain" (Jer. 10:2-3). "Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods" (Deut. 12:31).

Christians must not only put away the monuments of past idolatry but also everything associated with present idolatry. Christmas is the most important holy day in Roman Catholicism. The name Christmas comes from Romanism: Christ-mass, or the Mass of Christ. The name Christmas unites the name or title of our glorious God and Savior with the idolatrous, blasphemous Mass of Popedom. Christ-mass is a mixture of Pagan idolatry and Popish invention.

The Roman Catholic Church hates the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Roman church uses human inventions, such as Christmas, to keep millions of people in darkness. The fact that millions of Bible-believing Protestants are observing a Roman Catholic holy day which has not been commanded anywhere in God's Word reveals the sad state of modern Evangelicalism. "We cannot conform, communicate, and symbolize with the idolatrous Papists, in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation."26 Our attitude should be that of the Protestant Reformer Bucer who said, "I would to God that every holy day whatsoever besides the Lord's day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the Word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names."27

The common objection against the argument that pagan monuments must be abolished is that these things occurred so long ago as to be harmless to us. But this is totally untrue. Not only do we have the present idolatry of Romanism, but there is a revival going on at this very moment in Europe and North America of the old pagan European religions. The radical feminist movement is presently reviving the fertility goddesses and gods of the ancient Near East. God's law-Word says to get rid of the monuments to idolatry. God's law is not rendered null and void with the passage of time.
EOQ

From Schwertley's work on the subject. Complete work can be found here: The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas
 

javajedi

Puritan Board Freshman
Matthew,

The celebration of Christmas as a Church should be evaluated on the basis of the Regulative Principle, not according to arguments about Christianizing pagan practices.

However, there are some, like those you mention, who say that celebrating Christmas at home with one's family is sinful because it "used to be pagan." One response I've been thinking about lately draws from Paul's discussions of eating meat that has been sacrificed to an idol. We know that the idols to which the food was sacrificed don't really exist. If our conscience doesn't forbid us we are free to eat. Now think about Christmas. It was once a pagan holiday. So what? We aren't sacrificing the food to the idols, and we aren't setting up yule logs and praying to Sol Invictus. Whether eating or drinking, we glorify God, and Paul has no problem with glorifying God by eating food which has been sacrificed to an idol.

Thoughts?

Very well put. Thanks. :up:
 

Dena

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but I'll post this quote again since it speaks directly to this question.

BOQ
The fact that Christmas is full of pagan practices is universally recognized. "Yet many Christians contend that such practices no longer bear pagan connotations, and believe that the observance of Christmas provides an opportunity for worship and witness bearing."24 Many Christians argue that they do not worship the Christmas tree, and that the pagan origins are so far in the past as to be harmless. But such a view, while common in our day, shows a total disregard of the biblical teaching regarding idols, the paraphernalia associated with idolatry, and the monuments to idolatry.

God has such a strong hatred of idolatry that Israel was not just commanded to avoid the worship of idols. Israel was also specifically ordered to destroy everything associated with idolatry. "Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: and ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God. . . . [A]nd that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God" (Deut. 12:2-4, 30-31).

When Jacob set out to purify the camp (i.e., his household and attendants) the earrings were removed as well as their foreign gods (Gen. 35:4), because their earrings were associated with their false gods. They were signs of superstition. When Elijah went to offer his sacrifice, in his contest with the prophets of Baal, he did not use the pagan altar. He did not take something made for idols (e.g., Saturnalia) and attempt to sanctify it for holy use (e.g., Christmas), but instead he rebuilt the Lord's altar. Christians should not take the pagan festival of Yule or Saturnalia and dress it with Christian clothing, but rather sanctify the Lord's day, as did the apostles. When Jehu went up against the worshipers of Baal and their temple, did he save the temple and set it apart for holy use? No! He slaughtered the worshipers of Baal: "they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day" (2 Ki. 10:27).

"Moreover, we have the example of good Josiah (2 Ki. 23), for he did not only destroy the houses, and the high places of Baal, but his vessels also, and his grove, and his altars; yea, the horses and chariots which had been given to the sun. The example also of penitent Manasseh, who not only overthrew the strange gods, but their altars too (2 Chron. 23:15). And of Moses, the man of God, who was not content to execute vengeance on the idolatrous Israelites, except he should also utterly destroy the monument of their idolatry."25

God does not want His church to take pagan days, and those pagan and popish rites and paraphernalia that go with them and adapt them to Christian use. He simply commands us to abolish them altogether from the face of the earth forever. You may not be offended by the Yule log, the Christmas tree, the mistletoe, the holly berries and the selection of a pagan day to celebrate Christ's birth, but God is offended. God commands us to get rid of the monuments and paraphernalia of paganism.

If your wife was promiscuous before you married her would you be offended if she had pictures of her old boyfriends on her dresser? Would it bother you if she celebrated the various anniversaries relating to her past relationships? Would you be offended if she kept and cherished the various rings, jewelry and mementos given to her by her old boyfriends? Of course you would be offended! The Lord God is infinitely more zealous of His honor than you are; He is a jealous God. Could Israel take festival days to Baal, Ashteroth, Dagon and Molech and alter them to make them pleasing to God? Of course not! The Bible makes very clear which kings of Judah pleased God the most. God is pleased when idols, their temples, their religious dress, earrings, sacred houses, sacred trees, poles, ornaments, rites, names and days are utterly cut off from the earth, never again to be restored. God wants His bride to eliminate forever the monuments, the days, the paraphernalia and the mementos of idolatry. "Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain" (Jer. 10:2-3). "Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods" (Deut. 12:31).

Christians must not only put away the monuments of past idolatry but also everything associated with present idolatry. Christmas is the most important holy day in Roman Catholicism. The name Christmas comes from Romanism: Christ-mass, or the Mass of Christ. The name Christmas unites the name or title of our glorious God and Savior with the idolatrous, blasphemous Mass of Popedom. Christ-mass is a mixture of Pagan idolatry and Popish invention.

The Roman Catholic Church hates the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Roman church uses human inventions, such as Christmas, to keep millions of people in darkness. The fact that millions of Bible-believing Protestants are observing a Roman Catholic holy day which has not been commanded anywhere in God's Word reveals the sad state of modern Evangelicalism. "We cannot conform, communicate, and symbolize with the idolatrous Papists, in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation."26 Our attitude should be that of the Protestant Reformer Bucer who said, "I would to God that every holy day whatsoever besides the Lord's day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the Word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names."27

The common objection against the argument that pagan monuments must be abolished is that these things occurred so long ago as to be harmless to us. But this is totally untrue. Not only do we have the present idolatry of Romanism, but there is a revival going on at this very moment in Europe and North America of the old pagan European religions. The radical feminist movement is presently reviving the fertility goddesses and gods of the ancient Near East. God's law-Word says to get rid of the monuments to idolatry. God's law is not rendered null and void with the passage of time.
EOQ

From Schwertley's work on the subject. Complete work can be found here: The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas

:think:
part of this does not take into account in the NT, for example, what it says about meat sacrificed to idols. ie: theree is nothing inherently wrong with eating that meat (God has redeemed ALL of creation), if you can do so with a clear conscience and not make others stumble. i think this speaks to the whole idol issue well. (as others have brought up already in this thread.)

:2cents::book2::cheers2:
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
On the other hand, I'm all for trees, deocr, family get togethers, food, drink, merriment, and gifts....so long as the trees, pomp, decor, etc. it is not associated as some sort of remembrance of Christ (which is what we should be doing at family worship everday, and especiall corporate worship on the Lord's Day). It smacks of Romanism to include this mess in worship.

I agree, but I'm not sure that this goes far enough for Steve (Or Schwertley). What do you say, Steve?
 
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