In Your Face!
Dear Lorena ,
Thank you for your very kind note. I will give an opinion, and it's only an opinion. A good reference on the Christmas (and Easter) controversy is covered by my good friend Ralph Woodrow in his booklets "Christmas-Reconsidered" and "Easter-Is It Pagan?" Basically, he points out that it isn't wrong to celebrate these holidays in good conscience. Traditions made by man aren't necessarily wrong, unless they violate clear prohibitions in Scripture for a Christian.
Ralph points out that the time of Christ's birthdate may not be December 25th, and anti-Christmas critics like to point out that this was a pagan day for revelry. However, what the critics don't understand is that the taking of December 25th by Christians, making it a date to celebrate Christ's birth was "overcoming evil with good," Romans 12:21. Also, many early church leaders *did* believe in good faith that Jesus' birth was Dec. 25th, including John Chrysostom in the 4th century.
Regardless, the anti-Christmas crowd who spend excessive amounts of time discrediting Christmas as "pagan" do nothing to bring glory to Christ or win souls with their anti-Christmas rhetoric. If anything, the Christmas season is a PERFECT time to witness of Christ's birth, and likewise, Easter time is perfect to witness for Christ's resurrection. This is a time when nonChristians are more likely to visit a church where the Gospel can be presented to them. Ralph Woodrow writes, "The same principle applies to the day of Christ's birth. We may not know the exact day, but because December 25th has been set aside to honor his birth, millions have become aware of his birth and life. To now disassociate this day from Christ and make it into a non-religious, cultural folk festival, could hardly serve any valid purpose. I have known people who would argue (even with unconverted people) that Christ was not born on December 25th, than to put the emphasis on the fact that HE WAS BORN-regardless of when-and what he can do in our lives now!"
What about the fact that "Christmas" isn't in the Bible? Ralph Woodrow states that: "The concept that something is wrong because it is not mentioned in the Bible-a "Bible only" position-can be pressed to absurdity, like one very strict group that would not eat potatoes or tomatoes, simply because they are not mentioned in the Bible! We must bear in mind that even the word 'Bible' is not in the Bible!"
I should also point out that your pastor, who discredits Christmas as a "tradition of man" and therefore Christians shouldn't practice it probably does wedding ceremonies. There is NO basis in the Bible for pastors or other ministers doing wedding ceremonies! He's being "unscriptural" and adhering to a "tradition of men" if he conducts weddings! Does he preach in a church building? Where in Scripture is there a basis for a church building? Early Christians met in houses, and if he wants to follow only the Bible and not the traditions of men, then he should stop preaching in a church building and meet in a house. Does he live communally? Much of the early church lived in a commune, renounced marriage, and personal possessions (Acts 2:44, 45). I doubt your pastor does this.
Although as Christians, we have to follow the guidelines of Scripture, the church must be free to develop and not be kept in a straight jacket.
Personally, although I'm not a fan of TBN (The Bighair Network), they aren't wrong for showing Christmas decorations. Your pastor is wrong to sit in judgment on the rest of the Christian church family who allow themselves to celebrate Christmas in good conscience (Romans 14:5, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
. If one doesn't wish to participate in such customs, this is fine. However, he shouldn't impose his views on the rest of the Body of Christ, the church, who sees it differently. I recommend another church where balance and moderation is practiced, rather than extremes. God bless you.
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