Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas and the Christian

[For a very good and rather exhaustive but general article on Christmas check out this. My post will deal more specifically with the church of Christ and their reasoning for not celebrating it.]

It seems like an unlikely question: Should Christians observe Christmas? I mean, think about it: "Christians" and "Christmas"...both words derived from "Christ"...what's the problem, right?

Yet there are those who consider themselves Christians who do not celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ. They refuse to sing religious Christmas songs, will not let their children participate in school Christmas plays, do not put angels on top of their Christmas trees, and teach their children that Christians are wrong (let's just say it, sinning) for celebrating the birth of Jesus in the month of December. I know this is true. It once described me.

Think of it this way: If you knew absolutely nothing about Christians, and knew nothing about the observance of the holiday called Christmas, and if you came to earth and learned about the two concepts you would be puzzled to say the least that there are actually those who identify themselves as Christians yet sincerely believe and teach against observing the holiday.

The church of Christ of which I was a member believed this way - and we were not in a theological-vacuum. All the other local churches that we fellowshipped believed the same way, and there were several. Unfortunately I raised my son to believe this way and he still adheres to this mindset today.

Here's the reasoning: the COC say that you need "book, chapter, and verse" to practice anything religiously. They have such a carefully constructed approach to interpreting, understanding, and applying the Bible that they've painted themselves in a hermeneutical-corner. They believe that since we do not read anywhere in the NT about the Apostles or disciples celebrating the birth of Jesus (what they call an "approved example") or no specific command to do so, nor any inferences to celebrate it, we would be "unscriptural" to celebrate the Christmas holiday religiously. They are also quick to mention that the only time we see birthday celebrations in the Bible are for non-believers, i.e. Genesis 40:20, Matt. 14:6.

What I find interesting is that I have never met a member of the COC that does not celebrate their own birthday, or the birthdays of their family members. I even know people who celebrate "birthdays" for their pets. So when it comes to celebrating the Savior's birth into this fallen world for the purpose of redeeming man from his sins and thus saving us from eternal torment and excommunication from God - that's a no-no because God never told us to do it.

The problem I have with this argument is that it just seems pretty ridiculous when I consider the emphasis that the Word of God puts on the birth of Christ.

Have you or your children ever been invited to another child's birthday party. How did you find out about it? Like us, you probably got a really cute, gender-appropriate invitation in the mail announcing the time and location of the event. You probably even received this notice well in advance of the party so that you could make arrangements to attend (and bring their kid a gift, of course). Well guess what God did. He sent out birthday invitations for His Son, too. God put a little more effort into His invitations. He sent His in the form of Old Testament prophecies uttered by the Holy Spirit through the mouths of His prophets thousands of years beforehand so that the people could get ready! Wow, Glory to God!!!!

God's invitations told us the Child would be born of the seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15), a descendant of Abraham, (12:3), a descendant of Isaac (17:19), a descendant of Jacob (Numbers 24:17), of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), an heir to the throne of David (Is. 9:7), born in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), born of a virgin (Is. 7:4), born at a specific time (Dan. 9:24-27), the Child's birth would cause the slaughter of other children (Jer. 31:15), and the family would come out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). How's that for emphasis?

Mary did not have a copy of What to Expect When You Are Expecting, but she had something better. Mary's pregnancy was of the Holy Spirit and announced by the angel Gabriel who was sent by God (Luke 1:26-38). An angel also appeared to Joseph concerning the pregnancy (Matt. 1:18-25). At the time of the Birth, angels appeared to the shepherds in the field and praised God for the Birth (Luke 2:8-14). The shepherds glorified and praised God over the events (2:20). Also, to direct the Magi from the east God prepared a specific sign in our solar system to point the way. In verses 9-11 of Matthew Chapter 2 the Magi come to the child Jesus, presented Him gifts, and fell down and WORSHIPED him! I'm not too smart, but it sure seems to me that God is giving us lots of inferences and examples in these accounts. How can we share the story of redemption, the Gospel, without the story of Christ's Birth and the numerous prophecies that it fulfilled, thus proving the reliability of the Bible and the Faithfulness of God's Word? It's a part of the story of our salvation. Please do not rob the Gospel story of this beautiful chapter in God's plan for us.

Is it just me or does it seem a little hypocritical to not celebrate the Lord's Birth (at all) "because the Bible only records the birthday celebrations of pagans" but then celebrate your own birthday every year? Not just celebrate it, but fully expect attention, gifts, and praise on that day. How can we believe that there is "no authority" or no scriptural precedent to celebrate the Lord's Birth when the Gospels of Matthew and Luke go to such lengths to document and preserve the wonderful works of God woven throughout that account?

Please, do not waste another opportunity to take your family to a Christmas Eve candle-light service. Like God's people during the times of the OT (Ex. 13:8, 14) use these moments as opportunities to teach your children about spiritual things: sin, the unavoidable Judgement to come, the Atoning Sacrifice prepared by God, the humility and obedience of Jesus Christ, His life, His suffering, His death, and his Resurrection, and what that means for us today, everyday.

The real question is not whether or not we should be celebrating Christmas as Christ's Birth on December 25, but what day should we not be celebrating Christ's birth? Do not spurn the opportunity that Christmas gives you to preach the Gospel to your friends, your neighbors, your family, your wife, your children, and to your self.

Don't let the world turn Christmas into a fantasy about material gifts earned by a work-righteous reward system overseen by a false god called Santa. I'd hate to stand before God on Judgement Day with children at my side who believe in Santa but not the Creator of the Universe and the Author and Finisher of my faith.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6, 7

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

What About Christmas?

Since it's that time of year, let's think about Christmas and whether or not we should celebrate it as the birth of Christ. I'm working on a post that will discuss the COC and their view of Christmas. Keep checking back...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Please check out the Way of the Master/LivingWaters ministry!

WOW! My spiritual life has been SO BLESSED as a result of finding the Way of the Master/Living Waters ministry. I'll give you some hyperlinks to click in a minute but I want you to keep reading for now. I always felt that the COC's approach to the Gospel was lacking. In fact, it was a type of religion that was almost devoid of the Gospel. Yes we held Gospel Meetings and attended the Gospel Meetings of others, but hardly ever was their a real emphasis placed on taking the Gospel OUTSIDE THE BUILDING to a lost and sinful world. Jesus said that his disciples would be "fishers of men" (Mark 1:17), but it seemed like we were waiting for the fish to jump into the boat. What did Jesus and the Apostles do? Is that how the Christians in the New Testament evangelized?

Furthermore, when I would share my faith I found myself spending more time talking about what made our group different from all the other groups as opposed to preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I used to joke that our preacher had one sermon and that he simply changed the introduction and closing each week. Why? Because we spent more time talking about ourselves and our uniqueness then Jesus and the Gospel. It was like the outdoor, open air, public square preaching of the Gospel was something that was meant for the NT days but really wasn't a part of Christendom today. Brethren if these words describe you, repent TODAY and let's get back to NT Christianity.

I know you don't know me, but I am sincerely concerned for you and your soul. Whether you are a new Christian, an Elder of a church, a pastor, or a Pope I beg you to listen to the audio messages that are linked to below. They will help you to cut through all the religious noise out there and will concisely and succinctly show you what the Gospel really is. You will understand the Scriptures in a whole new light and finally it will all make sense.

We must truly understand the Law-Gospel relationship. It is imperative for our own salvation and for our ability to share the true, Biblical Gospel with others. Please don't let anything prevent you from listening to the messages below.

I'll put these in a listening order that might help:

Start here: Hell's Best Kept Secret

Then go here and listen to the audio messages on this page by Ray Comfort.

Check out If you want more audio you can go to iTunes and search for Way of the Master Radio or simply do a Google search for Way of the Master Radio.

Whatever you do be sure to check out Todd Friel of Wretched Radio and Wretched TV here. It's a cross between Jay Leno and the 700 Club - but better theology all around!

God Bless!

Monday, July 5, 2010

They Forgot To Tell Me That

When I was a member of the COC I cannot tell you how many times I not only sung the hymn "Ivory Palaces", but also led it from the pulpit straight out of the congregation's Sacred Selections for the Church songbook (entry #70). I love the melody and the words to this song:

"My Lord has garments so wondrous fine,
And myrrh their texture fills;
Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine
With joy my being thrills.

Out of the ivory palaces,
Into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go....

Shame on me for never looking at the top of the page where the Scriptural reference/basis for the song was noted. Look for yourself, it's Psalms 45:8. If I would have only taken the time to flip over to Psalms 45 I could have read for myself just what exactly the Scriptures say is coming out of the ivory palaces. Want to guess what it is? Let me quote the verse for you from the NASB:

"All Thy garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made Thee glad." Psalms 45:8 NASB

Hmmm. I guess they forgot to tell me that. Maybe that's why we're told to "Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately." 2 Timothy 2:15 NET

Are you being taught the message of truth accurately? If you're a teacher or preacher of the Gospel, are you teaching and preaching it accurately?

Is It "Scriptural?"

Here is a pet peeve of mine. Some will say that it is "unscriptural" for you to worship God with musical instruments. Many of the same people will also tell you that you should "speak as the Oracles of God" and use "Bible words in Bible ways." But what does the Word of God say? Is the use of instruments "unscriptural?"

On the contrary! Under the terms "Scripture" and "It Is Written" the New Testament quotes the book of Psalms as "Scripture" many times. Read these examples: Matthew 21:16, 42; John 2:17, 13:18, 19:36; Acts 1:20; Romans 3:4, 10-18; 4:17, 8:36; 15:9, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 4:13; 9:9.

So, is the use of instruments in worship to God "unscriptural?" Well, if (A) the Bible refers to quotes from Psalms as "Scripture" and (B) Psalms provides examples of worshiping God with the use of instruments, then who can say that the practice is "unscriptural?" Who is really "speaking as the Oracles of God?"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Are there any examples of musical instruments being used in worship to God in the New Testament? Of course! Chapters 5 and 15 of the book of Revelation (which is in the New Testament) clearly gives us an example of it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

At the request of someone I recently corresponded with I removed the last post until I have ample time to rework it. The goal here is to discuss the Scriptures in a spirit of love. One thing I have learned is that it is always more important to be righteous rather than right.
"Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart." Psalms 51:6

Sunday, January 31, 2010

This evening I will be posting a lesson on the COC's approach to instrumental music, pointing out some errors in their application of the Scriptures.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Next we are going to look at the church of Christ's most sacred cow: instrumental music. Not only is this an area that they believe most other religions are in error over, but a study of this topic really strikes at the foundation of how they understand the Bible. Could they be wrong about this fundemental pillar in their system of faith?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

If you are a member of the Church of Christ I pray that you will take great care this new year to investigate your faith. It took a lot of turmoil in my life to prepare my heart to listen to the truth. I still have family in the COC who I worry about daily. I'm not sure I believe that they are lost, but I do believe that they are following a lie; a form of religion devoid of God's love and grace. They are living under such a weight of legalism that it causes them to be non-evangelistic. They follow a religion that takes the Good News out of the Gospel. Open your heart to the Truth! God has so much more for you! Please contact me if you would like to study:
I just learned that I can
post articles, thoughts, and ideas to my blog from my iPhone. Excellent! Maybe now I can post more frequently.