December 1997, Vol. 9:4
`Tis the Season ... FOR Pagan Worship

EXTRACTS:
Biblical Discernment Ministry ...
Rick Meisel. USA

What many in Christendom have been celebrating--Christmas--is a thoroughly pagan holiday--in its origin, in its trappings, and in all its traditions.

Read the words of ... Charles Spurgeon, Henry Ironside, & Alexander Hislop:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon , a sermon delivered on the Lord's Day, December 24, 1871: "We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas : first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because [it's] not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour's birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. ...

"It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, therefore superstition has fixed it; ... Where is the method in the madness of the superstitious? Probably the fact is that the holy days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. ... We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Saviour was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December. ... regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son."

And from Dr. H.A. Ironside 's Lectures on the Book of Revelation (1920: p. 301):
"It is a lamentable fact that Babylon's principles and practices are rapidly but surely pervading the churches that escaped from Rome at the time of the Reformation. We may see evidences of it in the wide use of high-sounding ecclesiastical titles, once unknown in the reformed churches, in the revival of holy days and church feasts such as Lent, Good Friday, Easter, and Christ's Mass, or, as it is generally written, Christmas . ... some ofthese festivals ... when they are turned into church festivals, they certainly come under the condemnation of Galatians 4:9-11, where the Holy Spirit warns against the observance of days and months and times and seasons. All of them, and many more that might be added, are Babylonish in their origin, and were at one time linked with the Ashtoreth and Tammuz mystery-worship. It is through Rome that they have come down to us; and we do well to remember that Babylon is a mother, with daughters who are likely to partake of their mother's characteristics ..."

And, finally, from Alexander Hislop 's The Two Babylons:Or the Papal Worship "Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under pagan superstition. That Christmas is a pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is celebrated, prove its origin."

Some Common Rationalizations for Celebrating Christmas

There is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for remembrance of the day of Christ's birth as a day of special religious celebration. This is not to say that we shouldn't remember Christ's birth and its significance, but for religious commemorations or celebrations, we must have Biblical command or precedent! The fact of the matter is this--the early church did not celebrate Christ's birth, but such celebration only came into the church with the "Christianization" of pagan rites as Catholicism was made the state religion by Constantine in the fourth century A.D. Since the Word of God does not support the tradition of Christmas, a Christian's conscience ought not and must not be bound.

Nevertheless, today's evangelical church and its leaders have gone to great length to justify, yea, even command, the observance of this Roman Catholic holy day. The eight most common rationalizations put forth for celebrating Christmas are:

1. "Christmas Provides a Festive Time to Share the Gospel" -- In reality, this "special time of the year" is probably more a hindrance to the receptiveness of the gospel message than a help. Much of the celebration observed by our contemporary society deludes people into assuming that God is pleased, when in reality, He is offended by false religion, pseudo-worship, and alien philosophies. The ecumenical spirit and a counterfeit "love" under the guise of "peace and goodwill among men," more than likely dulls one's sensitivity to his desperate need to repent of sin and be reconciled to a holy God.

2. "Christmas is Merely the Honoring of Christ's Birth" -- Someone says, "I know Christmas is of pagan origin, but I still think it's not wrong for a church to have a special time for honoring Christ's birth." But since when did Protestants believe that Christians have the right to add to the Bible? Is the church a legislative body? Are we to follow the Bible in our faith and practice, or the thinking of fallible men? If we have the right to add a special holy day to the Christian economy, then we can add 10,000 other things. Then we will be no better than the false cults and the Roman Catholics who follow heathen traditions!

3. "All I'm Doing is Putting Christ Back into Christmas" -- The modern conservative cry to put Christ back into Christmas is absurd. Jesus Christ was never in Christmas. (Not until Constantine put Him there.) It's a lie to say He was. He has no part in a lie. When anyone takes the truth and mixes a lie with it, they no longer have the truth. They have changed the truth into a lie. Neither is it possible to take a lie and mix enough truth with it to change the lie into the truth. You still come out with a lie. One may say, "Well, I know it's not the truth, but I'll put Christ back in Christmas and glorify God in it then." No, you won't. Christ never was in Christmas. You cannot change a lie into the truth. It should in reality be Baal-mass, Nimrod-mass, Tammuz-mass, Mithras-mass, or Mary-mass. Christ-mass is a lie. Why use a lie as a good time for a cardinal truth (the incarnation) of the Christian faith?

4. "I'm Using Christmas to Witness for Christ, Just Like the Apostle Paul Did" -- Some say that all they are doing is taking the "truth" from Christmas (i.e., the incarnation of Christ) and "cultivating" it as the Apostle Paul did (Acts 17/Mars Hill), taking the opportunity of the season to witness to a lost world. This would be fine if these Christians were actually doing only as Paul did. Paul, in addressing the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, proclaimed to them that their "unknown god" to whom they had erected an Altar, was none other than "the God who made the world and all the things therein." Paul was not intimidated by the pagan surroundings and symbolisms, nor did he berate the Greeks for their error, but merely showed them the truth of the gospel of Christ.

But do Christians really use the "opportunity presented by the season" in the same way as Paul used the opportunity of the pagan Altar? Do Christians personally stand in front of their home-town public displays of Xmas (Nativity scenes, etc.) and preach the gospel? To paraphrase Paul, do they say: "Men of Indianapolis, I see that in every way you are very religious; what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you"?

Do they come out of the public schools where they have just attended their children's Xmas programs and preach to the attendees about the true God who has been grossly misrepresented in the program they have witnessed?

Hardly. Even to most of those who understand the true origin of Xmas, this "unique time of year" means inviting unbelievers into their homes to gather around the Xmas tree, to enjoy the beauty of the wreaths, absorb the heat from the Yule log, etc., reasoning that they are only using the pagan forms and the pagan festival season as an opportunity to witness. If Paul meant this in Acts 17, he would have met the people in the Athenian temple or in his or their homes, gathering around their idols which he had Christianized and was now using as a part of his worship.

Most of the people who decorate their homes and churches with Xmas trees, holly wreaths, Nativity scenes, etc., all supposedly to be used as "opportunities" via "Xmas coffees," neighborhood "grab bag" gift exchanges, Xmas concerts, etc., are thoroughly convinced that they're doing God a service. And since they are not involved in the crass secular "commercialization" that the world revels in, but have instead "put Christ back in Xmas" (so to speak), they reason that all is Biblical and pleasing to God. 5. "It Doesn't Mean Anything to Me" -- Many Christians who routinely make a habit of picking-and-choosing which Biblical commands they will obey or not obey, have likewise carried this practice over into a justification for celebrating Christmas. They claim, "but the Christmas tree, mistletoe, Santa Claus, etc., don't mean anything pagan to me, so I'll exercise my Christian liberty and partake in all of it." Obviously, if one were to take such a cavalier approach to the physical world (i.e., "I can drink rat poison because I choose not to regard it as poison"), it would likely lead to a quick physical death. Why then do Christians think they can avoid spiritual harm by ignoring God's spiritual warnings?

6. "The 'Connection' Has Been Broken" -- There are those who clearly recognize the pagan nature of the various Christmas worship forms and practices. Nevertheless, many of these Christians claim that because of the long passage of time from their pagan inception to the present (6000 years?), the "connection" to paganism has been sufficiently diminished to allow the adoption of these forms and practices into our Christian worship and celebration. While it may be true that most symbols have lost their original demonic meaning and significance in a modern society, it is strangely bizarre and ironic that Christendom seeks to commemorate Christ's birth with the faded symbols of Satan. And even though some of God's people may be naive and ignorant about the source of these things, surely God is not. Can such things please Him? And think about this--if it were possible to "disconnect" current practices from their pagan/occultic roots, why does Scripture not provide us any guidelines as to: (a) how much time is necessary for the "neutralization"/disassociation process to occur; and (b) which of the hundreds of ancient pagan rites would then be acceptable for adaptation into Christian worship (since some are obviously much more pagan/occultic than others)?

7. "There Are Hundreds of Other Items of Daily Life that Have a Pagan Origin" -- It is said, "Such things as the wedding ring, certain clothing customs, the modern division of time into hours and minutes, the names of the days of the week, etc., all have pagan connections in their origins, so isn't it a contradiction on your part to say that their meanings have sufficiently changed while Christmas's meanings have not?" That's not what we're saying at all. We would ask the question back, "Which of these pagan items do we focus on to celebrate the birth of Christ? Or which of these is 'Christianized' and brought into our weekly worship of, or our daily devotion to, Christ, as you do with the pagan forms and traditions of Xmas?" The origin and meaning of a custom, tradition, or form does not take on significance unless it is somehow specifically incorporated into, or lined up with, our worship. These rings, clothing customs, etc. would be merely the by-products of paganism, not paganism itself, and they have developed no religious connotations or associations of their own, as have the Xmas customs and traditions.

8. "Baptism (and Circumcision) Have Pagan Origins and God Still Gave Their Use in Scripture, So What's Wrong With Using the Pagan Forms of Christmas?" --This argument is frequently made by pastors who say that to be consistent, those who would have us forbid the forms, symbols, and traditions of Christmas should also be calling for us to abandon believer's baptism; i.e., shouldn't the would-be banners of Christmas be saying, "Since the ancient mystery religions practiced forms of baptism, therefore baptism is a pagan custom and should be outlawed for the believer in Christ"? This is a strange argument for anyone to make, particularly a theologian (and, in our opinion, reveals a low view of Scriptural admonitions). If baptism were absent from the Bible, as using pagan forms and traditions to celebrate or commemorate Christ's birthday are totally absent, there would then be no Biblical justification for baptism. But God has not commanded us to celebrate or commemorate Christ's birth in any way. He has commanded us to baptize (Matt. 28:19).

Should not the very popularity of Christmas cause the Christian to question it? Anyone and everyone can celebrate Christmas without question--outright pagans, nominal Christians, and even Buddhists and Hindus. If, in reality, December 25th was a date set by God to remember the birth of Jesus, you could be sure that the world would have nothing to do with it. After all, God has commanded one day in seven--the Lord's Day--to worship Him. Does the world observe it? Of course not. As expected, the world loves Christmas, but hates the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 15:18, 23-25). It shuns anything pertaining to true religion. Shouldn't the Christian be just a little suspicious of a celebration in which the whole sinful world can join without qualms?

But when Christmas is exposed for what it really is, this angers people. It angers Protestant people! And there is reason why it does so. When the pagan celebration of Christmas is rooted up, and rejected, then what has become a Protestant tradition is, in effect, being rejected! And that is why people become angry. It began as a Roman Catholic holy day, and then it became a Protestant holy day. And if anyone dares show it up for what it really is, they face the wrath of the Protestant religious machine. And these days, that can be very ugly.

We can summarize by saying that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to commemorate the birth of our Lord, and God the Father evidently deemed it unwise to make the date known. Hence, it will always reImages unknown and is not to be ceremoniously remembered and celebrated. (In fact, God has warned us about getting entangled with any special days [Gal. 4:10].) Notice though, that we are commanded to remember Him in His death (but no special day was specified for this either)--"Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; this DO in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:18,19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). To commemorate His death is Scriptural. Any day of the year will do. To commemorate His birth is non-Scriptural, even extra-Scriptural (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:19), whether one chooses December 25th or any other day.

If God had desired us to remember Christ's birthday, He could have left us the precise date. But if He had, He would have vindicated every astrologer in the past 2,000 years. In occult circles, the anniversary of a person's birth is the most important metaphysical day of the year. The Bible recognizes no such significance. It is intriguing that there are only two birthday celebrations recorded in the entire Bible and they were both those of ungodly kings--and both resulted in an execution (Gen. 40:16-22 and Matt. 14:6-10/Mark 6:21-27)!

The Apostle Paul says: "God forbid that I should glory in anything except in the cross [not the manger ] of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6:14). We find no salvation in the birth of the Lord Jesus by itself, for salvation was only made possible through His death (i.e., His shed blood) and resurrection. Our focus should be on the cross and our ascended Savior, not in a cradle. Those who love Jesus should certainly rejoice that He was born and lived amongst us as a man. But if we truly want to glorify Him and bear testimony of who He is, we must stop marrying that blessed gift with the debauchery of paganism. If we want to honor His birth, let it be done as He would have done it: year-round unselfishly serving our fellow man as an unending act of love for our God. Let us put away all of the mixture of pagan customs and take up His mantle and His pure worship, and show the confused world that there is a difference. The discussion about various christmas hymns being pagan has been omitted for lack of room...
Editor Despatch [Some of the above article has been adapted from other sources.

Those sources are listed in BDM's 40-page booklet,
"Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?"]
rambdm@tima.com
http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/
Rick Meisel, BDM, 679, Bedford, IN. 47421-0679. USA
 
 

Wendy Howard...editor of Despatch

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