The most unpopular controversy – Should Christians celebrate Christmas?



Galatians 4

But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

1 Peter 2

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.


Most Bible believing Christians I know don’t celebrate Halloween because of its obvious association with witchcraft, horror, and death. Christmas is another story however, because as it is celebrated by Christians it is seen as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and who can object to this? Only people who are misguided and. . .well, fanatical.

Most of the devout Christians I know celebrate the season; otherwise, they have no interest in the liturgical calendar. I’m disheartened and perplexed. Is the celebration of Christmas really adiaphora, that is, indifferent, a matter of conscience? How can this be when it’s common knowledge that Christmas originates in the pagan world and Catholic Rome.

Wikipedia: In Christianity, adiaphora are matters not regarded as essential to faith, but nevertheless as permissible for Christians or allowed in church. What is specifically considered adiaphora depends on the specific theology in view.

Though it seems early to be thinking about all of this I believe it’s important to get a head-start on the season by learning what Christians who have been opposed to the celebration on biblical grounds have had to say about it. Since they are sound in other respects, they should at least be given a hearing.


Arthur Walkington Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) was an English Bible teacher who sparked a renewed interest in the exposition of Calvinism. Virtually unknown in his own lifetime, Pink became “one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.” ~Wikipedia~


from

XMAS (Christmas)

by A.W. Pink


Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen. . .for the CUSTOMS of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:1-3).

Christmas is coming! Quite so: but what is “Christmas?” Does not the very term itself denote its source – “Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Roman origin, brought over from paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth. It is? And WHO authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. Is it without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharaoh’s (Gen. 40:20) and Herod’s (Matt. 14:6)? Is this recorded “for our learning?” If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?

And WHO is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask, is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any true born again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are VAIN; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Ex. 23:2). . .



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17 thoughts on “The most unpopular controversy – Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

  1. I think you overstate the case when you say most Christians do not follow the liturgical calendar. Christian familiar with Scripture are aware of the close connection between the Christian liturgical calendar, and the feast days celebrated throughout the year by devout Jews. Moreover, the liturgical calendar allows for an annual celebration of the miracle of Salvation.

    While the Romans may have celebrated Saturnalia, it is not Saturnalia Christians celebrate. At a time of year when darkness and light vie for dominance (literally), we celebrate the triumph of Light over darkness (symbolically). That seems entirely appropriate to me. After all, God predates Saturnalia. All the days of the calendar are His, as are all the days of our lives.

    True, Christmas exists both as a religious observance and a secular holiday in this country. In our materialistic culture, the spiritual meaning is often drowned out. Sadly, even Christians fall into that error. But to those of us awed by the incarnation and the unending love it represents, Christmas offers a moment both of reverence and joy.

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    • Anna, you’ve defended your view ably. However, the regulative principle of worship isn’t merely my view but has been the historic position of most of the churches which came out of the Reformation. Shouldn’t this carry weight since it is the more Biblical view? What did you think of Arthur Pink’s statements?

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      • I am not a theologian. However, I disagree with Arthur Pink and do not find the verses he cites persuasive. They are merely broad general statements from which he infers particulars not contained therein.

        That a position has been taken historically is no guarantee of its validity, as the entire Reformation demonstrates. How many traditions and practices of the Catholic Church were challenged and discarded?

        I do find it meaningful that millions of Christians have chosen not to celebrate Christmas. On the other hand, millions of Christians down the centuries have chosen to celebrate it. Neither group, as far as I am aware, placed its Salvation in jeopardy as a result. Neither violated the tenets of the Apostles creed. Therefore, as far as I understand, the matter is one of individual conscience and conviction.

        The verses most frequently cited as forbidding the celebration of Christmas are: Isaiah 40: 19-20, and 44: 14-25; Jeremiah 3: 13 and 10: 2-4; and Colossians 2: 16-17. The verses in Isaiah and Jeremiah forbid idolatry — not Christmas trees. They speak of the carving of idols and of “sacred” pagan woods. Christians do not venerate Christmas trees. Any elements of the Christmas celebration adopted from pagan practice has long since been given Christian significance.

        What Colossians forbids is the celebration of liturgical holy days as necessary to spirituality. At issue is not the observance, but the underlying spirit of that observance.

        While the Bible does not contain an express directive that Christ’s birth be celebrated, the events surrounding that birth unquestionably constituted a celebration. The angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds (Luke 2: 10-12); the heavenly host praised God (Luke 2: 13-14); the shepherds responded in wonder (Luke 2: 15-20); and sometime later wise men brought birthday gifts (Matt. 2: 1-12).

        It would be legalistic to maintain that the absence of an express directive makes commemoration of Christ’s birth invalid. After all, early Christians shifted from a Saturday to Sunday observance of the Sabbath to commemorate the Resurrection. There was no biblical directive calling for that either.

        That, at any rate, is how I see things. I believe Christians are entitled to differ on this point.

        Blessings,
        A. ❤

        Like

        • Anna, sister,

          You wrote, “That a position has been taken historically is no guarantee of its validity, as the entire Reformation demonstrates. How many traditions and practices of the Catholic Church were challenged and discarded?”

          It’s true that many traditions and practices were challenged at that time and this is true of Christmas too. While Anglicans and Lutherans continued to celebrate Catholic feast-days, Reformed Christians didn’t. Jesus commanded, and Arthur Pink noted this, that we are to remember His death until His coming. The Lord commanded Israel not to add to or diminish from His commandments. Holding the line isn’t legalism but obedience. It can’t rightly be called a matter of conscience. The regulative principle of worship – that we must do only what we are told to do as worship – is an important Biblical principle.

          Deuteronomy 4:2
          2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

          It is true that the Church celebrates a different Sabbath now, the Lord’s Day. Since this is recorded in Scripture it cannot be seen as tradition that men devised and imposed, though the Church of Rome has boasted that it had the authority to change the Sabbath.

          Disagreements can be very strong at times, and while we are to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” it is going to happen. Lord bless you! I hope that you will change your view and know you want the best for me.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. People will say they have Christian liberty to celebrate this abominable man-made “holy” day. But that means they would make Paul say it is OK to christianize paganism! The very same tree-in-house yule tide season celebration stems from its root of Babylonian false messiah worship that pre-dated Christ’s incarnation. The Israelites were judged for worshiping God in the same manner as the heathen did their gods and Paul, knowing this, would never condone we do the same as they did! Why do we lower Christ down to the same status as the false gods by putting His birth on their birth date? God is to be treated as holy, set apart, unlike the worldly heathen. And so are we.

    Acts 15:20,29 tells us to ABSTAIN from things polluted from idols. Many say this is talking about meats but we are not told to abstain from meats sacrificed to idols but to not participate in the idolatrous ceremony and to avoid eating it before a weaker brother. No, we are to give thanks for the meat, blessing it and, if it gives no offense, enjoy it . Acts 15:20,29 shows what is to be done with “things” polluted by idols. How many Christians say that they know of the pagan roots of Christ Mass then go headlong into its celebration never minding how God hates it and that they are disobeying His Word from the Jerusalem Council?! This is not a matter of Christian liberty but of obedience. How can one worship God through disobedience? The only ones who want to kick against the goads on this issue are those who worship the season more than God. I know, I was one of them! I challenge my brothers and sisters to not celebrate the pagan/papist/traditions of men even once to be sure it is not a thing they are in bondage to or compelled by men to celebrate.

    “In keeping, after a religious sort, a day that has no authority but man’s, we are paying homage to that authority; we are bowing down, in the very act of our observance of the day as part of worship, not to Christ, who has not appointed it, but to the Church, which has. We are keeping the season holy, not to God, but to man.” ~ from the book, The Church of Christ by James Bannerman

    “WE are not redeemers. WE can’t change evil to good.” Terri W~

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  3. I think Pink’s statements are interesting. This is something to consider, especially at the roots of the topic.

    The Bible does not tell us to celebrate His birth directly, that is, when He was an adult. He’s a humble guy, it wouldn’t be like Him to celebrate while on earth the purpose of why He’s there, before it happened. But His birth was crucial and everywhere around Christ’s birth there was celebration.

    Angels telling everyone this is the Good News. Shepherds watching flocks symbolic of Christ being our true Shepherd. Wise men giving gifts to a baby, most of them gifts used for those of the dead (perfume oils). His birth meant the first stepping stone to His death. It’s connected.

    In relation to celebration, scriptures do uplift Christ as a whole. It’s important to understand the whole reason why Christ came to us in the first place. Mankind failed. We couldn’t follow God’s instructions. God was kind enough to show us mercy and grace. He gave us a better way, and that was through Christ we can receive salvation. Christ’s birth for us represents new life. We are a new creation in Christ. That’s something to celebrate, and we only can celebrate that new life because of His death and resurrection.

    Many do celebrate Christmas as a commercial holiday. They don’t celebrate Christmas for Christ. In the same way Christians don’t celebrate Christmas as the pagan holiday.

    I think the main issue is where is our heart at, where is our focus. That’s my personal take on it, at least. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christ’s birth was, and is crucial. Its the incarnation, the one time only and only unique birth event, which the angels were celebrating. Salvation has come to the world! \o/ Did you know that Jews of Jesus’ day did not celebrate birthdays? Not even bar/bat mitzvahs (those are new innovations)! That is why we do not see any apostle celebrating the birthday of Christ Jesus. But, the Jewish-pagans of His day did celebrate birthdays – Herod was of Judaism but he was also enamored with the Roman culture as evidenced in the celebrating of his birthday. He was a Jew in name only. He was also an Idumean, aka, an Edomite, with that wicked Haman in his ancestry.

      Has the Christ Mass celebration been changed from pagan to Christian lawfully? No. We do not see anywhere in scripture where God has said to steer clear of paganism until a certain amount of time has passed. This pre-Christ yule-tide season where the decorated tree-in-house tradition comes from is, in our day, a celebration of pagan Wiccans who adopted the holiday from the sun worshiping Druids. We are to keep from even the appearance of evil yet we look just like the Wiccans when we practice their decorated tree-in-house tradition. Putting Christ’s name on that which God hates is an evil we need to beware of if we love Christ Jesus. God warned the Israelites not to worship Him in the same manner as the heathen do their gods and we do not see a lifting of that command in the New Testament but instead see what the pagans did with their books in Acts 19:19. Its what we must do with our christo-pagan traditions and things. Hard to do? Yes! And yet easy when you love the Lord Jesus Christ and want to please Him in all of your ways.

      May God open the eyes of His children and call them out of this iniquitous tradition of men/pagan/papist practice into a pure worship of Him in spirit and in truth, amen!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Its a huge error to say that the Incarnation is the Christ Mass story. It is not and never has been except it being forced upon Christ by men. We should not have even the appearance of evil yet one has to look good and hard to see any difference between a Wiccan’s holiday decor and the Christian’s…

    I’m glad I can daily sing praises to God for sending us His Son and need no special day to reflect on it and celebrate it. And, what a burden removed by not having to observe the day as the heathen do with decorated trees and home. Set free from having to buy gifts, too. I’m also grateful that God opened my eyes to the lies of this season so that I can now worship Him in spirit and in truth.

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  5. Take all the gift wanting away from this tradition and what is really celebrated? I feel blessed to be released from the bondage this worldly celebration puts man in. Even the “nativity scene” is wrong in most cases. Consider the “wise men”. We’re there 3? According to the written Word of God the wise men were not at the manger when Jesus was a a baby. They came to Him in a house when He was a small child. God had things written the way He did for a reason! Sometimes I believe it has been written to refute those that fall into satan’s trap so that we as Believer’s have His Word to stand on to prove what is right and what is wrong… According to Him NOT us ❤ ❤ ❤ GREAT POST, LADIES!! Our God is a GOOD GOD!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beth, you wrote, “God had things written the way He did for a reason! Sometimes I believe it has been written to refute those that fall into satan’s trap so that we as Believer’s have His Word to stand on to prove what is right and what is wrong.” I hadn’t thought of this. Yes, this makes sense. He destroys the wisdom of the wise.

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        • Yes, He is wise, Beth!

          Colossians 2
          1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

          In Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”!

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