Timothy Fellows, Jr.
Text: "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.... For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself" (Romans 14:5-7).
It is ironic that our "politically-correct" society and many pious Christians are in full unity to rid this country of our traditional, Christmas Holiday. Society recognizes Christmas to be a distinctively Christian Holiday and has therefore sought to remove all traces from the work place, the schools and every other public arena. They know what many Christians wonít admit -- that such a holiday promotes the Christian religion as superior to all other religions: its central attraction being the incarnate Son of God, Immanuel, the King of kings wrapped in swaddling clothes, born of the Virgin, lying in a manger, born to set His people free. Mary is not the center of this manger scene, but is along side with the other sinners rejoicing in God, her Savior.
Were this holiday pagan, the world would embrace it, teach it, and promote it. But they hate it so much, that they will do everything they can to demean, denigrate and destroy it. They would rather keep the "mas" and X out the "Christ", for they know it is the first syllable of the word that is the celebrated theme, not the last.
Some Christians have thought themselves to be more Biblically-separated and unspotted from the world, by refusing to participate in what they call a "pagan holiday rooted in Roman Catholicism." Certainly, the word Christmas is of Catholic origin, but this is not the reason "pious" Christians donít celebrate Christmas. For if it were, they would not recognize the pagan months: January, named after the Roman god Janus; February, linked to a pagan Roman festival; March, named after Mars, god of war; June, named after the goddess Juno; nor would they observe the pagan weekdays: Monday "Moon day," named after the goddess of the moon; Thursday, designated as the Norse god Thorís day; Friday, honoring Venus, Roman goddess of love; Saturday, denoting the Roman god Saturnís day; and especially Sunday, recognizing the oft-worshipped center of our solar System.
When these pious folk quit observing pagan months and days almost year round, they will have a legitimate argument against our observing Christmas. Until then, we recognize the word "Christmas" to mean what it represents to us, not what it originally meant. Likewise, in history when referring to the Holy Roman Empire, we understand that it was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire, yet we use the terminology because that is how that thing was identified then and therefore, now.
Certainly, pious Christians who say, "Well, if the Lord had wanted us to celebrate His birth, He would have commanded us to do so," do not think the same way when their anniversary comes up, or their childís birthday, or Thanksgiving. Consistent conviction? Hardly.
The First Christmas
The first Christmas did not originate with the Roman Catholics (they werenít around yet), or with Saint Nicholas, real man who lived about three hundred years after Christ and who, for the cause of Christ, was exiled and imprisoned by Emperor Diocletian. (It was this Saint Nicholas who was present at the Council of Nicea in 325, who pastored the church in Strasbourg later occupied by John Calvin, who spent his life giving gifts to children and the needy, and who was truly good before being paganized as Santa Claus.) The first Christmas did not originate with the Greeks, the Romans, or any businessmen.
The first Christmas was celebrated by Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, the angels, any animals present, and maybe even the innkeeper. Though the wise men did not come right away, they were there for Christmas too (maybe that one was in July?); for they came to celebrate the birth of him of whom the prophets spoke. They brought presents, probably wrapped, and were guided by a special star. Such a time was one of rejoicing, considering the occasion -- the birth of the Messiah! What people would have to be commanded to celebrate such a wonderful occasion? They behaved like the joyful children of Israel who the book of Esther says instituted their own feast--Purim-- though God had neither required nor commanded it.
Can the world celebrate Christmas?
If Christmas means drinking lots of alcohol, kissing women under the mistletoe, waiting for Santa to climb down yonder chimney, or looking for a red nose on a flying reindeer; then they can. But, if we had the festive occasion first, then they are just jealous, pagan idolaters who are seeking to manufacture a joy they have never known.
William Law said, "The world preaches to an attentive mind." Paul, in Colossians 1:16 says, "All things were created by [Christ], and for him" Christians look through new eyes and see all things differently, Certainly King Solomon was no pagan idolater for having trees, plants and animals as symbols in the temple of Jehovah. Nor is God a pagan for having a tree in heaven that will bear twelve different kinds of fruit (Rev. 22:1,2). God likened repentant, faithful Israel to a tree (Ezek. 17:22-24; Hos. 14:5-g). The candlestick or lampstand in the temple was a stylized almond tree with oil lamps mounted on its branches (Ex. 25:31-40; 37:17-24). Pilgrimís Bible Church member Frank Hutto has said, "Christmas trees neednít be shunned as pagan, but can be occasions for reflecting on Godís wondrous work of creation, redemption, and restoration. Thus, at Christmas Iím spurred to look forward to the new heavens and new earth, which will be free of sin, pain, death, and sorrow."
A brother, Jackie Battle, has said (somewhat paraphrased):
"I have been accused of being a pagan a heretic, an idolater and of misleading people and not worshipping the Christ of the Bible. Those are very serious charges. In my opinion--if you can take the opinion of a heretic--you have moved from the area of not liking what I do, to the area of labeling me an idolater.
"Again, those are serious things to say. Brethren, you need to be a little more careful in such condemnation. I am a child of the King! He doesnít take too kindly to folk condemning His children or His church.
"As I have stated, my family and I do celebrate Christmas. You cannot fault me for that, no matter what names you call me I have the liberty to do that any day of the week and/or month I so choose; I have not violated Scripture. However, if I choose to cut a tree down and put it in my house, I am tagged as a pagan.
"My wife has a fern growing in the kitchen. What is she? We have two artificial bushes sitting in our church to cover thermostats. Does the church have a "grove" set up to worship other deities? Listen, you need to think twice before you label a man an idolater based solely on the fact that he has a tree and a light in his house. We had a potted tree in the church once. Were we heretics? If a person owns a nursery, is he an idolater? If I go to the nursery, buy a tree, and plant it in my front yard, am I an idolater?
"If I have a light bulb in my living room, am I bowing down to idols? If I have more than two lights strung together, am I worshipping pagan gods? If I put a night light on a tree in my front yard, am I a heretic? If I like pretty lights and string them around my window, have I committed abomination before God? If I wrap a present to my wife and give it to her, am I spiritually sick? If I sing "Silent Night," am I depraved? If I have a potted tree in my front room, am I a spiritual whoremonger? If I take the lights from the window and put them on the potted tree, do I commit sacrilege to God?
"You folks are saying I canít have a tree in my house--I suppose that would include any potted plants. You say I canít string lights together and put them on that plant, or Iíll be an idolater. It
seems that the basis of your whole contention is that I just canít do such things in December."
1. a Thereís preacher and wife who are very, very poor. They already have fourteen children. Now she finds out sheís pregnant with the fifteenth. Theyíre living in tremendous poverty. Considering their poverty, and the "excessive world population," would you consider recommending she get an "abortion"?
2. The father is sick with sniffles, and the mother has TB. They have four children. The first is blind, the second dead, the third deaf, and the fourth has TB. She finds sheís pregnant again. Given the extreme situation, would you consider recommending an "abortion"?
3. A white man raped a thirteen year old black girl, and she got pregnant. If you were her parents, would you consider recommending she get an "abortion"?
4. A teenage girl is pregnant. Sheís not married. Her fiancť is not the father of the baby, and heís very upset. Would you consider recommending an "abortion"?
If you said yes to the first, you have just killed John Wesley, one of the great evangelists of the 19th century.
If you said yes to the second, you have just killed Beethoven.
If you said yes to the third, you have just killed Ethel Waters, the black, gospel singer.
If you said yes to the fourth, you have just declared the murder of Jesus Christ!!
God save us from ethical murderers! Let God be the giver and the taker of life.
Answered prayer request --
We appreciate the prayers for Pastor Fellows. He is continuing to improve in strength, ability and speech. Our insurance company finally repaired his totaled car. We were able to drive it to John and Robynís wedding in Louisiana, and back to Oklahoma for a Bible conference. While he was not able to speak at the wedding, my dad had me read for him what he compiled together from other weddings. While at the Bible
Conference, a retired medical doctor told us that the procedures used on my dad were not known when he was practicing (as late as 1986). He said we would have had to watch him die. God has certainly been good to us.
--A personal letter to David Cloud, by Timothy Fellows, Jr.
Why do people go to hell if Jesus paid it all for all persons? You say it is for rejecting Jesus Christ. Is that not the worst of sins? But since Jesus paid it all, then the sin of rejecting Christ is included, so why do they have to go to hell? Is not the atonement of Christ made of none effect when it does not accomplish its purpose, and has no greater power than what sinful, weak, and helpless man allows it to have? How is that good news?
The purpose of preaching the gospel
If the purpose of the preacher is to get everyone saved, then Noah was a failure, so were Ezekiel, and Jeremiah and all the other O. T. prophets except for Jonah -- who was the model prophet of the Old Testament.
We believe the Scripture is a two-edged sword intended to draw and to drive. We believe every time the Scriptures are preached faithfully by the preacher, he is 100% successful. To some, he is a savor of life unto life and to the others of death unto death. Our purpose is not then to find the elect and only minister unto them -- that is foreign to the gospel. We are to edify the saints and to reprove the world. We are to be lights that will enlighten some and blind others. God forbid that we should label people as "elect" or "non-elect" as if we had the eyes of God. We are open to accept all that will to come. And we understand that if a man wills to come, it is because God began looking for him, since man by nature does not seek God. Certainly, the invitation is even limited; "Whosoever will let him come." Only those who will are invited. And we know that it is God who worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Amen.
I will close with a personal, unforgettable experience:
My parents attended Bob Jones University back in the late sixties. It was there that they were brought under the conviction of Calvinistic theology. Some of the teachers had to leave. Many students were shipped (and some probably for good reasons) because of Calvinism. To this day, the school has reputation for dismissing Calvinists (I never heard of an Arminian being shipped for his theology.) By the time I made it to BJU, I sat under teachers that were self-professing Calvinists and attended churches in town that were thoroughly Calvinistic. How has this happened? Because the school has realized that Arminian theology produces nothing that lasts. Many of my parentsí good friends -- some missionaries -- have completely lost their children to the dogs. It is because of their weak, helpless, man-centered, Arminian theology that places man as the master of his own fate, the captain of his own soul.
During a Preacher-Boys class, attended by all the men students of the school in any area of religious study, Dr. Bob Jones Jr. -- who used to do most of the shipping of Calvinistic students -- began to read the story of a Calvinistic revival from my churchís monthly newsletter, The Angelus. He noted how that most revivals have occurred in a background of Calvinistic theology. He then said that as he looked back on his life (about 85 years), it seemed that God had chosen some and let others go. He then said, "You know, the older I get, the more Calvinistic I become." I was elated, as I casually looked around on the sea of Arminian students who were aghast. Truly, the blood of the Martyrs is still the seed of the church!
Brother Cloud, I donít believe that it will take you as long as it took Brother Bob Jones to draw as close or closer to Calvinistic theology. Please take these words to heart, and answer, reject or accept them only so far as they are true to Our Lord Jesus Christ. And please never say that you never met a soul-winning, evangelistic, zealous, five-point Calvinist.
The following statement is the reply from Brother Cloud:
"Hello, Bro. Fellows. I donít want to he rude, but I really have no interest in carrying on a discussion about Calvinism, and I have no plans to reply to your e-mails in that regard." That is the same thing that he, no doubt, hears from the Neo-Evangelicals who are recipients of his reasonable arguments.