Christmas: Would Society Be Better Off If It Were Banned?
*Rhode Island's Civil Compact created under God
* US Army orders Chaplains to eliminate reference to God
Be Better Off If It Were
Text: "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...." (Romans 14:6a)
The early church celebrated the birth of Christ in January. In time, it became the desire of the Roman Pope to curry the favor of the heathen. Since December 25th was the day on which many heathen people celebrated their pagan, rituals, the day of Christ’s birth was changed, and the day came to be called "Christ’s Mass".
The post- Reformation period witnessed the banning of "Christ-mas" celebrations. The Puritans in their zeal to discard every semblance of Romanism banned its celebration in New England; and as recently as the late 19th century, Charles Spurgeon opposed its celebration. Had we lived in their times we too would have condemned its celebration as a vestige of Romanism. However, the celebration of Christmas is no longer a Roman Catholic holiday, but is generally observed by all the sons of God, even tough no knowledgeable person believes our blessed Lord was "wrapped in swaddling clothes and (laid) in a manger" on December 25th.
But the celebration of Christmas is not universally observed by true Christians, and some cults such as the followers of Herbert W. Armstrong and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have joined our friends in attempting to discredit the observance of Christ’s birth. This former group makes a lot of noise in an attempt to give them the appearance of orthodoxy.
The editor would like to share his exuberance and profound appreciation for the celebration of Christmas, and to as his dissenting brethren to reconsider, and to re-think their position. Would they indeed be overjoyed of Christmas was abolished? Would society be in a better condition without it?
This writer was never thrilled with the Christmas season until he converted. Since then, he rejoiced with profound gratitude there is a day set aside to remember the incarnation of his God.
The observation of Christ’s Birth
Is Nowhere Commanded
Some protest that we are nowhere commanded to remember the birth of Christ; but where are we forbidden to remember it? Consider the fact that the birth of Christ determines the significance of the death of Christ. If He was not virgin born, and without any connection with the polluted line of Adam, then His death means no more than the death of any man. If such was true, His death could not avail to atone for our sins. The incarnation veiled His Deity: He is "God with us." As Wesley wrote,
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Secularism and Materialism
Others protest the secularism and the materialism of the season, and the rabid greed of Business. Santa Claus has become the god of Business and the god of a Christless society. Like the Lord of Heaven and earth, Santa --
...Knows when you are sleeping.
He knows when you’re awake;
He knows when you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness’ sake.
Santa has never been extolled in my family. And we certainly deplore bowing before the manger of materialism with its resulting debt. But has the reader considered that the Christmas season is the only time of the year when air waves carry music that is ennobling and edifying to the nature of man because of the confession of the Biblical truth!
The Condemnation of Sinners
Think my brother! During the Christmas season each year, people who during the rest of the year deny Christ and hate God sing Handel’s "Messiah", and Bach’s "Christmas Oratorio"; as well as carols that exude Bible truth --and by so doing, they condemn themselves. Think! They confess,
Christ by Highest Heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord--
...Adam’s likeness, now efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Re-instate us in Thy love--
Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King...
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessing known
Far as the curse is found--
Sinners wrong with true repentance
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you, break your chains.
When they sing such Christ-exalting carols, their very mouth condemns them. And, for this my soul is thrilled.
The American Civil Liberties Union
Lastly, consider the fact that the American Civil Liberties Union has not been able to extricate from our society the celebration of Christmas. Reader, are you sure in this day of secularism that you want to remove this testimony from our society—a society that has already forsaken the God of our fathers to worship man? Do you really want to make it more atheistic? Not this man.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM --
In 313 A.D., Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan making Christianity equal before the law with other religions in the Empire. But it was left to Theodosius who reigned 378-395 A.D. to make Christianity the official religion of the Empire, thus Joining in marriage both church and state.
Rome had only recently hunted down Christians and put them to death; now it was no longer a reproach to be a Christian, but was rather fashionable. Church membership became popular. The world had invaded the church; and one lesson that screams time and time again from the pages of history is that whenever the church loses her testimony in the world, she loses her testimony to the world.
The Roman church now gained her desired quantity, but she lost her quality.
For 350 years, Roman history is punctuated with persecutions of Christians. Why now was the marriage performed between church and state? The reason was more political than it was religious. The glory that once was Rome’s had been in decline for at least 2 generations. What Rome lost politically, she sought to regain through religion. Advances by the Church of Rome were no longer made by persecution --now, they would be made by war and by intrigue. The emblem of Rome was no longer the eagle, but now became the sign of the cross.
A STUDY OF THE ATONEMENT –Part Four
"Brother Fellows, I still have some difficulty with limited atonement. Please answer the following remarks from Finney’s Heart of Truth. p. 228.
15. If the atonement was made but for the elect, no man can by any possibility embrace it without such a revelation.
This has already been answered 3 times. Finney is correct when he says Satan cannot believe because there is no atonement made for him. Although he does not want to admit it, the non-elect are in the same condition.
Again, if any sinner is in Hell for whom Christ died, Jesus is a failure. There is no ignoring the fact. Either He is a poor, weak god, or He is the Lord of Heaven and earth. No man will be in Hell who wants to go to Heaven, because the only reason he wants to go there is because he has been made willing by the working of the spirit of God.
16. If the atonement was not made for all men, they cannot heartily and honestly press its acceptance upon any individual ...for they cannot assure any individual there is any atonement for them.
First, There is atonement for all who come. "He that is of God heareth God’s words." Jesus told the religious leaders in His day, "Ye therefore hear them not, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF GOD."
Second, we preach the Gospel to all. Those who respond are the elect only --but whether they respond or not, we are successful, Paul affirmed, because we are not as many who pervert the Gospel.
Third, As for pressing the Gospel upon people, why do you think we sacrifice to publish the Gospel in the newspaper, and have mailed the Angelus many times when we used grocery money? Do you know of a more outspoken preacher or church in our city?
2. Finney’s charge that those who assert limited atonement. "quote those passages that prove that Christ died for the elect and then take it for granted He died for none else" --is false and needs no defense. However, for your sake, let me say first, that when Finney says Jesus tasted death for every man, he never learned that the passage in Hebrews was addressed to believers only. (Heb. 2:98; see vs. 10,11)
Second, As surely as God is in Heaven, Finney’s charge belongs on his own foot.
Third, Matthew tells us, the angel told Joseph the babe was to be named "Jesus" ("Jehovah saves") because HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS." This is the reason for His name.
Fourth, Finney’s argument that the atonement was not the literal payment of a debt is heresy. Why do you think the sacrifice of Christ is said to be our "redemption?" Why do you think Jesus is called our "Redeemer?" And, why is the life He gave called our "Ransom?" --To Be Continued
7,1638 --Rhode Island. The people of Rhode Island enter into a civil compact declaring, "We whose names are underwritten do swear solemnly in the presence of Jehovah, to incorporate our-selves into a body politic, and as He shall help us, will submit our persons, lives, and estates, unto our Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings, and Lord of lords, and to all those most perfect and absolute laws of His, given us in His Holy Word of Truth, to be guided and judged thereby."
28, 1979 --Washington, D.C. The Evening Star, a newspaper here reports the Army has ordered chaplains to eliminate all reference to God and religious philosophy in lectures aimed at instilling moral responsibility in its soldiers. The American Civil Liberties Union has also called upon the United States Air Force and the Navy to adopt similar measures. An Army spokesman says, "Anything that could be construed as teaching religion will be removed."
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