Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Jesus: He's Kind of a Big Deal

Much like xHWA, writing at this time of year has become a tradition of mine. It's taken me so long, in part, because I was having a hard time deciding what to write. After all, the time we have available for blogging is getting to be so infrequent that it's hard to know whether anyone is reading As Bereans Did anymore.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I can make a decent guess about some of our web traffic. We noticed that, ahead of this Christmas season, COGWA has added an article explaining that the American and Canadian Thanksgiving holidays are acceptable to the Lord, possibly in response to our tongue-in-cheek efforts to connect them to paganism. Apparently COGWA has decided that, though many modern customs associated with Thanksgiving "may not be pleasing to God, they are not rooted in paganism" and don't subvert the truth presented in the holy days.

Additionally, COGWA notes that Purim and Hanukkah are not commanded festivals, but that they are mentioned in the Bible. Presumably, they are acceptable because they commemorate important events, even miracles, in Hebrew national history.

Hmmmm. I'm debating whether it's even worth my time to dignify that assertion by stating the obvious about the birth of our Savior, whenever it actually happened...

Nope. It's not. Moving on...

We also noticed that UCG added a few paragraphs to its annual reheated article about when Jesus was born dismissing the traditional ancient Jewish belief that many prophets were either conceived or born on the same day of the year that they died. Rather than addressing or discrediting our sources, or considering whether this may have been a factor when the original date was set, they brush it off by saying that it "shows how far people are willing to go to justify the Christmas date."

In addition to the false claims about the Saturnalia, we noticed that UCG is still perpetuating the myth that colonial America banned Christmas because of its pagan origins. COG organizations tend to romanticize these "brighter moments" in history, completely ignoring the fact that the early Puritans rejected Christmas because it was viewed as Catholic, not because they believed it was pagan. And, much like the Waldensians, the Puritans neither kept the Levitical holy days; nor did most worship on Saturday.

Many of the COGS desperately try hitch their wagons to the Puritans, and especially the handful of Baptist Sabbatarian sects of New England. This link is absolutely not true - the COGs stumbled into their brand of Sabbatarianism, prophecy and rejection of mainstream Christian holidays through William Miller, the Great Disappointment, Ellen G. White and others in the Seventh Day Adventist movement, which spawned the Church of God-Seventh Day, which spawned the Worldwide Church of God. If the COGs truly wanted to get back to their Puritan "roots," they would also distance themselves from the evils of dice, card playing and wearing colorful clothing; then also place strict limitations on the consumption of alcohol. I won't be holding my breath.

As xHWA explained, those who perpetuate these myths in the COGs seem not to be interested in exploring the truth. We've given logical, reasoned alternatives to their narrative. Heck, we've even given them our sources. They're pretty obviously reading what we have to say. Rather than doing any serious research, they dismiss it with a sentence or two, then copy and paste the same arguments they've been making every December since the 1940s.

Honestly, in a way, I can understand. We at ABD absolutely understand what it means to consider that what you've been taught might not be the whole truth. It can cost you your family, your friends, your social support system and your identity. And though these were hard enough, it didn't also cost us our livelihood or our retirement. The COG leadership is fully invested in this narrative, in every sense of the word. If what they teach about the paganism in mainstream Christianity is a lie, then they have no reason to exist.  

Since they're not listening, I'd like to talk to you.

I'm not interested in convincing you to celebrate Christmas. Sure, it would be nice not to be sighed over and whispered about behind our backs. It would be nice to share this meaningful time with family. But I'm sure they feel that way about the Feast, too, so I'm not going to throw stones. And I'd have to be pretty foolish to try to tell you that you don't need to celebrate the holy days of the Sinai Covenant - but do need to celebrate Christmas - to be right with God.  

In fact, that's exactly what I want you to understand - there's nothing you can do to make yourself right with God. Keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread doesn't make or keep you right with God. Celebrating Easter doesn't make or keep you right with God. Keeping a seventh-day Sabbath doesn't make or keep you right with God. Going to church every Sunday doesn't make or keep you right with God. There is no obedience checklist that secures your salvation.  Yes, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that obedience to the teachings of the New Covenant, its Testator and His apostles are part of Christianity. We were bought with a price, we obey our Lord as best we can, following Him and growing more like Him. But our obedience is the result of our faith and the Holy Spirit in our lives; it is not the cause.

There is only one thing that secures your salvation: God's promise to forgive your sins and gift you with eternal life. That promise comes by grace when you place your faith in that covenantal promise, sealed in the blood of His Son Jesus. It was Jesus that made it possible. He is wasn't a step in the holy day plan - He WAS the plan, from the foundation of the world. The holy days, the sabbath, the Sinai Covenant, the law and the prophets were all shadows of the Light of the world, the only Way. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17-20, if Christ is not raised, our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. And that is why Jesus is, in layman's terms, a Big Deal.

We will all stand before God one day, giving account for the way we lived our lives, for every idle word that we spoke. The Bible tells us that faith in Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, the path to God. It tells us that if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us. In that day, you will not be able to point your finger at your minister for relegating Him to a minimal role in your religious system. You will stand on your own.

It was a Big Deal when Jesus Christ was born, because that birth set our freedom in motion. Jesus Christ's teachings and ministry were a Big Deal, because He preached the forgiveness of sins and our new birth. Jesus' death was a Big Deal, because our lives can be saved through the blood He shed. And His resurrection was a Big Deal, because it meant that He was Who He said He was, and that we could have faith in His promises of forgiveness, being born again and receiving eternal life. Your ministers might not make a big deal of those things, but your Bible does.

There's no law that said you had to read the biblical accounts of Christ's birth yesterday or today, just like there's no law that says you must read accounts of His resurrection on the anniversary of its occurrence. But read them - without criticizing the arrival of the wise men or the timeline of when Jesus rose from the dead. Recognize these accounts for the miracles that they were, regardless of when they took place, and what they mean for your life. They were given to you by a God who loves you in order to instruct you, to encourage you, and to give you hope - not coincidentally, the same God who established Jesus as the the plan, the way, the solution for your sin and mine from the foundation of the world.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be pre-eminent.

For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him... (Colossians 1:15-22)

Now THAT's kind of a big deal.

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11

Sunday, December 23, 2018

3 Reasons Why I Stopped Keeping Christmas Part 2

Hi there honored guests! It’s the Christmas Season now and I seem to have made writing a blog post about Christmas to be a tradition and after so many years of doing this I just can’t seem to go without it.

I feel today’s post is worth writing because it illustrates so well what we have been saying for so many years – people refuse to research. Is it that they don’t know how? I don’t think so. I’ve been at this long enough to say that people are plenty capable of research they just refuse to. If someone genuinely doesn't know how to research then they shouldn't be writing articles for a church, or maybe at all. And so, here we are to test and to try, to prove through the fire if I may, the things that they have said. At the end, will they have gold and precious jewels or stubble and ash?

You might be curious where Part 1 of this post has gotten off to. I enjoy irony and clever little turns, and making this post into Part 2 is all this is. You will find Part 1 on the Church of God - A Worldwide Association (COGWA) Life Hope & Truth website under the title “3 Reasons Why I Stopped Keeping Christmas” by one Mr. Eddie Johnson (2016). My post for you today is a rebuttal. If only Mr. Johnson had known in 2016 what we are going to review now, perhaps he would have changed his outlook.

So Mr. Johnson starts by telling us how he was once an observer of Christmas and had since converted. Why would anyone make such a switch? He tells us in his 3 points. In a nutshell his three points are: 1. We don’t know when Jesus was born, 2.Christmas was celebrated in pagan Rome, and 3. Jesus warned about human traditions.
Standard fare in Armstrongism. Nothing new. Nothing exciting. He could have taken those from any Plain Truth magazine from the 1950’s. Here is where I begin to wonder if these are his three extra most bestest points, or just three points chosen at random. Keep in mind that he is explaining why he stopped observing Christmas. I would really think that a person would give their best for this. Also, keep in mind that I write this is 2018 and Mr. Johnson wrote his article in 2016, so what I read online is a re-post. COGWA thought so highly of this article that it warranted a re-post. If roles were switched, I would think my three points to be really something if I were going to re-post it. Yet I can't help but find these points to be so standard and vanilla. No offense meant. That's just my opinion.

Enough chit chat. Let’s get this ball rolling.

We Don’t Know When Jesus Was Born

I will start off with this – Mr. Johnson is correct in this statement. By now it is extremely close to exactly 1,900 years of trying, yet no one has been able to prove when Jesus was born. We in fact do not know exactly when Jesus was born.

This is becoming the primary argument from the anti-Christmas group these days. Yet, I find it so insignificant a point. I wouldn’t even consider this one worth mentioning. If it stood by itself, I wouldn’t waste my time with it. Think about it. The incarnation of God is arguably the second most amazing miracle in the history of creation. Nothing, not even the creation of the universe and mankind, can compare to it – except for the death and resurrection, which is the single most important and glorious thing to ever occur in the physical universe. Ponder it. From time immemorial, God planned and waited for the "fullness of time" to make a move so unexpected it catches even the most wise beings that exist off guard. Infinite God laid down His glory and took on the flesh of a lowly human baby. How does that even work? Why should that even be? Born in a barn and laid where the sheep eat so that He could die for us. This is ALMIGHTY GOD we’re talking about here. My mind can’t even grasp it all. Yet there the COGWA is, ignoring it and telling us to ignore it simply because we don’t know on what day it occurred. Seriously? Could there be an argument more weak and beggarly than this? So devoid of substance. So vacuous. So desperate. It takes the least important thing (the date) and makes it the most important thing (don't honor because of the date). There could be no death and resurrection without the birth. The birth is secondary, no doubt, but nevertheless mandatory. So they tell us it’s a sin to honor it because we don’t know the date? "If God wanted you to honor it, He would have told you when it was," they say. Heavenly hosts honored it! But the date is not important to the glory of what happened. We say if God didn't want us to honor it, He wouldn't have told us so very much about it. He spent a great deal of time and prophecy and ink and genetics and foreshadowing to coordinate something that COGWA wants us to ignore. God really worked on this. He lined up the stars just so the Magi would head to Bethlehem for crying out loud. One gets the sense that God purposefully arranged it so the Magi would have a traditional knowledge of stellar signs in order that they would some day make this journey. That had to be hundreds of years in preparation. You think that's nothing just because we don't know on what exact day these things happened? I couldn't disagree more. So I might honor it on the wrong day (or I might honor it on the right day - as you can't prove it's the wrong one any more than I can prove it's the right one). You know what? I'll take my chances.

About this dating point, I remind you dear reader that the COGWA and other splinter groups in Armstrongism can’t agree on the date of Passover. In the years when Passover happens on a Saturday, they have competing ways to handle it. Two splinters will observe their Passover on different days. If they can’t agree on the date of Passover then they can’t agree on the date of Pentecost. They don’t know when to keep Passover and Pentecost yet they do it. They don’t know when Passover and Pentecost are, but they never once say “we shouldn’t be keeping these things simply because we don’t really know the right date.” No, they pick a date and go with that. Oh, but that very same thing is argued against where honoring the birth of Christ is involved.

Mr. Johnson goes beyond just the simplicity of not knowing the date and provides us with a quote from Philip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, where Schaff argues that winter is eliminated as an option due to the sheep in the fields.

I will give Mr. Johnson credit here where it is due - he quoted a source. He picked a scholarly resource and that is to be commended. I won’t begrudge him this. He could have also quoted Adam Clarke who pretty much says the same thing. However, I don’t call this “research” since anyone with an ounce of determination will have dug down and not given up so easily until the truth, God’s truth, was tightly in hand. Just picking a resource that agrees with you and going with that is not research. It just isn’t. Research involves looking at sources that disagree with your position and carefully weighing why one side has a better argument than the other. You shouldn’t just pretend the other side doesn’t exist and ignore it. I’m not ignoring the other side here. In this day and time, it has been demonstrated so frequently that there absolutely could have been and likely were shepherds in the fields in winter, and especially in the area of Bethlehem, that to claim winter is eliminated is wholly premature.

I want to quote from an exceedingly well-written study written by J. Hampton Keathley, III on Bible.org, titled “Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?” In the section “Argument Number 5: Uncertainty of the Date of Christ’s Birth“, Mr. Keathley writes about the shepherds:
“One of the main objections has been that sheep were usually taken into enclosures from November through March and were not out in the fields at night. However, this is not as conclusive as it sounds for the following reasons: (a) It could have been a mild winter. (b) It is not at all certain that sheep were always brought into enclosures during the winter months. (c) It is true that during the winter months sheep were brought in from the wilderness, but remember, Luke tells us the shepherds were near Bethlehem rather than in the wilderness. This indicates, if anything, the nativity was in the winter months. (d) The Mishnah tells us the shepherds around Bethlehem were outside all year and those worthy of the Passover were nearby in the fields at least 30 days before the feast which could be as early as February (one of the coldest, rainiest months of the year). So December is a very reasonable date."
James Kelso, an archaeologist who spent a number of years living in Palestine and who has done extensive research there says this:
“The best season for the shepherds of Bethlehem is the winter when heavy rains bring up a luscious crop of new grass. After the rains the once-barren, brown desert earth is suddenly a field of brilliant green. One year when excavating at New Testament Jericho, I lived in Jerusalem and drove through this area twice every day. At one single point along the road, I could see at times as many as five shepherds with their flocks on one hillside. One shepherd stayed with his flock at the same point for three weeks, so lush was the grass. But as soon as the rains stopped in the spring, the land quickly took on its normal desert look once again.
Since there seem to have been a number of shepherds who came to see the Christ child, December or January would be the most likely months."
-James Kelso, An Archaeologist Looks At The Gospels, p. 23-24
Well, well. This argument isn’t rock-solid after all. It could have been either way. There are solid, valid reasons to believe December 25th is not ruled out because of shepherds in the fields. We have several articles about this and links to other articles besides.

I repeat - winter is not ruled out because of shepherds in the fields. These resources existed in 2016. We had them. But you won’t hear that from COGWA. It’s not part of the narrative.

Now what do we have? Three, presumably top notch, reasons why this person upended his life, and here the first one is seriously in doubt.

Is my response to point #1 a slam dunk? No. But I don’t claim that we know for a fact that Jesus was born on December 25th. Other people make that claim, but not me. Not ABD. We claim that December 25th is possible, and sometimes we even sound as if it is likely, but we never say that it absolutely is correct. We agree with Mr. Johnson that no human knows the right day. What I do have as a slam dunk is that December is not eliminated as a possibility. Mr. Johnson's primary support is that December is eliminated, yet we know for a fact that it is not. Implied in his first point is that since we don't know the day therefore we shouldn't honor Jesus' birth. In response we have given you a reason why we should honor the incarnation regardless of whether or not it’s the right day.

Point number one as given by COGWA is simply not able to hold water. How about point number two?

It Was Celebrated In Pagan Rome

Here is where Mr. Johnson takes the train right off the bridge.

He says, “Dec. 25 was part of Saturnalia celebrations held in pre-Christian Rome.” Why is that taking the train off the track? Because it’s literally, factually, genuinely false. Saturnalia was never on December 25th at any point.

I invite Mr. Johnson and everyone else besides to read our post The Plain truth About December 25 where we prove this. I don’t say “prove” lightly. We prove it!

Anciently, Saturnalia was on December 17th. When Julius Caesar revamped the calendar he added two days to the end of December, this puts Saturnalia on December 19th. We can demonstrate these dates from the Philocalian Calendar. Now that Saturnalia was moved some people kept it on the original date and some on the new. It unofficially grew to 7 days but Augustus Caesar declared it to be a three day festival so that it wouldn't interrupt the courts. Later, Caligula set it to five days. Some time after this the fifth day was abolished, but it was restored again by Emperor Claudius because he knew the Romans were superstitious (see Claudius Dio's Rome, Volume 4).
What can we see from this? At its longest point, and only very briefly, Saturnalia was from the 17th to the 23rd of December. Saturnalia was never on December 24th or 25th. Not once. Most ancient Romans in the Christian era would have known the actual date of the Saturnalia as the 17th, but their celebration would have been from the 17th to the 21st.

Bear in mind here, when I show you that Saturnalia was a multiple-day festival, that only means the celebration lasted on for a while - it does not mean Saturnalia was on all of those days. Saturnalia was on the 17th originally and the 19th after Julius Caesar reformed the calendar. The official date was the 17th. How do we know this? We check calendars. They say when Saturnalia was. The Catholics have 12 days of Christmas, yet Christmas is only on the 25th of December. Protestants celebrate Christmas practically for an entire month, yet Christmas is only on the 25th of December. I say again, Saturnalia was on the 17th. Period. Saturnalia was never on December 24th or 25th.

Where does Mr. Johnson get his claim then? Where does he get his blatantly false claim? Once again he cites a source. He links us to an article titled “The History of Christmas” by Lawrence Kelemen (written at some point around 2004) on Judaism Online (aka SimpleToRemember). I can appreciate a person who honestly cites a source, even if I don’t agree with that source’s material. At the very least I can see how they came to their conclusions.

I know Mr. Johnson actually read that article. How do I know? Because point #2 is basically him quoting that article. He found an article that said what he liked, he assumed they did the homework, and he just lets them talk for him. Unfortunately this is a prime example of why simply picking a source that agrees with what you already want to find is neither wise nor "doing research." Mr. Johnson quoted a source, a tertiary source, who got it completely wrong. The SimpleToRemember article cites sources for some of their other claims, but not for this particular selection. I am only interested in this particular section because this is what Mr. Johnson stands on, so I’ll leave the rest of their article alone. But it's not hard to see why there was no source cited …because there wasn’t a good source to cite. Because it’s wrong!

Allow me to point out one more thing here. Mr. Johnson’s claim is that Christmas was celebrated in pagan Rome, but all he gave us is a factually erroneous message about Saturnalia. He hasn’t proven his point in any way. Not even slightly. He played switcheroo on us is all. Saturnalia is not Christmas any more than Saturnalia is COGWA's Family Fun Weekend. We here at ABD have investigated, deeply investigated, for years now whether or not Christmas is pagan. Read our articles, we beg you!

As a side note, Judaism Online mentions that an unwilling human victim was regularly sacrificed as part of Saturnalia festivities. This is ridiculous on its face since human sacrifice was illegal in Rome. I have never read anything from a trustworthy source that proves this. What they are relaying to you are hypotheticals from the most ancient Roman times, not from the period of the Roman Republic or the Empire. In the period of the Roman kings, several cultures in the region did practice human sacrifice, but it was never very popular in Rome, and no document I have ever seen specifically associated with Saturnalia. To paint Saturnalia as a time of ritual human sacrifice is disingenuous.

So now two legs of this chair are not sturdy. On to the last.

Jesus Warned About Human Traditions

Yes, He did! Didn’t He??

Mr. Johnson quotes Matthew here for support. Let’s do that too:

(MAT. 15: 6b-9) 6[b] Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

See? He did say it!
Or did He?

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, what is one of the most important lessons we’ve learned here at ABD? It is: context, context, context! Never proof text.

To whom was Jesus speaking? To all Jews? No, to the Pharisees specifically. About what was Jesus citing Isaiah? To protest only holiday traditions? No. Martha wrote a spectacular article on this point titled Established and Imposed. Was what Jesus doing then? Jesus was speaking about the Pharisees taking the clear commandment to be charitable and to honor your father and mother, and negating it entirely with their own commandments. Jesus is very specific here.

Notice that Mr. Johnson, following many before him, breaks into verse 6 and absconds with 3 ½ verses completely out of their context, then veneers an entirely new meaning onto the verses that simply is not there on its own.

I put "6[b]" in my quote of Matthew on purpose, to emphasize that Mr. Johnson didn’t quote all of verse 6. He left half of it out. Let’s investigate the context here by quoting the previous verses and leaving nothing out.

(MAT. 15: 3-6) 3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

That first half of verse 6 is quite telling. Jesus is very specifically talking about the traditions of the Pharisees that have destroyed charity.

Jesus didn’t pick this fight; the Pharisees did. They came to Him asking Him why He abandoned their traditions. So, He tore into them for abandoning His. This has nothing to do with all human traditions. This has nothing to do with all Pharisaical traditions. This has nothing to do with holidays. It doesn’t even have anything to do with hand washing – which is a tradition. Did Jesus ever say that hand washing was bad? No. Was He angry at hand washing? No. He couldn’t care less about hand washing. He continues on, all the way to verse 20, giving a lesson about how hand washing and food and etc neither here nor there, but what proceeds out of the heart is what matters. He wanted the hand washing to be in its proper perspective. Did He command them to stop washing their hands? No! He just put things into their proper priority.

I want to repeat this for emphasis: WHAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE HEART IS WHAT MATTERS.

As Jesus cuts like a sword to the marrow of the matter, Armstrongism tries to distract the discussion back to a superficial point about holiday traditions that isn't even there in the context. Jesus never mentioned holidays. No one there did. He warned about their uncharitable, selfish, greedy hearts.

So, did Jesus warn us about all traditions as Mr. Johnson claims? No.
Does Mr. Johnson really believe this is about traditions? No. How can I say this so boldly? Because if he did, his article would condemn the COGWA Winter Family Weekend, too. <<<Human tradition!

No, upon closer examination we find that Jesus did not warn us about traditions at all, except to say that we must not let our traditions excuse us from our responsibilities to the the weightier matters of faith and love. Mr. Johnson, as he was taught, tries to get us to think that Jesus is prohibiting "man-made traditions." But that's not what's going on here. Not at all. Jesus warned about what comes out of our hearts, not superficial acts of celebration and decoration. If Christmas really taught us to abandon Jesus, or told us to be uncharitable, then certainly it would apply, because in that case those things from our traditions would be evil. But that is the opposite of Christmas’ lessons. Jesus and charity are primary in the proper and Christian (and I stress Christian as opposed to secular) observance of Christmas. Giving - it’s what Christmas genuinely is all about.

What does COGWA do? They turn this right around and say, no, defilement comes from the outside, from external and superficial things. Should we not be the ones encouraging them to heed Matthew 15?

Time after time after tedious time, what do we see going on? Proof texting! Mr. Johnson as he was taught to do (because this is nothing new) takes a verse completely out of context and uses it to an end for which it was never intended. He didn't get a warning about holidays from Matthew 15, he put it in there himself.

I can hear someone out there saying that God never commanded us to keep Christmas. We do recommend to you that you read Martha’s post “Established and Imposed”. It answers this concern from a Biblical perspective.

So now we have three prime reasons why Mr. Johnson changed his entire life. We have his top three reasons out of no doubt many more that he didn’t mention. The third one is hollow.

Please, most patient and understanding reader, permit me a brief sidebar. God bless you for your kindness!

I can completely understand that in the doctrinal tradition of Armstrongism (COGWA is an Armstrongist church, a splinter from Herbert W Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God) this third point is much bigger than just Matthew 15. Armstrongism is against Christmas. Armstrongism teaches that the New Covenant is practically identical to the Old Covenant, and thus the Old Covenant holy days are the appropriate holidays, and Christmas is not among them, and so Christmas has no place. l recognize and fully concede that this debate over point #3 is much bigger than what either Mr. Johnson or I have discussed in either article. But this is a review of Mr. Johnson’s article, and this is what Mr. Johnson put in his article, so this is all that I am addressing here.  I invite you to read every article we have because they are collectively our responses to the larger debate. I personally feel that we have answered the larger debate and can give a strong argument why it is also off course. So I leave you with this sidebar.

Moving on to my conclusion.


Mr. Johnson’s three points were that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, that December 25th is pagan, and that Jesus warned against Christmas.

He said Jesus couldn’t be born in the winter because sheep wouldn’t have been in the fields. What did we see? Yes, they most certainly could have been in the fields in the winter, most especially near Bethlehem.

He said Saturnalia was on December 25th. What did we see? No it absolutely was not. Not at any time. Saturnalia wasn’t even on the 24th. Sarurnalia was originally on the 17th and later the 19th. And if you read our material you will see much more evidence than just this.

He said Jesus warned against Christmas. What did we see? Jesus wasn’t talking about holidays, or even traditions for traditions’ sake; He was talking about things that violate the law of love. He was talking about what flows out of the heart. Matthew 15 isn’t about holidays. Matthew 15 isn’t a blanket condemnation of man-made traditions. It is not. Mr. Johnson proof texted material, extracted it from its proper context, and implanted into it a new and wholly inappropriate meaning.

Three legs of a chair that are all about to come off. Excuse me if I choose not to sit in it with him.
And this was considered such a good article that COGWA re-posted it. You can't see it, but I am cringing.

Probably the saddest thing about this article is that Mr. Johnson, who I can only assume is a fine person and means well and is doing the best he can with what he believes to be true, changed the entire course of his life upon evidences such as these. I can relate because I did this same thing for these same reasons.
The final twist in my clever title is these three reasons were my three reasons, too. I stopped keeping Christmas for these same things, and others. But then I double-checked my work. This is my part 2! The part 2 of my life.

I would love to let Mr. Johnson know that there is still time to reconsider. We here at ABD did. Ask the tough questions once more. The truth can handle itself. Perhaps this can be his part 2. I pray it can be yours.

Thank you for hearing us out. What say you? Ash and stubble, or gold and gems? Whether you side with us or Mr. Johnson, God's blessings to you! At this time of the year and beyond.

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11