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The Xmas Thread: Discussions on secular/pagan practices

Loutzenhiser's picture

This thread is for the discussion of secular/pagan Xmas problems and thoughts. I used Xmas to differentiate this thread form the Christmas thread. To discuss the birth of Jesus please use the Christmas Thread.

JeffLogan's picture

A reply to: Xtree is itself neutral

A reply to: Xtree is itself neutral
Submitted by DanFugett on Wed, 2010-02-17 07:38.

Dan, I would agree that the tree itself can be neutral but that as soon as we christen it a Christ's-Mass Tree then we have sanctified it to a very specific and holy purpose which can no longer be neutral. Things are indeed neutral but nothing we do is neutral. Our acts and words are either for Christ or against Christ. Either they glorify God or they deny Him.

Christ seemed to preach no neutrality

    He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
    Matt 12:30 (KJV)

and Paul seemed to preach that everything we do is either a testimony for God or a denial of Him. Again, no neutrality.

    Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
    1 Cor 10:31 (KJV)

Dan said, "We are not worshipping the Christmas tree any more than we are the computer though we may sit in front of it for hours."

Please don't be offended that I challenge almost your every statement. We learn by listening to the perspective of others. And the gifts of God are to edify His body. One gift is the gift of discernment. It is, therefore, good to encourage each other to seek after the good things in life and to avoid those that have the appearance of evil or that may be harmful in their after effects.

One could say that following a set of rules is legalism. But on the other hand one could say that liberty can become license if that liberty is not from God. So please understand that while I am not making rules for you to follow as a prescription for salvation, I am encouraging you to test the spirit to see if is of God.

With that said, let me say that the computer can become an object of worship as easily as the next thing. In fact, I think that anything which controls us becomes our master and instead of us using it it uses us. That is the case with addictions. As Paul writes, "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." 1 Cor 6:12 (KJV) Paul understood that to be a Christian one must have the mastery over the flesh. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor 9:27 (KJV) I guess the problem is that if we do not have the mastery over our flesh constraining the desire to do as we please when we please then we really do not have the fruit of temperance (self-control). So I think we need to ask ourselves whether we are using the computer for a good purpose to glorify God or it is controlling us in a "gotta-have-it-or-I'll-die" scenario. Does that make any sense to you or does it simply sound like legalism again? Remember, I am not prescribing a method of salvation but rather am encouraging you to grab hold of God's grace in a real and tangible way. "For the love of Christ constraineth us..." or, we find God's love for us an almost irresistible power to restrain us from evil and it is indeed that which motivates us to deny ourselves so that we may enjoy His love more fully without the distractions of unprofitable things.

Dan said, "We are to obey God but the neutral presence/absence of a tree does not increase or diminsh that obedience. Like the meat sacrficed to idols, it is only pagan if it is pagan in your heart."

True, we are to obey God. But while the meat of itself is neutral we find that Paul is definitely addressing the fact that the usage of the meat is indeed not neutral. "For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?" 1 Cor 8:10-11 (KJV) Likewise, those who have a knowledge of the origin of cutting down trees for idol worship may be offended (that is, may perish in their guilt being emboldened by our example to do that which they believe is sin). And, again, "He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." Romans 14:6 (KJV) So while meat in itself is neutral ("But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse." 1 Cor 8:8 (KJV)) our actions involving meat can either glorify God or offend our brother so that he perishes with a guilty conscience--having knowledge of idols. And besides, this comparison is between a Christmas tree which is not in any way needful for our nourishment and meats which are essential for physical life and strength. And in that respect your comparison is a weak argument in your favor. Can you demonstrate the necessity for the Christmas tree that would warrant such a zealous defense of it in the face of opposition from a brother who, though not being offended, is concerned with the offense to others? Paul would not have them stop eating but rather to respect each other and become united in brotherly love. But I fear that Paul would rebuke you for defending a tree and using his argument to defend your viewpoint on the matter.

And is a tree truly neutral? I mean, as it stands in the forest it gives testimony both to the existence of a Creator and the love of that Creator for man. A very powerful witness for God "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:19-20 (KJV) Or, the tree can be used for evil. "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised." Romans 1:22-25 (NIV)

Now you may disagree with my assessment above but we do have the witness of the effects of their actions in our world and especially in our day. "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." (ibid) And this because we have lost sight of God as our Creator and therefore we have denied our purpose for being, our predestined purpose to good works.

"Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." (ibid)

Now this is not the rant of a homophobic. I am simply pointing out the dangers of drifting into complacency with regard to things God has not established for our good but men have established as a type of substitute, a shadow if you please, of true worship and devotion to God.

That is my viewpoint.

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"Where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them." Voilà! Church!
(Matt 18:20 (KJV))

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV