Friday, November 30, 2007

It’s a Wonderful *Lie*

Here’s little pop quiz. Which of the following three Christmas pop culture sayings contains the absolute truth?

Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.

You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

Long time ago, in Bethlehem
So the Holy Bible say
Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas Day

If you answered “none of the above,” then you can skip this article, as I suspect you already know what I’m proposing here. If you answered either #1 or #2, you need more help than I can offer you. However, if you believe, as the majority of American society does, that Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day, read on. I may be able to enlighten you a bit.

Does the Holy Bible really say that Jesus was born on Christmas Day? If you think so, please email me the book, chapter, and verse where this is stated. ( I know for a fact that the date of Christ’s birth is never given in the scriptures. However, there is a way we can know *for sure* when Christ’s birth did *not* occur. In Luke 2 verse 8, we read the following:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
(Luk 2:8)

It is well known that shepherds in Israel brought their flocks in from the fields sometime in October and did not take them back out until March due to the frigid temperatures. Therefore, though we can’t know the date of Christ’s birth, we can say with a certainty that it was not December 25.

So, why December 25? That may be a good topic for another blog entry, but the short answer is that this is the date for the winter solstice. When the Roman church desired to “win converts” among the pagans, they decided that a good tactic was to dress up their existing holidays in Christian garb and allow them to continue. That’s exactly what we see happening with Christmas, Halloween, and Easter.

But to return to the original purpose of this article: Should we continue in promoting a lie as we celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25?

Step back for a moment and imagine yourself as a non-Christian (if indeed you are a Christian). First, you have someone explain to you that their God is a man who was born of a virgin. This is impossible in nature. Next, this same God-Man grows up and is violently murdered. But three days later He rises from the dead. At this point, you are thinking: Surely this is a myth because these things *don’t* happen. Your friend is assuring you that God’s Word is true and it can be trusted. Later that year in December, you see your friend commemorating Christ’s birth. When you ask him where that is found in the Bible, he opens to the book of Luke. However, in searching through Luke, you never find the date given. In fact, the date is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Yet your friend hangs on to his “traditions” regardless of its status as a myth. It could be that your friend even tells his children of a man in a red suit that comes down the chimney bearing gifts. At this point you, as an unbeliever, relegate all your friend’s stories to the category of fairy tales…virgin birth, resurrection, Santa Claus…they all look the same. Your friend has failed to uphold the truth of the Gospel through his vain imaginations.

Dear Christian: Is your Gospel message intermingled with lies? Could it be that God did not give us the date of Christ’s birth for the very same reason we are never given a picture of Him? God has ordained the means with which we are to worship Him. Annual observances of His birth are nowhere commanded. Just as we are not to worship a supposed image of Christ, we are not to commemorate a supposed date of His birth.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You’re Brainwashing Your Kids!

“You’re brainwashing your kids!” Recently that accusation was thrown my way by someone observing the “different” way we are raising our children. Ignoring for now that I don’t own any goats, I praise God that I am “brainwashing” my “children.”

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
(Deu 6:4-9)

Although the person accusing me of brainwashing certainly did not mean it as a compliment, I rejoice that outside observers can readily see that I have taken this verse to heart. When the world looks at us they should immediately be able to see a difference. If they don’t, we should question whether we are really making a difference in the lives of our children.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
(1Pe 2:9-12)

My wife and I are not seeking to raise children. What? We have seven of them, and we aren’t seeking to raise children?! No, my friend, we are seeking to raise godly men and women who will carry this torch of reformation to the next generation. If you try to raise children, that’s what you’ll get…little children in adult bodies. So we opt instead to raise adults. No one has to teach them to be immature. They do just fine learning that on their own. Yet maturity is something that must constantly be taught. So, what’s the risk in raising adults rather than raising children? Well…we might just end up with mature men and women trapped inside the bodies of “teenagers.” Would that be so terrible? Earlier this month I learned of a young man who was mature beyond his years. He died in a car accident at the age of 19. Please read the following tribute to Michael Billings and listen to the sermon he delivered at age 17. Here is the link:

Oh, that my children would have this level of maturity at 19… Hmmm, I bet Michael Billings was “brainwashed” by his father.

Friday, November 16, 2007

XMAS 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 Romish origin, brought over from Paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Saviour’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 Pharoah’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 truly 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” (Exo 3:2).

Some will argue for the “keeping of Christmas” on the ground of “giving the kiddies a good time.” But why do this under cloak of honoring the Saviour’s birth? Why is it necessary to drag in His holy name in connection with what takes place at that season of carnal jollification? Is this taking the little ones with you out of Egypt (Exo 10:9,10) a type of the world, or is it not plainly a mingling with the present-day Egyptians in their “pleasures of sin for a season?” (Heb 11:25) Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6). Scripture does command God’s people to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4), but where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the little ones a “good time?” Do we ever give the children “a good time” when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask the Lord’s blessing?

There are those who do abstain from some of the grosser carnalities of the “festive season,” yet are they nevertheless in cruel bondage to the prevailing custom of “Christmas” namely that of exchanging “gifts.” We say “exchanging” for that is what it really amounts to in many cases. A list is kept, either on paper or in memory, of those from whom gifts were received last year, and that for the purpose of returning the compliment this year. Nor is this all: great care has to be taken that the “gift” made to the friend is worth as much in dollars and cents as the one they expect to receive from him or her. Thus, with many who can ill afford it, a considerable sum has to be set aside each year with which to purchase things simply to send them out in return for others which are likely to be received. Thus a burden has been bound on them which not a few find hard to bear.

But what are we to do? If we fail to send out “gifts” our friends will think hard of us, probably deem us stingy and miserly. The honest course is to go to the trouble of notifying them – by letter if at a distance – that from now on you do not propose to send out any more “Christmas gifts” as such. Give your reasons. State plainly that you have been brought to see that “Christmas merry-making” is entirely a thing of the world, devoid of any Scripture warrant; that it is a Romish institution, and now that you see this, you dare no longer have any fellowship with it (Eph 5:11); that you are the Lord’s “free man” (1 Cor 7:22), and therefore you refuse to be in bondage to a costly custom imposed by the world.

What about sending out “Christmas cards” with a text of Scripture on them? That also is an abomination in the sight of God. Why? Because His Word expressly forbids all unholy mixtures; Deuteronomy 22:10, 11 typified this. What do we mean by an “unholy mixture?” This: the linking together of the pure Word of God with the Romish “Christ-mass.” By all means send cards (preferably at some other time of the year) to your ungodly friends, and Christmas too, with a verse of Scripture, but not with “Christmas” on it. What would you think of a printed program of a vaudeville having Isaiah 53:5 at the foot of it? Why, that it was altogether out of place, highly incongruous. But in the sight of God the circus and the theatre are far less obnoxious than the “Christmas celebration” of Romish and Protestant “churches.” Why? Because the latter are done under the cover of the Holy name of Christ; the former are not.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov 4:18) Where there is a heart that really desires to please the Lord, He graciously grants increasing knowledge of His will. If He is pleased to use these lines in opening the eyes of some of His dear people to recognize what is a growing evil, and to show them that they have been dishonoring Christ by linking the name of the Man of Sorrows (and such He was, when on earth) with a “Merry Christmas,” then join with the writer in a repentant confessing of this sin to God, seeking His grace for complete deliverance from it, and praise Him for the light which He has granted you concerning it.

Beloved fellow-Christian, “The coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (Jas 5:8). Do we really believe this? Believe it not because the Papacy is regaining its lost temporal power, but because God says so – “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). If so, what effects does such believing have on our walk? This may be your last Christmas on earth. During it the Lord may descend from heaven with a shout to gather His own to Himself. Would you liked to be summoned from a “Christmas party” to meet Him in the air? The call for the moment is, “Go ye out to meet Him” (Matt 25:6) out from a Godless Christendom, out from the Christ-deserted “churches,” out from the horrible burlesque of “religion” which now masquerades under His name.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10). How solemn and searching! The Lord Jesus declared that “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt 12:36). If every “idle word” is going to be taken note of, then most assuredly will be every wasted energy, every wasted dollar, every wasted hour! Should we still be on earth when the closing days of this year arrive, let writer and reader earnestly seek grace to live and act with the judgment-seat of Christ before us. His “well done” will be ample compensation for the sneers and taunts which we may now receive from countless souls.

Does any Christian reader imagine for a moment that when he or she shall stand before their holy Lord, that they will regret having lived “too strictly” on earth? Is there the slightest danger of His reproving any of His own because they were “too extreme” in “abstaining from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11)? We may gain the good will and good word of worldly religionists today by our compromisings on “little (?) points,” but shall we receive His smile of approval on that Day? Oh to be more concerned about what He thinks, and less concerned about what perishing mortals think.

“Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exo 23:2). Ah, it is an easy thing to float with the tide of popular opinion; but it takes much grace, diligently sought from God, to swim against it. Yet that is what the heir of heaven is called on to do: to “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom 12:2), to deny self, take up the cross, and follow a rejected Christ. How sorely does both writer and reader need to heed that word of the Saviour, “Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thou crown” (Rev 3:11). Oh that each of us may be able to truthfully say, “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word” (Psalm 119:101)

Our final word is to the pastors. To you the Word of the Lord is, “Be thou an example of believers in word, in deportment, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim 4:12). Is it not true that the most corrupt “churches” you know of, where almost every fundamental of the faith is denied, will have their “Christmas celebrations?” Will you imitate them? Are you consistent to protest against unscriptural methods of “raising money,” and then to sanction unscriptural “Christmas services?” Seek grace to firmly but lovingly set God’s Truth on this subject before your people, and announce that you can have no part in following Pagan, Romish, and Worldly customs. – A.W. Pink

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good Bye Gran Gran

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
(Ecc 7:1)

This morning, I received a call from my father. His message was that we have lost my grandmother. Gran Gran, as she was known by her grandchildren, stopped breathing this morning at 3:15 AM. She was truly a virtuous woman.

Gran Gran taught me to read when I was around three years old. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read, and I remember going to Kindergarten and reading the “note to parents” at the top of my worksheets. She furthered this love for reading by taking me, my brothers, and my sister to the library…regularly. We’d check out the maximum of 25 books each…so that between the four of us we’d tote 100 books back to her house, half of which we’d have already read or previewed before we got home.

Most everyone I know who loses someone they love reassures themselves that their loved one is “in a better place.” Unfortunately, often times this is not true. Indeed the scripture says that “wide is the gate that leads unto destruction, but narrow is the gate that leads to life, and few there be that find it.” I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gran Gran is one of those few who entered that narrow gate. She was a woman of prayer. She told us often of the power of prayer and let us know that she prayed regularly for all of us. She trusted in her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Gran Gran and Pepaw gave me my first “real” Bible with my name on it. I carried that Bible into the government school system and became a thorn in the flesh to the bureaucrats employed there.

Gran Gran left us a heritage of knowing God and living out what we say we believe. Her favorite book of the Bible was Proverbs. Chapter 31 describes her well.
Gran Gran, I miss you already. But we have a hope unlike that of the world. I will see you again at the feet of Jesus.