Monday, December 1, 2014

It's Christmas time and that can only mean one thing: the Hebrew Roots folks are busy telling Christians they are sinning if they celebrate Christmas

Posted by Christine Pack

The Hebrew Roots folks are out in force again this Christmas season, attempting to convince Christians that they are sinning against God by celebrating Christmas.* Sorry, but I'm going to have to whip out my can of Luke on them for that. After all, if the gospel accounts record Jesus' birth being proclaimed, angels singing his praises, shepherds rushing to see him, and wise men bringing him gifts some time later, why should we not, as Christians, also have the freedom to:
......proclaim his birth (using Christmas as a springboard to talk about how God has sent a Savior who died for sinners); 
......sing his praises; 
.....dwell on the fact that one day we will bodily be in his presence, just as those who rushed to his side that day were in his presence; and gifts with my loved ones as a way of remembering the greatest Gift of all time, our Savior, who was given to us by God out of his great loving-kindness.
* Please note that I respect the right of my Christian brothers and sisters who choose not to celebrate Christmas. And just as I do not look upon them with disdain, neither should they look upon me with disdain [Col 2:16]. Christians can and should thoughtfully and prayerfully wrestle through these issues and come to their own convictions.....but that is a separate issue from the Hebrew Roots thing. What I am specifically addressing here is Christians who have felt burdened under the wrong (but widely disseminated) teachings that Christmas is a paganized celebration. These teachings almost always find their root in errors taught by historian Alexander Hislop in his book "The Two Babylons," errors which have been picked up and widely repeated over the years since the book was first published in 1858. Christian writer Ralph Woodrow has written that he once believed these views taught by Hislop to be true, to the point of publishing his own book in the same vein as Hislop's entitled "Babylon Mystery Religion," However, after continuing to research, Woodrow came to understand where Hislop went wrong, and to his credit, Woodrow has since withdrawn that book (a bestseller for him), and has made a public statement explaining the errors of Hislop's original book. BUT, having said all that, I would never urge another believer to go against his or her own conscience, for as the well-known Reformer Martin Luther once said, "To go against conscience is neither right nor safe."

"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!' When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.' And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them." (Luke 2:8-20) 
"And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11)
For a brief overview of the Hebrew Roots Movement and the theological problems associated with it, go here - Addressing the Hebrew Roots/Sacred Name Movement. Additional resources can be found below.

 Additional Resources 

A Biblical discussion of the errors of the Hebrew Roots Movement (Echo Zoe)

The Attack on Christmas (Answers in Genesis)

To Christmas or Not To Christmas.....That Is the Question (Sola Sisters)

God Came Near (Sola Sisters)

The Glory of Jesus (Sola Sisters)

 4 Part Series by Dr. Richard P. Bucher 

Christmas Is Not Pagan, Part 1 , Overview

Christmas Is Not Pagan, Part 2, Answering the Argument: "Christmas is obviously pagan because there is neither Biblical command nor precedent for celebrating Christ's birth."

Christmas Is Not Pagan, Part 3, Answering the Argument: "The first Christians never observed the celebration of Christ's birth until emperor Constantine in 313 AD officially tolerated Christians."

Christmas Is Not Pagan, Part 4, Answering the Argument:  "The date of Christmas (December 25), and its many customs all come from pagan sources. Therefore Christmas is pagan."

 Resources Specifically Refuting the Errors of Alexander Hislop 

Myths From Hislop: A Call To Examine Facts (Marcia Montenegro, CANA)

Exposé of Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons (UK Apologetics)