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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas Controversy and Commentaries

I have been reading around the blogosphere, and it seems that everyone is writing about the deal with Christmas. Most of the commentary that I have read I agree--statements that generally state that Christmas is more than just one day, that there is no biblical precedent to a yearly observance of the birth of Jesus, that Christians are show once again their superficial commitments and ignoring the more important matters, etc. I must confess that I have not spent a whole lot of time thinking about Christmas this year and the whole "war" deal. I have been thinking about my grandfather, family, finals, and pluralism. I am thankful for the commentary others have brought forth which have reoriented me away from hearing the secularist agenda of defending Christmas and the politicizing of a tradition which, if not observed, would not destroy Christianity. But one thing I have not heard very much is the theological significance of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Most of the commentary has been culture-centered or addressing the controversy over whether or not America should be legislating "Merry Christmas." It is my contention that the underlying issue is not so much adherence to a nonbiblical tradition but rather the confession of the Christian which says, "I believe in Jesus Christ, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary . . .". Church history shows that the nature of Jesus Christ being both fully God fully man have been center stage for orthodoxy versus heresy (Arianism, Doceticism, Apollinarianism, Modalism, etc.). The battle for orthodoxy rages on today with the attempt of religious pluralism to do away with the literal understanding of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. What is worse than saying "Happy Holidays" is the underhanded tactics of pluralists to reconstruct the doctrine of the Incarnation as a myth which has only metaphorical meaning. I think that we may find ourselves engaged in peripheral issues which are only substantive because of they are consequential or emanating from the heart of the matter - that is, our world wants to do away with Jesus Christ of Nazareth as a historical figure and the Christian belief that he is literally God Incarnate. I am not saying that the commentary dealing with peripheral issues is not beneficial, for the staging ground of much debate and dialogue in our culture is found here. However, the undercurrent behind these waves of controversy is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ as a belief that is historically grounded and literally true. In the next couple of weeks, I hope to continue doing some research and provide some quotes from scholars and authors who are the real Grinchs'. They don't care whether or not you call your tree a "Christmas tree." What they want is to systematically present a new kind of Christianity without Christ, without the Incarnation, without Biblical authority, and have you to buy into it. Statistics shows that the majority of Americans already have (although 3/4 of Americans call themselves Christian). Maybe the real battle is not political or cultural but spiritual. Let us be "destroying arguments and every lofty opinion which raised against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ . . ." (2 Corinthians 10:5).


Blogger wannabe muser said...

I agree with what you bring out in this post; I've wondered the same thing but have not expressed my thoughts. I find it similar to all of the hoorah raised about posting the 10 Commandments in public arenas (schools, court houses, etc.). I believe Christians are missing the mark when their focus is raising cain about "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" and about the 10 Commandments rather than being concerned over the state of the church in America. I firmly believe Christians should have an impact in culture and politics, but not to the detriment of the Gospel and its proclomation to the church and to the world.

The Lord be with you in your research.

12/08/2005 01:38:00 PM

Blogger Spider in a Mason Jar said...

It may be worth looking at these strange neo- Gnostics that seem to springing up. "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown seems to be one of the latest popular books that support their views. You'd be horrified to see what this book says about Jesus. The book's predecessor, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh seems to speak more directly of the views merely hinted at in the fictional 'Code. But people eat this stuff up. It's a good call to be prepared to blow these weak "historical" arguments out of the water, especially given the fact that the movie is coming out very, very soon (starring Tom Hanks) and will only catch more people's eyes. Overall the books seem to compromise Christianity into a more New- Age, pantheistic (pluralist) worldview.

As for Christmas, I will continue to defend it-- as I do believe that it is worthwhile. It capitalizes on the truth that Jesus is the Son of God who was concieved by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. And hey, that's about as orthodox as ya get. It's no wonder that people want to theologically neuter this day. It's about the arrival of our Savior, as promised to the people of Israel by God for thousands of years. Anything, no matter how big or small (even the large painted sign on the side of Dixie Highway that for decades has proclaimed simply, "Jesus is Lord") that directs people's attention to Christ is not worth being thrown to the dogs. It's not X-mas-- it is CHRISTmas.

1John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

God Bless,

12/09/2005 11:01:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how I would feel about that last comment. Although we have stolen the event and placed our god's name in the title, how does that make the day "christian"? I though that a christian was one who was a follower of Christ, one who had commited to the path (the yoke) of his teachings and lived them. Living a missional life is perhaps the biggest fault of the evangelical church. Defending a pagan holiday in the name of the messiah, that doesn't seem super consistent to me.

12/09/2005 06:14:00 PM


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