Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Authority of Christmas

It's been exactly one year that I've been writing this blog. I started it last Christmas because of a local preacher that was teaching error about the meaning of Christmas and the church's role. His blog allowed comment, and I sent scripture to counter what he said and he deleted the post. As a moderator for my own posts, I understand when I must occasionally delete a comment because it may be silly, irrelevant or obscene. But when someone uses scripture to explain their view point, I would never delete it in an attempt to avoid discussion or controversy.

My family and I celebrate Christmas every year as a family tradition to spend time together, exchange gifts, have a special meal and enjoy one another. We do not celebrate it as having any religious significance. The birth of Christ is a very special event as outlined in the Gospel. However, as in our discussions, we never find that we are to celebrate his birth in any special way. Christmas has its roots in the Catholic church that competed with a pagan holiday or winter festival. The Catholics decided, on their own, to worship Christ in a way not mentioned in the New Testament.

We find that Christ does mention how we are to worship him. It must be in spirit and in truth, firstly.

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

We find that he instituted a memorial to remember Him...not a manmade ritual that is materialistic in nature but rather a spiritual one that is accomplished every week. We are to commemorate His death and resurrection and, in turn, reaffirm our faith in God.

Matt 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

This is accomplished weekly as outlined in Acts 20:7 rather than once a year. The emphasis with God's memorial versus man's memorial is one of realizing that Jesus was here to fulfill God's eternal plan in being sacrifice for the remission of our sins rather than emphasizing the earthy birth that brought him here.

Many see no problem with celebrating His birth in worship and pagan rituals, but it all boils down to what I've been writing about for the last 12 months...authority of the scriptures. Can you find a command or an example or necessary inference that we should worship Christ in a special way that remembers His birth? ...or rather do we have authority to worship God by remembering His love for us by giving His only begotten son?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Silence of the Scriptures

This week in our authority class we discussed the subject of the scriptures and its silence. Many topics and details are not discussed in the source of God's authority, the inspired writings of the New Testament. During the Restoration Movement, there were two major divisions in how groups approached this subject. Firstly, there were those that believed that the silence in the Bible gave freedom to do as they pleased (unless strictly forbidden...Martin Luther). The other group felt that the silence gave them no freedom to act on their own (Ulrich Zwingle).

Let's look at a few passages:

1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Cor 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

When God has been silent on a subject, he intentionally did not reveal His desires because he didn't need to do so. He expects us to obey and follow His revealed commands. To do otherwise would be to assume what God wants, and we know man's wisdom is really merely foolishness.

1 Cor 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God....

There are many things that I see denominations participating in such as burning incense, sprinkling and pouring for baptism, mechanical music in worship to God, missionary societies, church sponsored hospitals and orphan homes, etc. The list is endless in all the devices that mankind comes up with in an effort to worship God in a way that He has not authorized. Next week I will reflect on the one year anniversary of this blog and the impetus of why I started it.