I want to point out that the author of CHRISTIANIZING SECULAR CUSTOMS –A Biblical look at Christmas, Easter, and Halloween makes a ridiculous statement when he says, “The practice of sitting in chairs or pews lined up to face the front was adopted directly from pagan temples in 326 AD.” As if he could cover up his embellishment with a date. Like I said before, couldn’t this practice come from synagogues and temples, aka, schools of Jewish learning? Or even before that! How else would one sit when there is a teaching going on, be it secular or religious or even within families?
As far as the music goes, using it to excuse the “christianizing” of pagan traditions is worse than a non sequitur. If I were trying to convince people that God is pleased with our Christ Masses and Easters I would steer clear of this argument since it would tend to make some discerning Christians rethink their “holy” days’ practices.
I hope what little I’ve pointed out in this article will help the reader to look a bit closer to the arguments that many Christians use when defending X Mass and Easter celebrations. Ask: Is this of man’s wisdom and desires or of God’s? It has to begin on the foundation of God’s Word rightly divided. In this case, the foundation of God’s Word concerning the worship of Him and Christian liberty has to be predicated on what God has already said about the manner of worship acceptable to Him and what the apostles knew of Israel’s history of judgement from God for their syncretism with idolatry. There is NO conceivable way they would ever give Christians permission to use pagan rites and traditions knowing the severe punishment on Israel for doing the same. Disobedience never brings glory to God.
One bit of agreement with the author I must point out as a warning to those of us who know why we shouldn’t celebrate Christo-pagan “holy” days:
One of the reasons people are motivated to abstain from pagan-based customs is that participation would seem to show dishonor to God. (my note on the word-play use of “seem”: no, it doesn’t “seem” to show disrespect-it actually does show it!) Parents must make choices for themselves and their children regarding demonstrations of honor for God – abstaining from certain holidays may be one of those choices. However, we must be careful if we are preoccupied with identifying and then avoiding everything in our culture that might possibly hint at what we think is dishonor for God, although not directly mentioned in Scripture… Some find it easy, once they start identifying the pagan or evil roots of cultural customs, to become consumed with trying to show God respect by avoiding every questionable custom. (me again: yes, I’ve seen this and it makes it very hard to get the truth out when some have zeal without knowledge)
For example, if one discovers that each of the days of the week is named after a pagan god, must we then stop using those names? Does God truly feel dishonored because we call Sunday “Sunday” or call Monday “Monday,” etc? Should we begin to chastise our children for using exclamations like “gee whiz”, “golly” or “oh my” even though their motives are innocent? This path is never-ending. Once we start trying to avoid everything with historical roots that probably might dishonor God, the journey becomes consuming. Ask yourself, do you really think God feels dishonored because a new believer tries to clean up his language and exclaims “Oh, my!” instead of uttering something profane?
I have seen many groups prune their ministries of holidays such as Christmas and Easter, as well as, each of the items on the foregoing list, including saying “gee wiz” and “golly.” When they started meeting in homes, got completely rid of these things, and the dust settled, they were no godlier than when they started. In fact, most of the groups were more self-righteous and judgmental. (again, me: I’m not sure that I buy what he is saying here about home church members but it is a good warning to everyone who has obeyed God’s Word concerning not worshiping Him in the same manner as the pagans do for their gods. I do hope this statement by the author is not an attempt at demonizing conscientious Christians)