Review: What happened at the cross?

We never hear such thing as people having an “idea that God killed Jesus”, but with trinitarians such ideas are possible, the same as they think God gave Himself on the cross for the sins of the people.

Naturally when a church creates all sorts of false teachings, starting with making Jesus in their god, they continually have to create new false teachings, like Jesus having a mother than God would have to have a mother a.o..

It is curious to see how different protestant groups handle with the atonement and do not see that Jesus did not do his own will (what he would have done if he is God) but did the will of God, and as such gave himself as a ransom for all.

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To remember

Jesus is the most fully realized revelation of God that we’ve got, and what we can see of God in the life of Jesus is the perfect example of self-limitation and humility. (p238)

  • many Christians naively believe that the Payment Model (or penal substitution theory) = commonest view in Western world =  only one => ‘atonement wars’
  • Tony Jones, associated with the ‘emergent’ stream of Christianity, his book sets out all the major (plus a few minor) theories of the atonement and tries to reach a balanced assessment of each one.
  • God’s with us, expressed in the cross, => ours with him. = what the atonement is really all about.
  • Trinitarians must believe God is by nature self-limiting, choosing to use his sovereign freedom to unite himself to humanity in the person of Jesus, and especially in the sufferings of Calvary.
  • Some believe that the frequent emphasis on a bloodthirsty God, marked by punishment and sending folk to hell, is one reason for the decline of Christianity in some of its historic bastions.
  • rivalries developed, leading to violence. Sacrifice developed as a safety-valve: violence was perpetrated on an innocent victim, making everyone feel better, at least for a while. Meanwhile, the person sacrificed was perceived as almost divine, because their death had had such a powerful violence-quenching effect on the society
  • Nowhere does the OT law explicitly condemn child sacrifice (the closest it comes is Lev 18:21), though the practice was common among Israel’s neighbours.
    But Israel did not practise it (Jephthah’s killing of his daughter is a rare exception).
    Animal sacrifice, by contrast, soon became an integral part of Israel’s worship, and it was the blood that made it valid
    (Lev 17:10-16). Two kinds of blood sacrifices were seen as appeasing God: the guilt offering and the sin offering (the kind offered at Yom Kippur). These continued through the desert years, and continued when the Israelites were settled in the land, becoming more elaborate, in spite of the prophets’ condemnation (e.g. Hos 6:6). Their practice continued into the time of Jesus.
  • So God took something that humans were already doing — being violent and shedding blood — and made it sacred. He
    went along with them where they were at, but did not see it as the ideal, and he took human sacrifice out of the picture.
    The sacrificial system controls violence, giving it boundaries.
  • occasional verse talks of God’s anger at particular sins or human behavior that God considers an abomination, > overarching message of scripture is clear = God created us, God loves us, + God wants the best for us. => Bible = rife with stories of God going out of his way to set people on the right path — despite our failures, despite our sins.
  • A lot of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the regnant interpretation of Jesus’ death as primarily the propitiation of a wrathful God. 1. we don’t experience God as uber-wrathful toward us. 2. it simply doesn’t make sense that God would game the whole system so that he has to kill his own son just to vitiate this wrath. It just doesn’t smell right. (p26)
  • Calvin + others upped the ante from Anselm => not just that Jesus made our payment for us, = he pays a penalty on our behalf — a penalty that we cannot pay. In theological jargon, this is how it goes from substitution to penal substitution, the “penal” connoting the penalty. This change happened during the Reformation, and it remains popular today. (p113)

  • supposed to learn about love from God => idea God predestined us to sin = results in our eternal damnation + requires God’s Son to die on the cross, teaches very little about love. (p132)

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Additional reading

  1. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  2. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  3. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  4. Omniscient God opposite a not knowing Jesus
  5. Redemption #2 Biblical solution
  6. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb

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Further related

  1. 15/01/2018: Atonement 10
  2. Facets Of Redemption
  3. Mimesis and atonement
  4. A better way to view the atonement of Christ: Christus Victor
  5. Athanasius as Interpreter of the Trinity: Why the Nicene Creed and Penal Substitution Are Incompatible, Part 2 | New Humanity Institute
  6. Thinking Outloud: Atonement
  7. Triune Atonement in Westminster
  8. How to Understand the Once for All Sacrifice of Jesus Christ
  9. What the crucifiers didn’t understand
  10. Penal Substitutionary Atonement Exemplified In Film
  11. Irenaeus and the Problem of (Greater) New Testament Wrath
  12. Penal Substitutionary Atonement – a myopic narrative.
  13. Review: Tom Wright on the Crucifixion

Dave's Deliberations

This book’s title may mislead you. It is really an examination of the main theories of the atonement; the idea that God killed Jesus on the cross is just one aspect of the Payment Model of the atonement. The book is:

Did God Kill Jesus?: Searching for love in history’s most famous execution by Tony Jones (HarperOne, 2015).   

dgkjlargeThe ‘atonement wars’ are raging right now, in spite of the fact that many Christians naively believe that the Payment Model (or penal substitution theory) that they have been taught—and which remains the commonest view in the Western world—is the only one there is. Jones’s book sets out all the major (plus a few minor) theories of the atonement and tries to reach a balanced assessment of each one.

The major ones he designates the Payment, Victory, Magnet, Divinity and Mirror models. He assesses each against the answers it offers to…

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Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time

For real Christians it is clear that lovers of God should keep their hands of the many pagan feasts, like Christmas and Easter, which entered the Roman Catholic Church and several protestant churches.

Luckily we may come to see some changes in some protestant churches willing to debate the reason why to keep only to God given holy days.

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To remember

Reformed churches historically opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter.

on the continent left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions < compromise with stubborn people for sake of further Reformation, or because civil magistrates forced them to.

Gisbertus Voetius, (delegate to the Synod of Dordt), relates Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches,

In Why are Ecclesiastical Feast Days in our Church Order? Rev. Dr. R. D. Anderson gives

Article 65 – Ecclesiastical feast days
On Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day, and at Pentecost the consistory shall call the congregation together for church services. The sacred events which the congregation commemorates in particular on these days shall therein be proclaimed
Already in 1573 we see the topic coming to the floor of the Particular Synod of North Holland, that year held in Enkhuizen.
Also decided in respect of feast days, that in common no feast days are to be held other than Easter (Sunday) and the day thereafter, Pentecost (Sunday) and the day thereafter, Christmas, and similarly New Year’s day and Ascension day.
The churches in South Holland were somewhat stricter. A year later their Synod gathered in Dordrecht
making the following pronouncement:
Respecting the feast days which are in addition to the Sunday: it has been decided to rest content only with the Sunday. Nevertheless, the normal material relating to the birth of Christ shall be handled on the Sunday before Christmas day together with an admonition to the people not to observe Christmas day. If Christmas day falls on a Sunday, the same material shall be preached on that day. It is also permitted to preach on the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday, the which is left to the freedom of the ministers.
That seems clear enough. Behind the scenes, however, there was a political battle going on between the Roman Catholic forces and the Protestants. The celebration of these extra days came right in the middle of all that. It was the sort of thing that got people fired up. The Reformed churches needed to be careful to steer a righteous course between all manner of Roman Catholic superstitions which had become associated with these days and an over zealous extremism which could easily lead to political riots. We see that reflected in the decision of the Particular Synod of South Holland held in Rotterdam a year later:

As much as concerns feast days: The government shall be petitioned that they allow everyone to open his shop and to work 6 days in accordance with the 4th commandment of our Lord. And if the government desires to ordain any others besides the Sunday, the delegated ministers will petition parliament that they inform them in such a way that they may consider how much and how far one can permit in this matter, so that on the one hand people don’t fall into superstition as warned by Paul in Gal. 4, and on the other hand that people will not be led to fight too fiercely against the aforesaid government because of certain feast days.
Three years later a national synod was finally able to be held in Dordrecht. By this time it was slowly becoming clear that the political will to be rid of these extra feast days was weak.
On the 12th of July 1578 the government made a “declaration of religious freedom” in which the various Roman Catholic feast days were made compulsory for protestants. The synod in its response attempted to minimise the damage by steering the churches away from any special ways of celebrating these feast days, and keeping them as “normal” days.
1578 National Synod of Dort {Acta, Rutgers p.253 (art. 75, cap.4,23)}
It was indeed to be desired that the freedom from God to work 6 days be permitted in the church, and that only the Sunday be celebrated. Nevertheless since certain other feast days are maintained by authority of the government, namely, Christmas day and the day thereafter, likewise the day after Easter and the day after Pentecost and in some places new years day and ascension day; the ministers shall do their best to teach the congregation to transform unproductive and harmful idleness into a holy and profitable exercise by sermons especially dealing with the birth and resurrection of Christ, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and suchlike articles of the faith. The ministers of churches in those cities where yet more feast days are observed by authority of the government shall do likewise.
In the meantime all the churches shall work to make the use of all feast days except Christmas day (since Easter and Pentecost fall on Sunday) as normal as possible, and as soon as is fitting to abolish them.
By 1581 the goals of the churches had been reduced. It did not any longer seem possible to be rid of all the extra feast days.

 

Sadly, today, not only are many Reformed churches going back to observing Christmas and Easter, some are even beginning to observe Lent, Good FridayAdvent, etc. as well.

Exploring biblical worship from a Protestant Perspective “The Worship Blog” looks at

How little concern for the idea that what is done in the name of worship in so many churches has no warrant from the mouth of God! {About The Worship Blog}

Meg writes

The Scottish Presbyterians managed to remove observance of any pretended holy days other than the divinely prescribed Lord’s Day in their reformation. Indeed, the Reformed early on seemed ready to precede them in this; but due mostly it seems from desires of magistrates to preserve accustomed holidays, ie. days off for workers and servants, they retained various sets of days. This retained a set of other issues, and to ensure the riotous activities of the old days were not retained, the state churches prescribed that there be services and preaching at those times. {John Calvin and Holy Days}

In 1543–44 Calvin advised the church, that

“the observation of feast days was also to be rejected since it so easily led to superstition.”

“Calvin advised the ministers of Montbéliard to stand firm on these matters of principle but to yield wherever else their consciences would allow”. { Jill Raitt, The Colloquy of Montbéliard Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 21.}

As an aside — The Reformed church of Montbéliard continued as best they could even when the rulers imposed Lutheran practices. Later, the oppressed Reformed churches of France, ruled by Roman Catholic magistrates which prohibited working on the pretended holy days,

“left unto the prudence of Consistories to Congregate the People, on such Holy-Days, either to hear the word Preached, or to join in common publick Prayers, as they shall find to be most expedient” (2nd Synod of Vitré, 1617).

American Presbyterians were opposed to the religious observation of Christmas and other ‘holy days.’  > Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/chris-coldwell/the-religious-observance-of-christmas-and-holy-days-in-american-presbyterianism/

Read also: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/91380-Three-Books-on-quot-Christmas-quot-and-a-33-off-Black-Friday-Sale, Comment 25

The Worship Blog

Purely Presbyterian:

Reformed churches have historically been opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter. Even the Reformed churches on the continent, which left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions, did so because of either compromise with the stubborn people for the sake of further Reformation, or because the civil magistrates forced them to. Gisbertus Voetius, a delegate to the Synod of Dordt, relates that the Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but the allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches, in and of itself in an absolute sense unwelcome; to which Synods were summoned, compelled, and coerced to receive, bring in, and admit, as in the manner of a transaction, in order to prevent worse disagreeable and bad situations

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Followers, protestors and reformers

When we read the Acts of the apostles chapter 11 we find how the first followers of Christ Jesus went on to step in the footsteps of their master.

 “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God” (verse 1).

For them it was very special to see how heathen people came to find the Way to God. In their writings they told about their experiences and where not afraid to show how they struggled with certain things. Though not always agreeing with each other over all matters they did everything to stay under the teachings and guidance of their master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) From him they had learned how important it was to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.

500 years after Luther placed his 95 remarks on the Roman Catholic Church on the doors of the of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church), Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517 we can find many churches who where under the influence of him and of other theologians who stood up against the ruling Roman Catholic Church. In those times of ‘revolt’ many where not afraid to talk to others about the Word of God and to use the Bible to show others what is really written in it.

It was made possible to ordinary people to come to read and to hear about the message of the kingdom and of Christ’s return to establish it. Today we can look back at a movement which changed a lot in church-world.  The Reformation caused major upheaval in Europe, leading to wars, persecutions and exoduses, including the departure of the Pilgrims for what was later to become America. Lots of those escaping for the power of churches could find time to read the Scriptures and talk to others which came from all sorts denominations.  Some of those voyagers got an eye-opening sight. Hearing all those different church doctrines they where brought down to earth with a bump, but once run aground they continued to search the Scriptures to disentangle its secrets. From those bible searchers came active Bible Students who wanted also to step in the footsteps of the apostles, following the task Jesus had given them.

Lots of Biblestudents received the bible message into their heart and mind. But at the European continent Roman Catholics received the help from protestants to fight against those who did not want to follow the false doctrine of the Trinity. From those actions taken we can see that though the Bible had come more available and there had come preachers or pastors to show the wrong teachings of the Roman Catholic Church we can see how difficult it was for many really to “receive” the peace message. Lots of people who started calling themselves Protestant came in a similar situation as they were before in the Roman Catholic Church. They did not transformed by reading the Bible and did not find that Jesus was the way to God and that they had to share Jesus his love with those around them.

Paul spearheads the carrying of Christ’s name, God’s message of salvation through His Son. In doing this he sets the example to others like Silas, Titus and Timothy to do the same. These are among the examples that have come down to us today!

In the book of Luke about the first years  after Jesus’ dead we read of “the enrolment of the priests” (verse 17) and how “they were faithful in keeping themselves holy” (verse 18), and we can see this renewal as foreshadowing the dramatic events which must surely take place when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom!

From Daniel 11 we know that when that time of return is near there shall be lots of trouble, such as never has been” (verse 1), and then the resurrection shall take place.

After this Acts 11 and 12 seem almost an anti-climax; but dramatic events are described! We read of the conversion of the first Gentile – to the great surprise of Peter – and the first disciple killed, James. However,

“the word of God increased and multiplied” (Acts 12:24).

Sadly, we can see little of that today, but

“the ‘faithful’ must keep themselves holy”

facing the challenges of the “time of trouble such as never has been” that seems to be almost upon us! Our minds must embrace the words of the Psalmist,

“9 For evil-doers are cut off; But those who wait on יהוה, They shall inherit the earth …

37 Watch the perfect, and observe the straight; For the latter end of each is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The latter end of the wrong shall be cut off.
39 But the deliverance of the righteous is from יהוה, Their strength in time of distress.
40 And יהוה does help them and deliver them; He delivers them from the wrongdoers and saves them, Because they took refuge in Him.” (Psalm 37:9, 37-39).

Of the Protestant denominations there are only a few which teach about the spreading of the Good News. Not many of their church members go out on the streets and spread the Gospel. Lots of those who belong to the reformed churches are now like Catholics, having become very passive Christians. The evangelicals and Pentecostals being the exception. They often let others hear their voice or can be seen on television with their services which are closer to a show than a worship service for God.

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Additional reading

  1. Bringing Good News into the world
  2. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation

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Further related

  1. In 1620 The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth, Devon, England.
  2. August 15, 1620  Pilgrims
  3. The Landing Of The Pilgrim Fathers
  4. The New World …
  5. The New World & The Pilgrim Fathers
  6. George Whitfield
  7. The Pilgrim’s Bible
  8. Martin Luther and the Fear of Breaking the Rules: Sermon for October 8, 2017
  9. Martin Luther, Catholics and Jews
  10. Review: Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography
  11. Review: Martin Luther – A Spiritual Biography
  12. Wednesday Testimony – Martin Luther
  13. History brief – M. F. Cusack on Martin Luther
  14. The Human Reformer: Martin Luther Struggled With Depression and Nightmares
  15. Martin Luther The Idea that Changed the World (PBS)
  16. Martin Luther and Me
  17. Martin Luther tells me so
  18. Learning from Martin Luther (The Kingdom Of God: Romans and Galatians)
  19. How to Spread the Gospel
  20. Faithful Congregations Share the Good News

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Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

in the December issue of the Spectator questions where Christianity began to lose confidence (as he thinks it now has) that its teachings can offer a sure framework for day-to-day moral reasoning.

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to us all went wrong when the church fathers agreed to Constantine the Great to adapt their faith to the Roman faith and to include their gods in the god of Christianity, creating a three-headed god like in the Roman and Greek culture. They also were very attracted to the philosophers of antiquity. One of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history got his philosophies in the teachings of the false teachers of Christendom.

Aristotle, Greek Aristoteles  (384 bceStagira, Chalcidice, Greece – 322, Chalcis, Euboea) his philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and vehicle for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remained embedded in Western thinking. For him

ethical questions were soluble by the application of logic and common sense that he could advise anyone seeking to determine the ‘right’ course of action to ask themselves what a respected gentleman would recommend; and if still in doubt ask what would be going too far, and would not be going far enough, and thereby locate the mean between them as the appropriate action. The Nichomachean Ethics do not speak to me of an age of aching uncertainty about the rules for human coexistence. From those times, only Pilate’s ‘what is truth?’ calls to us down the ages with a modern ring. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

Though he was the the founder of formal logic, devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline, the 4th century church leaders did not seem to have much interest to keep everything logical and to keep just to what the words of the Bible said. Though the idea of the homoousios [consubstantial, of the same substance] used by the council of Council of Nicaea in 325, to define the Son’s relationship to the Father was not universally popular, different emanations from God looked much cooler and by transferring the god Zeus into the person of Jeshua corrupting his name to Issou or Jesus (Hail Zeus),they could go with the Roman emperor his ideas and keep the minds at ease, not confronting the Roman merchants with the instructions of followers of Jeshua to their believers not to buy figurines or sculptures to have them as representation of God or gods in their house.

The raising and discussing of doctrinal difficulties became a popular pastime. It also created the possibility for church-fathers to create writings and to gain popularity in certain circles. But because they agreed to certain Roman elements they became in difficulties with the Aristotelian use of deductive reasoning proceeding from self-evident principles or discovered general truths; and syllogistic forms of demonstrative or persuasive arguments. On lie or false teaching made they had to crate an other lie or a doctrine people had to take for truth, with the saying that it is something to difficult to understand for a human mind and therefore Christians had just to believe it as a creed of faith.

writes

Early Christianity strikes me as inheriting much from Aristotle’s ‘think about it: it’s obvious’ approach. The Roman Catholic church added layer upon layer of specific rules, all underwritten by a claim to divine authority — the big ‘Because’ — as handed down by a clear and certain hierarchy of human office-holders. The Reformation at first aimed to replace Roman Catholic certainties with certainties of its own. But in time the Reformation produced so many competing answers to the big ethical questions that in the schisms, sects and splinters — the rival certainties — modern Europe’s sense of one great, shared moral certainty was lost. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

The early Christians had already became distressed by heresies and by men who liked to have the pre-eminence over others. This resulted in schism and fragmentation. When the apostles were alive they still could call others to order. They made every effort to rebuke and educate those in error, sometimes with success and sometimes not. Those they could not bring to order or following the teachings of Christ Jesus grew in number and as such more and more people preferred those teachers which allowed them to keep the heathen rituals and to enjoy the human traditions. Still today we see that this is the main reason why many Christians do not want to convert to the truthful Christian groups which only want to keep to Biblical teaching and not to the human doctrines.

Some people are convinced that Aristotle is the most wise man who was keenly attuned to the realm of the divine. They also want to think that the divine the philosopher was talking about would have been the same divine Jesus and other Hebrew prophets were talking about.

He might have thought the divine being the origin of the human and the human at its best approaches the divine.

The latter is a paradoxical truth at the center of human existence {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

writes who thinks

the more perfect a human life, the more it stretches beyond the human and almost touches the divine. One who sees deeply into human greatness can as it were see through it, to something beyond. For men can become like gods. Such a profound truth Aristotle saw. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Aristotle had confidence — though not certitude — that the gods will reward those who become like them, and the followers of Christ asked their disciples to become like Christ. For lots of human beings to become like God would be the most favourable and the climax in their life, the sum-mum. So, having Christ Jesus as their god would be better than the gentiles having their Roman or Greek gods, when they would equal Jesus with the God of Abraham.

All the preaching of the Hebrew prophets and rabbi Jeshua was about becoming one with the God Most High, building up a relation to last in eternity.

In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected: “when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics). It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Such idea makes some Christian philosophers or Christian teachers, also today, placing Aristotle as the visionist who not only could tell what is  truly virtuous and what is mistakenly thought to be so, but also could tell the world what the meaning of Christmas is.

And this, then, is what Aristotle has to say about Christmas, about its deepest meaning.  If men are ever to become more than just somewhat-like the divine, if we are ever (tremble at the words) to live one life with him, and thus be his friends, then something very specific has to happen. And there is no human ground to expect that it ever will. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

As you see, it was thought of that one could live with the gods and to be befriended with the gods and with God. In Ethika Politika speaks about that happening in what he calls the “first Christmas”. With that “first Christmas” he refers to what lots of Christians have taken as the birthday of Christ.

That celebration which is still popular by many Christians and is even seen as a Christian holiday by many non-religious persons is a pagan celebration with lots of figures which have nothing to do at all with the birth of the promised saviour, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

But we can see or understand why many want to bring Aristotle’s thinking to that pagan celebration and to bring it in Christendom. For man it has always been a question why they lived, why they had to suffer so much and how they could bring an end to suffering and get a better life.

Many have searched for happiness and came to the conclusion it must also have to do with having friendly relationships to living beings and perhaps also to divine beings.

According to John Cuddeback

Aristotle had the key to understanding Christmas. His master achievement was a profound understanding of human happiness. It is as though he grasped as much as can be grasped by human reason alone. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Men are designed for greatness, a greatness that few ever achieve. True human happiness consists, simply put, in living virtuously. And virtuous living is the fundamental requirement and the necessary context for that deepest of human longings—true friendship. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

gods take an interest in the struggles of men? Here, writing in the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle is more tentative:

For if the gods have any care for human affairs, as it seems they do, it would be reasonable both that they should delight in that which was best and most akin to them and that they should reward those who love and honor this most, as caring for things that are dear to them.

Remarkably, he has confidence—though not certitude—that the gods will reward those who become like them.

But this is as far as far as it goes. Surely the possibility of God and men entering into some sort of shared life never entered his mind. Right?

This is a subtle matter. In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected:

“when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics).

It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

When for Aristotle the happiness meant to become wholesome, the early church argued people could become complete went hey became like Christ, though we do not know if they intentionally would say by that that people could become like God, because they came to take Christ Jesus to be God.

For Aristotle, eudaimonia was about living in accordance with reason; fulfilling our sense of purpose; doing our civic duty; living virtuously; being fully engaged with the world and, especially, experiencing the richness of human love and friendship. {Hugh Mackay, ‘Why we sometimes need to be sad’Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

Today we do not see many Christians who understand that living the life Christ calls us to live as Christians is a very logical exercise. Many Christians do not want to believe Jesus when he says who he is and who is grater than him.

A 22 year old Catholic woman writes

 if He is indeed God, then it is only logical that I need to center my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

But than she makes a funny remark as if Jesus would not be saying who he is, but than says

On the other hand, if Jesus is not who He says He is, if He is not God, then He’s not a nice man, He’s a dangerous fanatic, and therefore I would do well to avoid centering my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

what she does not seem to see that Jesus never told lies, because according to the Holy Scriptures, which we take to be the infallible word of God, being from the Most High God of gods Who does not tell lies, Jesus would not have sinned and as such would not have told lies. Jesus tells very clearly how he relates to God and how we like him have to relate to his heavenly Father.

As a Catholic she believes that our hearts are designed for union with God. She has reason to believe that, but she takes the wrong person to be her god. She has to be in union with her brothers and sisters in Christ and with Christ in union with God, like Jesus was in union with his heavenly Father. This will not make us to become Christ nor to become God, like Jesus was also not God, though one with God like we have to be one with Him.

This unity is the purpose of our existence that is inscribed into us; to love God and to be loved by God.

St. Augustine said,

“You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”

And so, when we live in a way that we were designed to live, we experience a pervading joy and peace that the world cannot give. St. Catherine of Siena said,

“Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

In other words, to be fully alive is to be who we are meant to be. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

These days in darker times of the year man tries to look at light and hopes to find in it happiness. He has taken the day of the goddess of light as the day to celebrate and present a Santa Claus, who has taken the place of Christ and the place of God. Man has become so materialistic and thinking happiness lays in the material goods one can get, that he is blinded not seeing the light of Christ and the Way to God.

All those false teachings were many became victim of give them a false hope of their spirit leaving their body and going to a sort heaven where they shall be able to find happiness. They do forget that Christ Jesus came to safe us and liberated us already some two thousand years ago from the penalty of death. thanks to him we are able to receive here already lots of happiness and hope in a marvellous new world here on earth.

Christian joy is living in accordance with reason, in a way that fulfills our sense of purpose, living virtuously, being fully engaged with the world and experiencing the richness of love and friendship with God.  {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

A reason that follows with reason the words form the most sacred Book of books, the Bible and not from human dogmatic teachings and philosophies.

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Preceding

Focus on outward appearances

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

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Additional reading

  1. Integrity of the fellowship
  2. Gainsayers In Apostolic Days
  3. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:18-20 – John’s Teaching and Imprisonment
  4. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  5. Politics and power first priority #2
  6. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  7. Altered to fit a Trinity
  8. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע)
  9. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  10. Experiencing God
  11. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  12. Focussing on oneness with Jesus like Jesus is one with God

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Further related articles

  1. In the Family Way or Aristotle’s Ethics
  2. What Aristotle Says About Christmas
  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
  4. Deterring Determinism: The Freedom of Mankind
  5. 3 Quotes, 3 Days Challenge: Round 2
  6. The Birth of Science
  7. The Good Life: You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
  8. Four-Part Epilogue
  9. Aristotle’s Poetics and Sophocles’s Oedipus
  10. Interrogation
  11. Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism
  12. Imagination defines humanity
  13. Some Thoughts about Two Old Guys
  14. Happy Holidays
  15. The Smiths’ Christmas Letter
  16. A really lovely yet simple day
  17. Out with the old, in with the new
  18. Solving the Unwanted Gift Dilemma – With Love
  19. Christmas Party 2015
  20. It could only  happen at christmas
  21. Deconstructing Christmas
  22. This Christmas
  23. Tales of Christmas
  24. Christmastime
  25. Twelve days of Christmas
  26. One Last Look at Christmas, 2015
  27. Attachment and Holidays
  28. Prepare the Way for Christ
  29. grandchildren, love, and being a “gift-hero”
  30. Where is My Christmas Joy
  31. Not ‘Feeling’ Christmas This Year?

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Writers needed to preach to non-believers

Growing Islamisation

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

It may be said that Christians seem to fail there where Muslims succeed. In Belgium we could see the Muslim community grow enormously in the last decade. Though we do not see so many preachers on the streets. In certain quarters the Islamic preachers are very actively on the street or in the parks, but in others you can’t see them. It seems a lot of youngsters do find their Islamic teaching on the net but do not find it countered by Christian teachers. Those who do have an idea that there could possibly be one God to be worshipped mostly can find Catholic and evangelical groups teaching trinitarian doctrine. Jehovah Witnesses go from door to door but most people are so much afraid of the groups and of the name Jehovah they really do not want to listen to them or to take some study material from them.

English: took it myself to illustrate open-air...

Open-air preaching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people in several western countries stopped listening to the pastors, priests, bishops and those who say they are ‘men of God’ because they saw what happened in the many churches were priest and nuns used young children to please themselves. Lots of people saw that many preachers who did use lots of words to frighten the people, did not bother to do those things they told their flock not to de because they would end up in hell, a place of torment and eternal suffering. In many denomination the pastors or priests make use of the comparatively easiness to convince a man of his sin and then to frighten him for the consequences of that sin.

Guilt is a majority of our spiritual make up.  And it is the substance that leaks out into our fleshly day. {The necessity of the Gospel}

No good answers by clergymen for searching people

No Preaching sign in Australia

No Preaching sign in Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having a guilty conscience many became bewildered, looking for real justifying answers. But the priests or pastors could not deliver them. By that “awakening” of getting conscious he had to do something against his sins, man becomes aware of a need to cleanse himself.  Some might than think

by that means, it is also comparatively easy to convince a man that Jesus is a necessary aspect of this cleansing.

but it does not seem to be so easy and it can not be brought over by staying in the church-walls. The preacher has to get out of those walls and come into the open to tell others what for possibilities there are and how Jesus can be found and is there for all of those who are willing to accept his ransom offer.

We read and hear of people saying that they need the Lord all day long.  Just a cursory look into the Christian announcement by His people will provide a rather overwhelming view of our sense of need.  And how can that be a fault?  All men know of their guilt.  It is a natural outcome that others should hear us speaking of our need for the Lord’s blood in decimating our sins. {The necessity of the Gospel}

Though people want to feel that they are helped and guided. The clerical people demanding from the ordinary human person to become holy, having to keep to all sorts of difficult things, therefore got lots of people stopping to listen to the men of their church because they know they cannot, or are not willing to, reach to the greatest of Christianity.

Need of human example

In The Swinging Doors is written:

Often, in a man’s frightful plight, he needs a human example.  As the little boy was reported to have said to his mother, “Sometimes I need a Jesus with skin on”. {The Swinging Doors}

Many churches made Jesus into their god and did not want to accept it was a man of flesh and blood who really died for the sins of many. They taught their believers that no man is capable to follow all through God’s commandments; So why bother many say. Many people also came to see that such teaching of a man who was not a man but was a spirit, who in one place says he cannot be tempted and in another place in Scriptures it says he was been tempted by the devil, could not be a real good teaching but only a misleading teaching.  Lots lost faith in their church of the misleading doctrines and found more clarity in the Islam teaching. The big problem is they did never tried to look at other Christian religions who do keep to the biblical Truth. Not many took time to look at the different non-trinitarian groups, because they thought all Christians are the same and do think the same. They also got frightened to look at the other denominations because they were made frightened by their own church who always told them it were heretics and not Christians.

No one willing to come down

Those who left the dogmatic Christian groups, Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, did not encounter on their path to other non-doctrinal Christians people who were confessing they only believed in Only One God. None of those non-trintiarians thought it necessary to come to them. Most of them who say they have the truth and are not a Jehovah Witness do not go away from their position in their church or ecclesia.

None will venture to ascend their hill.

They remain in their known group and are willing to give exhortations in their ecclesia, but to go out on the streets or to go to teach and preach somewhere else, not many wanted to do. so, those looking for God did not encounter people who wanted to tell them that in Christianity there may be found answers and may be found people willing to help to come closer to God.

In many of those non-trinitarian and trinitarian churches they are saying “God calls the people” which is true, but does not give you the right to sit on your ass and do nothing. Jesus was clear to his disciples and wanted all his followers to go out in the world to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. But in many churches the people in charge say we do have to be patient and the right people just shall come up to us. Is that so? Shall people be able to find you?

Given task

We should be prepared to bring honourable service and give ourselves into the Hands of God, offering ourselves as servants of Christ and servants of God. Faith without works is dead and true faith demands dedication to God’s sovereignty.
Preaching should be done across the entire world, every day and night regarding this subject, by those who believe in the things which are grounded in their heart. That what did not have enough opportunity to grow in the heart can not be shared. There has to be a willingness to hear others and to come to them to talk and share ideas with them. Ears have to be opened to the Word of God, but so few hear it.  So few accept it.  So few do it.   Why?

Because salvation from guilt and sin is a natural desire of the human mind.

says the writer of Words From There.

But the walk of Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit.  As we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves compelled to agree with the Father in Heaven. {The necessity of the Gospel}

this should bring people united under Christ in the understanding of  the necessity to live as the Lord Jesus lived.

Servants for God

 He became a servant, though He is the Son of God.  We too are called to become servants, though we are sons of the same God.

The big question is: How many do want to become a humble servant in the hands of God? How many are willing to follow up the task Jesus has given his disciples?

Understanding the true nature of God by observing phenomena on earth is like exclusively studying shadows to examine the Sun.  The resultant assumptions would most certainly fall short. {Thoughts from Isolation}While some people ponder the very existence of a God, His people ponder His promises. {Thoughts from Isolation}

Short time to stand at the side

There are too many questions to be answered, and time on earth is too short to get all the answers right. When we do have to find out everything on our own it (perhaps) will take a long time, but when we can find help in what others can show us from the Bible we can grow with each other and come to a better understanding sooner. It is easy to say

Why is there not even a hint of concern in the majority of people?

and do nothing. Standing at the side, staying in the close environment, the safe surrounding of the own ecclesia or church is easy. It is high time to come out of the ‘building’ and to go out in the  ‘wild nature’.

Messengers with wrong motives

Soon after Jesus his death it happened already that people made use of his name and his popularity. The apostle Paul noted already that there were some that preached Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. (Philippians 1:15-18) Many centuries later not much has changed. We still can find people who are more interested in their own good and their own name, instead of sharing the gospel with many for the matter of  Jesus his name. We shamefully notice that everywhere we can find people who preach Christ out of selfish ambition. But perhaps this should not bother us so much because whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this we should rejoice.

Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org, Author of Making Sense of the Bible wrote

What security in the gospel! Even if the messenger has wrong motives, the message remains unstoppable. This means that God has built into the gospel a self-correcting power for every abuse of the gospel at the hands of men. Men misused the Bible to promote slavery in Africa and America, yet the abolitionist movement came out of the church.

All of us should be thankful we are good in something. We all have been given a gift of God’s grace for the good of His people. As the least of the Lord’s people, Paul knew that these graces were not given based upon any personal merit, so stop disqualifying yourself to use the gift of grace that God has given you. God has created all things, including you and your capacity, and God wants us to focus upon him and use what he has freely given us. And each person who comes in Christ should also as a member of the body of Christ use his or her gifts to let that body grow.

Poisoned and mislead

Arthur W. Pink was aware that we should use the gifts we received more to proclaim the Word of God

those whose whole time and energies are to be devoted to seeking the spiritual and eternal welfare of souls, and the better equipping of themselves for that most blessed, solemn, and important work. Their principal tasks are to proclaim God’s Truth and to exemplify and commend their message by diligently endeavoring to practice what they preach, setting before their hearers a personal example of practical godliness. Since it be the Truth they are to preach, no pains must be spared in seeing to it that no error be intermingled therewith, that it is the pure milk of the Word they are giving forth. To preach error instead of Truth is not only grievously to dishonor God and His Word, but will mislead and poison the minds of the hearers or readers. {Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures}

Many people felt dishonoured and mislead by their common church. The Muslims seemed to honestly keep closer to the Word of God and kept more to their holy Scriptures, doing what was requested by them.

Governing bodies have taken over the Pauline churches which at early Christendom were free communities.

It is true that the early apostles held a council in order to examine more closely certain issues. Upon holding this council a letter was drawn up and sent to the Gentile churches. This letter gave basic rules of how to conduct oneself as a Christian. Paul later went back and wrote too many of these Gentile Christians and gave them a fuller explanation on what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian.  {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3}The reason men like Harold Camping can gather disciples around him are because people have remained silent. They fear persecution and do not want to live a life of being shunned or spoken evil against. I am not going to be unloving when I examine other ministers’ doctrines, but I also will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will not shun being persecuted by remaining silent concerning the truth of God’s word. Therefore I will not be silent concerning the doctrines of the ‘Teacher’ nor Otis Graves.

writes a a Reformed Baptist, from a Covenantal, Amillennial perspective in Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2. This while too many keep silent and do not dare to step on toes. But no congregation is free of the silent ones or of those who do not want to go out to those who do not belong to the community. This made that many in the city or at the countryside did not find it interesting enough to go to hear in the church-building what the preacher had to say. those who stayed at home and did their normal daily business did not find somebody on their path to work or to the shops who tried to convince them of the beauty of Jesus his ransom.

Unlearned men

‘Church’ wanted people to believe they could not understand the Bible, because they did not follow special university courses. In the past they had also told Luther that if the scriptures were translated into the common language of the people that a flood gate of sin would come out of it.

They told him that the church would begin to split and splinter into all kinds of different denominations. This is because that unlearned men will not take and interpret scripture according to the tradition of the Church. Luther responded by saying that he knew that if he put the scriptures in the hands of ignorant and unlearned men, that it would open a flood gate of iniquity, but nevertheless every person ought to have the scriptures to read for themselves. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

We may not forget that in the first century of this common era, like in the centuries before people did not get a university degree to read and understand the Holy Scriptures. The disciples of Christ got their training first hand from the master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ). They continued the same practice as Jesus to educate others in the teachings of Christ Jesus. They wrote down what they had learned so that others in places far away could use the writings as edifying material. We too have that educational material at hand in our own language. We can use the many Bible translations to receive the Biblical Wisdom. We should use it.

Right to read and to interpret

So the Reformation opened the door for private interpretation. But just because we have the right to interpret scripture privately does not mean that we have the right to distort scripture. The Reformers taught what is known as the perspicuity of scripture or that the scriptures are so plain that even a child could understand it. This doctrine does not teach that scripture is plain in every place, but it teaches that the doctrines that are essential to salvation are so clear that even a child could find his was to Christ by reading them. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

People need help in their interpretation and it are the elders and scholars who can and should help. In time the church has developed a science of interpretation known as ‘hermeneutics.’ This science and art of interpretation is our key which can keep us from falling into much error when we interpret scripture. Not everybody is been given the art of hermeneutics but those that have received it should use it and help others to come to a better understanding of what is written in the Bible.

While the Bible is filled with many types of literature it also uses many forms of speech within that literature. The Bible uses hyperbole, simile, symbolic, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, parallelism, synonymous parallelism, metonymy, personification, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, and many more. The Bible also uses types and shadows to convey its message. So without a properly working hermeneutic we all would misinterpret scripture all the time. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

But it are the communities and those in charge of the ‘churches’ who should take care their flock is trained to come to good Bible reading and good Bible interpretation. Every person in the ecclesia should try to come to a good Bible knowledge and should help others in reading and interpreting the Bible.

Not staying in own cocoon

As we go on, after we have been baptised, and grow in our faith, we do have to carry it with us and should share it with others. We cannot keep our faith to our own. We also may not stay in our little cocoon just staying safe with those we do know and with those whom we love. Out of love for the others, we should go out to reach them and to show them the Way.

Thomas Manton asked

“What is the reason there is so much preaching and so little practice? {So much Preaching and so Little Practice – Thomas Manton}

but we wonder where all that preaching is. We can not see many Christians on the streets, in parks, in public buildings or in public transport, teaching the Word of God. It seems to stay in between closed doors.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

One of the great inspirers for many Christians and strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition: Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon

We do need constant thoughts which are operative so that musing makes the fire burn. {Thomas Manton} The British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers,”  Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon in his lifetime preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons are reprinted many times and are still going strong. He knew very well the importance to go out on the streets and to take sure educating thoughts would be spread amongst many. We should remember him who said

Preaching! Man’s Privilege and God’s Power!

A Privilege to be taken seriously

Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, John Owen, Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, Mary, Thomas and their son Octavius Winslow, John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. and many more understood the need of reaching to the people, covering topics on many aspects of the Christian life. We should take them as an example and not limit ourselves to our own community, staying only at our own ecclesia.

For sure it might be easier just to preach for people who believe the same as we do. It is easier not be confronted with people who have other ideas and want to ask questions. It is easier to avoid such questions and keeping to a close group where one is sure they all believe the same and/or do not dare to question.

Like Aiden Tozer’s passion for a deeper knowledge of God led him to study the great devotional writers of the past, we should not hesitate to look at such works from the past but always should see them in the light of the Holy Scriptures, which constantly should be the main guide.

People wanting to know God

The move of many churchgoers to become mosque goers proves that there are enough people wanting to get to know God. You can wonder how they can get to know God when nobody wants to come to them and tell about God.

Prayer and worship were the hallmarks of many previous Bible teachers  their life. but they did not stay in their own little environment, their safe surrounding of their church. They stood up and went to those who did not yet belong to their church or even did not believe in a god or the God. Like them we should come forward and present our thoughts and our writings to people who are looking for God and perhaps not belong to any church, or did not find the Truth.

A W Tozer.jpg

Aiden Wilson Tozer

Our preaching as well as our writings should simply become an extension of our faith and prayer life.

In modern evangelicalism, contended Tozer, we work, we have our agendas–in fact, we have almost everything except the spirit of true worship. He defined worship as a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe, astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of the unspeakable Majesty. He reminded the pastors, “We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second; Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring souls God does His work. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it.” {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Tozer called the doctrine of the Holy Spirit “buried dynamite”. Yet he always insisted that the Spirit and the Word operate in harmony. He exhorted the overzealous to a warm heart and a cool head:

“The history of revivals in the Church reveals how harmful the hot head can be….These are days of great religious turmoil. Let love burn on with increasing fervour, but bring every act to the quiet test of wisdom. Keep the fire in the furnace where it belongs. An overheated chimney will create more excitement than a well-controlled furnace, but it is likely to burn the house down. Let the rule be: a hot furnace but a cool chimney.”

– Walter Unger {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Simply taking up the task given by Christ

We should not aim for great fame and popularity as a preacher, but we should be well aware that we do have to come together, read and study the Bible with others, preach the gospel and make new believers.

In many church services other than those of the Christadelphians not much time is given or spend at the Word of God. God’s Word in Scripture, if ever used at all, comes in sporadic bursts of verses here and there, and in evangelical churches they are just parts of phrases being shouted out repetitive whilst most of the time entertaining songs sweep up the public. Very often bible texts are stripped of their intended meaning, stifling the work of the Spirit in His sacramental function of quickening the Word, and robbing the people of blessing. At other places the sermon or the exhortation has not much to do with the Bible fragments read.

Though time has to be spend to go deeper into the reading and to give some examples of how the Bible text relates to our daily life. That we need much more, so that people can see how the stories of the Bible still have relevance today. Further we also need more stories of influences of the Bible and faith to people in our society. The Lifestyle magazines Stepping Toes and From Guestwriters would love to bring such Bible and Faith related stories. But we need more people who can bring such stories and show people what it can do to have the Christian Faith.

You to can play your role

It is high time there shall come forward more Christian believers to proof to others they are not children of the bond-woman but of the free (Galatians 4:31) and to show the world which blessings come over those who are willing to accept Christ in their life.

When the early church went out into the world, armed with the truth through which alone true unity could be effected, they, as well as Paul, met with opposition. The had to conquer their fear for speaking in public. It took time but with the aid of the Holy Spirit and with their trust in God they managed to spread the faith very well. We better take up their courage and start evangelizing like they did in the early days.

You too can do your share. For sure you too have something to tell; something that changed your life; something you feel inside, something you notice in the world; let it be known to others. We are willing to give you a platform where you can let your voice be heard so that your voice can put an other cobblestone on the big road to be made.

As time went on, however, the church no longer loved God enough to see, feel and talk about the wonders of the Divine Creator. Let those Works of God be better known. Open people their eyes and ears so that they can see and hear the beauty of nature, the Hand of God in our world. Show the world where there can be growth of true worship in the face of daunting challenges so that it can be faith-strengthening and inspiring to God’s people everywhere. Let the sun never sets on the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. Remember the prophet Zechariah his words

 “who has despised the day of small things?” (Zecharia 4:10)

and do not hesitate to join the small group of enthusiast preachers.

Declaring Good News

Let us “declare good news” like Jesus demanded from his followers. Each of us can “bear news; announce; act as a news bearer.” (1 Samuel 4:17; 2 Samuel 1:20; 1 Chronicles 16:23)

Jesus recognized that his divine commission called for a preaching work, and he carried it on publicly, in cities and villages, in the temple area, synagogues, marketplaces and streets, as well as in the countryside. (Marcus 1:39; 6:56; Luke 8:1; 13:26; John 18:20)
Do you want to go wherever you can entering into villages or cities or countryside or bring  your texts on the internet so that it can come in the homes of many people?

Jesus had stressed that he was ‘sent by God’ (Luke 9:48; John 5:36, 37; 6:38; 8:18, 26, 42), who gave him “a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak.” (John 12:49). The apostles who followed the directions of Christ knew that they publicly had to declare that Jesus is Lord, and that we have to exercise faith in our heart that God raised him up from the dead, so that we will be saved.

For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. (Romans 10:9, 10)

Like John the Baptist Jesus did more than preach. His teaching receives even greater emphasis than his preaching. Teaching (di·da′sko) differs from preaching in that the teacher does more than proclaim; he instructs, explains, shows things by argument, and offers proofs. The work of Jesus’ disciples, both before and after his death, was thus to be a combination of preaching and teaching.(Matthew 4:23; 11:1; 28:18-20).

The writings which we present as such shall have to bring preachings and teachings, sermons and exhortations, bringing examples that show how God is at work also today and is still calling everybody who is willing to hear His Voice.

We have to share our heartfelt feeling for Christ and for each other. We have to share like Christ did, our love for the Only One God and our love for brothers and sisters in Christ, but also our love for the whole creation (man, animals and plants). As this in the old times was shared by all disciples, men and women, we too should till “the conclusion of the system of things” proclaim the Good News and share our faith with others, bringing a call to the world to join us and to become a member of the Body of Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-49; Acts of the apostles 2:17; compare Acts 18:26; 21:9; Romans 16:3.)

18 And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority*+ has been given me in heaven and on the earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples*+ of people of all the nations,+ baptizing+ them in* the name of the Father+ and of the Son+ and of the holy spirit,+20 teaching+ them to observe+ all the things I have commanded YOU.+ And, look! I am with YOU+ all the days until the conclusion* of the system of things.”*+ {Matthew 28:18-20 Reference Bible}

Let us make sure that on the basis of Jesus his name, repentance for forgiveness of sins will be preached in all the nations and that you with us may be a witness of these things. Jesus was sending forth upon us that which is promised by his heavenly Father. We, though, have to follow the decree given by Jesus to be a pupil but also a teacher, a follower and a leader, always a servant, one for the people and one for God.

coming closer to the Last days we should be fully aware that Jesus said

‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour out some of my spirit*+ upon every sort of flesh,* and YOUR sons and YOUR daughters will prophesy and YOUR young men will see visions and YOUR old men* will dream dreams;+ 18 and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. {Acts of the apostles 2:17 Reference Bbile}

Sharing and blessings for all

All sorts of men and women shall go out in those days, but we do not have to wait to the last moment be part of them. Today you can stand up and show your alertness and your vivid will to be part of that community which want to show others the way to God. You can start to speak boldly in your own surroundings and share your voice on this platform and on From Guestwriters. You can let people hear and see that they too can find a place where blessing are shared with love with all who want to come along and with all who want to celebrate the greatest love a person has ever given.

We have to show others that it is not sufficient just to take the posture of politely and respectfully listening, not doing much of anything else. Jesus wanted active followers, doers of the Word. Those who come to church or enter the ecclesia perhaps would (all) agree that they are there to learn and be challenged in the Word, but in actuality, they are very inactive in the learning process, very passive in the spiritual discipline, and very unengaged while the preacher is preaching. We have to show them that is not what is wanted form a member of Christianity, a follower of Christ. we have to stimulate them that they also get up and start showing the works of faith. doing our work not forgetting how Christ should be our anchor and our focus

All believers are still hold to the task of challenging the wider Church which is asking, struggling, journeying about how we, those who are called to be “Preachers”, “Teachers”, “Leaders” can create sacred spaces so that those outside our community feel as welcomed and share with us too, how the Good News impacts, revitalises, renews, re-forms their and others lives, and how they impart their own wisdom empowered by the Holy Spirit to encourage who we have been called to be.

All human beings, regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status,every human being has sinned and falls short of the glory of God.”

Let us take many into our company, showing the blessing we receive on daily basis, and expound the way of God more correctly to them.

May your time spent here be blessed.

Isn’t this what we are called to do?  We are to ascend to our place near the Lord.  From there we are commanded to proclaim regardless the response.  Can you count the number of us who have gone into the city?  How many of those tiny houses contain artifacts of man?   How did they get there?   The Lord did not put them there, nor did He have them delivered. {The Swinging Doors}

++

Find to read:

  1. More Muslim children than Christian children growing up in our cities
  2. Christians fail there where Muslims succeed
  3. Trying to get the youth inspired
  4. When discouraged facing opposition
  5. Christianity without the Trinity
  6. Bible in the first place #2/3
  7. Bible for you and for life
  8. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  9. The Most Reliable English Bible
  10. The Bible and names in it: Proclaiming the Name of The One and Only Who Is and has Ever Been
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  13. Reasons to come together
  14. Not many coming out with their community name
  15. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  16. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  17. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  18. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  19. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  20. Not all ability to preach
  21. Breathing to teach
  22. Church sent into the world
  23. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  24. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  25. Our openness to being approachable
  26. Words to push and pull
  27. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  28. How should we preach?
  29. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  30. Good or bad preacher
  31. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. Holland Week of billing
  34. Asia Cahaya Conference focusing on preaching
  35. It is Today
  36. Belonging to or being judged by
  37. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  38. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  39. A Society pleading poverty
  40. Dealing with worries in our lives
  41. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  42. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  43. Risen With Him
  44. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Thoughts from Isolation
  2. To the stump
  3. Your Post
  4. The necessity of the Gospel
  5. Jehovah’s Message
  6. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  7. The Good News of God’s Kingdom
  8. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2
  9. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3
  10. A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines
  11. Rev. Duncan Campbell Sermon – Action and Obedience
  12. Puritan Thomas Watson – Christian Joy!
  13. Thoughts concerning the preacher
  14. What if Jesus Preached What Modern Preachers are Preaching?
  15. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  16. Preaching the Gospel in the Power of Signs and Wonders
  17. On Preaching “To the Men”
  18. The Primacy of Preaching
  19. Expository preaching – friend or foe?
  20. How to Spread the Gospel
  21. 4 Principles for Collaborative Preaching
  22. 6 Ways to Your Teacher’s Heart
  23. Preaching is a two-way street
  24. What do you think about preaching someone else’s sermon?
  25. Sex, murder, and preaching: How much is too much for Sunday morning?
  26. Redemptive-Historical Preaching Vs. Moralistic Preaching in Sanctification
  27. How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God
  28. Four Reasons You Should Go Easy On Yourself After Failure, Divorce or Abuse
  29. Preach It, Sister!
  30. What do you need…?
  31. The Mystery of Being In Christ: A Review of Paul and Union with Christ
  32. Community Houses are Better than Church Buildings
  33. Proclaim Christ Thru Service to Others
  34. Cavite Hosts I-Proclaim! 3 on National Bible Week 2012
  35. Proclaim Jubilee: A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century
  36. How to Proclaim Restoration

+++

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses descend on Melbourne in pictures (theguardian.com)
    A large sign across the turf at Etihad Stadium reads: ‘Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom’
  • Taking the plunge at Etihad Stadium into a life of faith serving Jehovah (smh.com.au)
    Cameron Dobber’s nerves had mostly settled by the time he took his place in the middle of Etihad Stadium in front of more than 65,000 people.The 27-year-old forklift driver from Sunshine had been preparing for this moment for more than four years.After months of Bible studies and a three-hour interview with church elders, it was finally his turn to step into the baptismal pool and become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Suppository preaching (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    A Christian is called. To do what? “Follow me.” And the crucial part of this calling by Jesus is getting nailed – as Paris Reidhead once said – to the back of the cross; the “purpose-driven” crowd’s worst nightmare.+

  • 19. Daily Bible Verse (12160.info)
    It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
  • Watch: ’19 Kids & Preaching’ Video Highlights Duggar Family’s Christian Faith (blackchristiannews.com)
    A new video called 19 Kids and Preaching shows that the Duggar family members are passionate about their Christian faith. While they often pray and talk about God on their TV program, this video shows them getting out of their comfort zone to share their faith with others.
  • Preaching What God’s Word Says about the World (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    [T]he principle that the Christian minister is to preach only the Word of God most certainly does not forbid him to apply the teaching of Holy Writ to the specific needs of his hearers and the peculiar conditions of his day. Application, as well as explanation, is of the essence of preaching.
  • 970) Whether I know what preaching is! Taught by Srila Prabhupada! (pmdasa.wordpress.com)
    A devotee should not only give respect to the devotees, but he should try to make others a devotee. That is, means preaching.
  • The Active Power of Faith (codybateman.org)
  • “Coming Up Short”; Jeffrey Sartain’s sermon, Oct. 26 (plymouthspirit.wordpress.com)
    Acts of generosity draw goodness and blessing toward us. When we give, we receive blessings far greater than what we have given.
  • “The way I finish a sermon” by Charles Spurgeon (tollelege.wordpress.com)
    I have preached this Gospel for many years, and I do not think I ever finished a sermon except in one way—by trying to explain what is meant by this simple trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christianity without the Trinity

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing

Nicene Creed in cyrillic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the Council of Constantinople (381) the concept that God exists as three Persons in one Substance has been affirmed has formed a central part of the Christian confession. Though perhaps neglected in Protestant theology, the modern evangelical movement has given considerable emphasis to the doctrine of the Trinity as fundamental constituent of Christianity. Nevertheless a number of groups, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians and the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, have from biblical foundations developed a trinity-less theology. In their book The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, Sir Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting presented the argument that the doctrine of the Trinity is both a misrepresentation of the biblical doctrine of God and a liability that weakens Christianity’s power.[1] The controversy caused by The Myth of God Incarnate opened up to scrutiny the doubts of ‘respectable’ theologians about the ideas surrounding the divinity of Christ.[2]

The question I wish to consider in this article is what would Christianity without the Trinity look like, and is such a Christianity desirable? This can only be a cursory survey of the issues involved nevertheless I hope that this review prompts a reconsideration of the centrality ascribed to the doctrine of the Trinity in Christian theology.

A Platonic Doctrine

English: Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on ...

Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on the Hebrew word רוח “air, wind, spirit” having feminine grammatical gender in the Hebrew language (though in fact in a significant minority of its occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, the word actually has masculine grammatical gender). Could be considered “non-orthodox” by the criteria of the traditional mainstream of Christian doctrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When theologians write about the doctrine of the Trinity they cite great luminaries like Augustine and Karl Barth, and, occasionally, the Bible.[3] But rarely will one pause to consider the theological pioneers of later Christian doctrine, such as the early apologists. Yet any scholar who deigns to do so will come against the awkward fact that the concept of a triune god is not Christian at all, but has the Platonists as its progenitors.[4] If Justin Martyr held a doctrine of three divine principles (First Apology 13), it is because Middle Platonists like Numenius of Apamea held this doctrine first. And the first thinker to propose three co-ordinate divine members of a trinity was not one of the Cappadocian Fathers[5] but a bitter enemy of Christianity, the Neo-Platonist Porphyry.[6]

The Platonic doctrine of a triune god is an imposition upon Christianity and an imposition that diverts Christianity from its original message and purpose. The simplicity of Christ’s teaching was supplanted by philosophic complexities that are seldom consistently defined. And thus too, the Bible was, in part, supplanted, because where in the Bible can one go to find theological definitions about the Trinity? It is noticeable that the Nicene Creed quotes verbatim from the New Testament regarding almost every aspect of belief except its definitions of the nature and trinity of God, where philosophic terms are supplied instead.[7]

A return to the teaching of Christ and the apostles would necessitate a reversal of the Platonic influence upon Christianity and thus require the revoking of the doctrine of Trinity.

The Role of Christ

In early Christian thought Christ was understood as a mediator. Paul writes ‘there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ’ (1 Tim 2:5). This relationship between to God and Jesus was seen through the role of high priest, Paul describing Christ as ‘making intercession’ for believers (Rom 8:34). Paul does not connect the intercession of Christ to any supposed divinity but to his ascension to the right hand of God. We find the same concept used in Acts when Peter says of Christ ‘God has exalted him to his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’ (Acts 5:31).

The writer to the Hebrews makes this concept his own, repeatedly naming Jesus ‘High Priest’. As with Paul, this intercession is linked to the literal ascension of Jesus from the earth to the right hand of God, ‘passing into the heavens’, as the writer puts it (Heb 4:14). Christ’s entry into the presence of God is described as a high priest entering the Holy of Holies (Heb 9:11-12). And, unequivocally, Christ becomes High Priest, not by intrinsic divinity but by the calling of God (Heb 5:5-6, 10, 6:20).

Other early Christian writers also view Christ has a mediator between God and men. Clement of Rome describes Jesus as ‘High Priest’, saying that he was ‘chosen’ by God (1 Clem 64). Ignatius too uses the term ‘High Priest’ but also describes Christ’s intercession through another figure, saying ‘he is the doorway to the Father’ (Ign.Phil 9). Also see Polycarp’s letter to Smyrna, where he too says Christ is ‘High Priest’ (12).

If Christ is promoted to the Godhead (and the Holy Spirit too), who then intercedes on behalf of believers? Historically, this problem was ‘solved’ by the introduction of a series of other go-betweens, namely the Saints and the clergy. In modern evangelical theology can alternative ‘solution’ has been posited, namely that Christ, whilst ontologically co-equal with the Father, remains subordinate and can thus perform his scripturally defined duties of intercession.[8] Yet this fudge simply results in the conundrum that Jesus is neither fully co-equal, nor fully mediator.

Sola Scriptura

Luther Bible, 1534

Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw both the invention of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into the common tongues of the people of Europe. And following almost immediately on the heels of these developments was the emergence of groups that denied the doctrine of the Trinity. The Socinians, the Brüder in Christo and other unitarian groups were founded across Europe, teaching that the Bible alone was authoritative and that the Bible knew nothing of the Trinity. The problem for the Protestants was clear. The Reformation was founded on the principle of sola scriptura, and yet these groups, who also held the principle of sola scriptura, denied the doctrine of the Trinity.

English Protestant theologians wrestled with this problem throughout the seventeenth century. They urged that the believer needs both scripture and reason, and hoped that reason itself would be sufficient to safeguard the Trinity. Catholic theologians pounced upon the dilemma, challenging the Protestants to meet the objections of the Socinians by scripture alone or else return to the Catholic rule of faith.[9] The consequence of these disputes led English Protestants to neglect the doctrine of Trinity, passing over it in silence, a tacit admission that with scripture alone as the rule of faith the Trinity could not be sustained.[10]

Vickers bemoans the demise of the Trinity as the impact of an emphasis on the Trinity as a set of propositions (the immanent Trinity), and urges a return to the invocation of the Trinity in the believer’s encounter with God (the economic Trinity).[11] Yet, as Karl Rahner declares, the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity; it would make little sense to invoke God as Trinity if that set of propositions cannot be assented to. Given then the failure of Protestant theologians to defend the doctrine of the Trinity by scripture alone, it seems we must either abandon the Trinity or the founding principle of the Reformation, sola scriptura.

Modern evangelicals attempt to hold both sola scriptura and the Trinity, and yet it seems no evangelical can preach about the Trinity without reference to the creeds.[12] Though evangelicals may claim that the bible alone is authoritative, there is implicit in many evangelical writings a retreat to tradition to defend the doctrine of the Trinity.

Interfaith Dialogue

Christianity is oft categorized as one of the three great monotheistic faiths, alongside Judaism and Islam. Yet the Trinitarian conception of monotheism is determinedly different from that of either Jews or Muslims. Inasmuch as the Trinity is three Persons in one Substance, the Trinitarian claim to monotheism is an ontological one. However, viewed from a liturgical perspective it is hard to escape the fact that Trinitarian Christians claim to experience God in plurality, worshipping three Persons as God. This feels very different from the Jewish experience of a uni-personal God, and seems to have more in common with Hinduism’s conception of Brahman.

The upshot of this is that in dialogue with other monotheistic faiths the Trinitarian brings to the table a plural conception of God. However carefully the theologian may define the Trinity ontologically as one God, the bread-and-butter of traditional Christian liturgy is hopelessly poly-personal. Christians may claim to be monotheists but they appear for all world to practice polylatry. This hampers interfaith dialogue (and ultimately evangelism).

The issue is not simply that Christians experience God differently from other faiths, but that they define God differently. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to adherence to the God of Abraham, and yet the Trinitarian definition of God is simply alien to both Jews and Muslims (and, one must assume, would have been alien to Abraham himself). Therefore Christianity’s most primitive form of evangelism, preaching the coming of Jewish Messiah, is robbed from it by a doctrine that fundamentally alters the conception of the God of Abraham.

The Atonement

One proposition above any other motivates the continued emphasis on the doctrine of the Trinity in modern evangelical theology: that only God could be sufficient substitute to bear the punishment due to mankind. It therefore becomes necessary that Jesus was fully God to bring about the atonement and to question the Trinity is treated as tantamount to denying the salvation of believers.[13] Yet this doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is a relatively new doctrine; it certainly did not motivate the doctrinal innovations that led to the formulation of the notion of the Trinity.

It is beyond the scope of this article to digress into a full rebuttal of the notion of penal substitutionary atonement but, in brief, there are at least two reasons why Christianity would be better off without such a doctrine.

Firstly, none of the New Testament writers appeal to the idea of a substitute to explain the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The analogy to the brazen serpent speaks of a representative icon (John 3:14-15); the analogy to the Passover lamb speaks of a representative offering (1 Cor 5:7); even the analogy to the Day of Atonement speaks of a representative death (Heb 9:11-14). The recapitulation theory that Paul develops at length (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:20-22; Phil 2:5-11) knows nothing of a substitutionary death, rather an offering of obedience to God (Rom 5:19). Even the very words of the NT writers presuppose a representative understanding of the Christ’s death, using huper (‘on behalf of’) in preference to anti (‘instead of’) in almost every instance where the death of Christ is described (cf. Luke 22:19-20; John 6:51; Rom 5:6-8; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:14; Gal 1:4; Eph 5:2; 1 Thes 5:10; 1 Tim 2:6; Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:21; 1 John 3:16).[14]

Secondly, the notion of penal subtitutionary atonement skews our notion of God. The psalms describe a God who does not desire sacrifices (Ps 40:6; 51:16). Hosea states that God prizes mercy above sacrifice (Hos 6:6; cf. Matt 9:13, 12:7). The idea of a God who requires sacrifice as a prerequisite for mercy seems inconsistent with this picture. Rather the biblical concept of forgiveness is one without price or condition; the king in the parable, moved with compassion, writes off the debt of his servant without any requirement of some other source of remittance (Matt 18:22-27). Followers of Christ are instructed to forgive freely; are we then more righteous than God, who only forgives at cost? This notion would seem to annul the very idea of grace and portray God as limited and constricted by the requirements of Justice, unable to act freely upon His compassion. This is not the God of the Bible.

Christianity without the Trinity

Christ Church

Christ Church (Photo credit: Nathan Kavumbura)

There are some that feel that without the doctrines of the Trinity and of the incarnation Christianity is doomed to failure. It is claimed that robbing Christ of his divinity makes his message and mission of null affect, and ultimately leads to a denial of the atonement, the resurrection and miracles in general.[15] Unfortunately in some cases, such as the Unitarians (capital ‘U’), this has been the result, Jesus being treated as just a righteous teacher. However there is no reason why the reductive process of removing the doctrine of the Trinity from Christianity should be a purely negative process. Rather it is, I am arguing, a restoration of the primitive Christian faith.

What, then, would Christianity without the Trinity look like? A unitarian creed might look something like this:

  1. There is one God (Mark 12:32), who is the Creator of all things (Eph 4:6) and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; 2 Cor 1:3).
  2. There is one Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:5), the Son of God (Rom 1:4) born of a virgin (Gal 4:4; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27f), who lived a sinless life of obedience to God (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22; Rom 5:19), was crucified and rose the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4). Through his death Christ reconciled man to God (Rom 5:10).
  3. There is one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4), the power of God (Luke 1:35), by which God inspired the prophets (2 Pet 1:21) and works miracles (Gal 3:5).

What would Christianity without the Trinity feel like? It would feel more reminiscent of its Jewish roots, more consistent with its claims to monolatry, more reflective of scriptural language, and more intelligible to its adherents.

It has oft been claimed that those who deny the Trinity aren’t real Christians. Yet a ‘Christian’ (Greek christianos) by definition is a follower of Christ, and if this is to be anything more than a nominal title then those who claim to be Christian should follow Christ, in both his teaching and mode of life. Jesus Christ preached the God of Abraham (Matt 22:32) as his Father and as the one true God (John 17:3). Isn’t it time for the teaching of Christians to reflect the teaching of Christ?


[1] A. F. Buzzard & C. F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound (New York: International Scholars Publications, 1998).

[2] The Myth of God Incarnate (ed. J. Hick; London: SCM Press, 1977).

[3] Cf. M. A. McIntosh, Divine Teaching: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell 2008), 111-178

[4] T. E. Gaston, The Influence of Platonism on the Early Apologists, The Heythrop Journal 50.4 (2009), 573-580.

[5] Pace I. S. Markham, Understanding Christian Doctrine (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 76-7.

[6] J. Dillon, ‘Logos and Trinity: Patterns of Platonist Influence on Early Christianity’, in The Philosophy in Christianity, (G. Vesey ed.; Cambridge University Press, 1989).

[7] E.g. “Light of Light, very God of very God”, “being of one substance with the Father”, etc.

[8] R. M. Bowman, Why you should believe in the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989), 78-81.

[9] J. E. Vickers, Invocation and Assent: The Making and Remaking of Trinitarian Theology, (Grand Rapinds: Eerdmans, 2008), 69-101.

[10] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 165-7

[11] Vickers, Invocation and Assent, 191-2

[12] cf. S. Olyott, The Three are One (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1979), 101-2; N. Gumbel [Alpha Course], Is the Trinity Unbiblical, Unbelievable and Irrelvant? (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 2004), 7;

[13] cf. J. I Packer, Knowing God (Leicester: IVP, 1984)166-170.

[14] The single exception to this rule is Matt 20:28 (cf. Mark 10:45), “to give his life a ransom for (anti) many”.

[15] Cf. Packer, Knowing God, 46+

Please do find to read:

  1. Did the Inspirator exist
  2. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  3. God of gods
  4. A god between many gods
  5. Only One God
  6. God is One
  7. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  8. The Divine name of the Creator
  9. God about His name “יהוה“
  10. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  11. Sayings around God
  12. Attributes of God
  13. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  14. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  15. God Helper and Deliverer
  16. God is Spirit
  17. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  18. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  19. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  20. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  21. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  22. Seeing Jesus
  23. Jesus Messiah
  24. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  25. Who was Jesus?
  26. Jesus spitting image of his father
  27. Jesus and his God
  28. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  29. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  30. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  31. On the Nature of Christ
  32. Jesus spitting image of his father
  33. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  34. A man with an outstanding personality
  35. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  36. The wrong hero
  37. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
  38. Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apsotle, High Priest and King
  39. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  40. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  41. Jesus begotten Son of God #19 Compromising fact
  42. One Mediator
  43. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data
  44. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  45. Politics and power first priority #2
  46. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  47. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  48. 2 Corinthians 5:19 – God in Christ
  49. Christ Versus the Trinity
  50. Is God a Trinity?
  51. The Trinity – true or false?
  52. The Trinity – the Truth
  53. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  54. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  55. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  56. How did the doctrine of the Trinity arise?
  57. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  58. Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
  59. Altered to fit a Trinity
  60. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  61. The Great Trinity Debate
  62. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’
  63. Compromise and accomodation
  64. Written to recognise the Promised One
  65. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  66. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  67. About a man who changed history of humankind
  68. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  69. Doesn’t the name “Immanuel” show that Jesus is God, and therefore proves the Trinity? (Isa. 7:14, Mat. 1:23)
  70. Is Isaiah 9:6′s “Wonderful counselor” related to Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8′s “Immanuel”?
  71. Why does Isaiah 9:6 call Jesus “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”?
  72. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  73. One Mediator between God and man
  74. Philippians 1 – 2
  75. Worshipping Jesus
  76. Idolatry or idol worship
  77. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  78. People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms
  79. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  80. Science and God’s existence
  81. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  82. Blackness, nothingness, something, void
  83. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  84. Joseph Priestley To the Point
  85. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  86. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  87. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  88. The professor, God, Faith and the student
  89. Concerning gospelfaith
  90. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  91. Apologetics (23) – The Hard Questions: Which God? The Exclusivity Issue (7) The Resurrection and Exclusivity
  92. Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
  93. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  94. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  95. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  96. Edward Wightman
  97. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  98. Book of Mormon (5): God and Jesus
  99. The Book of Mormon: (7) Right First Principles are Essential to Getting it Right
  100. What the Qur’an Says About…(2): Jesus
  101. Creation’s Gospel: (12) The Veiled Glory

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  2. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  3. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  6. Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7
  7. Anyone Who Goes Too Far and Does Not Abide in the Teaching of Christ, Does Not Have God
  8. Is Jesus God?

+++

Also of interest:

  1. Trinity Proof Texts Considered
  2. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  3. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  4. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  5. The Unholy Trinity
  6. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  7. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  8. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  9. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  10. What About Those Who Do Not Know The Name of God?
  11. The Existence of Jesus Christ
  12. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  13. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  14. Cult or True Religion
  15. Reimagining the Historicity of the Bible
  16. Bishop T. D. Jakes says he now embraces the Trinity Doctrine: T. D. Jakes was interviewed by pastor Mark Driscoll and pastor James MacDonald on January 27, 2012 at Harvest Bible Chapel
  17. TD Jakes Breaks Down the Trinity, Addresses Being Called a ‘Heretic’ By Nicola Menzie
  18. T.D. Jakes is Heretical Concerning Modalism Whether he Believes it or Not
  19. Changed Heart for @StevenFurtick & @BishopJakes: Conviction in The #ElephantRoom. Lessons for dads?
  20. An Elephant Room Roundup
  21. Mark Driscoll And The Mars Hill Churches: When Discipline Becomes Control Becomes … ?
  22. Heretical Modalism and T.D. Jakes Doctrine On the Trinity
  23. The Leader of the Episcopal Church is a Heretic
  24. Critiquing N.T. Wright’s monotheism
  25. God, the Trinity
  26. This Is That – 1
  27. Dwell
  28. A brief visit to the Father of Revolution and Evolution
  29. Who Are You Really Slandering?
  30. On Union with God
  31. By the oaks of Mamre

+++

  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
    +
    Immanuel Kant, a German Idealist continuing the exegesis of the Socinians, saw no need for the doctrine of the Trinity. It was this idea of “necessity” mixed with speculative interpretation that led many like Kant to dismiss it altogether. Questions addressing God’s being, volition, and self-consciousness brought to light some of the supposed weak spots in the Trinitarian doctrine. Not being convinced scripturally of the nature or the necessity of the Trinity, nineteenth-century theologians turned to philosophy to answer their questions. Powell describes it as providing “philosophical answers with expressly Trinitarian features (269).” This move loosened the shackles of theological presuppositions and creedal traditions. Nineteenth-century theology was freed to philosophically construct a new horizon for the doctrine of God. Powell examines four prominent figures to structure his argument.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’

    All this should have made it clear that according to the New Testament the key quesiton in the doctrine of the Trinity is not the question which is declared an impenetrable ‘mystery’ (mysterium stricte dictum), how three such different entities can be ontologically one, but the christological question how the relationship of Jesus (and consequently also of the Spirit) to God is to be expressed. Here the belief in the one God which Christianity has in common with Judaism and Islam may not be put in question for a moment. There no other God but God! But what is decisive for the dialogue with Jews and Christians in particular is the insight that according to the New Testament the principle of unity is clearly not the one divine ‘nature’ (physis) common to several entities, as people were to think after the ne0-Nicene theology of the fourth century. For the New Testament, as for the Hebrew Bible, the principle of unity is clearly the one God (ho theos: the God = the Father), from whom are all things and to whom are all things.

  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
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    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.

    I can name at least three churches in my immediate area (i.e., within 25 miles of my home) who have either had to turn away prospective new members because they wouldn’t affirm the Nicene formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or who have only found out that a new member denied the Trinity after the individual had already been received as a member (in this case, it was kept hidden from the elders).

    What’s more, I know of at least two seminary students (at Presbyterian and Reformed seminaries, no less!) who have informed their professors that they don’t out and out deny the Nicene Creed, but they’re not sure they can affirm it, either.

  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com)
    Giving recognition to the Holy Trinity is an important aspect of the Holy Orthodox Church.  When we pray we make the sign of the cross.  The thumb and first two fingers represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The bringing of these three fingers together signifies that we do not believe in three gods, only ONE GOD.  Everything we do is in the name of the trinity: baptism, forgiveness, marriage, the confession of our faith (Nicene Creed) etc. The Trinity expresses the essence of our faith.  The work of salvation begins with the Father who created the world, is realized by the Son through His death and resurrection, and is completed through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.

    “Catholics believe (X), but (X) isn’t in the Bible”

    First off, let me put this out there and get it over with — Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which translates to “Scripture alone.” Unlike many Protestant beliefs, Catholics do not accept the Bible as the highest authority on doctrine. This may sound like a heresy to some, but it isn’t. The Church isn’t derived from the Bible. In fact it’s quite the opposite. It is precisely because of the Catholic Church that the Bible even exists

  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
    +
    Scripture is God-breathed, making one spiritually complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  If Scripture is sufficient, what need is there for anything beyond it?  On what basis would we accept anything more or less than or different from the Bible?  How could fallible man be equal to or co-authorize with the perfect law of the Lord?  Let us accept no substitute or rival to the Bible!
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown. But to the glory of God, He rekindled the fire of the Gospel, and it spread like a fire in a barn of hay. The Reformation has given us such a wealth of knowledge of the truth of Christ’s teaching that I personally will never be able to ingest all of.
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Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

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By 1890 all Americans voted to make 25 December, Christmas a legal holiday.

The old elph Claus, induced with supernatural powers, and his eight horned magical reindeer.
By 1880 Santa Claus was a very popularised folk hero.
(According to this video) Looking at conception of Elisabeth and Mary, possible birthday 1st day of Feast of tabernacles, September 25th or beginning October.

Many people use Christmas to perpetuate the myth of Santa Claus to their children. (A lie and deceivement to their children, who believe and trust their parents. Later people would wounder if other things the parents told them would be true or not like this Santa Claus and Easterbunny myths) It plants the seeds of doubt, creating disappointment and disillusion.

In schools the holidays are celebrated but no references to God or to Jesus may be made. All references to God must be omitted. They only may sing non-Scriptural songs.
“There is no Christian element in the holiday” the interviewed says.

Christians should live on a daily basis, remembering the son of God, born in Bethlehem; momentby moment dedication of their entire life to Jesus, then, and only then, they will be able to have victory over pagan influences and to have an impact on society, for the Only One God the Creator of heaven and earth.

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“2 here is what ADONAI says: “don’t learn the way of the Goyim, don’t be frightened by astrological signs, even if the Goyim are afraid of them;
3 for the customs of the peoples are nothing. they cut down a tree in the forest; a craftsman works it with his axe;
4 they deck it with silver and gold. they fix it with hammer and nails, so that it won’t move.
5 like a scarecrow in a cucumber patch, it cannot speak. it has to be carried, because it cannot walk.
do not be afraid of it—it can do nothing bad; likewise it is unable to do anything good!”” (Jeremiah 10:2-5 CJB)

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“18  “if the world hates you, understand that it hated me first. 19 if you belonged to the world, the world would have loved its own. but because you do not belong to the world—on the contrary, I have picked you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20 remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ if they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours too. 21 but they will do all this to you on my account, because they don’t know the one who sent me. 22 “if I had not come and spoken to them, they wouldn’t be guilty of sin; but now, they have no excuse for their sin. 23 whoever hates me hates my father also.” (John 15:18-23 CJB)

“11  now I am no longer in the world. they are in the world, but I am coming to you. holy father, guard them by the power of your name, which you have given to me, so that they may be one, just as we are. 12 when I was with them, I guarded them by the power of your name, which you have given to me; yes, I kept watch over them; and not one of them was destroyed (except the one meant for destruction, so that the Tanakh might be fulfilled).
13 but now, I am coming to you; and I say these things while I am still in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.
14 “I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world—just as I myself do not belong to the world. 15 I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the evil one. 16 they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17  set them apart for holiness by means of the truth—your word is truth.” (John 17:11-17 CJB)

“4  you, children, are from god and have overcome the false prophets, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
5 they are from the world; therefore, they speak from the world’s viewpoint; and the world listens to them.
6 we are from god. whoever knows god listens to us; whoever is not from god doesn’t listen to us. this is how we distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:4-6 CJB)

“14 therefore fear ADONAI, and serve him truly and sincerely. put away the gods your ancestors served beyond the (Euphrates) river and in Egypt, and serve ADONAI! 15  if it seems bad to you to serve ADONAI, then choose today whom you are going to serve! will it be the gods your ancestors served beyond the river? or the gods of the Emori, in whose land you are living? as for me and my household, we will serve ADONAI {Jehovah}!” (Joshua 24:14-15 CJB)

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Preceding article: Holidays, holy days and traditions

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  1. The nativity story
  2. Religious Practices around the world
  3. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  4. First Century of Christianity
  5. Hellenistic influences
  6. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  7. Only One God
  8. Idolatry or idol worship
  9. Faith and works
  10. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  11. Compromise and accomodation
  12. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  13. For those who have not the rudiments of an historical sense
  14. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  15. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  16. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  17. A season of gifts
  18. God’s Special Gift
  19. What Jesus sang
  20. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  21. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  22. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  23. The nativity story
  24. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  25. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  26. Speedy Christmas!
  27. Christmas trees
  28. Merry Christmas with the King of Kings
  29. What do you want for Christmas
  30. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  31. Sancta Claus is not God
  32. Wishing lanterns and Christmas

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Additional reading:

  1. Pagan Roots? 5 Surprising Facts About Christmas
    Pagan, or non-Christian, traditions show up in this beloved winter holiday, a consequence of early church leaders melding Jesusnativity celebration with pre-existing midwinter festivals. Since then, Christmas traditions have warped over time, arriving at their current state a little more than a century ago.
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    As Christians spread their religion into Europe in the first centuries A.D., they ran into people living by a variety of local and regional religious creeds.
    Christian missionaries lumped all of these people together under the umbrella term “pagan,” said Philip Shaw, who researches early Germanic languages and Old English at Leicester University in the U.K. The term is related to the Latin word meaning “field,” Shaw told LiveScience. The lingual link makes sense, he said, because early European Christianity was an urban phenomenon, while paganism persisted longer in rustic areas.
    Early Christians wanted to convert pagans, Shaw said, but they were also fascinated by their traditions.
    “Christians of that period are quite interested in paganism,” he said. “It’s obviously something they think is a bad thing, but it’s also something they think is worth remembering. It’s what their ancestors did.” [In Photos: Early Christian Rome]
    Perhaps that’s why pagan traditions remained even as Christianity took hold. The Christmas tree is a 17th-century German invention, University of Bristol’s Hutton told LiveScience, but it clearly derives from the pagan practice of bringing greenery indoors to decorate in midwinter. The modern Santa Claus is a direct descendent of England’s Father Christmas, who was not originally a gift-giver. However, Father Christmas and his other European variations are modern incarnations of old pagan ideas about spirits who traveled the sky in midwinter, Hutton said.
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    With no Biblical directive to do so and no mention in the Gospels of the correct date, it wasn’t until the fourth century that church leaders in Rome embraced the holiday. At this time, Nissenbaum said, many people had turned to a belief the Church found heretical: That Jesus had never existed as a man, but as a sort of spiritual entity.
    “If you want to show that Jesus was a real human being just like every other human being, not just somebody who appeared like a hologram, then what better way to think of him being born in a normal, humble human way than to celebrate his birth?” Nissenbaum said. [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus]
    Midwinter festivals, with their pagan roots, were already widely celebrated, Nissenbaum said. And the date had a pleasing philosophical fit with festivals celebrating the lengthening days after the winter solstice (which fell on Dec. 21 this year). “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born … Christ should be born,” one Cyprian text read.
  2. The Origin of Christmas
    The truth is that all of the customs of Christmas pre-date the birth of Jesus Christ, and a study of this would reveal that Christmas in our day is a collection of traditions and practices taken from many cultures and nations.
    The date of December 25th comes from Rome and was a celebration of the Italic god, Saturn, and the rebirth of the sun god.
    This was done long before the birth of Jesus.
    It was noted by the pre-Christian Romans and other pagans, that daylight began to increase after December 22nd, when they assumed that the sun god died.
    These ancients believed that the sun god rose from the dead three days later as the new-born and venerable sun.
    Thus, they figured that to be the reason for increasing daylight.
    This was a cause for much wild excitement and celebration. Gift giving and merriment filled the temples of ancient Rome, as sacred priests of Saturn, called dendrophori, carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession.
    In Germany, the evergreen tree was used in worship and celebration of the yule god, also in observance of the resurrected sun god.
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    A simple study of the tactics of the Romish Church reveals that in every case, the church absorbed the customs, traditions and general paganism of every tribe, culture and nation in their efforts to increase the number of people under their control.
    In short, the Romish church told all of these pagan cultures,”Bring your gods, goddesses, rituals and rites, and we will assign Christian sounding titles and names to them.

    When Martin Luther started the reformation on October 31st, 1517, and other reformers followed his lead, all of them took with them the paganism that was so firmly imbedded in Rome.
    These reformers left Christmas intact.
    In England, as the authorized Bible became available to the common people by the decree of King James the II in 1611, people began to discover the pagan roots of Christmas, which are clearly revealed in Scripture.
    The Puritans in England, and later in Massachusetts Colony, outlawed this holiday as witchcraft.
    Near the end of the nineteenth century, when other Bible versions began to appear, there was a revival of the celebration of Christmas.

    We are now seeing ever-increasing celebrating of Christmas or Yule, its true name, as we draw closer to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!
    In both witchcraft circles and contemporary Christian churches, the same things are going on.

  3. Is Christmas Pagan?
    There was, for example, a saturnal celebration around the time of Christmas that pagans celebrated, which was actually a temptation for Christians to participate in that had pagan content to it.  So the church changed the day that they celebrated the birth of Christ.  They used to celebrate it in the Spring.  But the church said, We can celebrate it any time we want.  Let’s celebrate it at the same time the pagans are celebrating their pagan festival.  It’ll act as a contrast to that pagan festival because our celebration is the birth of the God-man, Jesus Christ.  It has Biblical content.  Plus it will protect Christians from being wooed away by this other celebration to participate in what was a pagan celebration.
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    Circumcision was practiced by the Egyptians before it was practiced by the Jews.  It was a cultural practice which had some religious significance.  God captured the practice, gave it to Abraham, reinvested it with new meaning and it became a religious rite for Abraham to worship his creator.
    We think of circumcision as this really holy thing in the Old Testament associated with the covenant, which it was.  But it wasn’t that way originally.  By golly, it seems to me that if God can do such a thing–take a practice that had heathen content to it, save the practice, reinvest new information to it–then it certainly is okay for the church to do it.
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    Even Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, wasn’t given by God in the Scriptures.  It’s something that they do to recollect a deliverance, a special deliverance, that God gave them during what we call the inter-testamental period, those 400 years between Malachi and Jesus.  Theirs is a festival that is commonplace now but which doesn’t have its source in a direct command in Scripture; but it does function like many of those other things that are in Scripture.  It reminds people year to year of God’s faithfulness and His goodness.
  4. The History of Christmas, simple to remember
    St. Mark’s, written about 65 CE – begins with the baptism of an adult Jesus.  This suggests that the earliest Christians lacked interest in or knowledge of Jesus’ birthdate.+

    Joseph A. Fitzmyer – Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America, member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and former president of the Catholic Biblical Association – writing in the Catholic Church’s official commentary on the New Testament {Addison G. Wright, Roland E. Murphy, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “A History of Israel” in The Jerome Biblical Commentary, (Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1990), p. 1247.}, writes about the date of Jesus’ birth, “Though the year [of Jesus birth is not reckoned with certainty, the birth did not occur in AD 1.  The Christian era, supposed to have its starting point in the year of Jesus birth, is based on a miscalculation introduced ca. 533 by Dionysius Exiguus.”

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    The DePascha Computus, an anonymous document believed to have been written in North Africa around 243 CE, placed Jesus birth on March 28.  Clement, a bishop of Alexandria (d. ca. 215 CE), thought Jesus was born on November 18.  Based on historical records, Fitzmyer guesses that Jesus birth occurred on September 11, 3 BCE.

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    In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it.  Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians

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    The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687 that “the early Christians who  first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones.”{ Increase Mather, A Testimony against Several Prophane and Superstitious Customs, Now Practiced by Some in New England (London, 1687), p. 35.  See also Stephen Nissenbaum, The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America’s Most Cherished Holiday, New York: Vintage Books, 1997, p. 4.}  Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681.{Nissenbaum, p. 3.}  However, Christmas was and still is celebrated by most Christians.

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    Norse mythology recounts how the god Balder was killed using a mistletoe arrow by his rival god Hoder while fighting for the female Nanna.  Druid rituals use mistletoe to poison their human sacrificial victim. {Miles, p. 273.}  The Christian custom of “kissing under the mistletoe” is a later synthesis of the sexual license of Saturnalia with the Druidic sacrificial cult.{Miles, p. 274-5.}

  5. Christmas: Is it “Christian” or Pagan?
    “The cold of the night in Palestine between December and February is very piercing, and it was not customary for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than about the end of October.” Hislop, A., The Two Babylons, Loiseaux Brothers, Neptune, N.J. pg 91.
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    If the winter was such a bad time in which to flee, it seems unlikely that the shepherds would be sleeping out in the fields while tending their sheep during that season.
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    Isis, the Egyptian title for the “queen of heaven,” gave birth to a son at this very time, about the time of the winter solstice. The term “Yule” is the Chaldee (Babylonian) name for “infant” or “little child.”
    This pagan festival not only commemorated the figurative birthday of the sun in the renewal of its course, but it also was celebrated (on December 24) among the Sabeans of Arabia, as the birthday of the “Lord Moon.”

In Babylon, where the sun (Baal) was the object of worship, Tammuz was considered the incarnation of the Sun.

“In the Hindu mythology, which is admitted to be essentially Babylonian, this comes out very distinctly. There, Surya, or the Sun, is represented as being incarnate, and born for the purpose of subduing the enemies of the gods, who without such a birth, could not have been subdued.” Ibid pg 96

There are many other Christmas counterparts of the Babylonian winter solstice festival, such as: 1) candles lighted on Christmas eve and used throughout the festival season were equally lighted by the Pagans on the eve of the festival of the Babylonian god, to do honor to him, 2) the Christmas tree was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir. The tree denoted the Pagan Messiah.

“The mother of Adonis, the Sun God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as the ŒMan of the branch.” Ibid pg 97

  • Should we Celebrate Christmas?
    Sometimes tradition is acceptable and perhaps even pleasing in the sight of Yahweh. But other times it is not acceptable and can even be hated by Him
    The issue of traditions transgressing the commandment of Yahweh was a key teaching of Yahushua the Messiah:
    (NKJV) Matthew 15:1- Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Yahushua, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
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    Messiah didn’t like the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees because they transgressed Yahweh’s clear commandments. As I will share, Christmas is also transgressing the commandment of Yahweh in favor of tradition. But first, notice that He goes on to say:

    Matthew 15:7 –
    “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:8 `These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with [their] lips, But their heart is far from Me.9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “So a tradition can honor him with the lips, but actually be a vain thing that displeases Him. I have found that Christmas is honoring with the lips but it is actually a vain tradition that has essentially become a doctrine and commandment of men.
    It is a tradition and commandment of men because there is no verse in the bible that tells us that we are to celebrate the birth nor the resurrection of Yahushua the Messiah—let alone in a way that imitates paganism and idolatry!
    So yes, I do believe we must question these traditions that have been handed down to this generation even though few dare to. Many Christians speak against the Catholic traditions of Lent, Ash Wednesday, etc. but fail to recognize that the same types of pagan elements exist in the celebration of Christmas and Easter.
  • The History of Christmas and Its Pagan Origins
    English: large wooden Santa Claus and "no...

    large wooden Santa Claus and “north pole” at Santa Claus House, North Pole, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Many people suffer from the misconception that Christmas is a Christian holiday. The earliest history of Christmas is composed of “pagan” (non-Christian) fertility rites and practices which predate Jesus by centuries. The truth is, in short, the real history of Christmas has nothing to do with Christianity. Many of the traditions which we hold dear, such as decorating Christmas trees, singing Christmas carols, and giving Christmas gifts, are rooted in the traditions of non-Christian religions.
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    In the Middle Ages, Christmas was a raucous, drunken celebration which resembled a carnival. Poor people would go on a Christmas“trick or treat” around the richer neighborhoods, causing them misery if they didn’t get what they wanted.
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    The Germans did not so much celebrate as honor the winter solstice. They believed that their god, Oden, flew through the sky at night passing judgment on his people. Generally, they would stay indoors during this season. When the Germanic people were converted to Christianity, their winter festival was naturally adopted as a celebration of the birth of Christ.
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    Contrary to popular belief, the tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree, bringing it into the home and decorating it is not pagan in origin, and did not appear until centuries after Christ’s broth. The Romans decorated their homes and temples with evergreen clippings, but allowed the trees to remain intact, often decorating live trees with religious icons.
    The Druids tied fruit to the branches of live trees, and baked cakes in the shape of fish, birds and other animals, to offer to their god, Woden. We also inherited the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe from the Druids. The Christmas tree tradition we currently practice had its origins in 16th century Western Germany. “Paradise trees” were cut down to commemorate the Feast of Adam and Eve, which took place on Christmas eve every year.
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    Christianity and pre-Christian pagan religion have a great deal in common. Various pagan religions shared the Christian practice of worshiping a god-man who could offer salvation in the form of heaven or condemnation in the form of hell. The concept that a son of God could be born of a mortal woman is seen in many different religions spanning the globe. These concepts are universal, except to those who are extremely divisive and have a tendency to pick nits.
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    Fortunately there are many ways to reconnect with the original purpose and meaning of Christmas. Small traditions, such as placing apples or cookies on the tree, or decorating a live tree instead of a cut one, are a good way to get in touch with the way that our ancestors celebrated Christmas. Respecting the planet and understanding its powers and its limitations are important. The pagans were aware of the changing seasons and found earth-centered and social ways to cope with them. They were aware and appreciative of the sun. They exchanged gifts, but their gift exchange was not commercialized. Instead the focus was on bringing good fortune. Giving gifts of fruit has been a common practice throughout history, and is still popular today.

  • A History of New Years
  • Christianity gone haywire, and going down
  • The Marketing Of Catholicism
  • One of the main concerns of the Church in the last 50 years – and I mean, even from good, orthodox priests and laymen – seems to be to make the message of Christianity attractive, or easy to digest, or such that it would appear an improvement in one’s quality of life.
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    Christianity isn’t a “fun option”, or a “better choice”; similarly, atheism or unrepentant grave sin are infinitely worse than “poor choices”. It is no surprise 50 years of trying to persuade people of this have brought us to the level where we are now.
    Christianity is, first and foremost, harsh. Harsh in the brutal commandments – not suggestions of “better choices” -, harsh in the consequences for those refusing to do so, harsh in the crystal-clear warning that no alternative ways are acceptable.
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    The call to submit our will to His good and perfect will – because God’s ways work for our happiness. A call to surrender our “rights” and all that we are to Jesus – through faithful membership of His Church.

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  • Oh Christmas Tree (notestoponder.wordpress.com)
    We deck the halls because Pagans used to bring greenery into their homes on  the shortest day of the year for the sun god to eat.  It was an “offering” to get well soon; a custom shared by ancient Druids, Romans and Greeks. Jesus could have been born in July for all we know but Dec. 25 was set to soothe uppity Pagans by coinciding with their solstice parties.
  • Chanukah (Hanukkah) / Christmas – Facts or Fabels? (hisimagenme.wordpress.com)
    Would Yeshua Himself celebrate Christmas if He walked the earth as human today? Not likely, at least not the way most do.What about Hanukkah?
    Yeshua likely grew up celebrating Hanukkah. It is one of the Jewish Holidays that goes way back. But to be clear it is the only holiday that God did not command to be celebrated. At least Biblically speaking. At least as far as we know. This is because the time period in which the origin of the holiday takes place between Malachi and Matthew or “old and new” testaments. He did indeed celebrate this holiday, and its not a far stretch to know why. As the Light of the World that gave the oil (Holy Spirit) to His church at a critical time in its history…we are the Menorah of Adonai. The above link does a beautiful job explaining this in more detail. It’s worth the time to “study to show thyself and test the Spirit” in search of Truth.
  • The Idol of Christmas (eternalchrist.wordpress.com)
    No, we are not the Grinch who stole Christmas; but Christians should understand the origins of this most hallowed celebration.
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    Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and Jingle Bells are born of the traditions of men, and detract from the birth of Messiah. Granted, Sinterklaas was a real person (Saint Nicholas of Myra); a 4th Century Christian bishop who gave generously to the poor.Everything else we know about Santa Claus is a creation of myth and fables. The Saint Nick who is worshiped today has become an idol of merchants and debtors; and is a sacrilege to the Nativity at Bethlehem.Christmas evolved from the winter festivals of Saturnalia (Rome) and Yule (German) from which we get the word Yuletide. These annual feasts celebrated pagan gods such as the white bearded Odin who supposedly rode his horse across the wintry skies of northern Europe delivering gifts to all the children.
  • The true reason for the season (sanchezjennifer926.wordpress.com)
    Christ will never be “the reason for the season” Jesus Christ was interjected into an already existing Pagan festival/feast and I’m here to shed a little light on an ongoing betrayal.
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    During the middle ages, the debased Mardi Gras atmosphere, of what was now known as “Christ’s mass” had reached a fevered pitch. Common practices included sex in the streets, rioting, murder, and a number of Druid Halloween like rituals. This blood drenched ritual got so out of hand, that by the year 1652 following the execution of King Charles I, “Christ’s mass” was finally outlawed.
  • YAHWEH’s Truth Behind The Pagan Holiday Christmas (simplylivingforyah.wordpress.com)
    Unbeknownst to the multitudes of Christians, and other religions, those celebrations are made by witches, warlocks, but mainly by Luciferians. I know you are thinking “why Luciferians”? So I’ll tell you why. Try to go over this a few times so you make sure it’s absolutely correct, and then once you do, “remember it”!The reason Luciferians celebrate it is because they know their god Satan has tricked most of the people that call themselves Christians into believing a lie, and that makes those people seen for who they are. “Weak in study and able to be told anything.” Today’s modern day believer is unequipped to do battle with Satan and that gives him an advantage over them.
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    These so called “church father’s” pre-existed the man who would continue in their efforts to malign the true doctrine that we were supposed to be taught. Instead Constantine, who was a wife murdering madman, and killed his very own children, found a way to align pagan worship (paganomics) with what was being called “Christianity.” It would allow pagans to bring some long time rituals into the church. “Easter” (Ishtar) The fertility goddess, whose name was originally “Asherah,” or “Astarte.” YAHWEH had the Asheran pole (may pole dancing) taken out of all HIS Tabernacles. “Churchianity brought it back with Easter.”
  • “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” (allaboutarmstrongism.wordpress.com)
    Tonight, the Christmas tree – yes, the Christmas tree – (you’re responsible for your judging thoughts, Armstrong Adherents)  is brightly lit and shining in my home. Lights flashing sequentially, the beautiful colors light the living room in a warm, inviting glow. From speakers, St. Paul’s Cathedral is singing “Hark the Herald Angels sing” – a song proclaiming the birth of the most important Figure ever to walk the face of the Earth. The words echo beautifully throughout. It is absolutely wonderful.
  • The Twelve Mysteries of Christmas, Day 2 (lmwinborne.wordpress.com)
    Fact is, green has been used by many cultures as a symbol of life.  During harsh winters, evergreens were cut down and brought into houses as a symbol that life still existed despite the bleak conditions outside.  Romans hung holly wreaths on their doors and walls to welcome back the sun in the natalis solis invicti (birth of the invincible sun”) festival, which was celebrated on December 25 each year.  Red was added to symbolize the shed blood of Jesus.
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    The custom of using a pine to represent the Tree of Good and Evil spread from the church to the home, creating a tradition with the two colors.
  • Falling Back To The Wall – In Length And Wordiness (experientialpagan.wordpress.com)
     I’m (not really) sorry, Christians; you don’t have a patent on festive mid-winter celebrations.  In fact, if you all bothered to know as much about your Christian history as you think you know about pagan history, you would know it was your own Puritans who wanted to banish Christmas; not the secular humanists, thank you very much.At this time of year, I often wish I could master the patter of the professional auctioneer, so I could belt out “Merry Bodhi, Soyal, Dongzhi, Solstice, Yule, Kwanzaa, Malkh, Hanukkah, Christmas, Solis Invicti, Saturnalia, Yalda, Hogmanay, New Year’s!” 545237without it taking me five minutes to say it.  I hear the “defend Christmas” crowd go on about how it is our “culture” to be defended, but you know what?  America doesn’t have a culture.  Not really.  Capitalism is not cultured, religious bigotry is not cultured, consumerism and materialism are not cultured….but enough of my humanism, right?  IF Americans doing the loudest screaming had ANY bloody concept of “culture” they would know what all those holidays up there ARE, for starters…and then maybe we could have a rational talk about their ill-mannered insistence that nobody ever say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas!”
  • Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
    Jewish people celebrate Christmas today, not because of Christ’s birthday, but because it is a popular tradition and part of our present-day culture. It’s as American as apple pie and hamburgers. And I observed Christmas for nearly 22 years of my life, until God opened my eyes to see the falseness of this pagan holiday.It’s not because I’m a Jew that I don’t celebrate Christmas now. That has nothing to do with it. Let me tell you the real reasons why I no longer observe this pagan holiday.
  • The Christmas Season in the Italian Language (becomingitalianwordbyword.typepad.com)
    To celebrate la stagione natalizia in Italy, I am dedicating this month’s blog posts to the sights, sounds, tastes, and traditions of Natale.  Buone feste! (Happy Holidays!)
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    the key dates in a season of celebrations:*December 6: La festa di San Nicola, patron saint of shepherds and of Bari–and the inspiration for the American “Santa Claus.”*December 8: La festa dell’Immacolata, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic holy day honoring Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. In Rome the Pope comes to the Piazza di Spagna to drop a garland of flowers around the statue of the Madonna. (Since she stands atop a high column, firemen on ladders do the actual placement.)*December 13: La festa di Santa Lucia, the festival of lights.

    *December 24: La vigilia di Natale, the vigil or eve of Christmas.

    *December 25: Natale,  the “birthday” of Gesù bambino.

    *December 26: La festa di Santo Stefano, Saint Steven’s day.

    *December 31: La festa di San Silvestro, Saint Sylvester’s day or New Year’s Eve (la vigilia di Capodanno).

    *January 1: Il Capodanno, literally the top of the year.

    *January 6: L’Epifania (Epiphany), which marks the arrival of the Re Magi, the three wise men, who brought gifts to the infant Jesus from afar.