Even casual discussions with friends and loved ones who are outside of the churches of Christ can reveal a very strange mythology that has developed around them.
They are sometimes mischaracterized, maligned, and ostracized on the basis of misunderstood or poorly explained practices. Not all the criticisms, of course, are unfair or false, even if the scriptural basis for the differences among us goes unexplored. It is the mythology about churches of Christ that concerns us now, the kind of thing one hears about them from those operating according to ignorance or malice. Continue reading » Legends of the Churches of Christ
Christians from the very beginning have had to decide whether or not to honor the holiday observations of religions other than that of Christ. That first generation of Christians, being Jews, were confounded by the insistence of some that they continue to observe the “laws and ordinances” of the law of Moses. But this was soon answered by the apostles (Acts 15:24-31; Ephesians 2 15; Galatians 5:6) who plainly defined the old law as dead. Therefore the observation of special days and practices under the old law were now only matters of indifference. Continue reading » Doing the First Works: Observing Religious Holidays?
Our calendars are filled with many different holidays. Many of these are national holidays, such as, New Years, Martin Luther King day, Presidents day, Memorial day, Independence day, Veterans day, Columbus day, and Thanksgiving. There are others that are religious holidays such as, Yom Kipper, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, Easter and Christmas. And, from time to time, new holidays are added.
To many people a “holiday” is merely time off from work, time to shop or time to work in the yard. However, there is more to a holiday than that. Our word “holiday” is derived from “holy day”. The purpose of a holiday is “A day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate a particular activity” (American Heritage Dictionary). It is sad when we have a holiday (like Independence Day) and some have no clue what the day is about. The same could be true of the Lord’s holy day, the first day of the week.
Let’s consider what makes a day holy and see how men have made holidays that are greatly contrasted with God’s holy days.
Continue reading » The Lord’s Holy Day
A great number of people in our country have been taught for years that the birthday of our Lord is on December 25th. They have been taught that people must celebrate it in some form or fashion each year in order to please God. However, does the Bible teach us to celebrate the birthday of Christ on December 25th, or any other day of the year? The Bible teaches that all we do and say must be in accordance with the will of God (1 Peter 4:11; Colossians 3:17). Therefore, where has the Bible revealed that man celebrate the birth of Christ? If something has been said about it, what does the Bible reveal is necessary for the appropriate celebration of the Lord’s birth? Some people will attend special “church services,” masses, and the like on December 25th, others will do nothing. I know some who have decorated birthday cakes which said, “Happy Birthday Jesus” on it, and other such things. What is the truth? Are we to celebrate the Lord’s birth as some type of “holy day”? Let us spend some time in God’s book, and learn what the Bible says about our remembering Christ, as well as examine some misconceptions about Christmas.
The Wise Men
Many believe that there were three wise men that came to visit Jesus at His birth. Any “nativity scene” you see will portray three wise men standing around looking at a baby lying in a manger. People assume that there were three wise men present within a few minutes or hours of the birth of Christ, since this is what the majority of the world has said over the years. Yet, Matthew 2:11 reveals that the wise men came “into the house…” and not the stable! J.W. McGarvey (The Fourfold Gospel, p. 42-43) shows by the Bible and historical records that Jesus was no less than 40 days old by the time the wise men worshipped Him and presented the gifts. This is because Luke’s account of Christ’s birth shows that after our Lord’s birth, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice (Luke 2:22-24). It was upon their return from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, that the wise men came and found Jesus (Matthew 2:9-11).
Continue reading » The History of Christmas
The series of articles in this issue of Watchman Magazine has to do with “holidays”. In passing, I notice:
- that the English word, “holiday” is a contraction of “holy days”, but has come to mean simply days on which one doesn’t have to work. It is associated with vacation time. The religious aspect of the word, as to its derivation, has completely been lost. (Who in the U.S.A., speaking English, thinks of “holy day” when he hears or says, “holiday”? In fact, most of the “holidays”, for example, “The 4th Of July”, “Labor Day”, in our country, that are national holidays, have no religious connotation or derivation whatsoever.
- some examples of this: Sunday (day of the sun); Monday (day of the moon); etc. Who in the English-speaking world thinks of worshipping the sun when he says, “Sunday”? or the moon, when he says, “Monday”? Yet, these two days received their names originally in reference to such pagan worship of the sun and moon.
In this lesson I am to treat the days as mentioned in Romans 14:5, 6.
Continue reading » Romans 14 and Days