Michael Hopp (27 July 2010)
"RE: Christian holidays, Christmas trees and pagan roots"
Welcome to the Doves, Michael!
Thank you Doves for all your contributions. I've enjoyed them for many months now and have learned a lot, especially about end times fulfillment of prophesy. Also, I have been prompted to contribute a few times, but thus far, I have resisted.
I've noticed recent discussions about holidays, Christmas trees, traditions and pagan roots; so when I read this from Heather Belletete, I thought I would try to answer from Scripture.
Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 address these issues indirectly.
Although Paul refers to observing days or eating meats offered to idols, the principle is the same about Christmas trees or other such traditions with pagan roots.
The point is that the THING itself (holidays, particular foods, Christmas trees) has no inherent spiritual value - IT is neither good nor evil.
One's belief and intentions about IT is what counts.
- If a Christmas tree is seen as offensive because of pagan roots, then don't have one; because the pagan context would make it sinful in your mind.
- If a Christmas tree is seen as a harmless family tradition full of fond memories of love and generosity, then enjoy it as part of the festive tradition in the season celebrating Jesus Christ's birth.
Another major point of these chapters is Christian love for one another. For the sake of a Christian brother or sister who can't shake off the memory or belief that certain THINGS are sinful, we should rather abstain from IT/THEM than to cause him/her to sin. In fact, we sin against Christ if we willfully disregard a brother/sister's weak conscience and cause them to sin while enjoying THINGS which we know are not inherently sinful.
These chapters (KJV) are pasted below with highlights:
Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
Rom 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Rom 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
Rom 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
Rom 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
Rom 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Rom 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
Rom 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
Rom 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Rom 14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Rom 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
Rom 14:17 For the
is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. kingdomof God
Rom 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Rom 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Rom 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
1Co 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
1Co 8:2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
1Co 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.
1Co 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
1Co 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
1Co 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
1Co 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
1Co 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
1Co 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
1Co 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
1Co 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
1Co 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.1Co 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.