Why December 25 is Christmas

As I keep posting about, Christmas on December 25 is NOT due to there being a pagan holiday on that day.  Repeat:  Christmas is NOT based on the Roman festival of Sol Invictus.  Substantial scholarship has shot down that theory, but we keep hearing it–in the press, in books that try to debunk Christianity, in churches that oppose following the church year, and even in some comments on this blog.

Now the authoritative Biblical Archaeology Review weighs in, citing more evidence debunking the pagan origin of Christmas myth, showing how it got started, and–most interestingly–tracing how the December 25 date did get set aside as the date of Jesus’s birth.

To put it simply, the date is nine months after the Feast of the Annunciation, celebrating the appearance of the angel to the Virgin Mary announcing her conception by the Holy Spirit.  That date is March 25.  The reason for that date is the belief that great prophets died on the date of their conception.  We do know historically the date when Jesus died, since it is tied to the Jewish passover.   The church determined that date to be March 25, before Good Friday and Easter became floating holidays that always fall on the weekends.  The article in BAR cites how widely the attested in Jewish and rabbinic literature is the association between conception date and death date, and how this was also well known in the early church.

Please join me in correcting the myth of the pagan origins of Christmas whenever you hear it.

HT: Joe Carter

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • John C

    Not so fast professor Veith –
    There is a debate on the BBC between Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association and the professor of pagan history at Bristol University, Ronald Hutton.
    Go to http://www.rightwingwatch.org
    and click on the link at ‘The Perfect Pre Christmas Post’ dated 23rd December 2010
    It seems that there is more paginism in Christmas than you would like.

  • John C

    Not so fast professor Veith –
    There is a debate on the BBC between Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association and the professor of pagan history at Bristol University, Ronald Hutton.
    Go to http://www.rightwingwatch.org
    and click on the link at ‘The Perfect Pre Christmas Post’ dated 23rd December 2010
    It seems that there is more paginism in Christmas than you would like.

  • WebMonk

    I’m not sure that anyone is arguing that there aren’t any non-Christian influences in how Christmas is celebrated, but rather that the common falsehood that Christmas actually came from a pagan source is baseless.

    The professor in the clip you reference made a quick reference to a “pre-Christian origin” of Christmas, but that is a statement that has been very amply shown to be false. There were certainly pre-Christian winter solstice celebrations, but the origin of the December 25th date for Christmas is completely separate from the winter solstice celebrations.

    Correlation doesn’t equal causation. Two things coming to be on similar dates doesn’t mean one caused the other. There certainly has been a lot of influence in how Christmas is celebrated from the winter solstice celebrations and general commercialization, but that’s a very separate thing from winter solstice celebrations and commercialism being the source for Christmas and its date.

  • WebMonk

    I’m not sure that anyone is arguing that there aren’t any non-Christian influences in how Christmas is celebrated, but rather that the common falsehood that Christmas actually came from a pagan source is baseless.

    The professor in the clip you reference made a quick reference to a “pre-Christian origin” of Christmas, but that is a statement that has been very amply shown to be false. There were certainly pre-Christian winter solstice celebrations, but the origin of the December 25th date for Christmas is completely separate from the winter solstice celebrations.

    Correlation doesn’t equal causation. Two things coming to be on similar dates doesn’t mean one caused the other. There certainly has been a lot of influence in how Christmas is celebrated from the winter solstice celebrations and general commercialization, but that’s a very separate thing from winter solstice celebrations and commercialism being the source for Christmas and its date.

  • http://twitter.com/splattne Stefan

    Who cares? It’s a symbolic date anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/splattne Stefan

    Who cares? It’s a symbolic date anyway.

  • Booklover

    Any date that celebrates the arrival of God in flesh into the world can’t be wrong. Feast on!!!!!!!!

  • Booklover

    Any date that celebrates the arrival of God in flesh into the world can’t be wrong. Feast on!!!!!!!!

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Good points, Webmonk! But my standard points when people begin to talk about the “pagan” origins of this or that, is – so what? We were pagan too, weren’t we?

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Good points, Webmonk! But my standard points when people begin to talk about the “pagan” origins of this or that, is – so what? We were pagan too, weren’t we?

  • Tom Hering

    The winter solstice occurs on December 21st or 22nd. Christmas Day is December 25th. Hello? If Christmas was meant to supplant winter solstice celebrations, why place it three or four days after those celebrations have already taken place? I mean, the early Church could read a calendar. Duh.

  • Tom Hering

    The winter solstice occurs on December 21st or 22nd. Christmas Day is December 25th. Hello? If Christmas was meant to supplant winter solstice celebrations, why place it three or four days after those celebrations have already taken place? I mean, the early Church could read a calendar. Duh.

  • Dennis Peskey

    I found the debate link (John C post#1) to be delightful and useless. While Brian Fisher of the AFA confines himself to a statistical analysis of American society (useless), the “pagan” professor of history, Ronald Hutton supplied an absolute gem referring to the winter solstice as a “miracle!”

    I define miracles as “In the beginning, God created …” (Gen 1:1) or Luke 1:35 – the Annunciation Mark 16:6 “He is risen; he is not here.” Professor Hutton is correct in referring to the orbit of the third rock from the sun as a miracle. I place his comment in the Caiaphas file (John 11:50) of people who do not realize the full impact of what they said.

    For Christians, December 25 should be first, a Holy Day, for our Christ, God’s Son was born of a virgin; December 25 should be a day of repentance for God’s Son chose to lower himself below the created angels (Heb 2:7); December 25 is the fruitition of the Annunciation when God’s Son entered our existance (the 14th of Nisan) to become our propiatition (1 John 4:10). For this, we celebrate for the promised one has come to redeem us. Emmanuel is here, now and forever, amen.
    Peace on Earth.
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    I found the debate link (John C post#1) to be delightful and useless. While Brian Fisher of the AFA confines himself to a statistical analysis of American society (useless), the “pagan” professor of history, Ronald Hutton supplied an absolute gem referring to the winter solstice as a “miracle!”

    I define miracles as “In the beginning, God created …” (Gen 1:1) or Luke 1:35 – the Annunciation Mark 16:6 “He is risen; he is not here.” Professor Hutton is correct in referring to the orbit of the third rock from the sun as a miracle. I place his comment in the Caiaphas file (John 11:50) of people who do not realize the full impact of what they said.

    For Christians, December 25 should be first, a Holy Day, for our Christ, God’s Son was born of a virgin; December 25 should be a day of repentance for God’s Son chose to lower himself below the created angels (Heb 2:7); December 25 is the fruitition of the Annunciation when God’s Son entered our existance (the 14th of Nisan) to become our propiatition (1 John 4:10). For this, we celebrate for the promised one has come to redeem us. Emmanuel is here, now and forever, amen.
    Peace on Earth.
    Dennis

  • Porcell

    At 5,We were pagan too, weren’t we?

    A long time ago our ancestors were pagan, though orthodox Christians today are far from pagan. For serious Christians, that scholar of pagan history is talking nonsense, unless one is among the tiny number of contemporary pagan intellectuals who abhor Christianity.

    The Biblical Archeological Review article makes an excellent case for 25 December being nine months later than Christ’s conception and the Annunciation, giving the lie to the modern pagan piety that Christmas is a sub rosa celebration of pagan traditions. One can never underestimate the resentment and envy of modern pagan aficionados toward the superior Judeo-Christian religion. Paganism for good reasons was swept into the dustbin of history.

  • Porcell

    At 5,We were pagan too, weren’t we?

    A long time ago our ancestors were pagan, though orthodox Christians today are far from pagan. For serious Christians, that scholar of pagan history is talking nonsense, unless one is among the tiny number of contemporary pagan intellectuals who abhor Christianity.

    The Biblical Archeological Review article makes an excellent case for 25 December being nine months later than Christ’s conception and the Annunciation, giving the lie to the modern pagan piety that Christmas is a sub rosa celebration of pagan traditions. One can never underestimate the resentment and envy of modern pagan aficionados toward the superior Judeo-Christian religion. Paganism for good reasons was swept into the dustbin of history.

  • Pingback: “Holiday” trees and was Jesus born on December 25? — Laura Curtis

  • Pingback: “Holiday” trees and was Jesus born on December 25? — Laura Curtis

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I’ve been putting one of your previous posts about this in my Late Advent and Christmas church bulletins. It is good to set the record straight.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I’ve been putting one of your previous posts about this in my Late Advent and Christmas church bulletins. It is good to set the record straight.

  • John C

    Dr Veith says– “Christmas is NOT based on the roman Festival of Sol Invictus.
    At Biblical Archeology Review, Andrew McGowan writes –
    “In the end we are left with the question. How did December 25th become Christmas? We are not entirely sure. Elements of the festival that developed from the 4th century until modern times may well derive from pagan traditions.”

  • John C

    Dr Veith says– “Christmas is NOT based on the roman Festival of Sol Invictus.
    At Biblical Archeology Review, Andrew McGowan writes –
    “In the end we are left with the question. How did December 25th become Christmas? We are not entirely sure. Elements of the festival that developed from the 4th century until modern times may well derive from pagan traditions.”

  • James Hageman

    One of my favorite podcasts, “The History of Rome,” repeats the myth. Touchstone did an article on the dating of Christmas a few years ago, and gave some details. Thanks, Dr Veith. Blessed Christmas.

  • James Hageman

    One of my favorite podcasts, “The History of Rome,” repeats the myth. Touchstone did an article on the dating of Christmas a few years ago, and gave some details. Thanks, Dr Veith. Blessed Christmas.

  • btschool

    Christians, before salvation, were pagans, of course, regardless of when they lived/live–during the 1st, 4th, or 21st century. Light overcomes darkness, though. When Christ came into the world, he fulfilled the Law, he accomplished salvation, he rose from the dead. The pagan rituals of celebrating light or fertility respond to and reflect, although imperfectly, the truth God reveals in nature. Why take pleasure in naming pagan influences on festivals? People who celebrate know why they’re celebrating–some to reject the gospel, attempting to drown out the message in their revelry; some to embrace the gospel, rejoicing in the commemoration of God’s great gift.

  • btschool

    Christians, before salvation, were pagans, of course, regardless of when they lived/live–during the 1st, 4th, or 21st century. Light overcomes darkness, though. When Christ came into the world, he fulfilled the Law, he accomplished salvation, he rose from the dead. The pagan rituals of celebrating light or fertility respond to and reflect, although imperfectly, the truth God reveals in nature. Why take pleasure in naming pagan influences on festivals? People who celebrate know why they’re celebrating–some to reject the gospel, attempting to drown out the message in their revelry; some to embrace the gospel, rejoicing in the commemoration of God’s great gift.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    John C, as Webmonk says, I’m not denying pagan “elements.” I’m denying pagan “origins.” I know that the pagans did things with mistletoe and yule logs and the like. That certainly doesn’t bother me. Of course the pagans celebrated the Winter Solstice, and rightly so, since it marks the natural event of light overcoming darkness. Christians, I would argue, can account for that reality better than the pagans could, since at the birth of Jesus the true light did come into the darkness, as the Gospel of John says. If there were no other reason, that would be reason enough to celebrate Christmas around this time of year. Christianity fulfills even what pagans got right.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    John C, as Webmonk says, I’m not denying pagan “elements.” I’m denying pagan “origins.” I know that the pagans did things with mistletoe and yule logs and the like. That certainly doesn’t bother me. Of course the pagans celebrated the Winter Solstice, and rightly so, since it marks the natural event of light overcoming darkness. Christians, I would argue, can account for that reality better than the pagans could, since at the birth of Jesus the true light did come into the darkness, as the Gospel of John says. If there were no other reason, that would be reason enough to celebrate Christmas around this time of year. Christianity fulfills even what pagans got right.

  • http://northprairiepastor.wordpress.com Pr. Timothy Winterstein

    Here is the link to Dr. Tighe’s article for Touchstone a few years ago: http://bit.ly/5I0SaX

    Pr. Timothy Winterstein

  • http://northprairiepastor.wordpress.com Pr. Timothy Winterstein

    Here is the link to Dr. Tighe’s article for Touchstone a few years ago: http://bit.ly/5I0SaX

    Pr. Timothy Winterstein

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    Sure, whatever you say, the fact that Christmas is during Solstice is not a coincidence. right?

    Humanity has been celebrating the Solstice in one way or another since the beginning of agriculture, if not earlier. But your supernatural mindset can not get around that.

    Next post will be”Why there is a pinetree in Christmas? It is not a nordic pagan tradition, there were pinetrees in holyland.”.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    Sure, whatever you say, the fact that Christmas is during Solstice is not a coincidence. right?

    Humanity has been celebrating the Solstice in one way or another since the beginning of agriculture, if not earlier. But your supernatural mindset can not get around that.

    Next post will be”Why there is a pinetree in Christmas? It is not a nordic pagan tradition, there were pinetrees in holyland.”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “But your supernatural mindset can not get around that” (@15). Ooh, yes, let’s all do defer to the natural mindset that confuses correlation and causation. That sounds much superior!

    Merry Christmas!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “But your supernatural mindset can not get around that” (@15). Ooh, yes, let’s all do defer to the natural mindset that confuses correlation and causation. That sounds much superior!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Tom Hering

    Do I.Q.s drop as the days get longer?

  • Tom Hering

    Do I.Q.s drop as the days get longer?

  • John C

    Not in Sydney, Tom.

  • John C

    Not in Sydney, Tom.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    I would say that it was the other way around. Whatever logic was used to set “dates” (including the 25 of March) was made to set Christmas during the solstice. Cause-and-effect are inverted in the first place. Jesus is not the reason for the season, it is season the reason for the Jesus.

    @16: And yes, natural explanations (including biology and culture) usually defy naive cause-effect separation because they are subject to a long chain of evolution steps. For example, you have legs, right? Do you have legs because you need to walk? no, your need to walk is not the cause for the formation of your legs. Does it confuse cause and effect? no, it just tells you that cause and effect are embedded in a much complex system. The complex system is sometimes called nature and a careful analysis of several effects to achieve an explanation including as much phenomena as needed (but no more than necessary) is called natural mindset. It doesn’t sound superior, it just sounds… well… natural.

    @6:”The winter solstice occurs on December 21st or 22nd. Christmas Day is December 25th.” — yes, that is true in the present Gregorian calendar. But, the nominal date of the solstice have been shifting for a day per century approximately until the Gregorian calendar was set in 1582, when the calendar was suddenly corrected by 10 days. The real solstice was shifting during at the time the nominal date for Christmas was set. That also means that Christians have been celebrating Christmas 5 to 10 day later than the accurate (solar) date for around 10 centuries. (I know the date is symbolic, I am trying to make the point).

    Merry Christmas!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    I would say that it was the other way around. Whatever logic was used to set “dates” (including the 25 of March) was made to set Christmas during the solstice. Cause-and-effect are inverted in the first place. Jesus is not the reason for the season, it is season the reason for the Jesus.

    @16: And yes, natural explanations (including biology and culture) usually defy naive cause-effect separation because they are subject to a long chain of evolution steps. For example, you have legs, right? Do you have legs because you need to walk? no, your need to walk is not the cause for the formation of your legs. Does it confuse cause and effect? no, it just tells you that cause and effect are embedded in a much complex system. The complex system is sometimes called nature and a careful analysis of several effects to achieve an explanation including as much phenomena as needed (but no more than necessary) is called natural mindset. It doesn’t sound superior, it just sounds… well… natural.

    @6:”The winter solstice occurs on December 21st or 22nd. Christmas Day is December 25th.” — yes, that is true in the present Gregorian calendar. But, the nominal date of the solstice have been shifting for a day per century approximately until the Gregorian calendar was set in 1582, when the calendar was suddenly corrected by 10 days. The real solstice was shifting during at the time the nominal date for Christmas was set. That also means that Christians have been celebrating Christmas 5 to 10 day later than the accurate (solar) date for around 10 centuries. (I know the date is symbolic, I am trying to make the point).

    Merry Christmas!

  • http://upphouse-syncretist.blogspot.com/2010/10/prelude-to-fugue.html Mark Opheim

    Please don’t spread this around. It could get you in trouble.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm

    According to Clement of Alexandria, Christians in Egypt for 300 years have been celebrating Christ’s birth on “Pachom 25″ rather than December 25. So, according to the church fathers, we have a solid date for his birth. This makes sense because Jesus went to Egypt for a couple years and perhaps they kept a record there.

    But why would this bread crumb be worth following? After all, the desire to make sure all roads to Rome are cut off comes from the Reformation and the exultation of “Sola Scriptura” amongst many groups. This is why many evangelicals and I daresay even Lutherans cannot or will not examine a specific date about Christ’s birth because it: 1. is not found within the boundaries of our norming documents; 2. Makes it too tempting to give any credence whatsoever to any testimony given by Christians outside of the Scriptures( The Holy Spirit only guarantees infallible testimony within the 66 book boundary) or 3. opens up the can of worms that God can be examined by “rules” or calendars, or computers, or whatever.

    So why December 25? Count eight days later and you get New Year’s Day in the Roman calendar. The decision was to fix Jesus’ circumcision to a Roman New Year. Pretty simple.

    Is this wrong? Not really. God gave authority to His Church and if the Church wants to fix a date for the birth of Christ the Scriptures do not forbid it. God can use these conventions of the faith however He wants. I find it fascinating that there appears to be a relationship between the “official” birth year of Christ and the Creation of the world, but that is another story altogether.

    http://www.biblechronologybooks.com

    Yours,
    Mark

  • http://upphouse-syncretist.blogspot.com/2010/10/prelude-to-fugue.html Mark Opheim

    Please don’t spread this around. It could get you in trouble.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm

    According to Clement of Alexandria, Christians in Egypt for 300 years have been celebrating Christ’s birth on “Pachom 25″ rather than December 25. So, according to the church fathers, we have a solid date for his birth. This makes sense because Jesus went to Egypt for a couple years and perhaps they kept a record there.

    But why would this bread crumb be worth following? After all, the desire to make sure all roads to Rome are cut off comes from the Reformation and the exultation of “Sola Scriptura” amongst many groups. This is why many evangelicals and I daresay even Lutherans cannot or will not examine a specific date about Christ’s birth because it: 1. is not found within the boundaries of our norming documents; 2. Makes it too tempting to give any credence whatsoever to any testimony given by Christians outside of the Scriptures( The Holy Spirit only guarantees infallible testimony within the 66 book boundary) or 3. opens up the can of worms that God can be examined by “rules” or calendars, or computers, or whatever.

    So why December 25? Count eight days later and you get New Year’s Day in the Roman calendar. The decision was to fix Jesus’ circumcision to a Roman New Year. Pretty simple.

    Is this wrong? Not really. God gave authority to His Church and if the Church wants to fix a date for the birth of Christ the Scriptures do not forbid it. God can use these conventions of the faith however He wants. I find it fascinating that there appears to be a relationship between the “official” birth year of Christ and the Creation of the world, but that is another story altogether.

    http://www.biblechronologybooks.com

    Yours,
    Mark

  • WebMonk

    Alf, and your evidence for your opinion is, what? A nearness of dates?

    Guess what, my brother’s birthday is almost exactly on the solstice, so that must mean that his birth is based on the thousands of years of celebration of the solstice!! (just in case you missed it, that was sarcasm)

    If you want to insist that Christmas has its origin in the solstice contrary to the majority of evidence and expert research, that’s certainly your prerogative.

  • WebMonk

    Alf, and your evidence for your opinion is, what? A nearness of dates?

    Guess what, my brother’s birthday is almost exactly on the solstice, so that must mean that his birth is based on the thousands of years of celebration of the solstice!! (just in case you missed it, that was sarcasm)

    If you want to insist that Christmas has its origin in the solstice contrary to the majority of evidence and expert research, that’s certainly your prerogative.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    @21: As other more rational Christians tend to admit (even in this page) the date is conventional and it was *set*, like many other aspects of the dogma, by a counsil. The same type of counsil that, for example, decided that Arianism was heresy. e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea. (Talking about evince, I wonder what evidence was usually shown in these councils.) Anyway, the difference with your brother’s date of birth is that it was not set after the fact. Setting a date after the fact in the *absence of all evidence* can be intentionally or unintentionally biased by circumstantial interest.

    For example, it could have been very convenient for the prosecuted Roman Christians to set their celebration date during the same Roman celebration to hide the true motivation for their joy. And it could have been *extremely* convenient to keep the same celebration dates after Christianity was declared to be the state-religion to not upset the masses (the people), and keep their *expected* celebration dates. Basically they could have said: ok, stop worshipping the Sun (because that is worshipping of idols is a new sin) but instead you have… well… a Merry Christmas.

    [But what I will do with all the hundred pointy sun-like decorations?... mmm, ok that will be the star of Bethlehem. I am just giving examples how a celebration can be easily adapted.]

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    @21: As other more rational Christians tend to admit (even in this page) the date is conventional and it was *set*, like many other aspects of the dogma, by a counsil. The same type of counsil that, for example, decided that Arianism was heresy. e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea. (Talking about evince, I wonder what evidence was usually shown in these councils.) Anyway, the difference with your brother’s date of birth is that it was not set after the fact. Setting a date after the fact in the *absence of all evidence* can be intentionally or unintentionally biased by circumstantial interest.

    For example, it could have been very convenient for the prosecuted Roman Christians to set their celebration date during the same Roman celebration to hide the true motivation for their joy. And it could have been *extremely* convenient to keep the same celebration dates after Christianity was declared to be the state-religion to not upset the masses (the people), and keep their *expected* celebration dates. Basically they could have said: ok, stop worshipping the Sun (because that is worshipping of idols is a new sin) but instead you have… well… a Merry Christmas.

    [But what I will do with all the hundred pointy sun-like decorations?... mmm, ok that will be the star of Bethlehem. I am just giving examples how a celebration can be easily adapted.]

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    > Whatever logic was used to set “dates” (including the 25 of March)
    > was made to set Christmas during the solstice.

    Oh, OK. Since you say so.
    We’re such superstitious yokels here, we’ll believe anything. No need to adduce evidence for your your assertions.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    > Whatever logic was used to set “dates” (including the 25 of March)
    > was made to set Christmas during the solstice.

    Oh, OK. Since you say so.
    We’re such superstitious yokels here, we’ll believe anything. No need to adduce evidence for your your assertions.

  • Porcell

    Mike, at 23, this fellow gives himself away with the distinction between “rational” Christians and those of us presumably irrational Christians who ignorantly follow church “counsils” [sic]. This is the same strategy that the “rational” Unitarians use to denigrate infra dig orthodox trinitarian Christians.

    The irony here is that that Andrew McGowan, the author of the BIblical Archeological Review article, is circumspect about how the date was set, admitting that the very early Christians appear not to have been concerned about the birth date of Christ, while ALfC pontificates that the date was set mainly to please the pagan Romans.

    Coming from Massachusetts, one deals with such smug, righteous characters often. Most of them can’t get over the reality that Christ’s birth in actuality was a great gift from God of His incarnate and later resurrected Son that in the final analysis overcame the ancient assorted pagan religions and today overcomes the gnostic pieties of the neo-pagans.

  • Porcell

    Mike, at 23, this fellow gives himself away with the distinction between “rational” Christians and those of us presumably irrational Christians who ignorantly follow church “counsils” [sic]. This is the same strategy that the “rational” Unitarians use to denigrate infra dig orthodox trinitarian Christians.

    The irony here is that that Andrew McGowan, the author of the BIblical Archeological Review article, is circumspect about how the date was set, admitting that the very early Christians appear not to have been concerned about the birth date of Christ, while ALfC pontificates that the date was set mainly to please the pagan Romans.

    Coming from Massachusetts, one deals with such smug, righteous characters often. Most of them can’t get over the reality that Christ’s birth in actuality was a great gift from God of His incarnate and later resurrected Son that in the final analysis overcame the ancient assorted pagan religions and today overcomes the gnostic pieties of the neo-pagans.

  • SKPeterson

    Weighing in late here, but I was just reading (in Philip Jenkins “Jesus Wars”) that many of the early Church Fathers, and particularly those out of the East (the Egyptians) thought Jesus was born sometime in May ( the 25th of Pachom being about May 8th or 9th, I think). As Jenkins says “no sane shepherd would be out with his flocks in the middle of winter.” He also makes the argument that the big celebration day was Epiphany, celebrated from very early times on January 6th. This is still a huge deal in the Eastern Orthodox churches. One implication that Jenkins (and others) have made is that the early Gnostics placed a large emphasis on the celebration of the Baptism of Christ and celebrated it at around the same time as Epiphany. So, an argument could be made that the Orthodox/Catholics were supplanting the Gnostic heretics and appropriating their celebrations while pruning the ceremonies of Gnostic overtones. To the extent that the Gnostics were very big on light-v. dark, spirit v. matter distinctions, then the selection of dates near the Winter Solstice makes sense, but the adoption of the date by the Orthodox/Catholics does not appear to be in reaction to or to appropriate pagan holidays.

  • SKPeterson

    Weighing in late here, but I was just reading (in Philip Jenkins “Jesus Wars”) that many of the early Church Fathers, and particularly those out of the East (the Egyptians) thought Jesus was born sometime in May ( the 25th of Pachom being about May 8th or 9th, I think). As Jenkins says “no sane shepherd would be out with his flocks in the middle of winter.” He also makes the argument that the big celebration day was Epiphany, celebrated from very early times on January 6th. This is still a huge deal in the Eastern Orthodox churches. One implication that Jenkins (and others) have made is that the early Gnostics placed a large emphasis on the celebration of the Baptism of Christ and celebrated it at around the same time as Epiphany. So, an argument could be made that the Orthodox/Catholics were supplanting the Gnostic heretics and appropriating their celebrations while pruning the ceremonies of Gnostic overtones. To the extent that the Gnostics were very big on light-v. dark, spirit v. matter distinctions, then the selection of dates near the Winter Solstice makes sense, but the adoption of the date by the Orthodox/Catholics does not appear to be in reaction to or to appropriate pagan holidays.

  • Tom Hering

    Maybe we shouldn’t be bothered by the possibility that Christian celebrations borrow from pagan ones. This is a matter of Christian culture, after all. And nothing cultural is without precedent. Even highly original artists borrow (cleverly) from their predecessors and contemporaries. Perhaps the important question is: Was there anything radically new in the content of the earliest Christmas celebrations – something cultural borrowing can’t account for? Like the Gospel – the forgiveness of sins by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the newborn Child? The young girl Mary and the lowly sheepherders believed what was announced to them.

  • Tom Hering

    Maybe we shouldn’t be bothered by the possibility that Christian celebrations borrow from pagan ones. This is a matter of Christian culture, after all. And nothing cultural is without precedent. Even highly original artists borrow (cleverly) from their predecessors and contemporaries. Perhaps the important question is: Was there anything radically new in the content of the earliest Christmas celebrations – something cultural borrowing can’t account for? Like the Gospel – the forgiveness of sins by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the newborn Child? The young girl Mary and the lowly sheepherders believed what was announced to them.

  • http://northprairiepastor.wordpress.com Pr. Timothy Winterstein

    I am convinced by the reasoning that Christians did not borrow or steal December 25 from a pagan festival; however, if we did, it was a very successful theft. There’s a reason why you only hear about pagan celebrations during the celebrations of the Church. If we stole it, we win.

    Pr. Timothy Winterstein

  • http://northprairiepastor.wordpress.com Pr. Timothy Winterstein

    I am convinced by the reasoning that Christians did not borrow or steal December 25 from a pagan festival; however, if we did, it was a very successful theft. There’s a reason why you only hear about pagan celebrations during the celebrations of the Church. If we stole it, we win.

    Pr. Timothy Winterstein

  • Grace

    “Holiday” trees and was Jesus born on December 25?”

    One of the Scriptures which is used to argue against Christmas tree’s:

    1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

    2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. Jeremiah 10

    When Jeremiah wrote these words the Christmas tree did not exist. In this passage Jeremiah is writing about idolatry, condemning them of making idols. By making the wood into an image, decorating it with gold and silver, it then became an idol and their god to worship. Our Christmas tree, is thrown in the trash or boxed up (if its artificial) I know not one person who worships a Christmas tree.

    Many make the claim we don’t know the date that Christ was born, ….. they are right, but that doesn’t mean we cannot celebrate His birth on a date each year. Another claim is, we aren’t directed to celebrate the birth of Christ, that’s true too, but we aren’t told not to celebrate His birth,…. there is no passage of Scripture either way.

  • Grace

    “Holiday” trees and was Jesus born on December 25?”

    One of the Scriptures which is used to argue against Christmas tree’s:

    1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

    2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. Jeremiah 10

    When Jeremiah wrote these words the Christmas tree did not exist. In this passage Jeremiah is writing about idolatry, condemning them of making idols. By making the wood into an image, decorating it with gold and silver, it then became an idol and their god to worship. Our Christmas tree, is thrown in the trash or boxed up (if its artificial) I know not one person who worships a Christmas tree.

    Many make the claim we don’t know the date that Christ was born, ….. they are right, but that doesn’t mean we cannot celebrate His birth on a date each year. Another claim is, we aren’t directed to celebrate the birth of Christ, that’s true too, but we aren’t told not to celebrate His birth,…. there is no passage of Scripture either way.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Steve Hays over at Triablougue has this interesting response to the Christmas non-celebrator.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Steve Hays over at Triablougue has this interesting response to the Christmas non-celebrator.

  • Mark Opheim

    SKPeterson: Thanks for the Jenkins reference. Pachom 25 in 6 BC is May 14th. Pachom rotates around the year over the millenia. The shepherds were out in the fields indicating the spring. Clement of Alexandria is our reference if we really want to get precise about it. Why not?

  • Mark Opheim

    SKPeterson: Thanks for the Jenkins reference. Pachom 25 in 6 BC is May 14th. Pachom rotates around the year over the millenia. The shepherds were out in the fields indicating the spring. Clement of Alexandria is our reference if we really want to get precise about it. Why not?

  • SKPeterson

    Maybe we should put one of those “Christ’s Birth (observed)” notes on Dec. 25th as a disclaimer.;)

  • SKPeterson

    Maybe we should put one of those “Christ’s Birth (observed)” notes on Dec. 25th as a disclaimer.;)

  • WebMonk

    AlfC, and do you have any shred of evidence to back up your guesses? Not that you’ve mentioned so far. On the other side, there are a LOT of resources that indicate that the date was NOT set to match with the solstice.

    There are several different possibilities as to the exact reason for having Christmas on December 25th, but there has not been any indication that it was set to that date in order to match with the solstice and several writings which state that the Christian leaders of the time were specifically not in favor of blending in with the Roman cultural practices. Oh, and then there are the problems caused by the dates which don’t work to have Christmas set to use/supplant the existing solstice holidays.

    But we need to ignore stuff like that because AlfC has spoken and his completely baseless statements overrule silly things like evidence, history, and original sources.

  • WebMonk

    AlfC, and do you have any shred of evidence to back up your guesses? Not that you’ve mentioned so far. On the other side, there are a LOT of resources that indicate that the date was NOT set to match with the solstice.

    There are several different possibilities as to the exact reason for having Christmas on December 25th, but there has not been any indication that it was set to that date in order to match with the solstice and several writings which state that the Christian leaders of the time were specifically not in favor of blending in with the Roman cultural practices. Oh, and then there are the problems caused by the dates which don’t work to have Christmas set to use/supplant the existing solstice holidays.

    But we need to ignore stuff like that because AlfC has spoken and his completely baseless statements overrule silly things like evidence, history, and original sources.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    Look, Webmonk, I am just a commentator of the article. You can do your own research for the things that I pointed out. First, the original article by Andrew McGowan is all about the “absence of evidence” as evidence for their claims. Claiming that no documents between the 4th and 13th century mention the connection, (that is expected from the most obscure times in western history). With the same standards it can be used as proof that E.T. visited earth in the 7th century. Second, a research organisation called “Biblical Archeology Review” can not be taken as a serious independent source for facts. Third, these claims to uncorrelate 25th of December with the solstice are very recent and were originated in its current form by our beloved Joseph Ratzinger, for example in his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy”, something not mentioned at all by Andrew McGowan. Fourth, I don’t need to present evidence myself in 140 characters, it is just a matter that you go to the original sources that Gene Veith and Andrew McGowan tries to debunk. Fifth, what kind of evidence are you asking me for, to prove to you that Christ didn’t die on 25 march? That Chris didn’t die exactly the same day as he was born? Do I have to prove that? Did anyone else needed that proof to make *any* natural or supernatural claim? Sixth, any well intentioned explanation will have to include the fact that “Sol invictus” and Christmas officially coexisted between the reign of Constantine (who declared Christianity the state religion, but allowed –e.g. to him self– the practice of the late paganism) and Gratian (who banned paganism).

    @Mike Westfall, I didn’t call them “pagan Romans”, I said “people”. Most people don’t care about the state religion or the religion itself that they are forced to live in. Most of the people just go with the flow as long as there is always a good excuse for the celebration. Rome was at a crisis at that time, probably transitioning to monotheism (note that Sol Invictus was the “official” god of the late Roman empire), probably driven/fedback by a philosophical change in the world/social view (ok, call it divine inspiration/gift if you want). In fact the alleged “Sol Invictus” day was just a very recent celebration (with that name) before it was transformed (or not) to Christmas. So, “Sol invictus” was really a transitional tradition from a historical perspective anyway. (But I don’t care about the name, it was a solstice celebration, that is the point)

    @sceptic Webmonk again: In 46 BCE, Julius Caesar in his Julian calendar established December 25 as the date of the winter solstice, another fact to ignore. I hope you research the difference between the Julian and the Gregorian calendar before mentioning my lack of evidence once again.

    An yes, the Christmas and correlated dates are *set* and they are symbolic. Every *self respected* Christian will recognise that. Source: http://tinyurl.com/2dooell .

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    Look, Webmonk, I am just a commentator of the article. You can do your own research for the things that I pointed out. First, the original article by Andrew McGowan is all about the “absence of evidence” as evidence for their claims. Claiming that no documents between the 4th and 13th century mention the connection, (that is expected from the most obscure times in western history). With the same standards it can be used as proof that E.T. visited earth in the 7th century. Second, a research organisation called “Biblical Archeology Review” can not be taken as a serious independent source for facts. Third, these claims to uncorrelate 25th of December with the solstice are very recent and were originated in its current form by our beloved Joseph Ratzinger, for example in his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy”, something not mentioned at all by Andrew McGowan. Fourth, I don’t need to present evidence myself in 140 characters, it is just a matter that you go to the original sources that Gene Veith and Andrew McGowan tries to debunk. Fifth, what kind of evidence are you asking me for, to prove to you that Christ didn’t die on 25 march? That Chris didn’t die exactly the same day as he was born? Do I have to prove that? Did anyone else needed that proof to make *any* natural or supernatural claim? Sixth, any well intentioned explanation will have to include the fact that “Sol invictus” and Christmas officially coexisted between the reign of Constantine (who declared Christianity the state religion, but allowed –e.g. to him self– the practice of the late paganism) and Gratian (who banned paganism).

    @Mike Westfall, I didn’t call them “pagan Romans”, I said “people”. Most people don’t care about the state religion or the religion itself that they are forced to live in. Most of the people just go with the flow as long as there is always a good excuse for the celebration. Rome was at a crisis at that time, probably transitioning to monotheism (note that Sol Invictus was the “official” god of the late Roman empire), probably driven/fedback by a philosophical change in the world/social view (ok, call it divine inspiration/gift if you want). In fact the alleged “Sol Invictus” day was just a very recent celebration (with that name) before it was transformed (or not) to Christmas. So, “Sol invictus” was really a transitional tradition from a historical perspective anyway. (But I don’t care about the name, it was a solstice celebration, that is the point)

    @sceptic Webmonk again: In 46 BCE, Julius Caesar in his Julian calendar established December 25 as the date of the winter solstice, another fact to ignore. I hope you research the difference between the Julian and the Gregorian calendar before mentioning my lack of evidence once again.

    An yes, the Christmas and correlated dates are *set* and they are symbolic. Every *self respected* Christian will recognise that. Source: http://tinyurl.com/2dooell .

  • WebMonk

    AlfC, are you completely ignorant of the difference between correlation and causation? Everything, and I do mean absolutely everything, that you have put forward has been your own opinion that the correlation of the two dates is the same as causation.

    If you had ever put forward any actual evidence that the solstice was the cause Christmas, then this conversation could go somewhere, but as it is, you just keep repeating your speculation based on the correlation of dates. A tiny bit of evidence that the solstice celebration was the origin of Christmas would be most helpful.

    (and just in case it hasn’t sunk through yet, the similarity of the days is not proof – re the difference between correlation causation)

  • WebMonk

    AlfC, are you completely ignorant of the difference between correlation and causation? Everything, and I do mean absolutely everything, that you have put forward has been your own opinion that the correlation of the two dates is the same as causation.

    If you had ever put forward any actual evidence that the solstice was the cause Christmas, then this conversation could go somewhere, but as it is, you just keep repeating your speculation based on the correlation of dates. A tiny bit of evidence that the solstice celebration was the origin of Christmas would be most helpful.

    (and just in case it hasn’t sunk through yet, the similarity of the days is not proof – re the difference between correlation causation)

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    Webmonk, your is no more than a cliché response “show me the evidence — there is no evidence — you confuse a priori with a fortiori — repeat with me: Christmas is NOT based on the Roman festival of Sol Invictus” loop.

    Really, you are not adding anything to the debate and not showing any insight in the discussion. But at least your demands are healthy. Because of this I’ll keep track of the (partial) evidence I gathered so far in the posts:

    1) In 46 BCE, Julius Caesar in his Julian calendar established December 25 as the date of the winter solstice. Source: http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/766_Julius_Caesar-8.html
    2) (Recently rediscovered) paleo-Christian mosaics found in the Vatican Necropolis, of “Cristo Sole”, that is “Christ the Sun”, was discovered in 1574. Sources: http://saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/TombM.htm
    3) The image of “Sol invictus” is extremely similar to the image of illuminated (from the back) Christ that was used since… exactly that same century. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Disc_Sol_BM_GR1899.12-1.2.jpg
    4) Solstice was (and will be forever) a celebration date in all northern cultures, with one name or the other. Some of them Empirical Fact: humans *need* a celebration around the solstice in order to cope with a season that is otherwise depressing in every aspect. The celebration becomes stronger the northern you are.
    5) Christianity was declared the official religion in Rome in 380A.C., all others prosecuted. Source: all.
    6) The Sun is from all points (astronomically speaking) of view is (re)”born” during the solstice. Source: all
    7) The birth of Christ is considered the most important event in Christianity, it is the birth of someone. Source: all
    8) All explicit relation between the Sun and Christ or the Sun and God has been systematically prosecuted under the commandment against idolatry. Source: bible?

    I cite them as arguments in favor of the theory. None of them stand by itself as proof, that is why they are called evidence. You can connect these facts from an evolutionary point of view, a causal point of view, a chronological point of view, a cultural point of view.

    Argument against the theory: extracted from Andrew McGowan: 1) The relation between “Sol invictus” and Christmas is not mentioned in any document between year blabla and blabla. What does he expect that scholar under the risk of accusation of heresy would come out saying that the Christ birth is really a continuation of the celebration of the Sun? Did he expect that in the middle of the middle ages someone will make that claim or even just point at correlation?. Andrew McGowan goes even further and “finds” the exact explanation of 25 of December, that is just 9 months after 25 of March, the “day of Jesus”, as if any group had ever celebrated the 25 of march without noticing that 9 month later *exactly* was the solstice? Is that really an explanation for something?, doesn’t he have to explain first where 25 of march come from? Who decided that? Was it common knowledge? What authority declared the exact dates? Isn’t he the one confusing cause and effect? Are you demanding different levels of evidence from McGowan than from me?

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    Webmonk, your is no more than a cliché response “show me the evidence — there is no evidence — you confuse a priori with a fortiori — repeat with me: Christmas is NOT based on the Roman festival of Sol Invictus” loop.

    Really, you are not adding anything to the debate and not showing any insight in the discussion. But at least your demands are healthy. Because of this I’ll keep track of the (partial) evidence I gathered so far in the posts:

    1) In 46 BCE, Julius Caesar in his Julian calendar established December 25 as the date of the winter solstice. Source: http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/766_Julius_Caesar-8.html
    2) (Recently rediscovered) paleo-Christian mosaics found in the Vatican Necropolis, of “Cristo Sole”, that is “Christ the Sun”, was discovered in 1574. Sources: http://saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/TombM.htm
    3) The image of “Sol invictus” is extremely similar to the image of illuminated (from the back) Christ that was used since… exactly that same century. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Disc_Sol_BM_GR1899.12-1.2.jpg
    4) Solstice was (and will be forever) a celebration date in all northern cultures, with one name or the other. Some of them Empirical Fact: humans *need* a celebration around the solstice in order to cope with a season that is otherwise depressing in every aspect. The celebration becomes stronger the northern you are.
    5) Christianity was declared the official religion in Rome in 380A.C., all others prosecuted. Source: all.
    6) The Sun is from all points (astronomically speaking) of view is (re)”born” during the solstice. Source: all
    7) The birth of Christ is considered the most important event in Christianity, it is the birth of someone. Source: all
    8) All explicit relation between the Sun and Christ or the Sun and God has been systematically prosecuted under the commandment against idolatry. Source: bible?

    I cite them as arguments in favor of the theory. None of them stand by itself as proof, that is why they are called evidence. You can connect these facts from an evolutionary point of view, a causal point of view, a chronological point of view, a cultural point of view.

    Argument against the theory: extracted from Andrew McGowan: 1) The relation between “Sol invictus” and Christmas is not mentioned in any document between year blabla and blabla. What does he expect that scholar under the risk of accusation of heresy would come out saying that the Christ birth is really a continuation of the celebration of the Sun? Did he expect that in the middle of the middle ages someone will make that claim or even just point at correlation?. Andrew McGowan goes even further and “finds” the exact explanation of 25 of December, that is just 9 months after 25 of March, the “day of Jesus”, as if any group had ever celebrated the 25 of march without noticing that 9 month later *exactly* was the solstice? Is that really an explanation for something?, doesn’t he have to explain first where 25 of march come from? Who decided that? Was it common knowledge? What authority declared the exact dates? Isn’t he the one confusing cause and effect? Are you demanding different levels of evidence from McGowan than from me?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    AlfC (@33), you don’t lend much credence to your argument (such as it is) when you dismiss sources out of hand merely because you’re ignorant of them. Or so it would seem when you say things like (@33), “a research organisation called ‘Biblical Archeology Review’ can not be taken as a serious independent source for facts.”

    I mean, did you even do the bare minimum of scanning the Wikipedia article before you just dismissed that source with a wave of your hand? Good grief.

    I haven’t seen a copy in a while, but I’m pretty certain it contains the findings of some pretty serious scholars, and isn’t merely some Christian apologetics magazine.

    But you just dismiss it out of hand because of its name. And not only that, you made the mistake of calling it a “research organization”, possibly not even being aware that it’s merely a publication.

    Should I assume that the rest of your argument is as ill-founded as this one dismissal of yours?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    AlfC (@33), you don’t lend much credence to your argument (such as it is) when you dismiss sources out of hand merely because you’re ignorant of them. Or so it would seem when you say things like (@33), “a research organisation called ‘Biblical Archeology Review’ can not be taken as a serious independent source for facts.”

    I mean, did you even do the bare minimum of scanning the Wikipedia article before you just dismissed that source with a wave of your hand? Good grief.

    I haven’t seen a copy in a while, but I’m pretty certain it contains the findings of some pretty serious scholars, and isn’t merely some Christian apologetics magazine.

    But you just dismiss it out of hand because of its name. And not only that, you made the mistake of calling it a “research organization”, possibly not even being aware that it’s merely a publication.

    Should I assume that the rest of your argument is as ill-founded as this one dismissal of yours?

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    @toDD,33: Biblical Archeology Review can be classified in principle as research organization because it claims to publish academic work, and as such the contents are supposedly peer-reviewed. It is a research entity because it coordinates the work of the reviewer and careful keeps track of these reviews and the existence of the citations. It frequently claims to have published *original* work (first time archeological findings) and *original* analysis. Having the form of research organization also makes it subject to criticism in relation to its neutrality. For example, I wonder whether a publication like that will ever publish an analysis by Ronald Hutton (Bristol University). The neutrality of this scientific (Archeology is a science) publication/organization can be seriously questioned.

    I don’t know what is ill-founded in your view about this. The rest of my (two) postings assumes, giving the benefit of the doubt, that claims in the Biblical Archeology Review are subject to discussion regardless of the bias. I don’t know what you assume about the rest of it.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    @toDD,33: Biblical Archeology Review can be classified in principle as research organization because it claims to publish academic work, and as such the contents are supposedly peer-reviewed. It is a research entity because it coordinates the work of the reviewer and careful keeps track of these reviews and the existence of the citations. It frequently claims to have published *original* work (first time archeological findings) and *original* analysis. Having the form of research organization also makes it subject to criticism in relation to its neutrality. For example, I wonder whether a publication like that will ever publish an analysis by Ronald Hutton (Bristol University). The neutrality of this scientific (Archeology is a science) publication/organization can be seriously questioned.

    I don’t know what is ill-founded in your view about this. The rest of my (two) postings assumes, giving the benefit of the doubt, that claims in the Biblical Archeology Review are subject to discussion regardless of the bias. I don’t know what you assume about the rest of it.

  • SKPeterson

    BAR is a fine little publication, but it is on par with the general magazine, Archaeology, or say National Geographic. The articles are fairly meaty, but they are also not scholarly journals. BAR has been accused of occassionally being a shill for forgeries and conspiracy theories, but they are also one of the best available outlets for archaeologists working in the Holy Land and Near East to provide information on their digs, their speculations and their discoveries, outside the standard academic journals (As I understand it – viewing it as an academic outside the field – archaeology journals are extremely slow to publish new research, and the science is riven with personal rivalries that allow for editorial control of journals to bias research in favor of the conclusions held by the editors, so …). Most of the articles in BAR are written by working archaeologists – they simply are not peer reviewed. However, BAR does a good job of providing point-counterpoint commentary and analysis from archaeologists, so one can get a good feel for the debates surrounding particular finds and conclusions. BAR is also a good outlet for gossip on the inner workings of the Israeli Antiquities Commission, and they also seem to be one of the few public outlets for researchers who believe in the general historical accuracy of the Biblical accounts of Israel – Judges, Samuel, Chronicles, Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah – and contextual information on the setting of early Christianity as found in Acts and Paul’s epistles.

    If they have one bias it is that BAR focuses almost exclusively on Israel and has a slightly Jewish worldview (more things on the human Jesus and not on the divine aspect). However, there are often good articles by American and European scholars as well as by members of the various Christian communities such as the R.C. and Orthodox who have done long standing research in the area for quite a while. This bias is also probably due to the relative ease of access and security found in Israel v. that found in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

  • SKPeterson

    BAR is a fine little publication, but it is on par with the general magazine, Archaeology, or say National Geographic. The articles are fairly meaty, but they are also not scholarly journals. BAR has been accused of occassionally being a shill for forgeries and conspiracy theories, but they are also one of the best available outlets for archaeologists working in the Holy Land and Near East to provide information on their digs, their speculations and their discoveries, outside the standard academic journals (As I understand it – viewing it as an academic outside the field – archaeology journals are extremely slow to publish new research, and the science is riven with personal rivalries that allow for editorial control of journals to bias research in favor of the conclusions held by the editors, so …). Most of the articles in BAR are written by working archaeologists – they simply are not peer reviewed. However, BAR does a good job of providing point-counterpoint commentary and analysis from archaeologists, so one can get a good feel for the debates surrounding particular finds and conclusions. BAR is also a good outlet for gossip on the inner workings of the Israeli Antiquities Commission, and they also seem to be one of the few public outlets for researchers who believe in the general historical accuracy of the Biblical accounts of Israel – Judges, Samuel, Chronicles, Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah – and contextual information on the setting of early Christianity as found in Acts and Paul’s epistles.

    If they have one bias it is that BAR focuses almost exclusively on Israel and has a slightly Jewish worldview (more things on the human Jesus and not on the divine aspect). However, there are often good articles by American and European scholars as well as by members of the various Christian communities such as the R.C. and Orthodox who have done long standing research in the area for quite a while. This bias is also probably due to the relative ease of access and security found in Israel v. that found in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

  • Pingback: New year weekend miscellany — The Endeavour

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  • LyingChristians

    More Christians lying for Jesus. Lies lies lies lies lies. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • LyingChristians

    More Christians lying for Jesus. Lies lies lies lies lies. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Oooh! A drive-by commenter with no reasoned argument or counter-argument (or any argument at all), just anonymously hurling name-calling accusations.

    I bet that’s never happened on a blog before.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Oooh! A drive-by commenter with no reasoned argument or counter-argument (or any argument at all), just anonymously hurling name-calling accusations.

    I bet that’s never happened on a blog before.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Apparently, post #39 got the proverbial “lump-o-coal” in their stocking. At least they shouldn’t be cold in January and this should help prepare them for the afterlife. As for me, I choose to boast in the Lord – and I can do that with my real name!
    Peace,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Apparently, post #39 got the proverbial “lump-o-coal” in their stocking. At least they shouldn’t be cold in January and this should help prepare them for the afterlife. As for me, I choose to boast in the Lord – and I can do that with my real name!
    Peace,
    Dennis

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    @41 and @40. Well, as long as we keep our names along the posts, that shouldn’t matter. Right? I personally keep my pseudonym because I am a professional and I don’t want my name to appear in a Google search for a meta-frivolous reasons. (Besides #39 is trying to tell you a concrete message: that you should not bend the facts no matter how good you think the “message of Jesus” is.)

    Anyway after this posts I guess we are not engaging in a long term relationship, (but if I ever come back I will use the same name). I will keep looking for *rational Christians* somewhere else.

    When am I going to find Christians that understand that there is no need for the supernatural or history bending arguments or the mere existence of a (self) declared soon of God or even the existence of a God to defend *Christian philosophy* (or a *Christian society*), most of which I am willing to share? Where are the Thomas Jefferson’s of our time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible) ?

    Cheers, finally the sun is coming back for some of us in the north! Enjoy the rest of the summer in the south! and have we all a nice (after)life!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice AlfC

    @41 and @40. Well, as long as we keep our names along the posts, that shouldn’t matter. Right? I personally keep my pseudonym because I am a professional and I don’t want my name to appear in a Google search for a meta-frivolous reasons. (Besides #39 is trying to tell you a concrete message: that you should not bend the facts no matter how good you think the “message of Jesus” is.)

    Anyway after this posts I guess we are not engaging in a long term relationship, (but if I ever come back I will use the same name). I will keep looking for *rational Christians* somewhere else.

    When am I going to find Christians that understand that there is no need for the supernatural or history bending arguments or the mere existence of a (self) declared soon of God or even the existence of a God to defend *Christian philosophy* (or a *Christian society*), most of which I am willing to share? Where are the Thomas Jefferson’s of our time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible) ?

    Cheers, finally the sun is coming back for some of us in the north! Enjoy the rest of the summer in the south! and have we all a nice (after)life!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    OK, Diogenes. I hope you have plenty of oil in your lamp.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    OK, Diogenes. I hope you have plenty of oil in your lamp.

  • Dennis Peskey

    To our dear, departing AlfC – It has been sometime since I witnessed the apologetic “Lier, Lier, Pants on Fire” employed in any discussion. This particular method lost all credence after I graduated kindergarten. I marvel at your ability to deduce any “concrete message” from post #39.

    Your posting (#42) truely saddens my heart. You are searching for Christian (fill-in-the-blank) without Christ. You will find the philosophy or society or whatever you seek very easily; it will NOT be Christian. Without the Second Person of the Trinity, both God and Man, you have nothing. There are far too many people in religious communities who are willing to avoid, ignor or deny Christ and yet claim to be Christian. We call them Arians (currently, most reside in Utah.) Very moral people; well-ordered society; they are all bound for hell unless they repent. Deny Christ and He will deny you on judgment day.

    You may find expanding your educational enlightenment beyond “wikipedi” an illuminating experience. Thomas Jefferson is not what I would cite as a Christian example; theist – yes, trinitarian – no. (And while I’m off-topic, the phrase he stole was “Life, Liberty and Property” – not happiness. If your going to plagiarise, at least have the courtesy of acknowledging the superiority of the author such theft disrespects by stealing their work in it’s entirety.)

    The birth of Christ, while an important tenet of Christian doctrine, is not the fundamental doctine. Our faith is centered in Christ’s work accomplished during the Tridium of Holy Week – His death, burial and resurrection. It was for this He was born. This historical event is what determined the date of Christmas following the traditions of the church to mark the incarnation of a prophet by the day of their death. Christ died during the Passover festival, marked by the Church on March 25, 33 Anno Domini. Nine months later comes December 25 and eventually Christians begin to celebrate His birth according to Saint Luke’s Gospel. But without His death and resurrection, without Christ our risen Savior, you simply do not have enough oil for your foolish virgin lamp.
    Peace,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To our dear, departing AlfC – It has been sometime since I witnessed the apologetic “Lier, Lier, Pants on Fire” employed in any discussion. This particular method lost all credence after I graduated kindergarten. I marvel at your ability to deduce any “concrete message” from post #39.

    Your posting (#42) truely saddens my heart. You are searching for Christian (fill-in-the-blank) without Christ. You will find the philosophy or society or whatever you seek very easily; it will NOT be Christian. Without the Second Person of the Trinity, both God and Man, you have nothing. There are far too many people in religious communities who are willing to avoid, ignor or deny Christ and yet claim to be Christian. We call them Arians (currently, most reside in Utah.) Very moral people; well-ordered society; they are all bound for hell unless they repent. Deny Christ and He will deny you on judgment day.

    You may find expanding your educational enlightenment beyond “wikipedi” an illuminating experience. Thomas Jefferson is not what I would cite as a Christian example; theist – yes, trinitarian – no. (And while I’m off-topic, the phrase he stole was “Life, Liberty and Property” – not happiness. If your going to plagiarise, at least have the courtesy of acknowledging the superiority of the author such theft disrespects by stealing their work in it’s entirety.)

    The birth of Christ, while an important tenet of Christian doctrine, is not the fundamental doctine. Our faith is centered in Christ’s work accomplished during the Tridium of Holy Week – His death, burial and resurrection. It was for this He was born. This historical event is what determined the date of Christmas following the traditions of the church to mark the incarnation of a prophet by the day of their death. Christ died during the Passover festival, marked by the Church on March 25, 33 Anno Domini. Nine months later comes December 25 and eventually Christians begin to celebrate His birth according to Saint Luke’s Gospel. But without His death and resurrection, without Christ our risen Savior, you simply do not have enough oil for your foolish virgin lamp.
    Peace,
    Dennis

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “I will keep looking for *rational Christians* somewhere else” (@42) — both terms, of course, as defined solely by you, the latter of which you are attempting to redefine in a method almost certainly unfamiliar to actual Christians.

    On a completely unrelated note, I’m looking for *thinking atheists* who believe in a God who personally intervened in history by becoming incarnate and dying on a cross to redeem men from their sins. Let me know if you know of any such atheists.

    Anyhow, as Dennis noted (@44), you don’t appear to know what “Christian philosophy” is, so your search is largely pointless, as you lack the ability by which to assess your supposed criteria.

    What you are almost certainly looking for are moralists who happen to call themselves “Christian”, but know nothing of Christ and his work.

    You may think that you are being generous in declaring your “willingness to share” society with such people, but all you’ve really done is declare that you can tolerate people who think just like you do, even if they slap a different label on themselves. Congratulations. That’s super tolerant of you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “I will keep looking for *rational Christians* somewhere else” (@42) — both terms, of course, as defined solely by you, the latter of which you are attempting to redefine in a method almost certainly unfamiliar to actual Christians.

    On a completely unrelated note, I’m looking for *thinking atheists* who believe in a God who personally intervened in history by becoming incarnate and dying on a cross to redeem men from their sins. Let me know if you know of any such atheists.

    Anyhow, as Dennis noted (@44), you don’t appear to know what “Christian philosophy” is, so your search is largely pointless, as you lack the ability by which to assess your supposed criteria.

    What you are almost certainly looking for are moralists who happen to call themselves “Christian”, but know nothing of Christ and his work.

    You may think that you are being generous in declaring your “willingness to share” society with such people, but all you’ve really done is declare that you can tolerate people who think just like you do, even if they slap a different label on themselves. Congratulations. That’s super tolerant of you.

  • Julia Bickel

    I think it is important to acknowledge the continual presence of paganism/ neo paganism and its effects on modern society. Christians need to be able to articulate the difference between paganism and Christianity. The solstices occur every year regardless of what we say or do about them. The recognition of Jesus Christ, his birth on earth, his life work, death and resurrection, and his identity as God in the flesh, does NOT normally occur, UNLESS the people of God, the church, make these facts clear. It is difficult to describe “western culture” in “eastern” countries without honestly mentioning all the layers of the festivals. Truly, only about half the people in USA are Christian, and many of those are in name only. What shall we say then about the popular celebration of “Christmas” with lights, parties, feasting, singing, dancing, and stories of magical events?

  • Julia Bickel

    I think it is important to acknowledge the continual presence of paganism/ neo paganism and its effects on modern society. Christians need to be able to articulate the difference between paganism and Christianity. The solstices occur every year regardless of what we say or do about them. The recognition of Jesus Christ, his birth on earth, his life work, death and resurrection, and his identity as God in the flesh, does NOT normally occur, UNLESS the people of God, the church, make these facts clear. It is difficult to describe “western culture” in “eastern” countries without honestly mentioning all the layers of the festivals. Truly, only about half the people in USA are Christian, and many of those are in name only. What shall we say then about the popular celebration of “Christmas” with lights, parties, feasting, singing, dancing, and stories of magical events?

  • http://xrysostom.blogspot.com/ Pastor Walter Snyder

    As I continue to read the new research and the old passages of the Scriptures, I find less and less cause to believe that the celebration of the Nativity should be moved from its present date. Perhaps Jesus’ winter birth is why the Holy Spirit moved John to emphasize the Light coming into a sin-darkened Creation at the beginning of the Fourth Gospel.

    As for supplanting paganism, Christianity supplants all false religions and some of its feasts will naturally align on the calendar with various non-Christian celebrations. Since we are—whether Christian, pagan, otherwise religious, or atheists—all human beings, we naturally share some kinship in the observations of our various festivals.

    Eating, drinking, and incorporating the things of the created world in our various celebrations doesn’t prove a common origin of these events as much as it shows a common origin for the members of the human race. Just because my ancestors stopped tiptoeing around oak trees or cowering before thunderstorms doesn’t mean that they had to give up every familial or cultural vestige of their old methods of celebration as they were led to the light of Christ.

  • http://xrysostom.blogspot.com/ Pastor Walter Snyder

    As I continue to read the new research and the old passages of the Scriptures, I find less and less cause to believe that the celebration of the Nativity should be moved from its present date. Perhaps Jesus’ winter birth is why the Holy Spirit moved John to emphasize the Light coming into a sin-darkened Creation at the beginning of the Fourth Gospel.

    As for supplanting paganism, Christianity supplants all false religions and some of its feasts will naturally align on the calendar with various non-Christian celebrations. Since we are—whether Christian, pagan, otherwise religious, or atheists—all human beings, we naturally share some kinship in the observations of our various festivals.

    Eating, drinking, and incorporating the things of the created world in our various celebrations doesn’t prove a common origin of these events as much as it shows a common origin for the members of the human race. Just because my ancestors stopped tiptoeing around oak trees or cowering before thunderstorms doesn’t mean that they had to give up every familial or cultural vestige of their old methods of celebration as they were led to the light of Christ.

  • Suzanne

    Reading all this, all I can think is “What difference does it make?”

  • Suzanne

    Reading all this, all I can think is “What difference does it make?”

  • http://www.sugarfootpark.com Shannon

    You really should look into the research done by this man…you will have a whole new appreciation for Christmas Day.

    http://www.bethlehemstar.net/

    Trust me, it is worth your time.

  • http://www.sugarfootpark.com Shannon

    You really should look into the research done by this man…you will have a whole new appreciation for Christmas Day.

    http://www.bethlehemstar.net/

    Trust me, it is worth your time.

  • karl prosser

    I have no problem with celebrating Christmas when we do, however i doubt it is accurate, and the folklore about prophet dying on day they were conceived seems a weaker argument to me, than the fact that the roman’s would not have made a census where a huge percentage of the population would have to travel to their hometown, to happen in the middle of winter.

  • karl prosser

    I have no problem with celebrating Christmas when we do, however i doubt it is accurate, and the folklore about prophet dying on day they were conceived seems a weaker argument to me, than the fact that the roman’s would not have made a census where a huge percentage of the population would have to travel to their hometown, to happen in the middle of winter.

  • bammbamm

    Zachary was informed on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) that his wife Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. (see Gospels and Protoevangelium of James). This would have been late September or early October. When Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary he told her that her cousin Elizabeth was in her 6th month. This would have been March. Assuming the Holy Spirit wasted no time, Jesus was conceived in March, and was born 9 months later in December.

  • bammbamm

    Zachary was informed on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) that his wife Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. (see Gospels and Protoevangelium of James). This would have been late September or early October. When Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary he told her that her cousin Elizabeth was in her 6th month. This would have been March. Assuming the Holy Spirit wasted no time, Jesus was conceived in March, and was born 9 months later in December.

  • turtlegs

    I notice some comments suggest Christmas is to be celebrated as a Holy Day. When did we attain the right to set aside days holy when God has set that day aside as Holy? And why then do we cast off the days He actually set apart as Holy? Isn’t this just a little topsy turvy?

    Again, I repeat my question, at what point did WE (the church or mankind in general) attain the right, the power, the ability, the commission to actually set aside any day as holy when God has not set that day aside as Holy?

  • turtlegs

    I notice some comments suggest Christmas is to be celebrated as a Holy Day. When did we attain the right to set aside days holy when God has set that day aside as Holy? And why then do we cast off the days He actually set apart as Holy? Isn’t this just a little topsy turvy?

    Again, I repeat my question, at what point did WE (the church or mankind in general) attain the right, the power, the ability, the commission to actually set aside any day as holy when God has not set that day aside as Holy?

  • mark opheim

    Jesus received all authority from the Father, and gave it to his disciples. This kingdom of priests voluntarily chose to set aside holy days, as long as they do not bind consciences.

  • mark opheim

    Jesus received all authority from the Father, and gave it to his disciples. This kingdom of priests voluntarily chose to set aside holy days, as long as they do not bind consciences.

  • turtlegs

    Mark, the disciples didn’t celebrate Christmas. So how do you figure THEY voluntarily chose to set aside holy days?

    That line of argument has no leg to stand on Scripturally. And it is the same argument the Word of Faith would use for many of these practices today. It just simply isn’t a proper hermeneutic being used to arrive at the conclusion that we (or any man) voluntarily have the right to make a day Holy.

    Think of the Sabbath. Scripture plainly tells us He set it aside and rested on it Himself. He established it Himself as a day unique and Holy, set apart. Now, do WE have that right, power, and authority to change it? To replicate it and make another day Holy, whether for a Sabbath or for a Holy Day?

    I have found no evidence from the Scriptures that we do. Everything is actually pointing to the contrary.

    I’m not opposed to a celebration. I am opposed to the mixing of Paganism into any celebration we Christians engage in. I am also opposed to a celebration outside of truth.

    1. The Messiah wasn’t born on Dec 25th. It isn’t a lie, it is a gross error. A miscalculation made a long time ago. This blog entry touches on it and that it was a widespread Christian belief at that time that Dec 25th was the Messiah’s birthdate. It is an error. Not a Pagan conspiracy.

    2. We are NOT commanded to celebrate His birth… nor His resurrection. At that same point, we are also NOT prohibited from celebrating it either.

    3. The Regulative Principle approach I take holds the position that we cannot approach Him nor worship Him in an acceptable manner except that which He prescribes. Any celebration of His birth or death, not being a prescribed manner in which to Worship Him is unacceptable. So it is not to be a worshipful celebration in that case.

    4. As I stated before, we do not have the right or the power to make a day Holy, nor are we allowed to profane the Days in which He makes Holy, such as the Sabbath. We are not to make them common, nor are we to make a day Holy that He has not. This means the celebration of His Birth or Resurrection or Death as a specific HOLY DAY (Holiday) is outside the bounds of what we are allowed to do.

    5. Modern Christmas has elements of Paganism and Romanism (same difference, imo) mixed into it. We are not to profane His name by mixing these elements into our lives nor to associate His name with it. Any celebration we might observe must be carefully examined so as to not dishonor Him by our mixing the ways of the nations and their gods into our lives… no matter what day or celebration that might be we are observing.

    6. Christmas Trees have nothing to do exclusively with Paganism, Christianity, Judaism, or the like. Trees have been used, and are still being used by Rome today, as means to create idols decorated and worshipped (Mary!). This doesn’t make Christmas trees an idol. The history of the Christmas tree is fickle, with Pagans claiming full rights… however it was the German Christians who brought the current practice into existence. What was their motivation? It doesn’t appear to be Pagan. There are various ideas of WHY they did it, it cannot be fully discerned. Some claim it was an object lesson of the Trinity. But consider in Hosea 14:8 where YHWH uses nature all through that chapter to associate not only Himself but His people, including identifying Himself with the fir tree. Something to think about in future discussions.

    And that’s kind of where I am at in the journey today. Truth. The truth is, we cannot call it a Holy Day (Holiday). We cannot use it as worship. We cannot promote it as the ACTUAL day of the Messiah’s Birth. We cannot mix the paganism and profane His name into our celebration then, or on ANY day. It can only be celebrated in truth, is my opinion. For what it is. A common day. A day in which WE celebrate amongst ourselves for the purpose of only celebration and not as a MEANS in itself as worship. That we must not mix the profane in our lives. We must not approach it as anything but what is true ABOUT it. It’s just a day. Often corrupted by Christians and Pagans alike in different and similar ways.

  • turtlegs

    Mark, the disciples didn’t celebrate Christmas. So how do you figure THEY voluntarily chose to set aside holy days?

    That line of argument has no leg to stand on Scripturally. And it is the same argument the Word of Faith would use for many of these practices today. It just simply isn’t a proper hermeneutic being used to arrive at the conclusion that we (or any man) voluntarily have the right to make a day Holy.

    Think of the Sabbath. Scripture plainly tells us He set it aside and rested on it Himself. He established it Himself as a day unique and Holy, set apart. Now, do WE have that right, power, and authority to change it? To replicate it and make another day Holy, whether for a Sabbath or for a Holy Day?

    I have found no evidence from the Scriptures that we do. Everything is actually pointing to the contrary.

    I’m not opposed to a celebration. I am opposed to the mixing of Paganism into any celebration we Christians engage in. I am also opposed to a celebration outside of truth.

    1. The Messiah wasn’t born on Dec 25th. It isn’t a lie, it is a gross error. A miscalculation made a long time ago. This blog entry touches on it and that it was a widespread Christian belief at that time that Dec 25th was the Messiah’s birthdate. It is an error. Not a Pagan conspiracy.

    2. We are NOT commanded to celebrate His birth… nor His resurrection. At that same point, we are also NOT prohibited from celebrating it either.

    3. The Regulative Principle approach I take holds the position that we cannot approach Him nor worship Him in an acceptable manner except that which He prescribes. Any celebration of His birth or death, not being a prescribed manner in which to Worship Him is unacceptable. So it is not to be a worshipful celebration in that case.

    4. As I stated before, we do not have the right or the power to make a day Holy, nor are we allowed to profane the Days in which He makes Holy, such as the Sabbath. We are not to make them common, nor are we to make a day Holy that He has not. This means the celebration of His Birth or Resurrection or Death as a specific HOLY DAY (Holiday) is outside the bounds of what we are allowed to do.

    5. Modern Christmas has elements of Paganism and Romanism (same difference, imo) mixed into it. We are not to profane His name by mixing these elements into our lives nor to associate His name with it. Any celebration we might observe must be carefully examined so as to not dishonor Him by our mixing the ways of the nations and their gods into our lives… no matter what day or celebration that might be we are observing.

    6. Christmas Trees have nothing to do exclusively with Paganism, Christianity, Judaism, or the like. Trees have been used, and are still being used by Rome today, as means to create idols decorated and worshipped (Mary!). This doesn’t make Christmas trees an idol. The history of the Christmas tree is fickle, with Pagans claiming full rights… however it was the German Christians who brought the current practice into existence. What was their motivation? It doesn’t appear to be Pagan. There are various ideas of WHY they did it, it cannot be fully discerned. Some claim it was an object lesson of the Trinity. But consider in Hosea 14:8 where YHWH uses nature all through that chapter to associate not only Himself but His people, including identifying Himself with the fir tree. Something to think about in future discussions.

    And that’s kind of where I am at in the journey today. Truth. The truth is, we cannot call it a Holy Day (Holiday). We cannot use it as worship. We cannot promote it as the ACTUAL day of the Messiah’s Birth. We cannot mix the paganism and profane His name into our celebration then, or on ANY day. It can only be celebrated in truth, is my opinion. For what it is. A common day. A day in which WE celebrate amongst ourselves for the purpose of only celebration and not as a MEANS in itself as worship. That we must not mix the profane in our lives. We must not approach it as anything but what is true ABOUT it. It’s just a day. Often corrupted by Christians and Pagans alike in different and similar ways.

  • http://upphouse.com Mark Opheim

    Turtle: First off, you’re right. Jesus wasn’t born on Dec. 25th. He was born on Pachom 25, according to Clement of Alexandra. No, the Apostles didn’t celebrate the Dec. 25th tradition. That tradition was started a couple of hundred years later by someone in Christ’s kingdom who attached Christ’s circumcision date to a Roman new year. (Ever notice how Jan 1 is the 8th day?) This is a move of liberality, let’s be sure. And the year of his birth was in error. However… this doesn’t mean that God can’t use something in error to achieve something greater later.

    But I think some things you are saying show some presuppositions: the Sabbath Day for instance. Does not our record show that the Apostolic Church started gathering on the 1st day of the week? This was because Christ’s D+R and word of promise created a New Kingdom– not a continuity of the Old. The NT ought to be read as testimony of the New way, not confirmation of the Old way. So they chose to celebrate Christ’s birthday on Dec. 25.

    Would you use your Christian freedom to discover Christ’s birth by this guy: http://www.biblechronologybooks.com ?

  • http://upphouse.com Mark Opheim

    Turtle: First off, you’re right. Jesus wasn’t born on Dec. 25th. He was born on Pachom 25, according to Clement of Alexandra. No, the Apostles didn’t celebrate the Dec. 25th tradition. That tradition was started a couple of hundred years later by someone in Christ’s kingdom who attached Christ’s circumcision date to a Roman new year. (Ever notice how Jan 1 is the 8th day?) This is a move of liberality, let’s be sure. And the year of his birth was in error. However… this doesn’t mean that God can’t use something in error to achieve something greater later.

    But I think some things you are saying show some presuppositions: the Sabbath Day for instance. Does not our record show that the Apostolic Church started gathering on the 1st day of the week? This was because Christ’s D+R and word of promise created a New Kingdom– not a continuity of the Old. The NT ought to be read as testimony of the New way, not confirmation of the Old way. So they chose to celebrate Christ’s birthday on Dec. 25.

    Would you use your Christian freedom to discover Christ’s birth by this guy: http://www.biblechronologybooks.com ?

  • turtlegs

    I have no idea who the guy at the link is. Also, your response shows a large amount of presuppositions as well.

    How did you jump to conclude that the Apostolic church started gathering on Sunday? If anything the Scriptures testify otherwise. But that is neither here nor there, unless we want to look at the texts and see. But how did your presuppositions skew this conversation into making the leaps and bounds that the OT is not a continuation into the New?

    This is mostly a Dispensationalist way of thinking. And I personally reject Dispensationalism, it’s a highly faulty framework for interpretation.

  • turtlegs

    I have no idea who the guy at the link is. Also, your response shows a large amount of presuppositions as well.

    How did you jump to conclude that the Apostolic church started gathering on Sunday? If anything the Scriptures testify otherwise. But that is neither here nor there, unless we want to look at the texts and see. But how did your presuppositions skew this conversation into making the leaps and bounds that the OT is not a continuation into the New?

    This is mostly a Dispensationalist way of thinking. And I personally reject Dispensationalism, it’s a highly faulty framework for interpretation.

  • http://idk mary

    he wazz i just found the thing

  • http://idk mary

    he wazz i just found the thing

  • http://upphouse.com mark opheim

    Turtle: did not Paul say to lay up money for the first day of the week?

  • http://upphouse.com mark opheim

    Turtle: did not Paul say to lay up money for the first day of the week?

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