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My Friend Says That Christmas Is a Pagan Holiday. Is He Right?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
December 14, 2022 1:30 pm

My Friend Says That Christmas Is a Pagan Holiday. Is He Right?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 14, 2022 1:30 pm

Episode 1119 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Questions in this Episode

1. I have heard it said that because Eve was deceived in Eden and not Adam, men should be pastors and not women. Is that right?

2. Someone brought to my attention that Christmas is a pagan holiday. Are we as Christians adhering to pagan practices when we celebrate Christmas?

3. What is the relationship between repentance and confession?

4. Does Isaiah 30:21 confirm that we should hearing from God audibly?

5. I am really struggling with understanding how to deal with a particular situation, would love some help. A bunch of friends and I are planning on going on a trip this next summer and we are renting a house for a week. Most of us are Christians but there is one girl and her boyfriend who aren’t. They are most likely wanting a room for themselves and as a Christian I am struggling with whether or not we should let that happen. On one note, yes I can’t force them to do what I believe as a Christian is wrong since they aren’t a married couple, but on the other hand I do wanna minister to them well. How can we as Christians walk biblically and wisely in this situation?

6. What does it mean that Jesus is the "only begotten Son of God"?

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5 Reasons Christmas Is Not a Pagan Holiday

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Core Question - How Do I Live the Christian Life?


This new episode of CORE Christianity was prerecorded. My friend says that Christmas is a pagan holiday.

Is he right? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can always email us a question at First up today, let's go to Scott in Fort Smith, Oklahoma. Scott, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Oh, yes, sir. It's a little town right next to Fort Smith. I'm sorry.

Oklahoma border with Arkansas. My question is, your thoughts on how in the church over the years, I have heard it said and preached that in the Garden of Eden, it was the woman who was deceived and not the man. And that's why men should be pastors and not women, too.

And the second part is what would have happened if Adam had not sinned in the garden after Eve did? Thank you all. Listen off the air. Have a blessed day. Hey, Scott, thank you for that question.

Let me answer the second part of your question first. So Adam and Eve are in the Garden of Eden during this what we might call probationary period. It's not yet this state of confirmed righteousness where they're experiencing the fullness of God's blessing in their lives. They're undergoing a test there in the garden, this, as I said, probationary period. And had they obeyed the Lord, they would have, I think, entered into this state of confirmed righteousness, the new creation, if you will.

But they didn't. Sin entered into the world. And ever since sin entered into the world, we've been suffering under what it brings to us.

And one of the things it brings is all sorts of issues with regard to society, with regard to family. And the only hope we have is the redemption that's given to us in Jesus Christ. Now, with regard to the first part of your question and women pastors or women teaching elders in the church, it sounds to me like you're referencing what Paul said in 1 Timothy 2 verse 14. For Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Now, we know that both Adam and Eve sinned. And Adam is, in one sense, the representative head of humanity in the garden there, which is why in Adam all of us fell into sin, if you will. Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 5 verse 12. So it's not, I think, that Paul is laying all the blame on Eve here. There's this shared responsibility that they both have.

They both sinned grievously before the Lord. And so your question is, is this the reason why in other places, like 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, it seems like the role of the teaching elder or preaching pastor is reserved for men? I'm not sure that that's entirely the case. I think there could be something to that. But I think even within the original creation, you have this sort of order in relationship.

And so I don't know that I would appeal to that specifically in order to make that case. I think one of the things that Paul is highlighting here is just, again, that brokenness that we see in society and in the world as a result of sin. And so, yes, again, that text is 1 Timothy chapter 2, if you want to read that a little bit more closely.

God bless. I had somebody bring to my attention that Christmas is a pagan holiday. And where it derives from, and the similarities between that and Santa, saying that we as Christians are believing or whatever, adhering to a false deal, and we should not be celebrating it. And I just want to know what your thoughts are on that.

Thank you. Yeah, thank you for that question. And obviously, every time around this time of the year, those kinds of objections are raised, whether by Christians or non-Christians as well. You know, non-Christians saying, look at you Christians celebrating this pagan holiday. Don't you know the roots of all your religious ceremonies are found in paganism, that kind of thing? So, a couple of ways to respond.

First, let me say this. The only truly holy day, if you will, that Christians are called to celebrate is the Lord's Day. That is when we gather together on Sunday for Christian worship, remembering the fact that Jesus Christ conquered death when he rose again from the dead. We don't have a list of Christian festivals, feasts, if you will, that are given in the New Testament, sort of like you did in the Old Testament in places like the Book of Leviticus where you had the Feast of Tabernacles and so on and so forth. These holidays that were prescribed by God for them to remember what God had done in the history of his people.

We don't have that list in the New Testament. We're called to gather together, to assemble as believers on the Lord's Day, to draw near to God, to receive his gifts, to worship him. So, you don't have anywhere in the Bible that says you're obligated to celebrate Christmas, that kind of a thing. But from very early on in the history of the church, Christians did celebrate a feast of the Nativity, if you will, remembering the fact that God broke into our world through the Incarnation, that the Father sent his Son into the world to assume humanity from the womb of the Virgin Mary. They commemorated that. They celebrated that at a particular time of the year. There was debate even in the early church about when specifically we should celebrate that. But that was not something that they embraced or inherited from the pagan world around them. That was just a desire to remember what God had done in redemptive history and to celebrate it, to rejoice in it.

Now, a couple of things to add on there. Is the way Christmas is celebrated by many Christians today pagan? I would say yes, insofar as it's been transformed by consumerism. It's all about buying things and just greed. So often, it has nothing to do with worshiping God, with remembering what God has done in the history of redemption. And it's about drunkenness and feasting and gifts. And that's pagan, right?

That's not honoring to the Lord. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with buying gifts for your family, that kind of thing. But I'm just saying that's what's all-consuming around this time of year. And people are just weighed down by stress and frustration. For a lot of people, the holidays are just something that they can't stand because they're exhausted and there's just all of the tinsel and all of these other things.

It's just overwhelming. As opposed to being a time where we can sort of take a step back and say, wow, look at what God has done, breaking into our world to redeem us. Friends, that's what we need to focus on this time of the year, what God has done in redemptive history in sending his Son. And we rejoice in that and we praise God for that. We get each other gifts and we celebrate that, but we're not obligated to celebrate that according to scripture.

It's just something that we do. And I think there's prudence to talking about, frankly, a lot of Christians even have no understanding of the incarnation Christology today. And so I, as a pastor, I like to take this opportunity every year to talk about the incarnation, to talk about the theology of the incarnation, to talk about the significance of the incarnation, because we need to be hearing about these great redemptive historical truths. We need to be immersed in them throughout the year, frankly. And so if churches use this time of the year as an opportunity to do that, wonderful. And if people are willing to visit churches around this time of the year, maybe more willing than they ordinarily would be because they go to church on Christmas and Easter.

Look, that's great. Go and hear the gospel and then go every other week as well, is what I would say, because we need that gospel every single week, every single day. Thank you for that question.

Amen. You know, it's interesting, Adriel, it seems like every year around this time we start getting phone calls and questions about, is Christmas a pagan holiday? And because of that, we've put together an excellent resource for our listeners, which will really help them when they're discussing this with other people who may make that claim. That's right. Yeah.

I mean, talk about a really great resource for just digging deeper into this question. The early church in an attempt to appease the pagan culture is the idea that that's why Christians celebrated Christmas. It was a way of mixing pagan festivals with Christian themes. That's how we got Christmas.

But that's not the case at all. The true story of Christmas is something you really want to understand. So that's why we made this resource, five reasons why Christmas isn't a pagan holiday. It helps unravel some of the most common objections and misconceptions about the origins of Christmas. And it'll give you an appreciation for the resilience of the church through the ages. And it'll also explain why Christians can receive and celebrate Christmas with joy. And it's yours for free over core Christianity dot com.

You know, there is so much misinformation out there on this topic. So we'd encourage you to get this, maybe send it to a friend or relative who tends to be more of a Scrooge this time of year. Again, it's called five reasons why Christmas isn't a pagan holiday. And to get a copy of that, just go over to core Christianity dot com forward slash offers again, core Christianity dot com forward slash offers.

Or you can call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-843-2673. Let's go to a Facebook question that came in from one of our listeners. This is from Matt in California, and he says, What is the relationship between repentance and confession? Yeah, great question.

I love this question. So repentance, Matt, is a change of mind. I mean, that's what the Greek word metanoia means. And so we think of, you know, all the things that a change in mind of mind would entail. I mean, there's a turning away from, right? I used to believe this.

Now I no longer believe this. I believe the opposite. It's turning away from sin. It's turning away from self even, trusting in ourselves, trusting in our own abilities, our own righteousness, and turning to God, laying hold of his grace. And we are called as Christians to repent, to turn from our sins, to turn from ourselves even, and to lay hold of the grace of God that's offered to us in Jesus Christ.

And that's something that we're going to do throughout the Christian life. Every single day we sin in thought, word, and in deed. And so we're called to repent, to turn from those sins, to confess them to God, and to receive the grace that he gives to us. Now, what is the relationship between repentance and confession?

Sort of interesting, right? We are called to confess our sins. And if you're a Christian, you know, you can confess your sins directly to God.

You have Jesus, your advocate, your mediator, your great high priest. You know, through him you can go to the Father directly and say, God, be merciful to me, a sinner. And when we come to God in that way, he does indeed forgive us.

He does indeed cleanse us. I love what we see in 1 John 1, verse 5. John says, This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, in other words, if we don't confess our sins, I don't have any sin. I'm not a sinner.

He says, We deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. And so confession is central to the Christian life. We can confess directly to God, but I think there's also a benefit to confessing to a brother in Christ, the elders of your church, a pastor.

If you have someone who you trust, a godly brother or sister in the Lord, that you can go to and be honest with them, there's something to that. In fact, James talks about that in James chapter 5, confessing your sins to one another, praying for one another that you might experience healing. There's a sense in which when we confess our sins, when we bring them into the light, when we confess them before another person, we can't minimize them anymore. It's when we hide them, when we conceal them in the darkness, under the cupboard, if you will, and we say, I confess it to you, God, but I'm just going to hold on to this.

I don't want to let this go. Sometimes I think we can deceive ourselves into thinking that we've really repented of a sin, really confessed it, when in reality we haven't. I think bringing it into the light, confessing to another person, hearing them encourage us with the gospel is so healing, it's so wonderful. It's one of the ways that we, by the Spirit, put to death the sins that we struggle with, that we mortify them by bringing them into the light. That's precisely what John says there in 1 John 1. We bring those sins into the light, we walk in the light, and we have fellowship, not just with God, but with one another, because there's transparency, there's openness, there's honesty, there's peace.

There is a close relationship between the two, but you can repent without necessarily ever having to confess to another person, but I think oftentimes, like I said, there's a great benefit to confessing to another person as well. Thank you for that question, Matt, and may the Lord bless you. Great explanation. Thanks for that, Adriel. You were listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just a reminder that some of the radio stations that air our program aired on a tape-delayed basis, so if you want to call into the studio live when we're taking calls, here's the time to do it. 1130 a.m. Pacific Time, which translates into 1230 Mountain, 130 Central, or 230 Eastern Time. And that's the time we'll take your calls right here in our studio.

So bear that in mind, jot those times down. Let's go to a voicemail we received from one of our listeners named Paul. My question is on Isaiah, chapter 30, verse 21. And my question is, is this scripture telling me that I should hear an audible voice?

Hey, thank you for that question, Paul. Just opened up to Isaiah, chapter 30, verse 21. It seems in the context to be talking about this great restoration that God is going to bring about for his people.

And verse 21 says, And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it. When you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver, and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things.

You will say to them, Be gone. In other words, repentance. God is speaking to his people. There's going to be this great and massive repentance where you're going to let go of your idols. You're going to cast them aside.

You're going to worship me. Now, there are a couple of ways of looking at this text in particular. But one thing I will say, just as we open up, is no, this is not saying that you as a Christian today should hear an audible voice from the Lord. Now, Jesus did say, My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me, John chapter 10.

But I think even there, he's not referring to an audible voice. He's talking about the guidance of his Spirit. And the Spirit of God speaks to us through the Word of God, illuminating Holy Scripture. So in that sense, I would say, we do hear from the Lord.

Every time we go to church on Sunday, why do we go to church on Sunday? To hear God speak to us from the Scriptures. Why do we open up God's Word? Because God is speaking by his Spirit through his Word to us. And so we take up and read and receive what God has to say to us. But nowhere in the Bible, I think, are we given a promise that if you're a faithful Christian, you're walking with the Lord, you should be hearing from God audibly. Now, in extraordinary ways, miraculous ways, can God audibly speak to people today? Yeah, sure, but the fact of the matter is I think a lot of times when people claim that God is speaking to them, it's not God at all.

And many have been led astray by this idea. And that's why I said we've got to stick to the Scriptures. We've got to go back to the Word. And so if the way in which we take this is the Great Restoration that was coming by or through Jesus, the promise of the New Covenant, where the Spirit of God was going to teach us, we were going to hear the voice of Christ, if you will, through the Spirit and through the Scriptures, yeah, I think we could say that. And that's the sense in which God speaks to us today. Ultimately, I think this is also looking forward to the great and final restoration, the new creation, if you will, where we will hear the audible voice of the Lord because we're going to be in his presence in the new heavens and the new earth.

And so there's something even greater that we look forward to. But no, Paul, there is no promise in the Bible that if you're faithful to Jesus, you're going to be having audible conversations with God. And that doesn't mean that God doesn't speak to us today. He's speaking all over the place, through the created world around us, all right, and testifying of his greatness, of his glory, of his power, and through his Word, his special revelation to us. God has so much to say. Oftentimes, we're just not listening. And so we need to attune our ears, if you will, to the places where God has promised to speak to us, where he said, I'm talking to you, and listen to him there.

Thanks. You know, Adriel, I almost got led astray by an audible voice the other day with Siri. And she was telling me to drive into a lake. And I had to ignore those instructions because, you know, Bill, I'm glad that God has given you such discernment.

I mean, it really is amazing to me. Yeah, I don't even listen to Siri anymore. She's always getting me lost. And so I, you know, put not your trust in Siri, as the scripture says.

Go to the Word. Amen. Well, let's go to an email that came in from one of our listeners. This is from Zachary.

He says, I'm really struggling with understanding how to deal with a particular situation, and I would love some help. Me and a bunch of friends are planning to go on a trip this summer, and we're renting a house for a week. Most of us are Christians, but there's one girl and her boyfriend who aren't. They are most likely wanting a room for themselves. And as a Christian, I'm struggling with whether or not we should let this happen. On one note, yes, I can't force them to do what I believe as a Christian is wrong, since they aren't a married couple. But on the other hand, I want to minister to them as well. How can we as Christians walk biblically and wisely in this particular situation?

Yeah, a great question. So, okay, so you guys are going on a trip. You're going to stay in a cabin, it sounds like, something like that. And most of you are believers, but one couple, they're not Christians, and they're probably going to stay in the same room.

So what is your obligation in this situation? Part of me thinks of what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5, where he talks about the judgments that we make as believers. He said in verse 9 of 1 Corinthians 5, I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people, not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. In other words, what Paul is saying here is, I told you not to associate with the sexually immoral, but I didn't mean just the people outside of the Church, those who don't confess Christ. No, continue to associate with them, to share the love of Christ with them, the gospel of God's grace with them.

He says, I'm writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother, if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed. Now if this couple, if they confessed faith in Jesus Christ, well then I would say, yeah, this would raise all sorts of red flags, and you ought to say something to them specifically, as people who confess faith in Jesus Christ, like hey, this is probably, you know, you're not married, this is not appropriate, not right, and you should probably stay in separate rooms. I don't know that you're obligated to have that conversation with them in this situation, but that doesn't mean that you don't want to also have a positive influence in terms of your relationship with them as Christians, to share the gospel with them, and maybe this trip is going to be an opportunity for that. Maybe as you guys spend time with each other there, eating meals and going on hikes or whatever it is that you're going to be doing, you'll get to have gospel-centered conversations about faith, about repentance, about walking with the Lord, about the Christian sexual ethic, those kinds of things. And so I would say use this as an opportunity to spend time with these individuals and to be the light of Christ to them. And part of that is calling people to faith and repentance, but I don't know that the best approach is saying, hey, I know you guys aren't Christians, but we are, and so you guys need to basically do what we would do, and we wouldn't stay in the same room, so you guys have to do that too. I just don't think that that would be the most helpful approach, and I think that on the basis of what Paul said there in 1 Corinthians 5, you're not obligated to do that. You are obligated to share the love of Christ with them, to be charitable, and to speak the truth and love to them. And maybe this is an opportunity for that as you guys all spend time together and say, so may the Lord bless you in that, and may the Lord give you wisdom, may the Lord give you boldness, and may He open the hearts of these two individuals as you guys spend time together. God bless, Zach. This is Core Christianity.

We have time for one quick email question before we go today. This comes from Justin, and he says, what does it mean that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God? Yeah, we've been answering questions about Jesus being the only begotten, again, around this time of the year. That's a perfect question as we think about the incarnation of Jesus. And so what Jesus did not become the Son of God at the incarnation. He is the eternal Son of God, eternally begotten. And when we talk about his begottenness, if you will, of the Father, we're talking about his personal property as a second person of the Holy Trinity, if you will. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father, begotten not made, as the Nicene Creed states, which means that Jesus isn't a creature. He isn't a created being. He didn't begin to exist. There were heretics in the ancient world. There was a time when Jesus was not. Well, no, he is the eternal God, the second person of the Holy Trinity. And so that's the wonder of the incarnations, that God himself assumed humanity for our redemption, for our salvation. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-14 17:22:49 / 2022-12-14 17:33:08 / 10

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