Monday, December 31, 2018

A.W. Tozer on the New Year

"I do not advise that we end the year on a somber note. The march, not the dirge, has ever been the music of Christianity. If we are good students in the school of life, there is much that the years have to teach us. But the Christian is more than a student, more than a philosopher. He is a believer, and the object of his faith makes the difference, the mighty difference. Of all persons the Christian should be best prepared for whatever the New Year brings. He has dealt with life at its source. In Christ he has disposed of a thousand enemies that other men must face alone and unprepared. He can face his tomorrow cheerful and unafraid because yesterday he turned his feet into the ways of peace and today he lives in God. The man who has made God his dwelling place will always have a safe habitation."1

Happy New Year!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. A.W. Tozer, The Warfare of the Spirit.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Is Christmas Pagan?

Around this time of year, it is very common to hear the oft-repeated claim that Christmas is a pagan holiday and that Christians ought not celebrate it.  Below, I have assembled resources that address some of the common concerns both Christian and non-Christians have around this time of year.

Articles

Is Christmas Pagan?

Is Christmas Pagan? by Greg Koukl

Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday by R.C. Sproul

Is Christmas Purely a Pagan Holiday? by "The John Ankerberg Show"

No, Christmas is Not Based on a Pagan Holiday by Lenny Esposito

Were Christmas and Easter Based on Pagan Myths? by Timothy Paul Jones

5 Questions Every Christian Should Learn to Answer about Christmas by Alisa Childers

The Christian and Christmas: Is Christmas a Christian Holiday? by Hank Hanegraaff

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by Christian Research Institute 

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by Bible.org

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by John Piper

Problems with the Pagan Origin of Christmas Argument

How December 25 Became Christmas by Andrew McGowan

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by gotQuestions.org 

Do Some Christian Traditions Have Pagan Origins? by gotQuestions.org

4 Christmas Myths We've All Totally Bought by Tyler Huckabee

Christmas: Christian or Pagan Holiday? by Joel Furches

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? by Rich Deem

A Messianic Jew Reflects on Christmas by Michael Brown

Are Christmas Trees Pagan?

Should We Have a Christmas Tree? by gotQuestions.org

Pagan Christmas Trees and the Burden of Proof by Lenny Esposito

No, Christmas Trees are Not Based on a Pagan Holiday by Lenny Esposito

Why Do We Have Christmas Trees? by Edwin and Jennifer Woodruff Tait

Should Christians have Christmas Trees? by John MacArthur

Does Jeremiah 10:1-5 show that we should not have a Christmas tree in celebration of Christmas? by bible.org

What Does the Bible Say about Christmas Trees? by Bibleinfo.com

Does Jeremiah 10 forbid Christmas trees? by Matthew Slick

Videos


Is the Christmas Tree a Pagan Symbol? by Bobby Conway

Is Christmas Pagan? by Brett Kunkle

Is Christmas Pagan? by Marie Wood (Funny!)

Is Christmas a Pagan Festival? by Bobby Conway

Inspiring Philosophy - "Christmas is Not Pagan"  Pt. 1 (Scripture)   Pt. 2 (History)

What Should We Do With Christmas?

You can find answers to other common questions here.

As for me, in regard to Christians and Christmas, I believe what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 14:5- "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind" (ESV).

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

11 Christmas Books Everyone Should Read

Parents and Santa Claus

I Still Believe in Santa, and God Too

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Testament Critic D.H. Van Daalen on the Empty Tomb of Jesus

“It is extremely difficult to object to the empty tomb on historical grounds; those who deny it do so on the basis of theological or philosophical assumptions.”1

For more evidence for the empty tomb of Jesus, see "Accounting for the Tomb Empty: The Quest for the Risen, Historical Jesus" by William Lane Craig here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad




Footnote:

Monday, December 17, 2018

Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas is True by J. Warner Wallace

In this Free Bible Insert J. Warner Wallace shares 5 reasons why you can trust the story of Christmas is true.  They are as follows:

1. The Supernatural Nature of the Virgin Conception Shouldn't Disqualify It

2. The Claim of the Virgin Conception Appears Incredibly Early in Christian History

3. The Birth Narratives in Luke and Matthew are Not Late Additions

4. The Virgin Conception Was Not an Invention of Early Christians

5. The Virgin Conception Wasn't Borrowed from Anther Source

He briefly unpacks each reason here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

Rapid Response Series by J. Warner Wallace

Book Review: Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace

My Favorite Apologetics Apps

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Theologian R.C. Sproul on Christmas

"I can’t think of anything more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating His birthday every year. Keep in mind that the whole principle of annual festival and celebration is deeply rooted in ancient Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament, for example, there were times when God emphatically commanded the people to remember certain events with annual celebrations. While the New Testament doesn’t require that we celebrate Christmas every year, I certainly see nothing wrong with the church’s entering into this joyous time of celebrating the Incarnation, which is the dividing point of all human history. Originally, it was intended to honor, not Mithras or any of the other mystery religion cults, but the birth of our King."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. R.C. Sproul, "Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?", Dec. 23th, 2016.

Related Posts

Christmas Resources from GotQuestions.org

A Christmas Testimony by Chad Vaughn 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Christmas- Pagan or Not?

Does Christmas have pagan origins or not?  Today's post features 3 short and concise articles by apologist and speaker Lenny Esposito that consider this question historically and with up-to-date scholarship.

Esposito writes:

"The claim that the roots of Christmas are pagan is one I hear over and over again, especially in December. The idea isn't even new. The New England Puritans, who valued work more than celebration, taught such.  Puritan preacher Increase Mather preached that "the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that 'Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian.'

When one digs into the actual history however, a much different picture arises. There are two ways to approach the question: one is to see how December 25 became associated with the Nativity, which is how the early church would have referred to the day of Christ's birth. The other one is to look at the celebrations of Saturnalia and Sol Invictus. Either approach shows the dubious nature of the claim that Christmas has pagan roots."

The articles are as follows:

Pt. 1- No, Christmas Is Not Based on a Pagan Holiday

Pt. 2- The Date of Saturnalia Doesn't Line Up with Christmas

Pt. 3- Christmas, the Solstice, and December 25th

For more on the date of Christmas, see this article by Andrew McGowan, originally published in Bible Review, December 2002.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, December 07, 2018

12 Historical Facts About Jesus, 13 Theories to Explain

My wife recently shared this resource with me that was posted by the 1 Peter 4:12-16 Christian Worldview Blog back in November.  The chart was created by Craig Hazen of Biola University.  
The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus includes 12 facts agreed upon by scholars, both liberal and conservative. A reasonable approach is to evaluate those 12 known facts against 13 theories about what happened to determine each theory’s explanatory power (which of the 12 facts it doesn’t account for). The only 2 theories that account for all 12 known facts are:
  1. Jesus was an alien
  2. Jesus was bodily resurrected
Here are the 12 facts (gotten from a presentation by Dr. Craig Hazen):
1.    Jesus died by crucifixion [*** core fact #2]
2.    He was buried
3.    Jesus’ death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope, believing that his life was ended
4.    The tomb was discovered to be empty just a few days later
5.    The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus [*** core fact #3]
6.    The disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify themselves with Jesus to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection [*** core fact #1]
7.    This message was the center of preaching in the early church
8.    This message was especially proclaimed in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and was buried shortly before
9.    As a result of this preaching the church was born and grew
10. Sunday became the primary day of worship
11. James, who had been a skeptic, was converted to the faith when he also believed he saw the resurrected Jesus
12. A few years later, Paul was also converted by an experience which he, likewise, believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus [***core fact #4]
Here is a chart of 13 theories that attempt to explain the facts (again, credit is given here to Craig Hazen for this excellent chart):