Thursday, December 25, 2008

Defending Christmas- Answering the Spiritually Dead! Romans 14:6 What it really means.

I wanted to answer the un-identifiable one and how he uses his foolish twisting of Sacred Scripture to reject honoring Our Lord's Incarnation. He uses Roman's 14:6 to justify himself in doing so. Is it about Christian liberty as this guy says? Let's look at this passage and see what Saint Paul is really saying. In this passage of Scripture Saint Paul is not talking about whether or not we should attend or not attend a day of worship as if Sunday or any other day is as good as another to worship God. He is referring to the many Jews of his day who were keeping old Jewish observances such as seventh day Sabbath laws etc. We can tell this because this passage starts off with the Jewish dietary laws, and the Church Fathers interpreted it the same way. This passage is really referring to works of the law in reference to the Jews just as Saint Paul does throughout his writings, which are also misinterpreted by the heretics to mean all works. To prove it lets look at Saint Chrysostom and how he interprets this passage. It is not even close to what this guy is trying to prove from it. Chrysostom says in his homily on Romans in the 4th century the following in regards to this passage,

Ver. 6. He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that regards not the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. And, He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not, and gives God thanks.
He still keeps to the same subject. And what he means is about this. The thing is not concerned with fundamentals. For the thing requisite is, if this person and the other are acting for God's sake, the thing requisite is (these words are repeated 3 manuscripts), if both terminate in thanksgiving. For indeed both this man and that give thanks to God. If then both do give thanks to God, the difference is no great one. But let me draw your notice to the way in which here also he aims unawares a blow at the Judaizers. For if the thing required be this, the giving of thanks, it is plain enough that he which eats it is that gives thanks, and not he which eats not. For how should he, while he still holds to the Law? As then he told the Galatians, As many of you as are justified by the Law are fallen from grace (Gal. v. 4); so here he hints it only, but does not unfold it so much. For as yet it was not time to do so. But for the present he bears with it (see p. 337): but by what follows he gives it a further opening. For where he says,

Ver. 7, 8. For none of us lives unto himself, and no man dies unto himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord, by this too he makes the same clearer. For how can he that lives unto the Law, be living unto Christ?

To use this passage does not give anyone anyplace individually the right to set his or her own worship schedule as if he were his own Church. It is plainly aimed at the Jews and the works of the law. To use this passage to justify rejecting Church liturgical celebrations is a false interpretation. Let me continue.

The Church in her authority can have a variation in Liturgical Calendars. This means that each Church, not each individual can have variations in liturgical schedule. That does not mean that each church can arbitrarily remove Christmas from their liturgical calendars. Sure the day may be different, such as Easter is different on the old calendar from the new most of the time for example. This passage is not really in reference to this, but could be later interpreted to be referring to the spiritually weak in faith accusing other churches of not following their liturgical calendars, as sometimes happens today between the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church over Easter. There are numerous other passages of Scripture that prove that there are appointed days of worship by the early Church. Read 1 Cor 16, Acts 20:7, Rev 1:10 for example. So once again we see this passage when read in context is not an excuse for each individual to decide whether or not to worship Christ in his incarnation individually. It was written primarily for the Jews of the time.

Next lets look at the age long persecution of Christmas by the Protestants to really get an idea of where this guy is coming from. In England the Catholics were persecuted so harshly that certain Christmas carols were invented to communicate Catholic doctrine at Christmas time because of the hatred of the Catholics celebrating Christmas. One of these carols is the well known 12 days of Christmas. Another example is when the people of Ireland placed lit candles in their windows at Christmas so that passing priests would know that the people wanted to have Mass celebrated in their homes. Once again the likes of the English crown persecuted the Catholics in Ireland.
The English Puritans had a hellbent hatred for Christmas and went to all lengths to destroy it. During the brief Calvinist reign in England, they forbade the celebration of Christmas, even going so far as to force shops to be open! This is how sick these sub-defectives were in their hatred for Our Lord's incarnation.

Now the last argument is that Christmas is a new invention and that it was taken from the pagans and it has nothing to do with real Christian worship. This is quite absurd, since the history of the Church speaks otherwise. We have Christmastide being celebrated in the early Church and scholars think that the celebration of Epiphany (originating in the East), which included the nativity and modern Christmastide themes, was celebrated as early as the second century. The oldest manuscript that we have in the west dates from AD 336. It shows the liturgical celebration on December 25th and is in the Philocalian calendar. The Apostolic Constitutions (c AD 380) mandated the celebration of Christ's birth on December 25th, and his Epiphany on January 6 to give a united day to the celebration of the Incarnation throughout the Church.

Once again every Church throughout the world is living and interpreting the Scriptures different than these modern "Protestant" heretics. Although the day in the early Church was not explicitly celebrated on Dec 25th, the Incarnation was a day of liturgical worship by the Church since its earliest time. Once again Saint Paul is not to be understood as to not arguing over whether we should be celebrating Christmas, but possibly what day we should celebrate Christmas. There is a big difference. To interpret Saint Paul in a manner allowing each individual to decide for himself as whether he is going to go to church on Sunday or any other Holy Day is ridiculous and one must really stretch the text and twist it to get this meaning from it. He is clearly telling the Jews that it must not be a work of the law. Meaning that we should not celebrate that day as a work of the law in and of itself. This is clearly not the case with Christmas, nor was it Saint Paul's intention as we just read in Saint Chrysostom's homily on it. Isn't it funny how heretics will throw Scripture verses at the Church not even knowing what they mean? Just reading the Scriptures and interpreting them as you see fit is not real Christianity. You have to live the Scriptures and unite yourself to Christ in His Church. The Scriptures are to be lived in the Church by the Church. The un-identifiable one will always be on the outside looking in until he decides to repent and follow Christ.

Is this legalistic that the Church provides us with a liturgical calendar to follow so that we may immerse ourselves in the life of Christ and become more Holy through Him and the Sacraments of the Church? I think not! And I think it is the one who is spiritually dead who makes such accusations at the Church. The Church provides these things to us because we need them and because it is our spiritual hospital so to speak. Do the healthy need a hospital? Woe to those who think they are spiritually sin-proof for they are really spiritually dead! Those who oppose the authority of Christ are those who think they don't need help, those who think they they know better than Him. It is not a legalistic obligation we are following, but one of love towards Christ. The Church knows that those who immerse themselves in the Holy Days will reap rewards of grace from God because those that love God want to be with Him on these most Holy days of worship. It is love that the real law is based on, not legalistic transactions as you have in Protestantism. This is what is condemned in Scripture. We don't have to look very far as the "Reformed" church looks at Christ and salvation as getting your ticket punched at the train station. Talk about legalistic nonsense. I will close with this beautiful Arabic Christmas Carol from You Tube! It is truly amazing! Christ is born! Glorify Him!

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