December 27, 2007

Christmas originate from pagan feasts..

It is known that Christmas originate from pagan feasts that were only given a Christian meaning some centuries after Jesus lived on the earth.

How much these feasts were a worship of Sun or of any other idol, and how much these were just for having fun and feast itself?

As Paul writes the idols are nothing and eating (sacrificed) meat in itself is no problem. Only we should not be a stumbling block for weak brothers who may not have that recognition.
If nowadays, at least in the western countries, Christmas have lost their inner connection to idol worship, it shouldn't be a problem to follow some Christmas traditions of pagan origin, that are not bad in itself? Of cause we should be aware of not worshiping the consumption-idol, but this is valid all the year around not just the Christmas-time.

But the majority just likes the traditions and flows with the stream.. So can we take part in it in a moderate and Christ-centered way or is it that evil and pagan, that true Christians, followers of Christ, should reject the Christmas completely?
Anyway I think Christmas and other feasts are not neccesary, we can have a feast for the Lord in our heart every day.

December 19, 2007

Danger of False Teachings

In the community the correct teaching is considered a very important matter.
Really, apostle Paul writes: "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching, then you will save yourself and those who listen to you" (1 Tim 4:16), and to Galatians (1:9): "If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"
And Jesus said: "If you continue in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31-32)
Who has wrong teaching doesn't even worship God...
Teaching and life are closely connected..
False teachings have bad influence in the congregation and lead away from God..
"Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into {your} house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds." (2 John 9-11)

You can see details in their article.

Surely it is biblical to take care of the right teaching. But our recognition is limited in this world. Not every theological detail is explained unambiguously in the Bible. So where is the border between right and wrong teaching? Especially between teaching that is clearly wrong and leading to condemnation and teaching that is not the most correct theologically, but doesn't affect the salvation that clearly?
E.g, how should we interpret the Bible?
Rejecting big parts of the Bible as non-authentic by liberal theologians, takes away the authority of the Biblical truth and makes the first Christians liers who wrote the Bible as a book of myths. This approach questions many teachings of the Bible. So this must be wrong.
Another extreme is to say the Bible is dictated by God literally and has no errors nor contradictions in it's text. And that it is a book of natural science as well as of history. A known teaching they fight for is the six-day creation of the world... Reading with a critical mind, we can find contradictions in the Bible with the Bible itself and with the natural sciences.
I think a reasonable way is to see the Bible as a library of different kinds of literature, written by men who knew God, about Him and about the history of salvation. Everyone wrote according to his recognition in his time, and the recognition grew, especially after coming of Jesus. It was also the community's view.
If somebody doesn't believe a big part of the Bible, it changes his life a lot. If somebody is convinced that the world is created in six days, and follows some other teachings of the Bible literally, it can lead to some strange restrictions concerning food or clothing or womens' position, but does it hinder to follow the basic teaching of Jesus to love and to be sanctified, to be saved by faith in Him?

Another example. If the general teaching is that we need help of Jesus for salvation and that we are called to turn from our sins, does it change much in one's good fight for holiness, if he thinks he was born as a sinner or if he thinks he has only an inclination to sin? God's power can overcome both an inclination to sin and the sinful nature. And one can use both as an excuse for his weakness as well. Isn't it more important to cultivate the attitude not to excuse one's sins, but to be sanctified by Jesus.

One more thought. We were expected everyone to know well the correct teachings in a rather high theological level. But what about those who are not that educated to understand the theological-philosophical details? And the psychically ill? If the details of every teaching are the matter of salvation, how can they be saved?