T he following Email was recently sent to Blow the Trumpet’s by a visitor who had watched a video clip we produced on Christmas. Her comments suggested that Mr. Herbert W Armstrong practiced idolatry because of his approach toward the gospel. Below is her letter and our response.
Hi PR Person,
While you are busy selling the idea that Christmas is "pagan" I hope that you can also sell the idea that Herbert Armstrong was just as "pagan" and just as dedicated to idolatry, because I can remember that the church was willing to give up on Christ when HWA said Christ was not the Gospel, while the Scriptures continued to say that He was the Gospel (Acts 8:5. & 35-Philip preached Christ; Acts 5:42, the disciples of the New Covenant preached Jesus Christ; Acts 9:20 & Acts 17:18 & Philip.1: 18, Paul preached Christ.
Thank you for visiting Blow the Trumpet and for your comments regarding our Christmas page and Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. It is clear to us that you have very strong feelings on both. We are fairly certain that our response will not persuade you to rethink your position regarding these topics, but out of respect for you and in consideration of the time you invested in writing, we thought we would answer. Please forgive the length of our response, but we sincerely wanted to give your comments the attention they deserve.
First, despite how vigorously people try to defend a tradition like Christmas, it remains unadulteratedly pagan. It has never been nor ever will be a part of the New Testament church and for good reason. God hates everything about the idolatry that gave birth to this festival. He is not vague or ambiguous concerning this fact. Furthermore, virtually all professing Christian leaders will acknowledge Christmas as coming from the pagan world. The tragedy is that in the same breath they will attempt to justify it—this despite the fact that the Bible repeatedly warns against incorporating such things into the worship of the One True God. Consider just a few verses that declare God’s position regarding how His is to be worshipped beginning with the fact that He will not share His Glory with idols.
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isa. 42:8)
Many visitors of Blow the Trumpet have tried to dismiss this verse by arguing that the symbols of Christmas are no longer “graven images” because they were “confiscated for Christ.” But is it possible to do such a thing? Here again God’s words are very clear.
When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;
Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deut. 12:29-32)
Even the New Testament speaks with force on this. Consider the words of Jesus Himself declares that God must be worshipped in TRUTH.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Jn.4: 24)
The point here is that if the Messiah says that God must be worshipped in TRUTH! With that said, what makes us think we can drag fables into His worship? And that is exactly what Christmas is—A FABLE.
To better grasp the true scope of this holiday we encourage you to research the subject on your own. We are not asking you to believe us. We are appealing to you to seek out the truth and to believe it.
With respect to your comments regarding Mr. Armstrong we offer this:
At no time did Mr. Armstrong ever dismiss Jesus Christ as a prominent part of the gospel. We realize this accusation is made repeatedly by his detractors, but it is simply not true. What he did teach was that while so many today preach about Jesus, they fail to preach what Jesus preached—and we couldn’t agree more.
A Great Gospel
Two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth walked the countryside of Palestine and preached a powerful gospel message. It was a message about a Great Kingdom that was going to come to this earth and restore peace and order to a world bent on its own destruction. Everything in His life was dedicated to advancing the cause of that kingdom; His birth, His teaching, His miracles, His parables, His life (both public and private) were all dedicated to advancing the cause of a kingdom He knew was going to come to this earth, and He knew He was going to bring it.
He began His ministry proclaiming that message. The gospel of Mark indicates that when John the Baptist was cast into prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom and exhorting those who would hear to “repent.”
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God... And saying, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the gospel. (Mk. 1:14-15)
This gospel of God’s kingdom was the central theme of Jesus’ ministry, and it would also be the focal point of the apostle’s work throughout their lives.
Furthermore, Jesus specifically stated that prior to His return to earth the gospel of the Kingdom would be proclaimed.
And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Mt. 24:14)
The gospel of the kingdom is something that links all the champions of the faith, from the Old Testament prophets to his end-time servants. It represents one of the great commissions Christ gave to His church, and make no mistake about it, Jesus practiced what he preached.
At this time it is important to understand what Jesus did not preach. He did not preach a prosperity gospel, a heath-and-wealth gospel, a you-deserve-to-get-rich gospel, or a you-deserve-it-now gospel. He did not preach gospel music or a trucker’s gospel or a biker’s gospel or a butcher’s, baker’s or candlestick maker’s gospel for that matter. Jesus spoke of a real kingdom. He described its laws, its citizens, its territory, and its leaders.
Today however, the overwhelming majority of “Christian evangelists” have made a “freak show” out of the gospel. They prance around on the stages of great auditoriums. They sob openly during their messages. Their services are a perfectly choreographed theatrical presentation. Many beckon their audience to “come and experience God’s healing power.” Some shout, and their audience shout back. Others speak in “tongues” and almost all will claim, “We’ve got the devil on the run!”
When Jesus’ apostles went forth to preach the gospel, it was not a circus atmosphere. Their approach was not to put on a big show. These founding fathers of the New Testament church gave their lives to proclaiming a truth that was anything but frivolous. They were serious men living in serious times, proclaiming a serious message. That message was a warning that God’s law is real and there are real consequences for breaking it.
The gospel of the kingdom is an announcement that the government of God is going to be established on this earth under the direct supervision of Jesus Christ (Rev. 11:15) and His saints (Dan. 7:18, 21). It is a declaration that Jesus Christ will return to this world in great power and subdue the nations.
When Jesus spoke of the last days, He stated that the gospel would be preached as a “witness” (Mt. 24:14). The word “witness” in this verse is very interesting and reveals a profound truth concerning God’s end-time work. This term comes from the Greek word “marturion.” It is a term that pertains to a judicial proceeding. “Marturion” is testimony based on evidence; in this case the Decalogue or Ten Commandments. When Jesus uttered this word He was using it in a prosecutorial context. Here God’s law is held up as the standard, and mankind is indicted for its defiance.
This is what Mr. Armstrong believed and taught. Furthermore, it is what we believe and teach to this very day.
Blow the Trumpet
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