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The Origin of Pagan Holidays (4 of 7)
I Corinthians 8:4-8
Many of the holidays we celebrate today were not observed by the church during the first three centuries after Christ. As late as 245 AD, church leaders condemned observing certain holidays we celebrate today. Christmas, for example, was not listed as one of the feasts and festivals celebrated in the church in the middle of the third century. This celebration was added sometime in the second half of the third century. One of the distinguished early church theologians, Origen, repudiated the idea of celebrating the birthday of Christ by saying that keeping it "is as if he were king Pharaoh" (Homily 8 on Leviticus). Passover was celebrated but it was not celebrated as Easter until much later in church history.
Before going on I would like to state that I am not necessarily advocating that Christians stop celebrating Easter and Christmas. I am going to show historically that these were adopted from pagan rituals; however, it is up to the reader to determine whether this fact violates their consciences. It is strictly my personal opinion that this fact has little bearing on whether or not we honor a specific holiday. The reason is that we are so far removed from pagan religions that we no longer put any meaning in the pagan symbolism. If someone puts a wreath up, it is a pretty decoration, but has no significance in worship. The Bible explains this distinction in two passages in Corinthians. Look first at 1 Corinthians 8:4-8
4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
7 Howbeit ther ...
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