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Can Holy Days be Personal?

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The main reason for this article is to show that if some Christians wish to hold a particular day as holy, then they are free to do so, with scriptural support, even if churches and other Christians do not. I feel compelled to write it because so many zealous believers treat Christians who hold to Christmas with contempt and anger. This ought not to be!

As I have said elsewhere, Christmas itself is a Roman Catholic invention rooted in paganism. Also, some of the practices and beliefs surrounding the ‘festival’ range from pagan to useless... yet, those who practice them are not necessarily ‘pagan’ or heretical (see A-520 and O-007).

However, this paper is to do with holding to a particular day as holy, when perhaps no other Christian does so. Is this possible? Yes, it is.

The Proof Text

When a scriptural text provides very clear support for anything, we may regard that text as a ’proof’ text that can regulate all similar situations. We find this in Romans 14:5, 6.

  1. “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
  2. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

Can it be made any clearer? For myself, Christmas Day (for example) is like any other day, and I reject it for Christian purposes. But, another man might believe the day is holy. He might acknowledge that the day was originally invented by Romanists, so is he necessarily heretical? No, he is not.

While he can acknowledge the original date to be Romanist, he can, with honesty, look upon it as a suitable day to recognise the birth of Christ (even though some of us do not). In which case, his belief can be accepted as genuine. You might argue that he has no business holding the same day as Romanism. That may be true – but if his inner belief genuinely wishes to revere Christ on that day, unfortunate though the actual date is, then scripture says he is entitled to his belief!

For myself, I would advise him to change his day of reverence to another, because Jesus was born anywhere from late Autumn to early spring, and that moving his own date would then not coincide with that of a paganistic date. Even so, if he wishes to use the date of December 25th, he can do so legitimately. If this occurs, I would continue to advise that by retaining the same date as that of a pagan festival date, he is offending other believers, especially those who are weak in faith. This ought to result in a changed date. But, if it does not, and the fellow believer remains adamant, he is free to do so, and I may not rebuke him. Nor should anyone else. As verse 3 tells us:

  1. “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not, and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth.”

Am I, then, saying that it is alright for a Christian to observe Christmas on December 25th, or Christmas itself? No, I am saying that Christians are allowed to hold particular days as holy days. Those who hold Christmas as holy, but do so after Romish fashion, are definitely wrong and they sin. But, those who, as individuals, hold the day to be holy because it represents the birth of Christ, and they do not follow any Romish rites or traditions, are within their spiritual rights to do so.

Change of Date

If I counsel them by advising a change of date, so that it does not coincide with that of Rome’s festival days, and they still prefer the same date, well, that is up to conscience, and I would refer to it as poor judgment. Even so, they are free to hold the day as holy, if their heart and spirit agree. If the Holy Spirit wishes to alter their minds by His own means, then so be it. Can you see the very important distinctions I am making?

A man who is “fully persuaded” will comply with another view only if his mind is persuaded. If it is only psychological compliance it will be worth very little. The compliance brought about by deep persuasion by the Holy Spirit is another matter, for it is the highest form of persuasion, which will automatically lead the person to comply psychologically, making the compliance permanent and arising from true conviction. It will be genuine because it changes the heart and soul.

For many, many years I was ‘persuaded’ psychologically by my denominational affiliations, and I was accepted by my peers. Then came the day that I saw my error; I began to study scripture truly – and left behind my former weak persuasions to follow the path of truth and Christ. Former ‘beliefs’ thus fell away as they were replaced by Holy Spirit teaching and persuasion. Though I could provide God’s word as proof for my new beliefs, others in the churches chose to ignore the scriptures and shunned me. So, I know a great deal about how peers work in churches. This is why this paper has been written – in defence of our freedom in Christ!

Does the man “(regard the day) unto the Lord?” Then we have no business rebuking him or speaking against him, even if we think he is mistaken. If he tells us he believes in his holy day deeply, passionately and of the Lord – what can be done? Nothing. It is possible that he confuses psychological belief for Holy Spirit guidance... but that is not our problem. If such is true, then the Holy Spirit will, one day, disabuse his mind of it, and will bring about repentance and genuine belief. We cannot do that, even if we shake many tracts and ‘proofs’ in his face and treat him like a ‘backslider’!

Similarly, the man who opposes him and does NOT treat the same day as holy, may do so, also legitimately. In other words, both must believe as they must and if there is no counter-argument from scripture, there is no argument at all. Both may give thanks to the Lord for their own personal stance, like it or not. And neither may scorn or rebuke the other.

Judge Well

Think very hard, friends. “Why dost thou judge thy brother?” (verse 10). If it is because his belief and veneration of a day as holy is against known scripture, then your rebuke is correct (if you rebuke with a loving heart). But, I suspect that most will rebuke the other because his belief does not comply with their own! Because THEY believe a certain day is not holy, they insist that everyone else complies with them. If they do not – then vengeance will pour out like molten lava. The very fact that there is anger or a vengeful attitude says it all!

I once read, about two years ago, a railing accusatory article against fellow believers who had not yet understood the problems with Christmas. It was so angry and hateful that I was compelled to write to the author with admonition. Many of his arguments were right, but his anger was like poison and was not acceptable. Nor were his accusations, that those who did not comply ‘must be heretics’! Where is love for the brethren? If they were deliberately and consistently opposing God’s word and doctrine, then there might be a case to approach them with a warning. But, not otherwise... hold your tongue.

We must each of us give an account of ourselves before God (verse 12). God does not require others to run to his feet with accusations! By shouting in the faces of the brethren before allowing them to speak or discuss the matter, critics can do more damage than good (verse 13, and also read verses 14-on).

  1. “Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
  2. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
  3. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
  4. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
  5. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
  6. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
  7. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.” (verses 16-23)

If you have to ask me what on earth this has to do with the issue, then I would suggest that your discernment is impaired. Just as meat does not destroy the work of God, neither does holding a day holy when others do not! (Bear in mind that a man can think of a day as holy for one of many reasons that test his soul).

Is there a genuine reason why you must oppose holding a day holy? What is your biblical reason? I have used the example of holding a day holy as veneration for the birth of Christ, but the same principles apply to many other things. Does a personal holy day contradict scripture? Does it reject doctrine? If neither, then what reason do you have in the sight of the Lord?

Yes, it would be foolish to hold a day holy if it coincides with a so-called ‘holy day’ held by a cult or the occult for a similar reason. In which case the error will NOT be the reason for the holy day, but the choice of date. But, even if the choice of date seems wrong, this still does not give us the right to castigate a fellow believer. Rather, we may only advise, and ask the Lord to persuade the person... if it is His will. Then, we must leave the matter alone, for it is not our responsibility to take the place of Holy Spirit conviction.

Do you see what I am getting at? Am I necessarily agreeing with this or that holy day belief? No, I am not. I have presented a case from scripture, and it is scripture that must persuade your mind and heart.

© January 2014

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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