On National Conversions and the Stand Against Christmas

Forced Conversions

Let us turn back the pages of the centuries and imagine ourselves in the Early Church, in the Apostolic Age, and in the centuries that immediately followed. Let us also imagine that we are members of, say, one of the pagan tribes of Europe, of Britain, or North Africa, or the peoples of Asia, and all of the apostles or their successors come to us and say that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary. And He is the king, promised of prophesy, born of the line of David, to be the King of the world, king over all nations, king over all creation, the last, or greater Adam.

Now, what was the reaction? It is very easily discernible, because history records it very, very commonly. The reaction of these men on receiving this word and believing it was then to say, what is the law of this king that we might obey Him? And we know that many kings simply ordered every citizen to be baptized. They lined them up alongside of the river, and had the missionaries baptize them. And then they immediately required full obedience to the Law of God or else they executed them. For centuries this is the way many peoples were brought into the Church. Now it may seem very wrong to us, we shall go into this later, but certainly even as late as Charlemagne this was done by Charlemagne to the Anglo-Saxon, especially the Saxons, and Charlemagne did it not because he was saying this was a better missionary method, but because having conquered that area, and insisting that the Word of God apply to that realm, and since the Saxons were disobedient repeatedly, the only way he could end human sacrifice and many, many other abominations was to say, now you’re all going to be baptized, every Saxon among you and after that you’re all under the Law of God, and if you disobey it, your head goes! It’s the only way that he and many other ended human sacrifice and other things in the realms they ruled, by saying Christ is King; His Law shall prevail. God now having sent His Son into the world to be born of the Virgin Mary, He must be obeyed and His Law must be obeyed. 

Now this story can be repeated time and time again and documented endlessly. Some of you probably recall some history teachers telling you how awful they were in the Early Church because they converted people this way. Actually, this isn’t the way they converted them. When the king was converted, he thought he had a duty to institute the rule of the King (Jesus) in his realm and to end all kinds of abominations. And this is how they immediately put an end to all human sacrifices and various forms of perversion and other abominations within their realm. And they accomplished a great deal of good thereby. Then they called for missionaries and teachers to go in and evangelize their peoples. And this was done.

Law in Acts and Epistles
Dr. R.J. Rushdoony

Interestingly, this attitude — the religion of the monarch is the religion of the subjects — comes from Rome, as noted in Joel McDurmon’s The Bounds of Love: An Introduction to God’s Law of Liberty and A Consuming Fire: The Holy of Holies in Biblical Law.

But in the last century or two, this kind of thing has been despised. And history teachers because first of all, they deny that God was born at Bethlehem in the person of Jesus Christ, very God of very God, and very man of very man, that He is King of Creation and therefore His Law is binding, have worked to destroy faith in Him and obedience to His Law.

And this has saturated the churches. Few things better illustrate what has happened in theological circles than Richard Watson’s Biblical and Theological Dictionary which came out in 1832. While Watson was until fairly recently, until the 1920s, the great authority in Methodist circles, in his day, Watson was regarded as one who had broken very sharply with Calvinism and with the Church of England and yet Watson still showed the ancient Christian regard for law. Watson, in his Dictionary in a long, long section on law, many pages long, states the ancient position that was held for centuries, that grace did not set aside the law, but brought about the possibility of the fulfillment of the law. Therefore, he said, the law was not superseded, but rather the Christian era called for its more intensive and wider—world-wide application. And he went on to say that the New Testament not re-stated the whole of the Ten Commandments but extended its force and power (this from Watson). 

And yet, since then, the Wesleyan tradition has become very Antinomian. Compare what Watson held with the work of a modern Wesleyan, F.F. Bruce, one of the most distinguished contemporary scholars in Britain, who in 1968 was in Pasadena at Fuller Seminary, giving the Payton Lectures. These were published under the title, The New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes. He never mentions the law. He recognizes in the course of his book that the word that is translated ‘salvation’ can also be translated ‘victory’, that both are equally acceptable translations, so that when we say we have been saved by God it means that God is victorious in our lives. When we say that salvation is brought into the world through Jesus Christ, we mean that God’s victory is brought into the world through Jesus Christ. All this, he admits, and it’s a fact well-known to Greek scholars. But he fails to admit the law as the instrument of that victory.

How then is victory to come, according to Bruce in these Payton Lectures? He denies that God’s grace having been manifested the victory is extended through law. Why, he says, victory comes by death or martyrdom. We are victorious as we give our necks to the enemy to be slain. I fail to see any victory in lying down and allowing the powers of darkness to martyr me? What victory is there in that? What Bruce offered at his lectures in Pasadena was a program for defeat.

Law in Acts and Epistles
Dr. R.J. Rushdoony

Rushdoony is correct in this: death-seekers will bring little or no victory to Christ’s Kingdom, in time and on earth. Fighting for victory is the correct viewpoint.

McDurmon argues that the Roman attitude is obsolescent in today’s era: the religion of the ruler is not necessarily to be the religion of the ruled.

On the other hand, there is no reason that a nation can’t be built on Christian law, ruled by Christian men and women (as opposed to Secularists and other Anti-Christian belief systems.)

All that was needed to defeat Caesar was the Word of God preached and lived consistently, and a demand for justice and liberty. In truth, it was the Spirit of God. The stone cut out without hands smashed the statue of Nebuchadnezzar on its Roman feet, and brought the whole crashing down. And it did so without First Table penalties and powers—only the power of the Holy Spirit inspiring courage, patience, and faithfulness.

What is needed more than anything today is for the pulpits to return to preaching the full scope of God’s justice, and for the body of Christ to uphold that standard to all of culture. With such faithfulness and courage today, we could once again watch the would-be Caesars of the world fail and the edifice of statism and tyranny crumble with them. We do not need another Constantine. We need Spirit-filled Theonomy in the pulpits, and in the hearts and minds of every Christian.

BOUNDS OF LOVE, P. 135
by Josh McDurmon

You aren’t going to get liberty in a Secular state, or an Islamic state, nor in any other state that does not recognize the Law of God. At least, not for long… as we are learning across the West.

Cast away God, and the human sacrifices return. Be they the death of the unborn (and, thus, our futures), or the usual mass graves, gulags, concentration camps and artificial famines of the national and international socialists, the Political Power Class demands death.

Life comes through following the example of Christ.

Not through the government punishing people for failing to keep the Sabbath, or refusing to worship Jesus Christ.

Abolishing Christmas

The Puritans abolished for a time the celebration of Christmas. They did it because Christmas had become a thoroughly pagan holiday. It had ceased to have much to do with the birth of our Lord and had everything to do with pagan, English customs. The yule log, and that sort of thing, and had become a time of debauchery. What we speak of now as “the office party” is a pale thing compared to the yule celebration. They didn’t even call it Christmas, they called it yule, y-u-l-e, and the yule celebration was simply the old pagan winter festival revived. And so the Puritans said, we can have nothing to do with it. And so for a few generations, they abolished it. They would have nothing to do with it. And when they re-established it, it was as a church holy day, and it was not until Dickens’ Christmas Carol that Christmas again began to resume its non-Christian character, this time a Humanistic humanitarian character of love and peace and being nice to people. So this is the history of Christmas and the hostility was very, very well-merited. We simply have no appreciation of how thoroughly pagan yule was. 

[Audience] So {?}

[Rushdoony] Right. It is again reaching the same thing and I know of some churches that have again abolished certain aspects of Christmas. I know of one congregation of Northern California, an independent church with a Christian school, very good group, where they will not observe Christmas. Now they may have carried it too far, but their feeling is that it has become a pagan festival again. We’ve not gone anywhere near as far as the English had with their yule.

Law in Acts and Epistles
Dr. R.J. Rushdoony

It’s nice to have the actual reason, why the Puritans refused to celebrate Christmas.

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