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Mr Hepburn thanks for the answer.  It seems to me that you people take things to seriously, but that is you prerogative.  Just because you do not celebrate some customs that the rest of us Christians do why as My Holland asks do you judge those that do?  I have been re reading Mr Holland's information and there are  so many other things that he brings up that seem to put a nail into the coffin of your ideas.  I want to ask you about a few more of those things He repeatedly says or implies that you are inconsistent sighting things besides wedding customs such as the Christians themselves celebrating old customs.  I want to ask you your view on the examples he have of what Jesus's followers did   


Mr Holland …  “By the way, Mr. Hepburn....When Jews in Bible times converted to Christianity, were they COMMANDED to refrain from any and all of their former observances, or customs? Or were they simply to not try and impose those practices on the Gentiles?”   …..    By taking the position that you do, you are basically saying that NOTHING that has ever been misused by pagans, is appropriate for a Christian to use.  That is a tough position to take, or defend, in my opinion.

Answer
Greetings again Henry,

Sorry for the delay. Hospital appointments have kept me pre occupied.

You and Derrick are correct in that there was no prohibition on  the Jewish Christians of the first century from keep some of the observances of the Jewish religious system

Derrick made this very insightful statement    My position has been, and still is, that we are not to do ANYTHING in honor of pagan “gods”, or with any thought of them.  Nor are we to commit any acts, or honor any customs, that are inherently sinful.     

The words that are important here are   “we are not to do ANYTHING in honor of pagan “gods”  There are things that are accepted in today’s society that once come fro pagan practacis, Derrick mentions the days of the week and there are the months of the year that originated from pagan customs and in their day were often used in Pagan religious ceremonies.  It is interesting that even the Jews adopted the Babylonian name of  months of the year when they left their captivity in Babylon.  So what is the difference then

Religious festivals such as Christmas and Easter  are RELIGOUS FESTIVALS.  Like all religious festivals, they have something to do with worship or service of a god, in these case they are supposed to be a way of serving the God of the Bible.  The customs that have been included in these so called Christian festivals were gradually included from non Christian sources. As I pointed out before I ask myself the question is it acceptable to include untrue aspects of worship (service) to a God who insists on being worshipped with TRUTH. (John 4:23 ) A God who hates lies.  (Numbers 23:19 ”God is not a man that he should tell lies, Neither a son of mankind that he should feel regret. Has he himself said it and will he not do it, And has he spoken and will he not carry it out?”  Hebrews 6:18 ” . . .in order that, through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie. . .”  Proverbs 6:16-19 ”There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: 1...... 19 a false witness that launches forth lies,” )


That is what we must all ask ourselves as we stand before him. Are we doing anything in our worship that is founded on a lie???

I, and JWs, do not condemn others for including such things in their worship.  That is entirely up to them or you to do so.  We see the Bible and hence God condemning such things because they were once used in  pagan religious worship and are adopted as religious rituals or celebrations by people who claim to worship him .

Now Derrick, and one of the web pages he shared with us,  uses an example Corinthians 10: 31

QUOTE from Derrick

1 Corinthians 10:31-  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

In context, this was talking about PARTAKING of and EATING meat, that had been offered to idols…Yes, in pagan worship.  Wouldn’t you just think that such would be forbidden?  Why not ask Paul the same question you asked me?…“At what point do we start to let the things of Satan into our lives and not become contaminated to the point of displeasing God????

But really, wasn’t Paul’s answer much more in line with MY position, than with yours?  Didn’t Paul here explicitly state that eating such meat was not wrong, merely because it had been offered to false “gods”, which really didn’t exist anyway?  The reason he gave for abstaining from it, was NOT because it was “tainted” by the pagan worship, but only if it could be a cause for stumbling a weaker brother.

End quote

The meat being spoken of here was from the market.  (The KJV uses the word shambles which means a place where food is sold – Strongs Greek word number 3111) .Not all the meat sold in the market was left over from religious ceremonies, but some of it was.  Paul’s point was that, although Christians would not share in pagan worship, meat that had been sacrificed in a temple was not intrinsically contaminated. So  eating such meat was not wrong. So what is the difference?  Even though the meat had been possible been used  in a pagan ritual, eating a meal is not involved in a religious act of worship.

The full account reads

1 Corinthians 10:23-33 “23 All things are lawful; but not all things are advantageous. All things are lawful; but not all things build up. 24 Let each one keep seeking, not his own [advantage], but that of the other person.

25 Everything that is sold in a meat market keep eating, making no inquiry on account of YOUR conscience; 26 for “to Jehovah belong the earth and that which fills it.” 27 If anyone of the unbelievers invites YOU and YOU wish to go, proceed to eat everything that is set before YOU, making no inquiry on account of YOUR conscience. 28 But if anyone should say to YOU: “This is something offered in sacrifice,” do not eat on account of the one that disclosed it and on account of conscience. 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other person. For why should it be that my freedom is judged by another person’s conscience? 30 If I am partaking with thanks, why am I to be spoken of abusively over that for which I give thanks?

31 Therefore, whether YOU are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory. 32 Keep from becoming causes for stumbling to Jews as well as Greeks and to the congregation of God , 33 even as I am pleasing all people in all things, not seeking my own advantage but that of the many, in order that they might get saved.”

Now notice that Derrick did get a good point out of that passage he said  … ”but only if it could be a cause for stumbling a weaker brother.” .  That is the point made in verse 32 above.

That brings me back to my hypothetical question.  Christians were to be careful not to upset the conscience of others.  The problem is in the second century they stated to do so but slowly accepting the ideas of the nations around them.   One of the web sites that Derrick shared with us that fully supports Christmas acknowledges that Christianity stated to go astray and introduce different ideas it said...

One only has to read the church fathers and other church documents to discover that in many places the Church began to drift from apostolic doctrine and practice almost from the beginning. As early as the late First Century, there arose legalistic and rigorist mindset in the church that seemed to almost forget the Biblical teaching of grace. Scattered throughout the empire were churches calling themselves Christian which were in fact gnostics, who used both the Scriptures and their own sacred literature side by side. From the time of the apostles there were countless false teachers and teachings that invaded the church, and in many cases leading entire regions astray. The followers of the false teacher, Marcion (85-160), for example, filled the Roman empire with hundreds of congregations by the end of the Second Century. There certainly was an orthodox Church, but it was anything but pure, in the sense of, "without any error." These early Christians were beset with as many temptations and errant philosophies from the world as Christians today are.

So again I ask is it OK to introduce a practice into the  worship  of a God that detest a lie, a celebration that included some pagan ideas with lies as to when and how the event happened.?

Derrick  asked about cats because the Egyptians revered cats. He suggests it is inconstant for JWs to allow someone to have a cat (because of the pagan connection) but to say that Christmas is wrong.  There is nothing wrong with cats unless we use them in worship .  That is the whole point. Many practices are not used in recognizable religious worship so there is no religious significance to them

Now as regard other things such as  say wind chimes how do we view them?  I will cut and past from an article about wind chimes because it shows the principle involved that covers so many things  (italics original  underline mine)

QUOTE
*** w81 6/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***

Many persons have used wind chimes to give a pleasant musical aspect to the home. When the wind blows, the glass, metal or wooden pieces hit against one another to produce the sound. However, it is the custom in some countries to put up wind chimes with the thought that they will keep evil spirits from entering the home. Obviously, a Christian would not make use of wind chimes for such a purpose. So if   there is such a superstitious belief in one’s country, or community , it would not be wise to have a wind chime in the home. Thus no one will be stumbled or given the impression that Jehovah’s Witnesses make use of wind chimes for some unscriptural purpose”
end quote

That would be the principle behind the incident with his mother and pumpkins. Not living in the USA  I do not know when pumpkins are ready but I do know that they are around at Halloween time.  Putting pumpkins on the from door step MAY have given the appearance to someone in  that household engaged in the superstitious activities of Halloween.  Christmas or Easter decorations would give someone the idea that the household  support the lies that are common with those events.

Romans 12:2 tells us “2 And quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making YOUR mind over, that YOU may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”  The will of God includes worshiping him in truth  (John 4:23 )

The last line of the quote above gives the same principle that Derrick touched on, the conscience of some one else – stumbling someone.  As Christianity apostatized  in the second and subsequent centuries the conscience of others was slowly ignored as pagan based ideas were introduced or “Christianize”

When Constantine summoned the council at Nicaea  it was to unite the squabbling factions that were tearing apart his empire.

One of the web sites Derrick recommends suggest that the words of Marry (the mother of Jesus ) as used in “religious worship” suggest that early Christians sand hymns of praise about the birth of Jesus.  I will quote what was said

QUOTE
As the people responded to such readings of God's Word in worship with their praise, were they not celebrating Christ's birth? Moreover, it is well known that the portions of New Testament were from a very early period incorporated into the worship of the Church (e.g., the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise in Luke 1:46-55; and the Benedictus in Luke 1:68-79); it is also well known that portions of the New Testament contain hymns or confessions used already in the Apostolic age (e.g., Phil. 2:6-11; 1 Tim. 3:16).

END QUOTE
What are the words of Marry and are they “worship” or “praise”of Jesus birth?  

Luke 1:46-56  “ 46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies Jehovah, 47 and my spirit cannot keep from being overjoyed at God my Savior; 48 because he has looked upon the low position of his slave girl. For, look! from now on all generations will pronounce me happy; 49 because the powerful One has done great deeds for me, and holy is his name; 50 and for generations after generations his mercy is upon those who fear him. 51 He has performed mightily with his arm, he has scattered abroad those who are haughty in the intention of their hearts. 52 He has brought down men of power from thrones and exalted lowly ones; 53 he has fully satisfied hungry ones with good things and he has sent away empty those who had wealth. 54 He has come to the aid of Israel his servant, to call to mind mercy, 55 just as he told to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his seed, forever.” 56 Then Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her own home.”

Marry is giving praise to her God, the God of the Hebrews Jehovah.  Mary's  words are reminiscent of what Hannah (Mother of the prophet Samuel) said when she in her old age became pregnant. (see 1 Samuel 2:1-10 ).  Marry is not celebrating the Birth of Jesus.  than any but the miracle of life that was in here from the most powerful God of the universe. ( Marry said - “ because the powerful One has done great deeds for me ”)   She was aware of the Bible prophecies to their forefathers and now she was to be a part of that promise.   Hannah sand a song of praise to God for here son  Samuel, does that mean we are to remember and honour him as well.

Our conclusion is that it is not right to honor the birth of the Son of God, but to show honor for  what he did for us by staying faithful and dyeing on our behalf (Ecc 7:1 ), and especially since the story of Christmas as told in most churches do not teach the truth of the occasion we see that as dishonouring both God and his son Jesus


You have to decide from the information that has been presented from both sides of the debate which one stays by the Bible and which one deviates.  What history shows about the introduction of pagan idea into the Christianity.  As for me I will try to stay strictly by the Bible.


From the information presented ask youself is it idolatrous to honour someone day of birth as the ancient pagans did and that Gods people avoided of doing, so is it wrong to idolize  or put undue attention the son of God the Son of God when no one is to  

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Brenton Hepburn

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

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I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

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I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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