Ray Bradbury wrote a wonderful tale about a man who Became Aware of his skeleton, and of the man who helped him with his problem. I am currently acutely aware of my GI tract, so I am lying low today.
Speaking of heresy (which does NOT necessarily mean false doctrine, but rather doctrine with a 'tude, a "my way or the highway" twist), WorldNet Daily is, true to form, marching in lockstep with that most peculiar of dispensational aberrations, the love affair with Judaism, the selfsame teaching that the apostle Paul FOUGHT against for a significant portion of his epistolary writing in the New Testament. Joe Farah is backing this with offerings like the "The Gift of Chanukah DVD" with an email subject line "Jesus celebrated THIS, not Christmas." (as foolish a come-on as ever was), as well as featuring writing by Richard Rives, president of Wyatt Archaeological Research, and an adventist in outlook, whose grumping about keeping the Sabbath is being featured by Farah and WND.
This of course syncs well with the WND dispensational love affair with the modern state of Israel.
Paul withstood Peter for retreating from the gospel's liberty because Peter feared the Jerusalem church leaders who sought to lay the burden of the Law of Moses upon the shoulders of the Gentile Christians. The Holy Spirit-led missive from the Jerusalem Council is, to me, the crowning blow against the need for "commandment-keeping" in the Church.
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. (Acts 15)The apostles and elders, your brothers,To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:Greetings.24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.Farewell.
Those four strictures were the full extent of the requirements placed upon the Gentiles beyond the teaching of the Gospel. If God wished the Gentile church to be keeping the Sabbath, He missed a good opportunity to make it plain.
Paul's teaching in Galatians that if you seek the righteousness found in Law-keeping, then you have fallen from the Grace which imputes Christ's righteousness to you (see Romans), also makes clear the danger inherent in being a fanboy of Mosaic Law.
The admonition to "celebrate Chanukah" because Jesus did is a spurious one (beside its being a non-canonical festival). Jesus also celebrated Passover before He BECAME our Passover, and before he transmogrified the Seder meal into the commemoration of His Body and Blood. Jesus CHANGED the Passover, as surely as He changed the water to wine at Cana. Jesus also practiced going to the Temple, and all the rest of the Law, as it was meant to be. We have not had that charge laid upon us in ANY contextual passage of the New Testament.
The "War on Christmas" has taken a perverse turn, the shooting coming from an ostensibly "christian" front. Christmas is, patently, not a New-Testament-approved holiday. Other than the reportage of the birth of Jesus, there is no mention of any celebrations of it in the NT canon. Does this mean that we should therefore not remember and celebrate Jesus' birth? If that is the reasoning, then a lot of churches must sell their buildings, as corporate ownership of property is not sanctioned in the New Testament either.
I write this not to promote this chimaeric season we call "Christmas", with its mangers and carols and stockings and Santas. I am writing this to denounce that which would seek to put us, in the name of Christ, into bondage under what Christ freed us from. The Law is our schoolmaster (as Paul wrote) to lead us to Christ, showing us our inability to bootstrap ourselves into the Kingdom by perfect adherence to the Law. Jesus Christ has freed us from the Law, by fulfilling it. He has freed us from the bondage of sin and death by defeating them.
That is Christmas present enough for anyone!
In other news, this image DOES bring a tear to the old 'Varky eye....