The above phrase is an oxymoron. An oxymoron is created when contradictory terms are combined. A killer or murderer cannot have a kind heart. Another example would be to talk about an ‘honest thief’.
The values that Christians should aspire to cannot be reconciled with paganism. Remember, we have dealt the term ‘Christian’ extensively. It should mean: follower of the Christ. The ‘Christ’ although having gone through several filters refers to the Anointed One or Messiah. Messiah again is a transliteration that sounds like the original Hebrew term ‘Mashiach’. Thus ‘Christian’ should imply that someone lives consistent with the values that Messiah lived.
Is it not time that we expose paganism from within Christian ranks? The proper term for it is syncretism or mixed worship. We are talking about the tendency to take pagan things and put a new label on it and call it Christian. Easter and Christmas are two fine examples. Careful study of the origins of these so-called feasts will reveal the true nature of what you’re dealing with. These are essentially two commercial festivals with centuries old traditions. You say: ‘Ja but what about all the good that comes out of it, like the family time and so on.’ Do we need a pagan festival to show love to your family and friends? Are they not there every day and we should not try and show our appreciation every day?
In this regard, not all, but too many Christian ministers’ pragmatic take on the subject has been decidedly disappointing. The logic goes something like this: ‘We can use Easter and Christmas to bring people to the Lord.’ This argument is fundamentally flawed. It leads to superficial conversions. The message of Messiah is an offensive one, it cuts to the heart and one must count the costs when you decide to follow Him. Messiah did not use those methods and neither did His immediate followers.
Organisers mean well when they arrange meetings where thousands gather. Usually someone (from another country?) comes on stage and brings a message and often thousands respond. In principle this is good. I’m talking about people who sincerely come forward and accept Messiah. But is this the most effective way? Unfortunately the follow-up from there is often non-existent. The journey only starts as the new follower of Messiah needs to walk with others to strengthen his/her faith. The success does not lie in the attendance or quantity but in the quality of relationships that can flow from there. In a sense: to go big we have to go small.
Is it not interesting to consider Yeshua’s approach. He chose 12 close followers (talmidim) and imparted to them the blessed secrets of the Kingdom of God. He withdrew from time to time for times of fellowship with His Father, but other than that He lived with His followers, ate with them. It is a radical different picture to what we have today. Can I tell you my view? I think we should go back to the approach of Messiah Himself. You say: ‘Yes Elijah but we live in a modern world, you know, we and people are very sophisticated these days. The church must change with the times.’ Really? Yes I would agree that technology has had an impact on our environment, but the spiritual realities have not changed. No one is against the use of technology- in fact is this not what I am doing right now?
It still is about our relationship with God and neighbour, in other words, horizontally it is still about people. Father, mother, son, daughter, widow, orphan, stranger and so on – those dynamics have not changed. And neither have the demons. So I think we should keep perspective.
Let’s proclaim Messiah and His Kingdom boldly so that it will cut to the heart.