Thursday, December 17, 2015

Never More Dark Than When Surrounded With Light

So this is me sharing what someone else shared but this was too good not to. Tim Challies posted a letter from a guy named Tim Keesee  called Liberation Letter. I don't know much about the second Tim mentioned but his letter written about Christmas time at Temple Square in Salt Lake City was excellent. This is the key passage (emphasis mine):
Nowhere is the chameleon-like character of Mormonism on display more than at Christmastime. After a richly-orchestrated, pitch-perfect “O Holy Night,” one of the Mormon “apostles” is now preaching. He started out by awarding Luke a brief honorable mention for providing us an account of the Christmas story, but after dispensing with this lip service, he went on to “another record” in The Book of Mormon. It was some of Joseph Smith’s make-believe about Samuel the Lamanite and the Nephites in America at the time of Jesus’ birth, etc., etc. The blind leading the blind, and the ditch here that they’ve fallen into is lined with Christmas lights, yet it is horribly dark.
Image from
I am not a huge Christmas person but I am also not an anti-Christmas crusader. It is a cultural event and that is about it but Tim Keesee does raise a valid point that has broader application. We call Christmas the most wonderful time of the year but it is also the time of the year when empty and false religions are best able to hide their error by the glow of Christmas lights and drown out their false teaching with the singing of Christmas carols. At no other time of the year is the line between truth and error blurrier. One can go into any number of religious edifices where the Gospel has long been abandoned or was never there in the first place and sing "Silent Night" alongside people who don't really believe the words that they are singing. Believe this, Mormonism doesn't have a monopoly on this error hidden by poinsettias and garland, not by a long stretch.

If there is ever a time where theological precision is critical, it is this time of year. This is the time of year when the church needs to be very clear about who Jesus is, why He came, how He came and what He did after He arrived. The church tends to bring a weak and watered down message because many churches welcome the dreaded "Chreasters", people who only show up to church on Christmas and Easter, For many people this is the one and only potential exposure to Christianity they are going to get in a given year and it is no time to push a flaccid message of how cute baby Jesus was. Now is the time to refine our message in the fire of the Gospel, getting rid of the cultural dross and leaving behind the Gospel and nothing else. A nice culturally acceptable Christmas story may make people feel warm and fuzzy but it does nothing to save the lost sinner.

There is more, infinitely more, to being a Christian than singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem". Let this be a time when our words are dripping with doctrine and thundering with theology. There is no Christmas without the incarnation and absent the cross. Woe to us if we let this be forgotten in the darkness that hides under the lights.

No comments: