Tag Archives: Sproul

The Logical Fallacy of Xmas or Why I hate Xmas

Every year since the inception of this blog, I’ve written a post this time of year discussing my disdain for the use of Xmas.  This is not a campaign to put “Christ” back in “Christmas”, but instead an argument against those who favor the use of Xmas, defending it on the basis of the Greek letter “X” for Christ.  It isn’t difficult to find support against this argument, why just today I saw Xmas used on Good Morning America and I hardly think they were paying homage to Christ via symbols from the Greek alphabet.  So without further ado, below you’ll find my comments from last year (2010) and the original post from (2009) on Why I Hate X-Mas. 

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This is repost from last year (2009), but I feel it will continue to be relevant for many, many years.  Just recently, Ligonier.com ministries (R.C. Sproul) published an article defending the use of Xmas.  While Dr. Sproul is a teacher that I have learned much from, I must humbly disagree with him on this assertion.  In that post, one that has been promoted by Christian leaders such as Tim Challies and Mark Driscoll, Dr. Sproul states that the “X” in Christmas is like the R in R.C. from his own name, simply an initial.  His defense is centered on the use of the first letter of the Greek word for Christos, which translated into our alphabet is the letter X. 

The article concludes with the following statement, “There’s a long and sacred history of the use of X to symbolize the name of Christ, and from its origin, it has meant no disrespect.”  Dr. Sproul is a man of logic, and as I previously mentioned one whom I respect, however this argument fails the logic test.  It assumes that everyone knows that the X in Xmas represents the Greek letter for Christ and that simply isn’t the case.  When the atheist or agnostic uses Xmas we can rest assured they are not manipulating the Greek alphabet to reflect the name of Christ. 

People need to see the name of Christ.  They need to be confronted by Him.  Children need to wonder what the meaning of Christmas is.  They need to ask, who is this Christ that we celebrate?  Simply stated the use of X as a substitute can be rationalized away to mean anything at all.  Quite frankly, I’m not impressed with linguistic substitutions.  His name is Jesus Christ, not J.C., not X.  He is King and as such deserves His name respected.

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Growing up in a Christian family, we always referred to Jesus’ birthday as Christmas.  I was taught that anything contrary to that, specifically Xmas, was an attempt to remove Christ from His proper place.  We’ve all seen shopping ads, movies, cards, etc. that say Merry Xmas or the like, instead of Christmas.  You might remember a few years ago there was a major push by the retail industry to remove Christmas altogether in favor of the more politically correct Happy Holidays, which was deemed less offensive to other religions, Islam, traditional Judaism, atheism, etc.  This isn’t a new argument, as it seems every year we hear how “Christ is being taken out of Christmas.”    

 Add to this the explosion of social media, Twitter, Facebook, etc., not to mention the texting craze, and there is an ever present usage of Xmas in order to save character space or too avoid typing out the word Christmas.  In addition to this, Christ professing believers are also becoming more prone to the use of Xmas and justify its usage based on the Greek letter Chi or “X”, the first letter of Christ in the Greek, which also corresponds to the first letter in Xmas.  In fact, some proponents for Xmas usage might even argue that this abbreviation dates back 1000 years, before there were malls, advertisements, or any attempt by the media to push for political correctness.  My problem with any usage of the word is multifaceted so allow me to elaborate. 

 Let’s observe what’s going on in today’s society.  First, there are non-believers who are attempting to actually remove the usage of Christmas because it’s not politically correct and might be determined offensive.  An example of this would be the omission of the word Christmas from the entire 2009 Macy’s Christmas catalog.  Several other recent examples include, but are not limited to, multiple firefighter departments being asked to remove Merry Christmas signs.  Next we have those, who in an attempt to be cool or slick with character usage have saved at least 3 seconds off of texting time and 5 (Christmas – Christ + X = 5, for you math majors) characters off of any Tweets, a fascinating display of efficiency.  Finally, there are those Christians who are quite simply too smart for their own good, in using Xmas because of the ancient Greek alphabet.  So I ask, how is one to determine through the usage of this word, whether it is out of suppression of the knowledge of God, as Romans 1:21 teaches, whether it is out of carelessness (or laziness), or whether the intent is to prove a more profound knowledge of Greek linguistics?  The answer is there is no difference.  Intentional or not, this is a suppression of Christ. 

This post isn’t just about keeping Christ in Christmas, it’s about professing the name Jesus all year long and proclaiming His miraculous, prophecy fulfilling birth as a symbol of hope that a Messiah was born with the sole purpose of dying for our sins, yours and mine.  The world wants to destroy as many reminders as they can about Christ, whether it is placing emphasis on commercialism and Santa during Christmas or calling it Xmas, removing In God We Trust from our currency and federal buildings, or declaring it hate speech to proselytize and attempt to convert non-believers to Christianity.  Maybe I was raised too old school and not “relevant” enough by today’s standards, but my Bible says “we preach Christcrucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (I Corinthians 1:23 ) so Christ will be a stumbling block and I know that His name causes division (Matthew 10:34-39) therefore I will all the more proudly proclaim the name of Christ not just on the day we recognize His birth, but every day of the year.  Ask yourself this the next time you’re tempted to label those decoration boxes Xmas or you want to text Merry Xmas to your friends, does it align with Colossians 3:17 ESV, “Andwhatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Merry CHRISTmas!

 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

   ”I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
   and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.1 Corinthians 1:18-25

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!  Xmas: OK? Not OK?  Disrespectful?  Or simply a misunderstood phrase?

Book Giveaway – Christmas 2011

This week I’ll be giving away a copy of R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God along with John Piper’s Fifty Reason’s Why Jesus Came to Die. (Amazon links with full reviews below) There will be 2 winners.  The first place winner will receive both books and second place will receive Piper’s book.  To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below with your name indicating you wish to be entered in the drawing.  You may also send me an email or re-Tweet this post to be entered.  Deadline for entering is midnight Sunday 12/11/11 and the winner will be announced next Monday (12/12/11).

Book Review: Atonement

Atonement is a collection of presentations given at the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology edited by Gabriel N. E. Fluhrer.  This collection includes the following speaker/authors.  I’ve included the title of each chapter with their corresponding author below.

J.I. Packer                            The Necessity of the Atonement

John R. De Witt                   The Nature of Atonement: Reconciliation

James M. Boice                    The Nature of Atonement: Propitiation

John R. Gerstner                The Atonement and the Purpose of God

R.C. Sproul                          Sacrifice and Satisfaction

James M. Boice                    The Language of the Marketplace

Sinclair Ferguson                Christ, the Sin-Bearer

Alistair Begg                         Preaching the Cross

In short, this is a quality book offering various viewpoints on individual aspects of Jesus Christ’s atonement.  The atonement is under attack today, from everyone from liberal theologians to fundamental conservatives and every sort of animal in between.  In the introductory chapter, Packer offers an exposition of Romans 8:32 in which he seeks to define how Christ’s death on the cross was the only way that God could justify a sinful people.  Rightly focusing on the justice of God, while highlighting propitiation, Packer concludes that the atonement of Jesus was “necessary in light of the nature of God, which must inflict retributive punishment on sin.”

In chapter 2, De Witt teaches on 2 Corinthians 5:21 and brings the reader to the understanding that sinners need reconciliation to God.  He states, according to the Apostle Paul, “reconciliation, therefore, is a breaking down of barriers or a restoration of a breached relationship” (see Romans 5:9-11).  The focus of chapter 3 is 1 John 4:10, specifically propitiation, which James Boice gives its proper due.  Building upon the previous chapter, Boice sets out to also define reconciliation and redemption.

Chapter 4, The Atonement and the Purpose of God, by Gerstner builds upon the rich theology found in Romans 8:29.  In reaching his conclusion, Gerstner first sets out to define the Calvinistic acrostic, T.U.L.I.P. He focuses primarily on the total depravity of man (T) stating that this is the primary objection that most people offer when confronted by the doctrines of grace (Calvinism).  “Those who object to the decrees are actually suffering from a lack of conviction of their depravity.  Only if you are convinced that you are not just sick, but dead, will you know that there is only one person who can make you alive – the Giver of life Himself – and therefore be utterly persuaded of the decree of unconditional election.” 

In Chapter 5, R.C. Sproul  discusses Sacrifice and Satisfaction by expounding on Galatians 3:13.  In doing so, he contrasts the blessings of God, such as those found in Numbers 6:24-26 with what it means that Christ became a curse for us.  This is a striking chapter that really puts into perspective the sacrifice that Christ made in dying for His sheep.  In chapter 6, Boice now explains the principle of redemption by describing The Language of the Marketplace.  In doing so, Boice gives proper attention to the Old Testament premise of “kinsmen-redeemer”. 

Chapter 7, “Christ, the Sin-Bearer” is built around Isaiah 53:3-4, in which Sinclair Ferguson concludes, “Without Jesus Christ bearing our sin, there is no salvation.  The very reason for his suffering and agony, the very reason he goes to the cross of Calvary, and the very reason he is marred beyond human recognition was so that he might be the sin-bearer of men and women.”  Alistair Begg wraps up this collection of presentations with a pastoral perspective by emphasizing the importance of Preaching the Cross where he states, “Without the cross of Jesus Christ there is no gospel.”   Concluding, Begg adds, “the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ…compels me in evangelism, saves me, corrects my silly notions of struggling on, and it forms my character.  A person who lives near the cross will be marked by holiness, love, and endurance.”

This is a helpful book for anyone wanting a quick, but thorough, study on various aspects of the atonement.  It will rightly point you to Scripture and expand you thinking on the glorious work of Christ on the cross.  Each of these chapters is essentially an introductory treatise on larger doctrines of the Atonement.  As this book concludes, the cross of Christ is essential for the Christian to realize and recognize what Christ has accomplished and to understand it so that they can rightly proclaim the Gospel.