Carrying Extra Baggage?

Here in America, we view ourselves as being more advanced than the societies of “the old country” in Europe. But so much unnecessary baggage, in the form of traditions, was brought over here with us, and we still have it. We pull from it on a regular basis because we received it from beloved ancestors. Here are some samples, slightly summarized:

#1 -- Instead of honoring only Jesus on the Holy Day memorializing His resurrection from the dead, we honor someone else. Our baggage calls this day Easter, which is transliterated directly from the fertility goddess named Ishtar or Ashtaroth. She has been in our baggage since Old Testament times. So in her honor we celebrate this day with her name and her fertility symbols like bunnies, chicks and Ishtar egg hunts.

#2 -- Even though there is no indication that the Apostles or the early Church celebrated the birthday of Jesus, we have accepted a tradition that is supposed to and should honor this most precious gift sent from God. But in the process, we again pull from our baggage (which is laden with choices for this day) and pay homage to the pagan god Tammuz by imitating the ritual of those who (still) worship him. On what was once the shortest day of the year, around December 25th, the rebirth of Tammuz (who had died – Ezekiel 8:12-14) is celebrated by the use of an evergreen tree, the tree that does not “die.”

#3 -- The most difficult day to explain from our baggage of traditions is Halloween. This day is a known pagan “high day,” or really a “high night” and is rife with evil ceremonies. On this night---even to this time—witches, warlocks, etc. celebrate satan’s hallowed eve with detestable ceremonies that are horrible beyond description. As an example, Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel and Hal Lindsey report that apparently children are bred and their birth is not reported, for the specific purpose of the child eventually being given as a human sacrifice to satan.

Related to this last traditional day, I would like to tell you a story coming from a simple man who was born and raised in the jungle. As a young man he was recruited to be a shaman, or witchdoctor. Praise God, through the efforts of Christian missionaries, he learned the truth and became a Christian. He adopted the name “Bautista,” which means baptist in Spanish.

Bautista was in the United States with the missionaries, and in his language (with interpretation from the missionaries) was telling churches about his life and the wonderful change of moving from darkness to light in Jesus. It was in the Fall at a Michigan church. The youth group wanted to show Bautista something they had created that would “scare” him. Bautista told the missionaries that he had known great fear in his life and did not wish to intentionally try to find it. But because the missionaries thought it might offend the young people if they did not go, they submitted and went to the “Halloween House.”

Upon entry into the first “room,” Bautista recognized it as a replica of the house of a demon that he had been required to visit when he was being trained as a witchdoctor. Through the interpreters, he named the demon and then told the youth group that he knew the next room would be a long hall with faces of people in the wall. The people would be screaming in agony. Indeed, the next room was a long hall with grotesque plastic masks on the wall. Screams were coming from a tape recorder. Bautista proceeded to correctly tell the young people what would be in every room before they entered it. By the end of the tour, the Christian youth were more frightened than they ever thought Bautista would be! Satan must have enjoyed manipulating a Christian youth group into emulating the dwelling of one of his demons.

So from all this, we have determined that we, as Christians, should lighten our baggage. We should not identify ourselves with both the world and the Holy God to whom we belong. John urges us in III John 3:11 “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.” When we discover anything that has even the appearance or association with evil, we can be guided by I Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

It’s not an easy walk to honor God and His Word instead of the traditions of our ancestors, but I Corinthians 6:17 says we should “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.”

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