Politics

Keeping Christ in Christmas—But Who Was Christ?

Why Jesus is the Authoritative Choice for God

Keeping Christ in Christmas—But Who Was Christ?


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Christ’s Mass: As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, the Mass of Christ, for Him whose birthday reset the calendar—AD, Anno Domini, In the Year of Our Lord —let’s ask, Why Jesus Christ? According to Hugh Trevor-Roper, in The Rise of Christian Europe, the West’s development was a Christian undertaking, driven by such great kings as Alfred & Charlemagne. And so by lineage, prophetic prediction, theological logic, the historic record and by sheer effectiveness using His ideas in societies, we claim Jesus was God on earth. And Jesus allowed himself to be executed so His blood, like the symbolic animals executed in the Old Testament Jerusalem Temple, would save all who believed.

America in Spiritual Collapse:

Yet in America today, the state originally founded on Christian ideals is in freefall as the Church implodes and tens of millions claim godlessness. Says Pew, “People who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.” That’s at least 75 million Americans, folks. Approximately 75% of British under 30 have no Christian beliefs. Many admit they’re generally clueless what to believe, so have no particular idea of who they are, so celebrate the latest cultural theories, stumbling from trend to trend. 

Rule of Law Abandoned: The family is a wreck, drugs are omnipresent and Socialism now threatens to obliterate the Constitution, since the idea of a Rule of Law based upon God’s Law Above the Law, is biblical. See The Ideological Origins of the Rule of Law, & video: P.J. Hill on religious origins of the rule of law. But, despite our present chaos, if America simply repented, most problems would suddenly begin to improve. Humans can’t thrive in a vacuum. 

Reason Victorious: As Rodney Stark argues in The Victory of Reason, “We explore a series of developments in which reason won the day, giving unique shape to Western culture and institutions. The most important of these victories occurred within Christianity. While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth. The success of the West, including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians.”

Only Expected Person: But, first consider how Christ was prophesied by the Jews. Loraine Boettner, in Studies In Theology, stated:

“In all the history of the world Jesus emerges as the only “expected” person. No one was looking for such a person as Julius Caesar, or Napoleon, or Washington, or Lincoln to appear at the time and place that they did appear. No other person has had his course foretold or his work laid out for him centuries before he was born. But the coming of the Messiah had been predicted for centuries. In fact, the first promise of His coming was given to Adam and Eve soon after their fall into sin. As time went on various details concerning His Person and work were revealed through the prophets; and at the time Jesus was born there was a general expectation through the Jewish world that the Messiah was soon to appear, even the manner of His birth and the town in which it would occur having been clearly indicated”.

Predicted Messiah: So a number of ancient figures predicted a Messiah would come to the Jews. And would be fully God & fully man. Perhaps most powerfully, consider one passage from Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.

 

To Us a Child is Given:

The foregoing passage predicts a male child, cognate of the line of King David would be born, and governments would be under his authority, and he would establish peace and justice. Further, the outline of the Trinity—Wonderful Counselor, or paraclete aka Holy Spirit; Mighty God, as the whole Trinity; Everlasting Father—being God the Father, and the Prince of Peace being Christ the Son, can all be argued from this single passage. And scholars argue that Jesus Christ fulfilled 351 individual prophecies in his ministry & death.

Son of David: Whereas the Christ was traced to King David via both parents in Jesus, and as Christ was described as God here, and also in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” & John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” Here, one can easily claim Jesus had the authority of the Son and also the power as God, and by God’s Blood, to expiate—or blot out sin. 

Best Attested Ancient Fact: One may argue that Jesus’ death, which then led Him to being entombed, and later raised from the dead, is the single best attested fact of the ancient world, according to NT Wright, while Lee Stroble calls it, “The Best Attested Event in the Ancient World; Jesus’ Resurrection.” This proves, as Jesus asserting power over death—since sin results in death—that Christ singlehandedly claimed authority over sin and death, and then proved this in fact by rising from the dead and living amongst his Apostles for 40 more days. Gary R. Habermas, considered the world’s expert on the Resurrection, has written a book called: The Historical Jesus—Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ. Habermas states that the Resurrection is no longer a deeply contested event in academic circles, because no rival theory has ever been established.  

 

Now, Consider—Specific Ways the World Changed After Christ

The following comes from Alvin J. Schmidt, “How Christianity Changed the World.”

  1. All Human Life Became Sacred. In the ancient world like Rome, babies were regularly left outside to die, slaves were wickedly mistreated, and entertainment regularly killed people, etc. Writes Schmidt: “Christians did more than just condemn child abandonment. They frequently took such human castaways into their homes and adopted them.” 
  2. Sex Became Sanctified Popular culture had embraced promiscuity in ancient Rome. Further, slavery allowed any man who owned slaves to sexually abuse them, including children. Writes Schmidt: “Sex was a gift of God. So powerful was the Christian doctrine and practice of marriage that Edward Gibbon says, “The dignity of marriage was restored by the Christians. Christianity brought this dignity and honor to marriage in the pagan world of the Romans by confining heterosexual sex to a married man and woman and by spurning the deviant sex of the pagans.” 
  3. Women Became Equal. After Christianity came to Rome, women’s status began to change. By comparison, note that hundreds of millions of women still lack basic rights in Muslim countries today. Writes Schmidt: “One scholar of ancient Rome has aptly said that “the conversion of the Roman world to Christianity brought a great change in woman’s status.” Another has expressed it even more succinctly: “The birth of Jesus was the turning point in the history of woman.” Further, Modern Feminism, Sufragism and equal rights were drawn from John Locke’s books, who was perhaps the most Christian of philosophers, regularly making arguments from Biblical sources. See Second Treatise on Government, Early Liberal Roots of Feminism: John Locke and the Attack on Patriarchy, and his Letters Concerning Toleration—See God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations in Locke’s Political Thought.  
  4. Slavery was Abolished: Ancient world was rife with slavery. But it was not until Christianity gained a foothold that a serious strategy was developed to combat it. But Christians were always noted as opposing slavery since Christ brought freedom to all mankind. Christians bought and freed slaves while Christian Roman emperors began to change the law against slavery. In fact, the earliest Americans colonist Puritans were completely opposed to slavery, who were imported from England into the Colonies. 

    Wiberforce: Writes Schmidt: “One such courageous abolitionist was William Wilberforce. A gifted orator, his speeches were most effective when he “appealed to the Christian consciences of Englishmen.” In 1823 he presented a petition to the UK House of Commons to abolish slavery “as a resolution declaring slavery repugnant to Christianity and the Constitution.” A few days before death he received word that Parliament had passed the Abolition Act. 

    US Civil War: By the 1850s, America itself was caught in a Civil War over the subject of slavery. Says Schmidt, “While Christians on both sides claimed to be right, the abolitionist movement had a considerably higher percentage of Christian clergy than did the pro-slavery defenders. Two-thirds of the abolitionists in the mid– 1830s were Christian clergymen. This made for a phalanx of vociferously active clergy abolitionists.”

 

  1. Charity was Established:

Charity did not exist in the ancient world until Jews and then Christians developed it, where the latter made it a foundation of the modern world, which then forgot its source. Writes Schmidt: “As Josiah Stamp has said, “Christian ideals have permeated society until non-Christians, who claim to live a ‘decent life’ without religion, have forgotten the origin of the very content and context of their ‘decency.’”

CONCLUSION: The Question should not be, Why should anyone accept Christ? After 2,000 years of human failures, wars, greed, ignorance and folly, how can anyone still deny Christ as God & Savior? Because when humans use His teachings, success results. But for Christ’s influence, our entire earth would still be in chains. His ideas conquered the globe long ago and have undoubtedly saved billions from suffering, ignorance, poverty and death. And yet we now walk away from Him. Fiat Lux—Let there be Light!! 


Kelly O’Connell — Bio and Archives

Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. He was born on the West Coast, raised in Las Vegas, and matriculated from the University of Oregon. After laboring for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland, he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia, where he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government. He spent a stint working as a researcher and writer of academic articles at a Miami law school, focusing on ancient law and society. He has also been employed as a university Speech & Debate professor. He then returned West and worked as an assistant district attorney. Kelly is now is a private practitioner with a small law practice in New Mexico.


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