A Question I Was Asked:

Isn't It Wrong To Place Christmas Trees in Churches?

The Original Question:

"I have a situation where a christmas tree is placed in a church, although every one is aware of the fact that it is a pagan symbol of worship and God clearly tells us this is an abomination to him. 2 Chron. 33:7."

My First Reply:

Why worry about a Christmas tree being placed in a church?

Ask yourself exactly why it was wrong in 2 Chron.33:7. By the way, that was a carved image representing a pagan deity - not necessarily a tree at all in that particular case. If the image was being used to honour a pagan deity that is one thing but if something is simply used as a beautiful decoration in honour of the birth of Jesus why even worry? Instead of seeing it as a "pagan symbol" why not look upon it as representing the Tree of Life, as many Christians do? After all, that tree is again made available to men and women through Jesus Christ. I think you will find such trees appear in most churches in the land (and many other lands) during Christmas week.

Its no good worrying about what is a pagan symbol and what is not since we could be at that game all day and still end up drawing conclusions which are wide of the mark. Should we refuse to drive cars because of seeing a "pagan symbol" in the shape of the steering wheel? Come on, we need some balance and wisdom here! It is the heart and spirit of the thing which counts before God, not continuously looking for obscure links between common Christian practise and ancient symbols.

A Criticism of my Reply:

"I have to say I am disappointed with the reply you gave me, simply because as a committed Christian the tree is something that has offended me, and I thought you would be able to give me a sincere answer as your link was recommended to me by a friend. Surely we are to compare the spiritual with the spiritual: 1Cor 2:13 - not with car steering wheels.

I ask you what happened to your first love: Rev. 2:4? Are we not called to be on fire for the Lord: Rev. 2:15? Mark 12:30.

I hope my reply does not seem to be acrimonious to you but if you are to put our self in a position where we ask people to ask you questions regarding worshipping Jesus Christ, please! Isa. 29:13, Matt. 15:9."

My Final Reply on this Topic:

Look, I know that you mean well and that you are probably sincere but your approach is all wrong. You ask if I have left my"first love" - The answer is absolutely, yes, I have!! Because I was originally foolishly mistaken about what the Gospel message was all about. I once accepted a flawed legalistic message which was nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Actually, in those days, I did worry about things like Christmas trees! My! I am so glad that I finally found Christ. I struggled for years to try to obey a law which is now obsolete. Since my "first love" was so flawed I am glad that I left it and moved on to Jesus Christ! Why am I so glad? Because of Mark 12:30 which you also quote. Because we all need to love God with all our hearts, souls and strength - we need to move on. To be frank, being a Christian has nothing to do with seeking out obscure Old Testament verses and attempting to mix and match them with what Christians do today. That is to re-engage with the now well-documented errors of Alexander Hislop.

I mentioned car steering wheels for a very good reason relating to your own line of reasoning. After all, it has been claimed that round objects, such as round communion wafers, are symbols of the Sun-god. But those people fail to mention that the very manna given by God was round! (Exod. 16:14). Again, some are ready to condemn all pillars and historical monuments as "pagan," But they fail to take into account that the Lord himself appeared as a pillar of fire; and, in front of his temple, there were two large pillars (Exod. 13:21,22; 2 Chron. 3:17).

You quote Isaiah 29:13 and Matthew 15:9 and that is so typical of the legalists who think that their message is more important than the Gospel - people like H.W. Armstrong whom (I seem to sense from your remarks) you follow, or maybe have followed (or been influenced by) in the past, or maybe you have picked up some leaflet of the (so-called) Jehovah's Witnesses. Look, let us be clear about this: Paul taught that there was really nothing wrong with even eating meat which had been sacrificed to idols in pagan temples! But he avoided it when in the company of those of weaker faith and understanding in order to avoid being a stumblingblock to their faith (1 Corinthians 8 - entire chapter), and I sense that it is that which is the problem here. I feel that you may need to launch into a much deeper study of Holy Scripture so that you will be less susceptible to teachings and prejudices of this nature, things which are just not well-grounded. Please take the time out to read Hebrews 5:11-6:3 and 2 Peter 3:18.

Yes, I am glad to be of service in answering Bible questions and I get through rather a lot in a month but I refuse to point people to erroneous prejudices, beliefs and teachings.

Frankly, if you are offended by a tree in a church then you should not go in there until the tree is removed but if you want me to justify your feelings from the Bible, I cannot.

Robin A. Brace, 2007.