Spring is in the air here in Ontario, Canada, as Easter has just passed and we wind down thinking about the death and resurrection of Jesus. I find it almost fitting that it happens every year at the beginning of spring. Is this a historical coincidence or a biblical fact? Some people believe that the traditional date of Easter coincides with the day of the spring equinox, much like others believe that Christmas takes place on the day of the winter solstice. Both of these events are considered to be pagan high holidays. Is the Easter holiday a frivolous example of Christian dominance in light of the Crusades, which sought to eradicate all pagan traditions, or is it actually a tribute to the death and resurrection of Jesus? Others argue that Easter began for Christians on the same day as Passover did for Jewish traditions; however, this was changed in 325 by the council of Nicaea during a dispute known as the Paschal Contravories, so this theory is no longer considered valid.
We do not go to sit on Santa’s lap, and he does not come to our house in the middle of the night when we celebrate Christmas in our home. Instead, I explain to my children the true meaning behind our belief in and observance of the Christmas holiday as Christians. The same can be said for Easter celebrations in our house. There is no such thing as a rabbit that sneaks into your house and deposits chocolate eggs, which do not originate from chickens in the first place. Do you know how hard it is to convince children to eat normal eggs after waking up to find chocolate ones around the house? There are times when I get the impression that, in a perverse twist of fate, we have brought this problem upon ourselves by actively attempting to convert pagan beliefs and practices into those of Christianity. Or by the handiwork of the devil, who turned what appeared to be a crusade to bring followers of Christ closer to Christ into something that actually drove them further away from Christ. Instead of focusing on one of the most significant presents that they will ever get, we celebrate one of the holiest of holidays by chasing our children around while they are high on sugar and distracted by receiving gifts. This is a symbol of our celebration of his death and resurrection, which is a symbol of one of the holiest of holidays. We have unintentionally commercialized Christ!
This compels me to turn my attention to the flowers that are blooming all around the TULIPS that are springing forth from my garden. At the very least, I initially believed that they were tulips; however, I have been informed that they are, in fact, daffodils. Despite this, we are currently studying Calvin and TULIPS in both my Systematic Theology and Creeds and Confessions classes. And in the same way that we think of Easter Bunnies and Jesus, Christians, both reformed and non-reformed, think of Calvin and TULIPS synonymously.
They are in no way interchangeable; Calvin wasn’t even the one who came up with the acronym TULIPS, for that matter. Again, as followers of something good, we have transformed it into something that does not exactly represent something in the way that it should, and as a result, we lose the quality of what it is that we are attempting to convey to other people.
When John Calvin was asked to simplify his beliefs, he then spoke of them in the terms that we now use both in the study and in the explanation of Calvinism as TULIPS. TULIPS was a term that was coined by Calvin’s followers; Calvin himself did not create the term. Totally Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Unchangeable Grace, and the Preservation of the Saints are the five tenets of the Christian religion. Now, if you are new to the Reformation, coming from a different denomination, new to Christianity, or new to the CRC, this acronym may actually discourage you from learning more about both our faith doctrine and our history. Now, if I had a friend or was a pastor, and a new family visited our church and began asking me questions about reformed theology or our beliefs, and I responded by throwing TULIPS at them, how do you believe they would react? What do you believe their possible response will be? Especially considering the current day and age. The vast majority of people have seen, heard, or otherwise encountered messages that Jesus is the answer, that forgiveness is yours through Him, and that all one needs to do to receive forgiveness is to ask for it. Highly regarded public Christians such as Joyce Meyers and even Billy Graham have never confronted people with the facts that they are totally sinful and depraved, that their choice to believe or not in God is taken from their hands, that they cannot do anything to earn it, that we must preserve the gospel, and that it is only through the grace of God that we are saved. A normal person just looking into a new church or Christian organization could be scared away. It’s not that TULIPS are a bad thing at all, any more than chocolate eggs in fun shapes are a bad thing to eat. When I searched for Calvinism on YouTube, the majority of the results showed videos in which people discussed Calvin and the acronym TULIPS.
My thesis, as well as the focus of my blog, is that we have corrupted holy things, as well as things that are good and Christian sacraments like unleavened bread and wine, by altering them to conform to our preferences and make them more appropriate for our requirements. Even if they are done for the glory of God and the advancement of his kingdom in heaven. Because in the end, we altered them in accordance with our carnal desires, whether those desires were to eradicate the pagans or to bring them into line with Christian beliefs. On one of the most important religious holidays that we observe, we now celebrate with pagan symbols of futility and their idols. Actually both, as the Christmas tree was decorated by pagans as an offering to the Goddess Diane at the winter solstice to bring a bountiful harvest in the summer when she awoke from her winter slumber, in accordance with Wiccan traditions. It was later adopted by Roman Catholics, who decorated pine trees outside their churches during Christmas services in an effort to convert pagan followers to Christianity. When we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we now also decorate these trees in our homes as well as in the churches where we attend. As a direct consequence of this, we have distorted our own Christian celebrations in an effort to make Christianity appear more dominant and to supplant the traditions of other religions, such as the pagan, Jewish, and Greek customs.
My point is that perhaps if we just stopped interfering with the work that God is doing and instead allowed the scriptures to be lived by in an honest manner, just as God has outlined in the Torah, and followed his commands and decrees, we would actually be living more honestly in accordance with his word and showing more love to one another. This is the point that I am attempting to make, so please bear with me. confused both newcomers and students alike.
By. Amanda Mason