“Study Him in His pre-incarnate glory, before He took upon Himself your nature! Think of the mighty love that drew Him from His throne to die upon the cross! Admire Him as He conquers all the powers of hell! See Him risen, crowned, glorified! Bow before Him as the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Mighty God, for only in this way will your love for Him be what it should.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Why wouldn’t the leader and visionary of a “Christian” mission organization intentionally and joyfully write about the most important events we celebrate as Christians, Christ’s birth, death and resurrection? As Christ’s redeemed, we celebrate how Christ provided a way for us to be reconciled to God if we trust in His sacrifice for our sins to justify us through faith and repentance.
Below is a list of the articles Seth Barnes, Executive Director of AIM,wrote the weeks of Easter and Christmas for the last few years. Sometimes what is missing provides a strong argument from silence as to what someone believes or… doesn’t.
2016 Easter (3/27)–5 Steps to Recovering from Broken Trust (3/24/2016)
There is nothing about Easter in this post.
2015 Christmas–Merry Christmas from My Family (12/22/2015)and Intentionality Day (12/26/2015)
Not one word about Christ’s birth.
2015 Easter (4/5)–Resolving Conflict: How to Apply Matthew 18 (3/29/2015)
No word about Christ’s sacrifice or resurrection and a complete misinterpretation of Matt 18 using The Message bible.
2014 Christmas–Merry Christmas from the Barnes (12/24/2014)
“All of us are so thankful this Christmas season that Jesus came to earth and put on skin. Living in this world can seem overwhelming – it’s comforting to know that he knows how we feel.”
Missing the reason all together.
2014 Easter (4/20)–Fighting a Terrorist on My Sister’s Flight (4/15/2014)
2013 Christmas – Getting in the Christmas spirit (12/23/2013)
“It’s Christmas, a time to remember what Jesus accomplished by coming to earth as a baby. We talk about “getting in the Christmas spirit.” What exactly does that mean? The spirit of gift-giving? The spirit of spending time with family? …One of the best presents we can get this Christmas is to recover those parts of ourselves that others love most.”
That is the most he spoke of Christ…recover ourselves? What?
2013 Easter (3/31)–University apologizes & reinstates student (3/26/2013)
2012 Christmas–Merry Christmas! Here are some gifts for you (12/22/2012)
This is all about donating to Adventures, nothing about Christ
Forgiveness as an act of self-love (12/26/2012)
Nothing about Christmas.
2012 Easter (4/8)–We need a scapegoat (4/6/2012)
” Every year, as described in Leviticus 16, they designated a certain goat to be the “scapegoat” that took on their shortcomings and inadequacies…Every year your shortcomings pile up before you. How many people do you know carrying around their shortcomings like a big, overstuffed pack? Like my friend, they live in a shame-filled land and need a release – a scapegoat of some sort. On Good Friday, we inheritors of the Jewish tradition mark the transferring of our inadequacies to the ultimate scapegoat, Jesus Christ. It was a horrible and heroic act, an act predated by hundreds of years of Jewish practice. It’s a practice validated by modern psychology and our own experience. It buys us freedom. I can’t imagine living any other way but free. I’m so thankful that my scapegoat is not a product of artifice or my own victim status, but a construct thought up and executed by God himself so that I wouldn’t be separated from him.”
Did Christ suffer, die and take on the wrath of God for our inadequacies! What is his definition of “freedom”? “Validated by psychology”? “Inheritors of Jewish tradition”? Strange terms used. Let’s understand a better more Biblical explanation.
“God Himself imputes our sins to Him: “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”, “He made him to be sin.” And as the substitute for our guilt, bearing our sin upon His shoulders, represented by the cross, we see the great Scapegoat led away by the appointed officers of justice.
Beloved, can you feel assured that He carried your sin? As you look at the cross upon His shoulders, does it represent your sin? There is one way by which you can tell whether He carried your sin or not. Have you laid your hand upon His head, confessed your sin, and trusted in Him? Then your sin no longer lies on you; it has all been transferred by blessed imputation to Christ, and He bears it on His shoulder as a load heavier than the cross.
Do not allow this picture to disappear until you have rejoiced in your own deliverance and bowed in adoring wonder before the Redeemer upon whom your iniquities were laid.” source
2011 Christmas–Christmas & your dysfunctional family (12/22/2011)
Strategies to enjoy Christmas
Loving broken people (12/24/2011)
Advice to share your struggles…nothing about Christ’s birth
Barnes Christmas 2011 (12/26/2011)
2011 Easter (4/24)– Anthony is resurrected this Easter! (4/24/2011)
Scant mention of Christ, but much about the death of a young boy instead
The cost of bringing freedom (4/22/2011)
We have gone back 5 years so far…Years worth of avoiding Christ on our faith’s most precious celebrations and remembrances… Why would that be?
“As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember the estimation that Christ has beyond the skies, where things are measured by the right standard.
Think how God esteems the Only Begotten, His unspeakable gift to us.
Consider what the angels think of Him, as they count it their highest honor to veil their faces at His feet.
Consider what the blood-washed think of Him, as day without night they sing His well-deserved praises.
High thoughts of Christ will enable us to act consistently in our relationship with Him. The more loftily we see Christ enthroned, and the more lowly we are when bowing before the foot of the throne, the more truly shall we be prepared to act our part toward Him.” (Spurgeon)
update: Christmas 2016-while Seth finally mentions Christ and uses the word incarnation…there is still missing so much of the true reason to celebrate Christmas, much is mishandled.
Seth says, “We love the Christmas season because of the incarnation. But when you’re born again, it’s Christmas wherever you go. Jesus puts you on like a glove and touches people. It’s the magic of incarnation all over again, the second coming of Christ.”
This is bordering on blasphemous…we are NOT in any way equal to the glory of the incarnation, nor are we to be called the second coming of Christ. We are left here as humble servants to proclaim Christ as Lord until HE comes for His bride, the church.
The glory of the incarnation is that Christ laid aside His divine prerogative to humble Himself as a servant to sinful mankind, that any who would repent and trust in Him would be adopted as sons.
Seth offers bits of truth, but never speaks of why Christ had to humble Himself as a baby and then die. It is the MOST amazing act and he minimizes it to be about us again…
“And we’re his kids – the ones he’s coming for. If you’ve ever felt alone in life, this isn’t just good news, it’s unbelievably fantastic news. “
…it is not about us, it is about HIM. “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. ” 2 Cor 4:5
He says,”Maybe the Gospel would seem more like good news if we understood that God is a father who wants his family back.”
Seem like? It is AMAZING news! If we understand how wretched (Rom 3:12) we are before a Holy God, we understand how minimalist this statement is. “But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.”Isaiah 5:16
The Bible could not be clearer that we are loved and He does not wish any to perish, (2 Pet 3:9), however, Jesus makes clear that some will, “…I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5
God IS love, but God does not accept or chose everyone to be in His eternal family just because we are created in His image, sad and lonely. This is a man-centered gospel, which means it is not the Gospel. Let’s not forget what is said directly after John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21
Belief means more than intellectual assent. It is a submission to Christ as Lord and a willingness to turn from sin and to Him as Savior. Seth is not proclaiming this Good News.
Seth says, “Sometimes we can reduce Christianity to a “pray the prayer and go to church” religion. It’s so much more.” We 100% agree with this statement! We do not agree with what he concludes is “much more”. God is not in a panic, He has offered us a rescue plan and is patiently waiting for us to grab hold of it, there will be an end to His patience though. “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” Heb 9:27.
We praise Him for the incarnation because it is the only way we could be offered eternal life.