Here's a debate between a Torah observer and a Christian on the subject of Christmas and whether the customs associated with it are pagan:
My notes on this video:
Regarding this video: I am a former Armstrongite which is not far removed from Hebrew Roots beliefs. Some of the founders of HRM are former Armstrongites. Regarding the festivals of Leviticus 23, many think that Feast of Tabernacles relates to the Incarnation. Christ "tabernacled" amongst us in a body of flesh. Therefore by observing Feast of Tabernacles, Hebrew Roots Movement is recognizing the Incarnation. But, my point is that if anti-holiday people claim recognizing the Incarnation is wrong, then observing the Feast of Tabernacles is wrong if they are consistent in their reasoning that observing the Incarnation is wrong. Some think the Feast of Tabernacles refers to the Millenial reign of Christ so there are different views on what the festivals mean. I find no consistency amongst these groups. Regarding Zachary's remarks about the festivals of Leviticus 23, I would responded with these questions: 1. Why does John call both the Passover and the Feasts of Booths or Tabernacles the "Feasts of the Jews"? This does not suggest universal applicability. 2. Colossians 2:16-17 says that the festivals, sabbaths, and new moons were "shadows of things to come"..similar language is used in regards to the ceremonial law of Hebrews 10:1-2 which we know is done away with. Therefore, there is an association with Sabbaths, new moons and festivals with the defunct ceremonial laws. And who is the one usually judging others over days? Usually Torah observers and Armstrongite types. 3. Concerning the assertion that Jesus and Jewish Christians observed these things, and therefore they apply to us, they also observed physical circumcision and it was not mandatory or expected of Gentile believers..see Acts 21. Jewish Christians and maybe some Gentile Christians continued to observe these things, probably due to familiarity and to reach their family members evangelisticaly. It was part of their society as Jews. Some Gentiles may have observed them as a matter of preference as well, but this is by no means certain. It is true that Paul evangelized both Jews and Gentiles in the synagogues on the Sabbath, but that is where the people gathered and scrolls were housed. Additionally, it was Paul's habit to go to the synagogues first to reach Jews in Gentile cities, and when he was thrown out of the synagogue, he would employ other methods. Additionally, many Hebrew Roots movement teachers fail to acknowledge that in many Gentile cities, a sizeable group of Jews were also present. Therefore, remarks such as I Corinthians 5 regarding the festivals could have been addressed specifically to the Jews in the congregation, or there may have been some Gentile observers of the festivals..it doesn't matter. Either way, there is no definitive proof that both Jews and Gentiles were observing Sabbath and festivals. In fact, neither Sabbath-breaking or eating unclean meats was ever mentioned as a sin in any of the epistles to the Gentiles. Invariably this would have been an issue, because many early Christians were slaves belonging to Gentile masters. Therefore, the issue of Sabbath-keeping would have presented itself, as well as dietary restrictions. Inconsistencies like this caused me to reject Armstrongite teaching concerning the continued applicability of these elements of the Mosaic Covenant. 4. Zachary mentioned that Leviticus 23 proclaims the festivals to be observed forever..the same Hebrew word "olam" is used in reference to the physical circumcision law too, and no biblically literate person claims that physical circumcision is still applicable. I would propose that the word "olam" means "unto the vanishing point" or the end of the period of applicability. Additionally, the Mosaic Covenant was given to ancient Israelites, not Christians under the New Covenant, therefore the "separation commandments" applied to them, not us. Galatians 3 and 4 are clear in teaching that the Mosaic Covenant does not apply anymore. It's purpose was to lead the Jews to the Messiah, and it has served that purpose, at least for those Jews who were part of the elect. It taught the gospel in types and shadows, and also revealed to the Jews the holy character of God at some rudimentary level so that they would recognize that they fell far short and would be ready to accept the Messiah and justification by faith in him and his atoning sacrifice on their behalf. Judaizers failed to realize the purpose of the Mosaic Covenant, just like Hebrew Roots Movement believers today. I would also delve into the specifics of what it means to observe the festivals and ask if Zach is really following the Mosaic Covenant. I doubt if he goes to Jerusalem 3 times a year for the pilgrimage festivals as Torah requires. Of course they will make up all kinds of excuses for why these elements of Torah don't apply anymore, because they want to continue in the illusion that they are observing Torah although in reality they are not. I also notice attitude issues besides doctrinal issues. The attitude of an observer is to judge the non-observer, and this attitude is conveyed throughout Scripture. This issue is not simply a doctrinal one, and a matter of re-education. It is a spiritual issue. Regarding Zachary's remark that no one in the Bible observed anything in December..Jesus observed the Feast of Dedication apparently. See John 10:22. It was not one of the festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23; it was a man-made tradition related to the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean Revolt..therefore Zach's remark is incorrect. Feast of Dedication is as same as Hanukkah and it is observed on 25th of Kislev (which is usually in December). As a former observer, I wouldn't associate with any Torah observer group or Armstrongite group in the future, nor will I observe the Sabbath or festivals (unless it would be with a very selected Messianic Jew group who has sound doctrine and doesn't judge non-observers) because I know the attitude that typically accompanies Torah observers and Armstrongites. It's a very rare group that isn't engaged in judging and slandering other believers...accusing them of being spiritually inferior or even unsaved due to non-observance of Sabbath, festivals and clean meat laws. If they don't come right out and say it in public, in their own groups they express these views. As a weasel Armstrongite, I would laugh at "pagan Christians" and scoff at their devotion to Jesus while in my Armstrongite circles, but would practice equivocation publicly in order to hide my contempt for other believers. I imagine the Hebrew Roots types engage in the same type of weasel behavior. I know that I am covered in the righteousness of Jesus, and that my salvation is already secure due to his cross-work. But when I meet Jesus face to face, I know his concern will be on whether I showed sacrificial love toward others, and not whether I kept Torah. That is clearly reflected in John 13 and the New Covenant institution, as well as the account concerning the sheep and goats in Matthew 25. Torah observers are ignoring the fact that sacrificial love is the new commandment under the New Covenant, and instead are fixated on observance of a handful of obsolete commandments of Torah (calendar and meat laws) in order to cover their spiritual nakedness. Instead their view is Torah observance = love. But Christ teaches I am to love others like he did, sacrificially, and his cross-work was a demonstration of that love. Anyways, I think Michael was effective in showing that the anti-holiday people don't have the solid historical evidence to back up their position. One of my uncles used to say that such-and-such was so full of hot air that he could blow up an onion sack (those meshlike sacks used to bag onions). That's what I think about the anti-holiday people. They are basically ascribing to a National Enquirer-like view of Christianity, fueled by the writings of Hislop, Grimm and others, either first, second or third hand, as well as the excessive anti-Roman Catholic rhetoric of the Reformers. They are operating under a juvenile paradigm that has long since been discredited.