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Thread: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

  1. #1

    Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    There is a question that has bothered me for some time. The Bible is clear on the day when Jesus was crucified, and up until the 300s many church leaders commemorated the day on that anniversary. It was only after the authoritative central church laid down the guidelines for a standard Easter celebration that this was stopped. There was no Biblical reason for this, the reason was due to anti-Semitic ideas about not wanting to share the holiday with heathen Jews responsible for the death of Jesus.

    Unfortunately, Martin Luther was also incredibly anti-Semitic so it's no wonder that he didn't set the precedent of switching back after his break from Catholicism.

    So my question is, shouldn't during the Protestant reformation and the many offshoots from it that one group would return to commemorating the day when it happened? It is certainly culturally normal to do so. Most nations celebrate their Independence Day when it actually happened, like Fourth of July. I can understand the concept of keeping Christmas Day the same since Jesus's birth is not known, but why not adjust the celebration of the resurrection?

    I can think of many good reasons to do so:

    1) Respect. To go with the actual date rather than one out of convenience shows a certain level of care and reverence. It is why it means so much to us if one makes sure to celebrate the birthday or anniversary on the actual day. It's also common for something as frivolous as fandoms. Back to the Future day commemorates a day just passably mentioned in the film, but those members show a certain amount of dedication to both notice the day and take time off to do it. In America, we commemorate the victims of 9/11 on the anniversary.

    2) Consistency with Scripture Only. It is odd to pick a day out of the sky for a holiday when the date is known. There is no scripture reason I can think of to ignore the actual day if you are choosing to commemorate it. While some can say it doesn't matter scripturally, ok, but then why not do it on the actual day? It's not like plenty of other Catholic traditions weren't thrown out.

    3) Witnessing to Jews. Currently, Jews see Christians commemorating the death of Jesus at what appears to be random times in the Spring. If the commemoration coincided with their Passover, they would be faced with the connection between Jesus sacrifice and the Passover every single year.

    4) Distancing from Catholic Tradition. In my mind, whenever you can replace traditions of men with scripture you are headed in the right direction.

    5) No baggage. If Protestants had been commemorating Crucifixtion Day do you think it would be as commercialized? Kind of hard to make a Crucifixtion Bunny without being in very poor taste. The only holiday that the Protestants were key in creating in America was Thanksgiving, and it's still the most consistently untainted holiday of the bunch. Not that there isn't some shallowness, but the whole idea of a holiday of being thankful for what you have helps keep it from becoming exploited. In fact there's so little vanity to the holiday that it's becoming completely overpowered by Christmas. Likewise, distancing from Easter could remove some of the "hey its springtime, and bunnies" and put the emphasis back in the Bible.

    6) It's consistent with other practices. Unless someone can tell me that they celebrate their anniversary on a completely different day, just because a council from another country told them to, I would have to say the practice is very abnormal. Generally I do not like doing things that seem inconsistent since God is not the author of confusion.

    The only reasons I can think to continue the practice are:

    1) Peace. It would be disruptive to be different than everyone else, but on the other hand change has to start somewhere and it's not like the first time the body of Christ has undergone a change.

    2) Worry about Superiority. Maybe the members of a group commemorating the day on the day it happened could feel some sort of sense of superiority. I would argue though that is can be the case any time someone decides to be more dilligent about a Bible issue. Obviously you would have to deal with those sort of attitudes, but there are countless other doctrinal decisions churches make that can cause this issue.

    If there are more arguments I would be interested in hearing them.

  2. #2
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    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dlmusic55 View Post
    There is a question that has bothered me for some time. The Bible is clear on the day when Jesus was crucified, and up until the 300s many church leaders commemorated the day on that anniversary. It was only after the authoritative central church laid down the guidelines for a standard Easter celebration that this was stopped. There was no Biblical reason for this, the reason was due to anti-Semitic ideas about not wanting to share the holiday with heathen Jews responsible for the death of Jesus.

    Unfortunately, Martin Luther was also incredibly anti-Semitic so it's no wonder that he didn't set the precedent of switching back after his break from Catholicism.

    So my question is, shouldn't during the Protestant reformation and the many offshoots from it that one group would return to commemorating the day when it happened? It is certainly culturally normal to do so. Most nations celebrate their Independence Day when it actually happened, like Fourth of July. I can understand the concept of keeping Christmas Day the same since Jesus's birth is not known, but why not adjust the celebration of the resurrection?

    I can think of many good reasons to do so:

    1) Respect. To go with the actual date rather than one out of convenience shows a certain level of care and reverence. It is why it means so much to us if one makes sure to celebrate the birthday or anniversary on the actual day. It's also common for something as frivolous as fandoms. Back to the Future day commemorates a day just passably mentioned in the film, but those members show a certain amount of dedication to both notice the day and take time off to do it. In America, we commemorate the victims of 9/11 on the anniversary.

    2) Consistency with Scripture Only. It is odd to pick a day out of the sky for a holiday when the date is known. There is no scripture reason I can think of to ignore the actual day if you are choosing to commemorate it. While some can say it doesn't matter scripturally, ok, but then why not do it on the actual day? It's not like plenty of other Catholic traditions weren't thrown out.

    3) Witnessing to Jews. Currently, Jews see Christians commemorating the death of Jesus at what appears to be random times in the Spring. If the commemoration coincided with their Passover, they would be faced with the connection between Jesus sacrifice and the Passover every single year.

    4) Distancing from Catholic Tradition. In my mind, whenever you can replace traditions of men with scripture you are headed in the right direction.

    5) No baggage. If Protestants had been commemorating Crucifixtion Day do you think it would be as commercialized? Kind of hard to make a Crucifixtion Bunny without being in very poor taste. The only holiday that the Protestants were key in creating in America was Thanksgiving, and it's still the most consistently untainted holiday of the bunch. Not that there isn't some shallowness, but the whole idea of a holiday of being thankful for what you have helps keep it from becoming exploited. In fact there's so little vanity to the holiday that it's becoming completely overpowered by Christmas. Likewise, distancing from Easter could remove some of the "hey its springtime, and bunnies" and put the emphasis back in the Bible.

    6) It's consistent with other practices. Unless someone can tell me that they celebrate their anniversary on a completely different day, just because a council from another country told them to, I would have to say the practice is very abnormal. Generally I do not like doing things that seem inconsistent since God is not the author of confusion.

    The only reasons I can think to continue the practice are:

    1) Peace. It would be disruptive to be different than everyone else, but on the other hand change has to start somewhere and it's not like the first time the body of Christ has undergone a change.

    2) Worry about Superiority. Maybe the members of a group commemorating the day on the day it happened could feel some sort of sense of superiority. I would argue though that is can be the case any time someone decides to be more dilligent about a Bible issue. Obviously you would have to deal with those sort of attitudes, but there are countless other doctrinal decisions churches make that can cause this issue.

    If there are more arguments I would be interested in hearing them.
    You have many good points and your questioning the Church is good. But have you considered that the Lord, and His Bible,
    • does not require commemoration of Jesus' death on a certain day
    • does not therefore set a day

    The commemoration of the death of our Lord is to be done "as often" as can be, and where two or more are gathered in His Name, by the breaking of bread and eating and the drinking of the cup. 1st Corinthians 11:25-26;

    25 "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
    26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."

  3. #3

    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    Your arguments show why someone could say it is not needed to commemorate it at all. It doesn't really explain why, when choosing to commemorate it, to go with the Catholic calculation.

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    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dlmusic55 View Post
    Your arguments show why someone could say it is not needed to commemorate it at all. It doesn't really explain why, when choosing to commemorate it, to go with the Catholic calculation.
    There can be no way out of doing it. In the proffered verse, the "this do" is emphatic and a command.

    25 "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
    26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."


    The Catholic date every year is based, like most of the rest of its things, on the worship of the heavenly host. The Catholic calculation is;
    • the first Friday, after ...
    • the first full moon, after ...
    • the spring (northern hemisphere) equinox

  5. #5

    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    My apologies I was unclear. I meant your arguments show a reason why a day does not have to specifically set aside. But since a specific day has been set aside, why not the correct one?

    The argument that God has not required us to commemorate a specific day still does not address the fact that in choosing a specific day the consensus has gone with one with anti-Semitic origins.

    Let me give an analogy. The great American thinker John Adams died on the 4th of July. Let's say a group of people in Madagascar stumbled upon his works, and decided he was a figure worthy of respect. So they commemorated his death every year. But they chose not to do it on 4th of July since they said Americans were vile. Does that logic make sense?

    If you look at the writings of Polycarp, there is also historical evidence that the apostle John commemorated it on this day as well.

    Here is the statement on the switch:
    It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to follow the custom [the calculation] of the Jews, who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded. . . . We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Saviour has shown us another way. . . . As, on the one hand, it is our duty not to have anything in common with the murderers of our Lord.

    In other words, the date was chosen out of hatred. So, I still don't see what the purpose is in sustaining it.

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    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dlmusic55 View Post
    In other words, the date was chosen out of hatred. So, I still don't see what the purpose is in sustaining it.
    Maybe so, but have the vast majority of people continued with this date out of hate? While understanding history is important, the answer is no, and to argue otherwise is to either commit a genetic fallacy, or plead specially. If you want to commemorate the crucifixion as the earlier Church did, go for it. If not, then there's no command that we have to commemorate it on such-and-such a day, so commemorate it whenever you want.

  7. #7

    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    The logic that because there is no command to do it at a specific time translates to, we should do it when the Catholics determined, does not follow for me.

    To say that I can do it however I want does not answer my question. Why are you doing it when you do it? Biblically speaking.

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    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dlmusic55 View Post
    My apologies I was unclear. I meant your arguments show a reason why a day does not have to specifically set aside. But since a specific day has been set aside, why not the correct one?

    The argument that God has not required us to commemorate a specific day still does not address the fact that in choosing a specific day the consensus has gone with one with anti-Semitic origins.

    Let me give an analogy. The great American thinker John Adams died on the 4th of July. Let's say a group of people in Madagascar stumbled upon his works, and decided he was a figure worthy of respect. So they commemorated his death every year. But they chose not to do it on 4th of July since they said Americans were vile. Does that logic make sense?

    If you look at the writings of Polycarp, there is also historical evidence that the apostle John commemorated it on this day as well.

    Here is the statement on the switch:
    It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to follow the custom [the calculation] of the Jews, who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded. . . . We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Saviour has shown us another way. . . . As, on the one hand, it is our duty not to have anything in common with the murderers of our Lord.

    In other words, the date was chosen out of hatred. So, I still don't see what the purpose is in sustaining it.
    I understand what you're getting at. I'm not the best guy to answer you as I am strictly "sola scriptura". I haven't celebrated a day, whether Christmas, Easter or All-Saints (Hallowed Evening) since 1982. I think the worst thing of all these "days" is that they actually are days that honor demon-gods, but have been just given Christian connotations by the so-called religious fraternity (Catholics, Protestants and Fundamentals). Imagine a group pf Jews in Israel celebrating Hitler's birthday but just saying that it is in honor of king David. I wonder how long they would last.

    The actual day of Jesus' death is never given, whether in the bible or in history. We know it was Passover, the 14th of Nissan, but the year is disputed by scholars, and this day changes by a few days because the Hebrew Calendar is not based on the earth's rotation round the sun. Thus, every year, or every few years the difference has to be added. I kinda think that if God, Who wrote the Bible in a most calculating way, left out these dates and days, He meant for them to be ignored as festivals.

  9. #9

    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    Well why not celebrate it on the 14th of Nissan, that is my point. To do so would also correlate exactly with the Jewish holiday of Passover which was the foreshadowing of the Crucifixtion. In terms of the Hebrew calendar, a lunar/solar calendar is based on the Bible itself.

    I don't agree that God made the calendar obscured to avoid commemorating it, as we do know that other holidays like Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated in the future. So I don't think the Jews maintaining the calendar of holidays is without merit. I don't think God would have intended the day of his sacrifice to be ignored, that seems to fly in the face of the constant pattern of God telling you to remember certain days.

    It seems that people either go down two paths, they either think God wants no holidays at all and make that an extreme religious position, or they go with the Catholic holidays. I don't see why there can't be another option.

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    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    There could be another option if everyone agreed on it. Good luck with that.

    How many denominations are there now?
    Why do we have denominations in the first place?

    What I mean to say is, essentially I agree that you make excellent points on this. You're getting no arguments from me about whether it should - at the least - be considered.
    The problem is that getting all of the denominations together to even consider it seems to be an impossible task.
    Oh, come, all ye faithful,
    Joyful and triumphant.

    O come, let us adore Him Christ the Lord!

  11. #11

    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    I don't see why a new denomination would have to be created to add a special Lord Supper ceremony on the anniversary of the original. Maybe over time people would question keeping the Easter Day in addition and it would just drop off.

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    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    I didn’t say a new denomination would need to be created.

    What I mean by mentioning denominations is that the Church has split itself into groups called denominations over disagreements on other things.
    Getting them all together and getting them to consider this, let alone agreement on it, would be a monumental task.
    Oh, come, all ye faithful,
    Joyful and triumphant.

    O come, let us adore Him Christ the Lord!

  13. #13

    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    Well some groups I know do Lords Supper as a special event quarterly or monthly, they could easily adjust one of them to this date, and explain the reasoning. You don't have to do a 180 instantly. It took 300 years for the church government to become powerful enough to squash the original commemoration.

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    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    I wouldn't have a problem with that.

    But uh...I don't actually disagree with those who say the actual date we do it doesn't really matter all that much either. I honestly don't see this as being a big deal. Heck, there are plenty of feasts and other things I think the church should be holding that they don't do.

    That doesn't mean that they're wrong or going against God's will. It just means that I disagree with them.
    Oh, come, all ye faithful,
    Joyful and triumphant.

    O come, let us adore Him Christ the Lord!

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    Re: Why Not Commemorate Christ's Crucifixiction When it Happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dlmusic55 View Post
    Well why not celebrate it on the 14th of Nissan, that is my point. To do so would also correlate exactly with the Jewish holiday of Passover which was the foreshadowing of the Crucifixtion. In terms of the Hebrew calendar, a lunar/solar calendar is based on the Bible itself.

    I don't agree that God made the calendar obscured to avoid commemorating it, as we do know that other holidays like Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated in the future. So I don't think the Jews maintaining the calendar of holidays is without merit. I don't think God would have intended the day of his sacrifice to be ignored, that seems to fly in the face of the constant pattern of God telling you to remember certain days.

    It seems that people either go down two paths, they either think God wants no holidays at all and make that an extreme religious position, or they go with the Catholic holidays. I don't see why there can't be another option.
    The thing is, the Passover has been set aside until Christ returns and sets up His millennial Kingdom: Luke 22:14-16;

    14 "And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
    15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
    16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God."


    It is definitely something that the Lord does not want. So that day is out.

    As to your last sentence, I think that if God has not ordained something, then we men should honor it. It was the religious Pharisees, leaders of the God-given religion of Moses, that made extra things. But of this the Lord Himself said in both Matthew 15:6 and Mark 7:13;
    • "... Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
    • "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

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