Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 23, 1961

Pat Boone And Christmas

Daniel G. Walters, Searcy, Arkansas

It is easy to magnify the faults of a celebrity. When one is in the limelight, weaknesses appear in his armor which would be overlooked in that of an ordinary person. For this reason we should be cautious about criticizing a public figure. Nevertheless, we feel that the time has come for a second look at brother Pat Boone.

Pat Boone has come to have a tremendous influence over our young people. As a clean living young man in the midst of ungodly surroundings, he was built up by church leaders as a worthy example. His two books on teenage problems were well received. Some took them a little too enthusiastically. We recall an article in one of our brotherhood journals which stated that Pat Boone's first book, 'Twixt Twelve and Twenty had done more good among teenagers than all the preaching in the last ten years! Boone was invited to speak at many church sponsored "young peoples' rallies." He was asked to write religious articles and to visit our college campuses. As a result, what Pat Boone does and says could now prove to have a pronounced effect upon the Lord's church.

Boone's new book, The Real Christmas, is a surprising work to come from the pen of a gospel preacher. We believe that it upholds the sectarian practice of observing Christmas as a religious holiday — as the birthday of Christ. Boone speaks on page 9 of "Christmas, the birth of the Savior." Although he takes pains to show that "Christmas is always" (not just December 25), he fails to condemn the celebration of this one day in particular as the birthday of Christ. In fact he condones it. The following quotation is found on page 44: "If Santa has become commercial, it's not because either St. Nicholas or Father Christmas took Christ out of Christmas. No, we can't blame anybody but ourselves for that, and since it's up to you and I who reenact the ancient role, it's up to us to make Jesus the central figure." Boone makes it clear on page 58 that he is speaking of a particular day. Talking about decorating and buying presents, he says that we should make preparation early for Christmas. Then, "We can enjoy it! — in our church, in our home, with our children, our families, with each other." How else can we enjoy Christmas "in our church" than by observing it as a special religious day? Pat leaves little room for doubt as to his position.

Is it unscriptural to celebrate a certain day as the Lord's birthday? As a religious holiday? We believe that it is. Our brethren have always condemned such an observance on the ground that it is unauthorized. The only day to which the New Testament attaches any religious significance is the first day of the week — the Lord's day. Christ made no provision for the celebration of his birthday. We have always pled for scripture to back every religious act. Few of us have been so legalistic as to condemn one for giving gifts or decorating a tree on December 25 merely for good will and enjoyment. However, the attachment of religious significance to Christmas Day has traditionally been taught against by members of the church — and rightly so. Are we drifting from this position?

Christmas is of pagan and Catholic origin. Boone devotes much of his book to the history of Christmas, but does not attempt to refute this fact. Christmas actually means "Christ mass" or "Mass of Christ" It was ordained by the Roman Catholic Church as a special religious day: just as Easter, Good Friday, etc. Far be it from us to lend support to any of these unchristian creations of Catholicism.

We trust that the brotherhood will not allow this book to pass un-reproved. However, more and more new doctrines are becoming acceptable in some churches. It will be interesting to note the reaction of the more liberal brethren to Pat Boone's book. Let us not remain indifferent to innovations, but rather stand our ground and firmly declare: "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed."