Who created the Celebration of God, and what are it’s theological moorings? Today AMBrewster explains what the Celebration of God is not and unpacks the glory of what it is.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a family resource from Truth.Love.Parent., a ministry dedicated to rooting families in God and maturing families for God so they can harvest blessings from God.
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Today’s episode is an important one. Regardless of whether you’ve been participating in the Year Long Celebration of God from the very beginning or you were introduced to it much later, this episode is necessary to a proper understanding of this program.
The Celebration of God is a dynamic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians and their families to know, believe, and celebrate God all year long. It really is a way to worship God better.
That means that the Celebration of God is for all people everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you were born, how old you are, or how long you’ve been a follower of Christ. The Celebration of God eclipses ethnicity, experience, language, and tradition.
Yet, it’s natural to assume that if a middle-aged Caucasian American man with a baptist heritage were the one responsible for creating the Celebration of God that it would reflect those influences.
And that’s why this episode is so important. We all need to understand what the Celebration of God is and what it is not.
All humans know what they know and are incapable of knowing what they don’t know until they’ve already learned it.
We approach all experiences with a priori assumptions and biases that are natural and expected since our experiences are limited. For this reason and more, I fully expect that Christians who are interested in the Celebration of God would question not only what the Celebration of God is, but also from where it came.
Therefore, I believe it’s important to describe what the Celebration of God is not, so that we can better understand what it is.
1. The Celebration of God is not tied to a singular national tradition.
I am American, and the vast majority of my experiences are such. Even my studies in foreign languages and cultures are limited to people groups with which I’ve interacted here in America.
To be honest, I lament this reality to a degree. I would thoroughly enjoy being well-traveled and acquainted with the unique experiences of people living outside of the United States.
Of course, I have not lived this way to avoid foreign interactions; the Lord simply has not provided the opportunity. Though I’m an American, my standard of living has mostly been considered below the American poverty line. I don’t say any of this to complain . . . the Lord has always cared for me and my family. However, world travel has never been an opportunity for me.
On the other hand, I take great joy in learning about ways of life, experiences, and traditions that are unlike my own. I love learning how people think and discerning why they do what they do. I love understanding how God’s Word can be so incredibly applicable to such diverse people-groups. As a biblical family counselor, this is one of the most important tasks I have.
So why am I relating this to you?
I want to admit my own proclivity to American thinking — a way of thinking I have been working to replace with biblical thinking as I’ve grown older.
For these reasons and more, my approach to creating the Celebration of God has largely ignored my American heritage. I’ve desperately striven to ground my understanding of what it means to celebrate God in the character and expectations of our Lord as recorded in the Scriptures.
The church of God contains individual from every tribe and tongue and nation. The worship of the one true God is not an ethnic experience per-se.
Therefore, to the same degree that the Celebration of God is not designed to be strictly American, it’s also not Jewish, French, Swahili, Japanese, or Australian either.
And yet . . . it is all of them.
The Celebration of God is designed to be enjoyed and utilized by Christians from every possible background.
It’s true this podcast is published in English, but I would love for passionate multi-lingual individuals to one day help me communicate this necessary resource to anyone regardless of the language they speak. I can imagine if this information were translated into every conceivable language, true believers would rally around it.
All followers of Christ can utilize the Celebration of God to know, love, and worship the Lord in addition to using it to disciple their families and friends.
And as this resource grows and matures, I look forward to broadening its applications to comfortably fit different ethnicities. But that’s a topic for another day.
All of this to say, I pray everyone will love this program for what it is instead of being distracted by everything it’s not.
And this goes for the various traditions practiced here in America. Whether it’s the feel of a northern church or a southern church, an inner-city church or a country church, the Celebration of God will be enjoyed by all born again believers.
And speaking of born again believers . . .
2. The Celebration of God is not an ecumenical movement.
The word “ecumenical” has different denotations and connotations to various people. Generally speaking, Merriam-Webster defines it as “promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation.”
And that sounds wonderful. In fact, given my previous description of the fact that believers from all over the globe will be able to support and participate in the Celebration of God, one may easily imagine it to be an ecumenical movement.
However, allow me to quote vocabulary.com: “The term is most widely connected with religious unity, specifically Christianity. The original Greek root word, oikos, means "house," and that grew into the word oikoumenikós, which means "the entire world." Today it most often refers to bringing people of diverse Christian religions together; however, an ecumenical service might bring Christians, Jews, and Muslims together under one roof.”
I believe that’s a very common practice and use of the term today.
However, we all must understand that the groundwork of the the Celebration of God is the 66 books of the inscripturated Word of God . . . the Bible.
In II Corinthians 6:14, the Lord says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
Evermind Ministries, the father organization of Truth.Love.Parent. and the Celebration of God, believes that the 66 books of the Bible in the Old and New Testaments constitute the completed and inscripturated Word of God. God the Holy Spirit carried along the human authors of Scripture so that they wrote the exact words that he desired them to write. The words in Scripture penned by human authors are thus the very words of God himself. As inspired by God the Bible is completely free from error and serves as the inerrant, infallible, and final rule for life and faith. The Bible speaks with complete authority about every matter it addresses. The words of Scripture concern issues of life and faith before God, and are therefore sufficient to define and direct all life.
So, since the Bible presents Jesus Christ as the only way, Truth, and life through Whom no man can see God, then it would be an attack against God to suggest that the gods of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Spiritism, or Wiccan are merely different forms of the same person. They are not.
Christianity is exclusive, and the Celebration of God is an experience for those who are followers of Jesus Christ.
However . . .
3. The Celebration of God is also not a denominational or cultic creation.
Vocabulary.com referred to ecumenism as “bringing people of diverse Christian religions together.”
Is everyone who calls themselves a Christian following the Bible?
There are many denominations and creeds that utilize the Bible in one way or another in their religious practices. But just because a group pays lip-service to the Scriptures does not mean that it communicates it correctly?
Even though I fear sounding like a pompous know-it-all, I must proclaim that there is a right way and wrong way to understand the Bible because God Himself says that there’s a right way and wrong way to understand the Bible.
The Word of God is not a buffet from which you can select the parts you like and reject the others. It’s not something that can be twisted to mean various things depending on how you feel.
In Galatians 1, Paul confronts the church at Galatia with this stark statement: “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
We also need to consider II Peter 3:14-18, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
One example of twisting and distorting the gospel is the prosperity gospel movement. And because it’s promoted by the untaught and unstable, it’s distorted and heretical. They suggest that becoming a Christian and growing in faith will be accompanied by material wealth and physical prosperity. This is clearly an adulteration of the Scriptures — one that is patently proven false by the very ministry and life of Jesus and His first-century followers.
Now, please understand that this podcast is not going to be a debate-format where I try to explain from the Bible how my understanding is right and everyone else’s is wrong. That could not possibly be further from the purpose of this show or this episode. In fact, I very much look forward to getting through this material because — even though it’s desperately important — it lacks the celebratory expression which is at the very heart of this resource.
Still, I need to be plain that the content of this show will likely not be appreciated by Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Universalists, or other groups that may refer to themselves as Christians.
Because we utilize the Scripture and only the Scripture, and because we interpret the Bible using a what is referred to as a “Normal Hermeneutic,” then not only is the doctrine of the Celebration of God distinctly protestant in nature, it will not be easily accepted by those who refer to themselves as Progressive Christians or hold to Catholic beliefs.
Now, that’s not to say that we don’t want anyone from the aforementioned groups partaking in the Celebration of God Podcast or even using the calendar. From the very outset, we were clear that we welcome everyone and invite them to hear and embrace the God of the Bible. And if He is pleased to use us to help others know Him better, we will be eternally grateful.
However, I thought it fair to be transparent from the very beginning that we believe every word of the Bible to be understood literally — that means it should be interrupted in its most plain and normal sense. There will be professing Christians who are uncomfortable with that approach.
Generally speaking, the major protestant denominations will easily embrace much — if not all — of the Celebration of God. But, again, you don’t have to consider yourself a protestant to enjoy this tool, and I’m also not saying that protestants will love every part. However, we’re going to talk more about that on our next episode.
Lastly, for this point, I want to clarify that the Celebration of God was not created to push the agenda of a cult, fringe, or fanatic interpretation of the Scriptures.
For example, this is not a Hebrew Roots inspired program.
I have been and will continue to be very clear that I do not want the Celebration of God to be about a movement, mission, or mindset. It’s about God — Yahweh. And since we know nearly everything we know about God from His special revelation in the Bible, we will grapple with what He says about Himself there.
The Celebration of God is a universal discipleship experience for Bible-believing Christians. However . . .
4. Following the Celebration of God resource is not a requirement for salvation.
If you choose not to observe Christmas the way much of the world does, if you’d rather not redeem the observance of Independence Day, if you don’t see the significance of Lent, that doesn’t mean you’re not a born again follower of Christ.
The Celebration of God staff and I are never going to suggest that a ritualistic adherence to the Celebration of God makes you a good person or is part of gaining eternal life.
However, though a person may become a Christian, live, and die without ever hearing about the resource that I created called the Celebration of God . . . I do need to say that all genuine, born again believers will celebrate God in one way or another.
As we saw last time, God expects, commands, and empowers our praise, rejoicing, worship, and celebration of Him. No one can even become a follower of Christ without celebrating Who He is and what He accomplished for His people.
No blood-bought saint will ever refuse to worship their Creator, Savior, and Sustainer.
And that’s exactly why we created this show. The Celebration of God is merely a tool to use as part of our personal relationship with God and the discipleship of our friends and families. All Christians are going to celebrate Him, we simply want to make it easier. We want simply to provide instruction, form, ideas, and opportunities to engage with God at every moment of every day. We want to unpack who God is and what He’s done so we can know Him, love Him, submit to Him, and give Him the adoration and praise that He’s due.
Now, I would say that those are the four big things the Celebration of God is not. It’s not tied to an ethic tradition to the exclusion of others, it’s not a ecumenical attempt to unify people from different beliefs systems, it doesn’t embrace extra-biblical interpretations and applications, and it’s not presented as requirement for a relationship with God.
On the positive side, the Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians and their families to know, believe, and celebrate God all year long. That’s it.
And I hope the thrill and the passion of what the Celebration of God is — and Who it’s all about — gets you excited about diving in.
Yes, all the “nots” were important so that everyone can be on the same page, but I’m defiantly looking forward to focusing on those things around which we can unify in our worship of the Lord.
But before we finish up, I want to explain two more foundational, housekeeping realities.
We fully acknowledge a degree of uncertainty in the proposed dates of certain biblical events. For example, when the time comes, I look forward to sharing with you the exact date I believe Jesus rose from the grave.
However, I also acknowledge that if God wanted us to have the exact date of Jesus’ birth, He would have told us. The key is to remember who God is, what He’s done, and then celebrate it. We’re not trying to get bogged down in speculation or superstition. It’s not our goal to major on the minors or separate over things that are unimportant.
Lastly, I want to touch briefly on the theme of our next episode. This program provides a ton of freedom when it comes to customizing our celebration of God.
With all the focus on what we’re not, I don’t want you approaching this with the idea that The Celebration of God is some rigid set of religious rites that must be performed in all the right ways lest you displease the Lord. Is it a liturgy? Technically, yes. Is it a stodgy set of sacraments and empty method of filling time?
No, my friends, this will be a liberating and glorious experience where we pray God will fill your gaze and consume your every moment. We pray that your love, adoration, and amazement over Who God is will grow and that you will look forward to future installments of the Celebration of God because you simply can’t get enough of Him.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.