The following was written by Pastor Sam Crabtree of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. Pastor John Piper read it to his congregation Dec. 23, 2006. I have had the opportunity to meet Sam Crabtree on a number of occasions, and he is a wonderful God-fearing and loving man. You can see that fully reflected in this letter.

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Dear Bethlehem Family,

I believe I speak for all the staff and elders when I pray that during this Christmas season and at all times God would enable you to treasure his incarnate and risen son above all else.

Have you ever asked yourself what would be different if Jesus had never been born? If Jesus had not come in the fullness of time and been born of a woman and fulfilled the law, there would be no Bethlehem and this staff photo would not be possible.

If Jesus had not been born:

  • This would not be the year of our Lord 2006.
  • We would never hear a single Christmas carol or Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.
  • No city would be named St. Paul or St. Petersburg or Corpus Christi.
  • We would have never heard of William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, John Knox, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, John Hus, Billy Graham, Elizabeth Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Corrie Ten Boom, Fanny Crosby, Alexander Solzenitzen, C.S. Lewis, Chuck Swindoll, C.J. Mahaney, John Piper, or… make a list of your own.
  • There would be no organizations such as Wycliffe Bible Translators, Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Navigators, Bethel University, KTIS, The Red Cross, Methodist Hospital, The Salvation Army, Christian Book Sellers Association, National Association of Evangelicals, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Purdue, and countless others.
  • We would have no such books as Tale of Two Cities, Dickens’s Christmas Carol, or even The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
  • We have no movies such as Ben Hur, The Cross and the Switchblade, Chariots of Fire, Narnia, and scores of others.
  • We would never ever had heard such songs as “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “Fairest Lord Jesus,” “Joy to the World.”
  • Idioms would never have been brought into our language such as the Good Samaritan, the prodigal son, lost sheep, or any of Jesus’ other parables.
  • We would not have teachings that have entered our every day speech such as turn the other cheek, go the second mile, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and love your enemies.
  • It’s unlikely that this continent would have seen the arrival of the Pilgrims, and if they had come by some other name, years later President Washington could have been King George instead.
  • It could be easily argued that the United States Founding documents would not be what they are.
  • There would be no Desiring God ministries and no Bethlehem bookstore.
  • The Wuaorani Indians of Ecuador would still kill white men instead of baptizing their children.
  • The Arawakan Indians of the Caribbean would still be cannibals.
  • Descendents of the Mayans in Chiapas, Mexico, would still sacrifice their children instead of teaching them to praise the true Creator.
  • Prophecies would remain unfulfilled, the serpent would not be crushed, we would not be delivered, and God would be a liar. Death would not be conquered.
  • The New Testament would never have been written.
  • There would be no mediator between God and man, for the man Christ Jesus would not have been born. We would remain dead in our trespasses and sins, the veil not yet rent.

But he was born! May the realization of the sweeping impact of his birth, life, death, and resurrection join with the heartfelt greetings of the staff to bring you a very Merry Christmas!

Pastor Sam

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