Greeting – a Welcome from Marlin Detweiler

Feature Article - Pentecost: The Lost Holiday by Gregg Strawbridge

Educational Helpsby Laurie Detweiler

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Earlier this week we proofed the 2005-2006 catalog. It is at the printer, and we expect to mail it May 9th. If you are coming to the CHAP Homeschool Fair in Harrisburg, PA, on May 6th and 7th, you should be able to get a copy there.


Every American knows that the last Monday in May is Memorial Day. Or is it Labor Day? Actually, I don’t confuse the two anymore. Did you ever have that problem? Regardless, work will cease and picnics will abound. But what Christian holiday might (or rather should) we celebrate? I hope you know—Pentecost. This month our pastor, Gregg Strawbridge writes on the lost holiday of Pentecost. Laurie then follows with ideas for restoring the holiday to its rightful place.


As I said last month I hope you find this newsletter helpful. We want it to be a way to thank you for your support and encouragement. We hope that it will help you become better teachers and parents.


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Marlin Detweiler

Veritas Press


Feature Article

Pentecost: The Lost Holiday


When I was five years old my best friend was Deborah. She was my age and visited her grandmother on weekends. Mrs. McCallister lived next to us. I still remember an aroma of strangeness about Deborah's family. They had peculiar religious views as Jehovah's Witnesses. At the time, this didn't come up much in our playing. But I did learn from her that there was no Santa Claus. The JW's are down on Christmas celebrations and Christian holidays, generally. But even Trinitarian Christians neglect the holiday of Pentecost. Pentecost is lost on most evangelical Christians today.


Should Trinitarian Christians celebrate Pentecost? Sometimes we talk about C & E Christians—those who go to church only on Christmas and Easter. We have a cultural momentum to mix Christmas with a secular “holiday season.” We have a precedent to converge bunnies and new clothes with the Resurrection at Easter. But there is no secular reason to celebrate Pentecost. If Christians celebrate that the risen Jesus ascended to the Father and at Pentecost empowered the Church with the Spirit, there will be no government school days off associated with it. It is an article of faith in “another King, one Jesus” (Acts 17:7).


As those committed to Christian education, we make no water-tight distinctions between learning and life (Deut. 6:6-7). Learning and commitment to Christ are inter-dependent. But in Deuteronomy 6, that most well-known of Christian education proof-texts, we also integrate time into our training. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” In fact, the most repeated word in these verses is a time word—when. The when’s of life mark that which we believe to be important.


So do we have a Christian view of time, or is our calendar just Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Presidents Day. (Government holidays.) Do we know “IRS day” (April 15) better than Pentecost? Do dates set by our tax-men loom larger than Jesus pouring out the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Church so that all the nations would be discipled? Probably so. This is an indication that we are toddlers in Christian thinking.


Remember the calendar has world-shaping significance. Think of the French Revolution. What did they do (beyond thrusting upon us the devilish Metric System)? They tried to undo the seven- day Christian Calendar. The Bolshevik Revolution forming the USSR required atheistic, political holidays. The Christian Holy Days or a Church Calendar includes Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. It organizes and directs our Scripture readings, prayers, hymns, and sermons according to the life of Christ. It gives us celebrations of redemptive and not just nationalistic significance. By this we enjoy a redemptive calendar which marks time under the Lordship of Christ. Jesus is Lord of Time!


In the New Testament, Pentecost is of monumental significance. After Christ ascended into heaven His disciples returned to Jerusalem. Jesus told His disciples to wait for Pentecost (Acts 1:8-9). Ten days after the Ascension Pentecost arrived. While the disciples were gathered in the upper room on Pentecost there came a sound of a rushing, mighty wind. It was then that the Holy Spirit came upon them as tongues of fire. Filled with the Holy Spirit they began to speak in other languages.


What is the biblical background to Pentecost? The Feast of Weeks in Exodus 34:22 was 50 days after Passover [“Pente” or 50]. It is also called the “first fruits” in Numbers 28:26. Pentecost became the celebrated anniversary of the giving of the Law by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai.


Jerusalem was filled at this time with Jews who had come for the Jewish festival of Pentecost. (If you have Journey Through the Bible see pages 344–345 for further information.) Jews had come from surrounding nations and were amazed to hear the disciples of Jesus speaking in many languages—most notably the listener’s own language. Many believed and were baptized as Peter stood and explained these events, about 3,000 we learn from Acts 2. Many Christians note this as the beginning of the Christian church. Some even hold a birthday party to celebrate it.


As you can see we have a tremendous theological basis for celebrating Pentecost, just as much as Christmas and Easter. The apostle Paul even adjusted missionary travels around Pentecost—“Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:16). He even marked time with it, saying to the Corinthians that he would “tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost” (1 Cor. 16:17). 


What faithful Jews recognized as the anniversary of the giving of the Law on two tablets of stone at Mt. Sinai is the very day that God chose to pour out his Holy Spirit, turning sinful hearts of stone into living hearts of flesh (Ez. 36:26). From the Flood to Babel the division of peoples was made, separating language and religious culture. But from Pentecost on, the gospel advances with the power to undo the confusion of the nations by the Spirit's power through unity of faith in Christ’s gospel.


It is a powerful image of Pentecost to remember that Moses saw the glory of the Holy Spirit over the earthly tabernacle in the pillar of fire. How much more is God's glory evident, though it is now invisible, that the temple made without hands of “living stones” is indwelt by the Spirit of God. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit visibly descended on the Church. He indwelt the new temple, the Church of the living God. Just as the Shekinah glory came down in the original temple of Solomon, now the Shekinah was poured out by our enthroned King at Pentecost.


Pentecost certainly is something to celebrate!


Gregg Strawbridge


All Saints’ Presbyterian Church


Educational Helps


 “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Acts 2:1-4


As we learned in the article above, Pentecost has always been a great feast day, and so it should continue to be (or maybe become again). One of the best ways we can illustrate what occurred on the day of Pentecost is to think about all the languages that may have been represented. Why do you think God would have the people suddenly speak in tongues they had not learned? It was, of course, to spread the gospel. Dorothy Sayers stated in her essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, that when teaching history, dates should be accompanied by “everyday things, so that the mere mention of a date calls up a strong visual presentation of the whole period.” When dear friend Nancy Wilson shared with me this feast idea I thought there was no better way to illustrate Pentecost than to have a table spread with foods from other countries. It is true that we need to study things like the pilgrims and the War Between the States. It is also true, and arguably more important, that our children understand biblical history and the history of the church. This thinking was a key reason for our grammar level History and Bible curriculum design.


A link below will connect you to some recipes that we hope you find helpful. A single family could have great fun with this, but it will definitely be more fun if you have others participate. This year our church, All Saints’ Presbyterian in Lancaster, PA will be having a Pentecost feast in the backyard of our home. If you can make it we’d love to have you—just let us know. If you cannot, plan one of your own.


If we look at the Lutheran and Episcopalian church calendar we see that red is the color used to represent the flames of fiery tongues. When setting the tables think about this. You need not stick to just red, but use colors such as red, orange or yellow. Collect as many candle globes as you have tables. Included within the recipe file linked below you will find designs of flames and doves. Print or copy the flames on red, yellow and orange construction paper. Cut them out and tape them to the globes, before lighting the candles. If you want, you can cut greens from your yard and sprinkle them on the table. The dove napkin ring is to represent the coming of the Holy Spirit. Print or copy one for each place setting. Cut them out and use clear tape to assemble them. Place white napkins inside each ring and place at each setting.


Now, for the real fun! If you are doing this just for your family you will have to pick and choose from the recipes depending on the amount of food you need. For a larger group photocopy the recipes and divide them up among all households that will be attending.


When we think of the family traditions that we have created for our boys, this is one that we hope we will get to participate in with our grandchildren and great grandchildren. What a blessing it will be to hear them talk about the upcoming Pentecost feast, talking with great anticipation, and understand of the great gift that God gave us in the coming of His Spirit.


In our home at Christmas, my husband always reads the Christmas story to us before we begin our formal meal. My children now, years later know that before we eat we get to feast on the wonders of God’s love for us in the gift of His Son. And so it should be at Pentecost. My husband or our pastor will read to our entire congregation from the second chapter of Acts so we can feast on the gift of the Spirit.


Enjoy and delight in the good gifts of fellowship, food and wine that the Lord has given you.


Laurie Detweiler


Free Offers


Free Recipes for a Pentecost Feast
We have assembled a collection of great recipes for a Feast with which to celebrate Pentecost. Click here to download them.


Free Pentecost Coloring Picture (and Contest)

Click here to download a picture for children to color. A $50 gift certificate from Veritas Press will be given to the family who sends us the picture we judge best. There will be winners in each of three age categories: 3–5, 6–9, 10–12. Submissions must arrive at 1829 William Penn Way, Lancaster, PA 17601 by 5:00 PM EDT. May 13, 2005.

Free Special Edition Mars Hill Audio CD

Ken Myers, founder of Mars Hill Audio Journal has provided us with a limited supply of a Special Edition of his bimonthly audio magazine that focuses on viewing contemporary culture and issues through a biblical worldview. One will be given away with each order while supplies last.




Q. The Omnibus curriculum covers theology, history and literature. How do you keep grades for each of these disciplines?

 A. The curriculum was designed with this concern in mind. First, the books that are read are rated on a ten-point scale dividing the points over theology, history and literature. For example, Genesis is 7 for theology, 2 for history and 1 for literature. On the teacher’s CD is a fairly sophisticated computer worksheet file that uses these point values so that each graded exercise will be weighted and a grade will result in each discipline. There is a lot of additional complexity that we have taken out of the process with the worksheet that would be hard to explain here. Suffice it to say, it works. And for those who would rather not use the computer worksheet we have provided a written form that can be used, too.

Q. From what worldview is the Omnibus written?

A. A very good question. Anything that someone creates necessarily starts with certain presuppositions. Our presuppositions are those of biblical Christians who embrace the Protestant Reformation, and most of the authors and all the editors believe that the Westminster Confession of Faith is the best doctrinal expression of what Scripture teaches.




2005 Veritas Academy Teacher Training
July 20-22, 2005, Lancaster, PA. Joel Belz, founder of World Magazine will be the keynote speaker. Brochures have been mailed. If you have NOT received one and would like one please call 717-556-0690 to request one. Find more information at

13th Annual ACCS Conference
June 23-25, 2005, Memphis, TN. Douglas Wilson, George Grant and many others. For further information go to:

-       If you are attending or live in the area, you are invited to be our guest at a dessert at 7:00 PM, June 23rd. Douglas Wilson will be signing books, and you will also learn more about the Veritas Press History and Bible Curriculum and the Veritas Press Phonics Museum. It will take place at our vendor booth.

-       Plan to attend the Omnibus Workshop at 4:10 PM, June 23 where Douglas Wilson and Ty Fischer will explain the curriculum in detail.

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