Christmas Poll

What is your position on Christmas?

  • Ought to be celebrated in the Church and home

    Votes: 8 16.3%
  • Ought to be celebrated only at home, in a religious fashion, but not in the Church

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • Ought to be celebrated only at home, in a secular fashion, and not in the Church

    Votes: 8 16.3%
  • Ought not to be celebrated at all, in any fashion, secular nor religious

    Votes: 23 46.9%
  • Other (explain)

    Votes: 9 18.4%

  • Total voters
    49
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jw

Administrator
I've also never really understood dragging out historical opinions of people in different cultures/historical contexts. Since no one forces us to engage in "holy-days" what's the point?
Because Christianity is not libertarian, and we are not to hate our brethren in our hearts by suffering sin upon them, without loving correction, reproof, etc., which we should also be thankful to receive when we, ourselves, are in error. The bringing out historical opinions is to show that they believed the Scriptures were not silent on these matters, and that we are subject to God Who commands how He will be sanctified, and would have us to cast aside our inventions.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
The anglocatholics and catholics who defend the church's right to institute holy days sought to argue that grant from scripture when challenged to produce a warrant. It of course amounts to showing a tyrannical power in the church to appoint humanly devised ceremonies. Outside of those rank ranks, those who roll their eyes at all the Presbyterian and nonconformist angst over the day don't see it as a serious question to have formulated a warrant beyond "it's okay to preach topically"; but then one has to question them if that is all there is to it, we need ask with Samuel, what is all the bleating of sheep we can hear (aka why are there advent ceremonies, candlelight services, etc.).
Let’s not forget that the candle lighting services often involve a “dimming of lights” or “total blackout” to allow a greater “candle impact”.

Sounds like more of a “Jesus Culture” Service than a Reformed/Biblical one.
 

Chad Hutson

Puritan Board Freshman
How should a church address Christmas? We have been walking this tightrope for some time. We use the opportunity to serve the poverty stricken children in our community whom we feed and teach year round. We see that they have winter coats, boots, gloves, clothes, etc. and food in their homes during the break from school. There are societal implications to the holiday that we can choose to embrace as opportunities or to ignore. To each their own.
As far as our services, we preach Christ! It is impossible to attend our church throughout the year and not hear of the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and reign of Jesus Christ. Nothing different at Christmas time.
We did have our Sunday evening service with hymns and readings from the Psalms and prophets concerning the coming Messiah and the significance of his life and death. Only about half the congregation was in attendance (50-60). It was still an opportunity to affirm the redemptive work of God through Christ, and we sought to glorify God.
Personally, we do Christmas at home. Of course, we also do Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and others. I view them as cultural activities and, as such, I feel I am at liberty to do so. If you don't, I support your decision and respect it. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if the culture turned away from the practice altogether.
 

smalltown_puritan

Puritan Board Freshman
I really would like to see an attempt at a defence of Christmas from the RPW. Any sources for this?

I've heard brothers from the Dutch reformed tradition use Esther ix.27 ('The Jews also ordained and promised for them and for their seed, and for all that joined unto them, that they would not fail to observe those two days ever year, according to their writing, and according unto their season') as a case for the establishment of setting regular times to remember specific works of God's deliverance (the incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost).

The Church under the Old Covenant, by their own decree and not the Lord's direct command, established Purim for them and all who follow in the covenant to remember God's deliverance of and blessing on His people. Therefore, as the inference is made, the Church in the New Covenant may also establish, with prudence, seasons to remember the work of Christ. And this may be carried out in such a way (namely, without ceremony) that it does not affect the elements of worship.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
I'll get back to you as soon as I can get an American and Australian in the same room.
Ha ha! Given that this is a Christmas thread, I am thinking of asking Santa to give you a world map. That may help you understand the relationship between Australia and New Zealand. It would also answer the question "on what Continent does Canada reside"? ;)
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
You need to be more clear in your posts. By Continent, do you mean 'land mass' or do you mean the more accurate 'tectonic plate'?
I did not want to drag this on as I was simply doing a bit of banter. [Just to clarify Tom @Tom Hart ] . By continent I meant the continent of North America where Canada and the USA are located. In context I was talking about countries.

But I am not sure why you link this to land mass. New Zealand sits on 2 tectonic plate boundaries - Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. But this is never referred to as a Continent to the bast of my knowledge.
 
U

Username3000

Guest
I've heard brothers from the Dutch reformed tradition use Esther ix.27 ('The Jews also ordained and promised for them and for their seed, and for all that joined unto them, that they would not fail to observe those two days ever year, according to their writing, and according unto their season') as a case for the establishment of setting regular times to remember specific works of God's deliverance (the incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost).

The Church under the Old Covenant, by their own decree and not the Lord's direct command, established Purim for them and all who follow in the covenant to remember God's deliverance of and blessing on His people. Therefore, as the inference is made, the Church in the New Covenant may also establish, with prudence, seasons to remember the work of Christ. And this may be carried out in such a way (namely, without ceremony) that it does not affect the elements of worship.
Was Purim set apart as a day of worship, or merely as a day of memorial feasting? I don’t know.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
"Who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?" - God, the alone rightful Commander and Receiver of worship (Isaiah 1)

I share the late Professor John Murray's sentiment (Collected Writings, Vol. 2, p. 120):

I have not even accepted a dinner engagement for what they call ‘Christmas.’ I hate the whole business.
Didn’t he get married for the first time when he was like 202? I’m curious if his young bride dragged him to anything Christmasy.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Are there seasonal songs that you actually enjoy?!? Whenever I go shopping these days I come home with a wicked headache. (Thanks, Mariah Carey.)

You need to listen to this version of Mariah Carey:

I don't want a lot for Brexit
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the politicians
Underneath the EEC
I just want a country to call my own
With Queen Elizabeth on the throne
Make my vote come true
All I want for Brexit is the end of the EU!
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
You need to listen to this version of Mariah Carey:

I don't want a lot for Brexit
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the politicians
Underneath the EEC
I just want a country to call my own
With Queen Elizabeth on the throne
Make my vote come true
All I want for Brexit is the end of the EU!
Your rhythm is a bit off there at the end, but the effort is appreciated.:D

But now the tune is in my head. Again.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Your rhythm is a bit off there at the end, but the effort is appreciated.:D

But now the tune is in my head. Again.

Try Cliff Richard instead:

The Donald is king, the Deplorables sing
The New World Order has passed, there's a new beginning
Nigel's banter, tears of Jon Snow
Liberals numb, Farage aglow, it's
Brexit time, as George Soros whines
Corbynistas singing communist rhyme
With EU laws in the fire and Fake News on TV
A time to rejoice in the fall of the EEC!
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Is it just me or are the Christmas wars more abundant on PB this year than last year? To be clear I have contributed.

The battle song:
 
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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Try Cliff Richard instead:

The Donald is king, the Deplorables sing
The New World Order has passed, there's a new beginning
Nigel's banter, tears of Jon Snow
Liberals numb, Farage aglow, it's
Brexit time, as George Soros whines
Corbynistas singing communist rhyme
With EU laws in the fire and Fake News on TV
A time to rejoice in the fall of the EEC!
How do you do it? :banana:
 

jw

Administrator
Purim was a civil festival of thanksgiving, and not some contrived religious observance elicited by antichrist/false church, so the justification -howsoever earnest and sincere- does not obtain. We, also, are not free to take up that monument of idolatry and make it out own, somehow "redeeming" it from antichrist's clutch. This is the very thing they did hoping to claim converts under their umbrella of destruction. If the LORD asks "Who hath required this at your hand?" with regard to acts of worship commanded and approved (yet rejected it in that case because of the parties' formalism and hypocrisy), then -arguing from the greater to the lesser- how much moreso does He forbid acts of worship -howsoever earnest and sincere- ginned up by our own hearts? If the LORD orders steak, do we bring Him the tacos, because we really like the tacos and think maybe He'll want them instead after a taste? Here is an abridgement of LC 109 that I think is quite helpful (my emphases added):

Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself . . . corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever
 

jw

Administrator
Didn’t he get married for the first time when he was like 202? I’m curious if his young bride dragged him to anything Christmasy.
Dunno, on several fronts (202 yrs, the relativity of his wife's youth), but I am confident that Professor Murray would be far from a pushover dragged around by his wife. :)
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Here is an abridgement of LC 109 that I think is quite helpful (my emphases added):

Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself . . . corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever
Agreed. I think an honest reading of this, at least in the USA context, should bring the religious observance of Christmas and the ceremonies to mind.:detective:
 
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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
One of the silliest arguments that I hear for retaining the religious observance of Christmas and related holy days is that they are necessary for the church to preach the gospel to the heathen. Strange, because if uncommanded holy days are necessary to preach the gospel, then why did the apostles' neglect to use them?

Also, I have noticed that many churches often decide not to have an evening service if Christmas falls on the Lord's Day or else they omit to have an evening service the Sabbath immediately after 25 December and possibly even do so on the next Lord's Day as well.[1] So, in practice, the religious observance of Christmas often actually serves to diminish opportunities for preaching the gospel instead of increasing them.

[1] My own congregation used to follow this practice but stopped doing so last year and is continuing to hold Sunday evening services over the holidays this year. Baby steps in the right direction.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
It has been an observation of Presbyterian, puritan and nonconformist theologians of the past that where holy day observance is strong, the Lord's Day almost by consequence has short shrift. I wonder if you have one on your blog maybe; I'm not recalling one right to mind.
One of the silliest arguments that I hear for retaining the religious observance of Christmas and related holy days is that they are necessary for the church to preach the gospel to the heathen. Strange, because if uncommanded holy days are necessary to preach the gospel, then why did the apostles' neglect to use them?

Also, I have noticed that many churches often decide not to have an evening service if Christmas falls on the Lord's Day or else they omit to have an evening service the Sabbath immediately after 25 December and possibly even do so on the next Lord's Day as well.[1] So, in practice, the religious observance of Christmas often actually serves to diminish opportunities for preaching the gospel instead of increasing them.

[1] My own congregation used to follow this practice but stopped doing so last year and is continuing to hold Sunday evening services over the holidays this year. Baby steps in the right direction.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
How do you do it? :banana:

Making satirical songs is a hobby of mine. To answer a question you asked in another thread (I could not answer it at the time because it was closed), I have a lot of these stored on Facebook. I have been at this hobby for a long time. When I was in high school, my friends and I produced the following for one Xmas:

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking back from mass on Christmas Eve!
Now you might think there's no such thing as popery,
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe!
 

jw

Administrator
It has been an observation of Presbyterian, puritan and nonconformist theologians of the past that where holy day observance is strong, the Lord's Day almost by consequence has short shrift. I wonder if you have one on your blog maybe; I'm not recalling one right to mind.
http://www.doyouconfess.com/quotations/

Samuel Miller (Manual of Presbytery, p. 133):

The observance of the uncommanded holy-days is ever found to interfere with the due sanctification of the Lord’s-day. Adding to the appointments of God is superstition; and superstition has ever been found unfriendly to genuine obedience. Its [adherents], like the Jews of old, have ever been found more tenacious of their own inventions, of traditionary dreams, than of God’s revealed code of duty. Accordingly, there is perhaps no fact more universal and unquestionable, than that the zealous observers of stated fasts and festivals are characteristically lax in the observance of that one day which God has eminently set apart for himself, and on the sanctification of which all the vital interests of practical religion are suspended.
Jeremiah Burroughs (Exposition of the Prophecy of Hosea, pp. 274-275):

Idolaters are proud men, and idolatry is a proud sin . . . . [Idolaters] honour what is a man’s own because it is his own, rather than what is God’s. Do not you see it plainly in all superstitious, idolatrous people? As in that one thing of days? God has set one day apart for the honouring of himself, and for the celebration of the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and of the whole work of redemption: how is that day slighted and neglected! But what a horrible wickedness is it accounted not to keep that which man sets apart by himself, that day which is of man’s appointment!
Men will set apart a day for the honour of Christ and insist that Christ is quite forgotten if that day be forgotten, and Christ is much dishonoured if that day be not regarded. I appeal to you, who sets it apart? whose is it? Is it God’s, or is it yours? God’s? Certainly, if such a thing were so acceptable to God as men conceive it to be, we should have some little hint, somewhat in the book of God regarding it. We have the story of all the acts of the apostles, what they did in several places, and there is not the least mention of of any such thing of their honouring Christ, by setting a day apart for the celebration of his nativity: we have the epistles to several churches upon several occasions, and we find no notice taken of any such thing in any church they established. Surely therefore it is men’s own, there is nothing in God’s word for it, how highly soever it is honoured.
But we have enough in Scripture for God’s own day, the Lord’s day; it is appointed by God himself to be a day of thanksgiving for the birth, resurrection and ascension of Christ, and for the whole work of our redemption: but man, out of his pride, will have another day, and so set his post by God’s post; he thinks it is not honour enough to Christ to put the celebration of his birth, death, resurrection, ascension, all together in one day; no, he thinks it conduces more to the honour of Christ to have several days, one for his birth, another for his resurrection, and another for his ascension; whereas God hath put all into one, and would have his Son honoured by the observation of that one day.
Thomas Boston (The Doctrine of the Christian Religion, pp. 152-153):

There is superstition and will-worship; that is, whatever (though not idolatry) is brought into religion as a part of it, which God has not appointed in his word. The command says, Thou shalt not make, &c. that is, but thou shalt receive the worship and ordinances as God hath appointed them, and not add to them or men’s inventions, Deut. iv. 2. As irreligion regards not God’s ordinances, so superstition brings in others; by irreligion men take away from the ordinances of God, by superstition they add to them. Both are hateful to God.​
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I think that is who my brain was struggling to recall. Thanks!
The observance of the uncommanded holy-days is ever found to interfere with the due sanctification of the Lord’s-day. Adding to the appointments of God is superstition; and superstition has ever been found unfriendly to genuine obedience. Its [adherents], like the Jews of old, have ever been found more tenacious of their own inventions, of traditionary dreams, than of God’s revealed code of duty. Accordingly, there is perhaps no fact more universal and unquestionable, than that the zealous observers of stated fasts and festivals are characteristically lax in the observance of that one day which God has eminently set apart for himself, and on the sanctification of which all the vital interests of practical religion are suspended.

– Samuel Miller, Manual of Presbytery: Presbyterianism the Truly Primitive and Apostolic Constitution of the Church of Christ, p. 133
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Is it just me or are the Christmas wars more abundant on PB this year than last year? To be clear I have contributed.

They ebb and flow. We've had some real doozies in years past. This year seems to be close to the overall mean.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Because Christianity is not libertarian, and we are not to hate our brethren in our hearts by suffering sin upon them, without loving correction, reproof, etc., which we should also be thankful to receive when we, ourselves, are in error. The bringing out historical opinions is to show that they believed the Scriptures were not silent on these matters, and that we are subject to God Who commands how He will be sanctified, and would have us to cast aside our inventions.
My point was, I may be ignorant here, that the state forced people to observe religious holidays and that is what their historical and cultural context was. But it's not ours we don't have the state forcing us to have mass. Am I wrong here?
 
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