Is the celebration of christmas an issue of adiaphora?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by earl40, Dec 7, 2014.

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  1. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    In my most humble opinion most or at least many of our pastors have the cart before the horse, in that they seem to be more concerned of the elect that are to be called and not the sheep in church. Of course both are important but as a lay man I sure do wish the pastors would take care of the sheep in the fold already and treat them like The Lord treats His children. This message has been provided by a lay member of a PCA church. You may return to you regular programing.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  2. PaulMc

    PaulMc Puritan Board Freshman

    Amen brother, I very much agree.

    As for your John Brown quote, George Gillespie says something similar - "let it be observed, whether or not they keep the festival days more carefully, and urge the keeping of them more earnestly, than the Lord's own day".

    I agree with C H Spurgeon when he said:
    "We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it… and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority."
  3. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Im amazed, like today when someone said it to me "have a happy christmas" and I replied "I don't do christmas, but thanks for the thought, you have a nice new year" and the look of shock on their face when I say I don't do it. Mostly from non Christians, which this person was. It kind of makes me think "hang on there, you don't believe in anything, I should be the one shocked that you go to all the trouble you do on a day that is supposed to be for a God you don't even believe in!" But I don't :D
  4. SeanAnderson

    SeanAnderson Puritan Board Freshman

    I really grappled with the festivals a few months ago.

    But, I admit, I enjoy Christmas or Yule or whatever you wish to call it. I always emphasise to people that it is not a holiday (holy day), as only God can hallow days. Only the Sabbath is set apart as a holy day. And whenever someone calls the Puritans 'killjoys', I always explain the real reasoning behind their prohibition of Christmas.

    I now take Christmas for what it is: a man-made festival. I wear Christmas jumpers, I eat turkey, I even sing carols. I am fine with the continental Reformed position that, in Christian liberty, the churches may moderately observe Christmas and use a public vacation as an opportunity for a sermon to remember the meaning of the Incarnation and to give thanks.

    If I went to a church which did not observe any man-made festivals, I'd also be perfectly happy with that.
  5. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Sean May I ask (of course I am asking) but will you respond to this question? As a person with a continental Reformed position on christmas are you unhappy for the push to take Christ out of christmas?
  6. SeanAnderson

    SeanAnderson Puritan Board Freshman

    If the Christ disappears from Christmas and it would simply be Yule again, without any Christian elements, then I would be inclined to say there's no point in restoring it. If these festivals, these crutches, naturally fade away, then so be it.

    But while Christ is still part of Christmas in the public conscience, if only in an extremely diluted fashion, I see no harm in using that as an opportunity to be an advocate for the real Christ.
  7. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Is not Yule what you observe anyway in that it is a man-made festival? Is Yule some type of Thanksgiving like we have here in the USA or is it some type of pagan man-made festival? I simply am ignorant of what Yule is.
  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Diluted? If it was only just that. Calvin had the principle of what to do with things abused to idolatry, but there was not a consistent application of it to holy days by others such as Zanchius who granted those who got rid of them held the apostolic practice, but thought they were fine to retain if disabused of their idolatry. The Presbyterians were correct and have been proven correct that having these observances around are a constant enticement to superstition, will worship and idolatry which is why they insisted they be tossed into the bats' cave.
  9. SeanAnderson

    SeanAnderson Puritan Board Freshman

    It's just an alternative word for the same occasion, really. The Anglo-Saxons called it 'Midwinter' mostly, back when the Solstice officially occurred on the 25th December (OS). 'Geola' ('Yule') usually referred to the two months of Yule, December and January. We also see the word 'Geoholdæg' referring to any of the twelve days of Christmas. In the 11th century, the day itself began to be called 'Cristesmæsse' in England.

    It's all ultimately heathen of course.
  10. SeanAnderson

    SeanAnderson Puritan Board Freshman

    I concede you make a sound point. The main issue is that Christmas is everywhere and man does cling to vain things. If there existed good Christian governments to abolish it totally, then I think few Reformed Christians would protest.
  11. Puritan Scot

    Puritan Scot Puritan Board Freshman

    Candles Up, Preaching Down

    Rev. John J. Murray has compiled a timely and discerning critique on the consequences that have now resulted from the Church having departing from the Old Paths once faithfully upheld by the Reformers, the Puritans and our forefathers regarding Christmas.

    Let us forsake such man made holy days and instead strive to follow the biblical injunction clearly laid out for us on numerous occasions throughout scripture and to "call the Sabbath a delight". Romans 12v1-2.
  12. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for posting that. I shared it on FB. Robert L. Dabney pegged the problem more than 100 years ago in the southern Presbyterian church. He said it on occasion of the pipe organ coming into use in the PCUS but it can be applied broadly. "The reader has by this time seen that I ascribe this recent departure of our Presbyterian churches from the rule of their fathers in no degree to more liberal views or enlightened spirit. I know, by an intuition which I believe every sensible observer shares, that the innovation is merely the result of an advancing wave of worldliness and ritualism in the evangelical bodies. These Christians are not wiser but simply more flesh-pleasing and fashionable." Review: Dr. Girardeau’s Instrumental Music in Public Worship (The Presbyterian Quarterly, July 1889).
  13. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    What if a government abolished all signs of christmas for the reason that holiday is offensive to the "nonreligious"? I think many otherwise Reformed Christians would protest, with myself not being one of them in that I think it would be a swell thing to do even if the motivation is incorrect.
  14. CJW

    CJW Puritan Board Freshman

    I would certainly not object. In the true spirit of Scrooge, abolish the day off with pay as well.

    Ebenezer: You'll want the whole day off tomorrow, I suppose.
    Bob Cratchit: If quite convenient, sir.
    Ebenezer: It's not convenient. And it's not fair! If I stopped you half a crown for it, you'd think yourself ill used, wouldn't you? But you don't think me ill used if I pay a day's wages for no work, hmm?
  15. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Now in keeping with the original intent of the OP here is an aristotelian line of reasoning. If one believes the observance of christmas is adiaphorous then who is the weaker brother? The one who abstains from the observance or the one who observes? If the one who abstains is the weaker brother why do you practice the observation of christmas in front of the person who does not do because of conscience?
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