Need Help with RPW, the Christian Sabbath, and Christmas

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Username3000

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Greetings,

I am trying to work my way toward a better understanding of the RPW, the Christian Sabbath, and how these things relate to Christmas.

Thus far I understand that the Sabbath was originally instituted at Creation, not at Sinai, and therefore cannot be argued away as merely a Jewish holy day.

I also understand that as part of the moral law of God, the 4th Commandment should be as equally binding as the other 9; there is no reason why one commandment out of the 10 Commandments should be discarded.

I am also beginning to understand that God commands how He is to be worshipped, as opposed to commanding all of the ways that He is not to be worshipped.

Yet, I am struggling to fit some pieces together.

Let us use Christmas as an example. If a church holds a worship service on Christmas or Christmas Eve, is it the formal aspect of this service which makes it fall outside of God's commanded worship? If we as believers gather together informally on Christmas Eve to do the same things - read, pray, sing - this is not breaking the commandment, so the only difference I can see is the formality of the event.

I think that my uncertainty may be rooted in a misunderstanding of what exactly it is that occurs on the Christian Sabbath that may not be transferred to any other day. My current understanding is that we may do Christmas-y things as long as they do not interfere with instituted Sabbath worship, or create un-instituted worship. But what is that un-instituted worship?

Thanks for your help.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
But what is that un-instituted worship?


I would say, for example, that a Christmas Eve candlelight service, to set the mood, would be going too far.

Did you notice that I just started almost the exact same thread on the Pastoral Concerns Forum titled: Help with Christmas and the RPW :)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I think that my uncertainty may be rooted in a misunderstanding of what exactly it is that occurs on the Christian Sabbath that may not be transferred to any other day.

We have to define what a Christian assembly is. There are many different kinds of assemblies which are legitimate for different reasons. What makes the Christian assembly legitimate is its purpose to "come together" to "keep the ordinances" as they have been "delivered," 1 Corinthians 11. We understand the Sabbath to be set apart as a day of worship. This makes it the day on which we come together to keep the ordinances as a moral obligation. We have Scripture precept and example for doing so. Under the New Testament there is no special holiness in the day itself and all days have been declared holy, so Christian prudence may deem it edifying and profitable to come together on other days; but the purpose is still to keep the ordinances. Where man-made ordinances are given as the reason for the assembly there is no warrant to come together as Christians. Such an assembly is not Christian, even if it is constituted of professing Christian people and includes Christian forms of worship. The reason for meeting is fundamental to the nature of the meeting.
 
U

Username3000

Guest
Under the New Testament there is no special holiness in the day itself and all days have been declared holy, so Christian prudence may deem it edifying and profitable to come together on other days; but the purpose is still to keep the ordinances. Where man-made ordinances are given as the reason for the assembly there is no warrant to come together as Christians. Such an assembly is not Christian, even if it is constituted of professing Christian people and includes Christian forms of worship. The reason for meeting is fundamental to the nature of the meeting.

What types of 'other days' do you mean?

Can you clarify what you mean by man-made ordinances?

I find it a little hard to follow you here; are you saying that man-made Christmas is not a reason we can come together in a Christian assembly?
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
My current understanding is that we may do Christmas-y things as long as they do not interfere with instituted Sabbath worship, or create un-instituted worship. But what is that un-instituted worship?

Thanks for your help.

My current understanding is that many here, if not most, believe that to do "Christmas-y things" outside of "instituted worship" is OK. Now in stating this there are a fair amount of us here that believe to do such is not OK. I just wanted to let you know. :)

What I have found is that those few who hold to that it is not OK to recognize the season many times are former RC's who I believe can see the idolatry of celebrating a religious season that Our Lord has not prescribed in scripture or by a providence that is outside of true religion such as The New Year. Even if one can divorce the season from "Jesus is the reason" one would have to contend that one is celebrating a season that is purely secular which is based on some reason which I have yet to hear a good justifiable explanation.
 
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johnny

Puritan Board Sophomore
Can someone on PB please invent theological terms for the Xmas positions.
This will make it easier for the endless explanations on where we all stand every year.

For instance, I am a "Christmas-y things outside of instituted worship" guy.
What would be a good name for such a person?
A "Hollifier" (because they celebrate Holly and Ivy)
A "Treebaubler" A "Roastdinerite" (I would prefer a more technical name.)
I also think we should avoid using the name "Christ" in any such title, (to avoid flippancy)
And yes, I can think of lots of good quips to my question, add them too if you like. :)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A "Hollifier" (because they celebrate Holly and Ivy)

A holly-roller? :)

Seriously, though, the social aspects are a different issue. Individual circumstances mean there is no single rule which applies to all. Each one has his own social responsibilities he must look to. The general principles of 1 Cor. 8-10 require us to aim at the glory of God, the good of our neighbour, and the purity of our own consciences.
 
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