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15382Re: Occasional Fasts/Feasts are no grounds for Annual Holidays

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  • timmopussycat
    Dec 29, 2006
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      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
      <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:

      > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "timmopussycat"
      > <timmopussycat@> wrote:
      >
      > > But I would like to see an answer to a question I asked which has
      not
      > > been answered.
      >
      > I perceive that it was answered almost 400 years ago, by George
      > Gillespie, in his treatise against the English Popish Ceremonies.
      >
      > > I would like to see someone address Englsma's
      > > challenge to provide a Scriptural justification of the Westminster
      > > view that we may set special services of public worship in
      observance
      > > of "notable judgments," "some special blessing," and "days of
      public
      > > thanksgiving," as allowed by the Westminster Assembly's "Directory
      > > for the Public Worship of God" and as actually held by
      Presbyterian
      > > churches in the Scottish tradition. But keep in mind, however, if
      you
      > > establish that the Directory is Scriptural at this point, you have
      > > also established that the church may set special services to mark
      the
      > > Lord's coming to earth.
      >
      > Gillespie:
      >
      > "The Bishop has yet a third dart to throw at us: If the church (he
      > says) has power, upon occasional motives, to appoint occasional
      fasts or
      > festivities, may not she, for constant and eternal blessings, which
      do
      > infinitely excel all occasional benefits, appoint ordinary times of
      > commemoration or thanksgiving? ANSWER. There are two reasons for
      which
      > the church may and should appoint fasts or festivities upon
      occasional
      > motives, and neither of them agrees with ordinary festivities. 1.
      > Extraordinary fasts, (sinp since we are not talking about this)
      likewise, extraordinary festivities are necessary testifications
      > of our thankfulness for the benefits which we have impetrate
      [obtained
      > by asking] by our extraordinary fasts;

      Tim-Not all great extrordianry festivites followed extraordinary
      fasts. Certainly Israel's deliverance from the Red Sea was not so
      preceded.

      but ordinary festivities, for
      > constant and eternal blessings, have no necessary use. The
      celebration
      > of set anniversary days is no necessary mean for conserving the
      > commemoration of the benefits of redemption, because we have
      occasion,
      > not only every Sabbath day, but every other day, to call to mind
      these
      > benefits, either in hearing, or reading, or meditating upon God's
      word.
      > I esteem and judge that the days consecrated to Christ must be
      lifted,
      > says Danæus: Christ is born, is circumcised, dies, rises again for
      > us every day in the preaching of the Gospel.

      Tim-Although the ceremonial festivities are covenantally abolished
      with the rest of te ceremonial laws, it is worth asking if some of
      these festivities may remain remain morally fitting if not legally
      binding.
      The Jews were covenantally required to thank God annually for
      reception of food for the next year in their festivals of
      firstfruits, festivals that did not occur on the Sabbath (Lev. 23:11).
      Now there is no doubt that today we are not obliged to offer such
      sacrifices to God as a fulfillment of covenant stipulations, as such
      actions would be Galatianism and heresy. Yet, we must ask: does it
      not remain equally fitting for us to thank God for the harverst we
      receive each year? And does God not deserve to be specially thanked
      for each harvest he provides apart from the regular service of
      worship? And if the answers to both questions are "Yes" is it not
      morally fitting to offer God an annual service of thanksgiving for
      these blessings?
      And if we are morally obligated to take such pains to thank God
      for the giving of earthly food, how much more should we not so thank
      God for the gift of his Son, by marking the day of his coming? After
      all man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds
      out of the mouth of God and pre-eminently that Word is Christ.

      > "2. God has given his church a general precept for extraordinary
      fasts
      > (Joel 1:14; 2:15), as likewise for extraordinary festivities to
      praise
      > God, and to give him thanks in the public assembly of his people,
      upon
      > the occasional motive of some great benefit which, by the means of
      our
      > fasting and praying, we have obtained (Zech. 8:19 with 7:3).

      Tim-I notice that Gillespie does not include Purim (Esther (:20:23)
      in which an extraordinary deliverance was provided after fasting and
      prayer. I wonder why the ommission.....??? Was it because the Jews
      realized that this deliverance was so great it rightly deserved
      annual rememberance??

      If it is
      > said that there is a general command for set festivities, because
      there
      > is a command for preaching and hearing the word, and for praising
      God
      > for his benefits; and there is no precept for particular fasts more
      than
      > for particular festivities, I answer: Albeit there is a command for
      > preaching and hearing the word, and for praising God for his
      benefits,
      > yet is there no command (no, not in the most general generality) for
      > annexing these exercises of religion to set anniversary days more
      than
      > to other days;

      Tim-Gillespie has overlooked the question of whether or not Purim and
      Hanukah are good examples to follow. In each case a most extreme
      danger was present (Purim-national extinction, and Hanukah-
      destruction of the covenant relationship between Israel and God) and
      both deliverances were recognized as to be so great (in both cases
      the covenant was kept Israel alive and preserved the covenat
      relationship) as to rightfully merit annual observance.

      Since it is clear that it is as fitting for us to observe an annual
      thanksgiving for harvest ingathered as it was for the Jews, and since
      the deliverance we have by Christ is so much greater than the
      temporary survival provided by food, it is clear that it is fitting
      that we glorify God by treating the coming of His Son to earth to
      achieve our redemption (which began the inauguration of the new
      covenant) and His acheivement of that redemption (which completed the
      same) in a way equivalent to or even greater than the festival of
      thanksgiving.

      Tim
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