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15395Re: Occasional Fasts/Feasts are no grounds for Annual Holidays

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  • timmopussycat
    Dec 31, 2006
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      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "bob_suden"
      <bsuden@...> wrote:
      >
      > Greetings again Tim,
      > >
      > > Tim-Although the ceremonial festivities are covenantally abolished
      > > with the rest of the ceremonial laws, it is worth asking if some
      of
      > > these festivities may remain remain morally fitting if not legally
      > > binding.
      >
      > True, but they have already been asked and answered in the material
      you
      > mentioned, which leads to the question again, have you read the
      > material? Cason first, then Gillespie (and M'Crie on Esther if you
      > can get your hands on him or Cartwright on the Feast of Dedication
      > against the Rhemists in that it is pretty much the same argument:
      We may
      > do, because the Jews have done; we may do for Christ, because
      Christ
      > has done for us.)

      Tim-I had read the Gillespie material the others you mention are new
      to me not being from a Scots background ecclesiastically speaking.

      > > 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?
      >
      > But the answer is not yes to both or necessarily even one question.
      More
      > than that, it is not morally and reasonably fitting to celebrate
      an
      > annual harvest day in the midst of a famine or as Cason mentions,
      > observe an annual national day of thanksgiving (harvest day) in
      the
      > midst of apostasy and backsliding.

      Tim-It is one thing to say that Israel should not have apostasized or
      backslid. It is another to say that Israel was not obligated to offer
      the festival she was covenantly engaged to offer. If you take the
      prophets as using a rhetorical device to emphasize the point that a
      mechnaistic obedience to the festival requirements was not desired,
      you are doing well. If you or anyone else says that God annulled
      those festivals at any time before the New Covenant, I think the case
      is not made.


      The spiritual man, never mind the
      > natural is only too prone to turn on the autopilot of annual days,
      rote
      > prayers etc. That is why they are forbidden. But that is exactly
      what is
      > argued for.
      >
      > The modern national and civil "Thanksgiving Day" is deficient on
      this
      > very ground. Our nation ought to be repenting in sackcloth and
      ashes,
      > and praying God to withhold his fury against our sins. Instead, the
      > annual civil Thansgiving perpetuates the idea that America is
      greatly
      > beloved and blessed of God although we have nationally turned our
      backs
      > to him and rejected his laws and commandments (CK&RF, p.38 fn.8).

      Tim-If the unregenerate nation celebrates it, I agree, not so if the
      church of the liviing God does so.
      >
      > In other words, something like Is. 22:12,13 is applicable.
      >
      > And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to
      > mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
      > And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating
      > flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we
      shall
      > die.

      Tim-And the church of the living God, I hope, is doing this as well.
      >
      > God providentially called for mourning, but Israel called for
      feasting,
      > a harvest day. And God did not approve, in that he wants the
      heart, not
      > the external days, months and years, because if he has the heart all
      > else follows. But we want to give him everything but, including
      annual
      > days. It is not enough that the motive appears to be pure - our
      hearts
      > are deceitful beyond knowing - but the end has to be right also.
      Adding
      > man appointed annual days is not a right end.
      >


      > > 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.
      >
      > Morally obligated is not annually obligated. That has not been
      proved.
      > "Every word of God" assumes that the regulative principle is
      > operative and Christ has already sufficiently provided for his
      church.
      > Worship is a command performance, not a "bring your own" affair.
      > Every word includes "whatsoever is not commanded is forbidden."
      Deut.
      > 12
      > and the will worship of Col.2

      Tim-There has already been a long discussion of the RPW in the
      archives. I'm not going to restart it, but I must say that I think
      Englsma and the Syndics of Dort are correct when they do not apply it
      in such a way as rules out a godly celebration of Christ' birth
      justified as a useful help to Christians and provided that those who
      don't want to participate are not compelled to.

      > Likewise, God has ordained the first day of the week, which because
      of
      > the resurrection of Christ, replaces the OT sabbath ordained at
      > creation, in so much as it is the stamp of approval upon Christ's
      > ministry. The sting of sin is death. All men are sinners and hence
      die.
      > Yet Christ came to redeem sinners in his death, but did not die,
      rising
      > from the grave. Hence his death accomplished its purpose in saving
      > sinners from sin, roughly is the argument.
      > Consequently the emphasis in Scripture is 1. not on one or two
      special
      > days of the year, but on one day a week - "Easter" if you will, not
      > Christmas and 2. we may not be wiser than God and devise ways to
      help
      > God beyond what he has already ordained, however reasonable it may
      > appear to us. Assertions and opinions though, are not reasonable
      > arguments.
      >

      > > > "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??
      >
      > Mordecai was a prophet (though the first institution of Purim was
      civil)
      > according to Gillespie in Dispute 1993, NP, p.305

      Tim-This is a little confusing. If M. was a prophet, that fact
      necessarily implies (or else M. was a false prophet) that Purim had
      God's approval. We are not told that M. was a prophet, we are given
      no evidence that he was a prophet ie prophecies, so if we conclude
      that he must have been a prophet to avoid the problem we face if he
      wasn't we are committing the exegetical offense of eisegesis -
      reading our own ideas into the text and not learning God's ideas from
      the text.

      But if you claim that Purim is a civil holiday look where it gets
      you. If it was a civil holiday, it didn't need a prophet to institute
      it. If it was an annual civil celebration to celebrate a deliverance
      (whose ultimate provider is God and who must therefore be the one
      thanked for it), what we have demonstrated in Scripture is the
      premise that God's people have the right to institute annual civil
      holidays to celebrate major deliverances. What this means is that the
      US govt. may in its wisdom set aside Christmas to celebrate the
      initiation of the greatest deliverance of all. And those of you who
      take the RPW as the covenanters did, will not have a leg to stand on
      if you want to protest.


      > Likewise McCrie, quoted by Cason says on the book of Esther:
      >
      > "Shall we suppose that Christ and his apostles, in abrogating those
      > days which God himself had appointed to be observed, without
      instituting
      > others in their room, intended that either churches or individuals
      > should be allowed to substitute whatever they pleased in their
      > room?[CK&RF, p.34]"
      >
      > But that is precisely what is being proposed and is essentially the
      > height of arrogance, however unintended, because it presumes to
      steady
      > the ark of God's worship in the light of what is right in our own
      > eyes. Rather that God might open the eyes of our understanding to
      see
      > what he has already provided for us in his instituted worship. We
      need
      > no substitutes or additions.
      >
      > Cason ends Chapt. 5 quoting a doubting Thomas:
      >
      > "There are times when God calls, on the one hand, to religious
      > fasting, or, on the other, to thanksgiving and religious joy; and
      it is
      > our duty to comply with these calls, and to set apart time for the
      > respective exercises. But this is quite a different thing from
      recurrent
      > or anniversary holidays. . . . . Stated and recurring festivals
      > countenance the false principle, that some days have a peculiar
      > sanctity, either inherent or impressed by the works which occurred
      on
      > them; [as in we know that the 25th was the day of Christ's birth or
      > that it should be observed even though God didn't tell us so?] they
      > proceed on an undue assumption of human authority; interfere with
      the
      > free use of that time which the Creator hath granted to man; detract
      > from the honour due to the day of sacred rest which he hath
      appointed;
      > lead to impositions over conscience; have been a fruitful source of
      > superstition and idolatry; and have been productive of the worst
      effects
      > upon morals, in every age, and among every people, barbarous and
      > civilized, pagan and Christian, popish and Protestant, among whom
      they
      > have been observed."[M'Crie in Cason, CK&RF pp.39,40, ul.
      > added]"



      >
      > To man made days on the account of man made reasons, come also man
      made
      > rites, man made pictures etc. and the end is even worse than the
      start.
      > But who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean (Job 14:4)? Man
      by
      > his nature, even redeemed is incapable of appointing anything for
      God's
      > worship (place, hour, this chapter over that chapter are not of the
      > substance of worship.)
      >
      > >
      > > 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.
      > >
      > Again, it is generally considered that Mordecai was a prophet and
      had
      > the authority to institute a day such as Purim. Further, one either
      > admits, in the totality of Scripture and the reformed understanding
      of
      > the Second commandment, that only what God has commanded or
      instituted,
      > either explicitly, by approved example or by necessary consequences
      is
      > permitted in public worship or they are necessarily forced to the
      > conclusion that one may institute as they please in the worship of
      God
      > as historically the Lutherans and Anglicans have done and you are
      > essentially arguing. It is largely a repeat. Likewise the cadre of
      > supposedly reformed theologians and pastors such as Jordan, Frame,
      > Schlissel, Leithart and particularly Gore who are ponying up the
      same
      > "redemptive-historical" arguments re. Purim, the Feast of
      Dedication
      > etc. New redemptive events mean new songs or new/annual days
      celebrating
      > that redemption/incarnation/fill in the blank. Where does it end? It
      > doesn't/it ends in popery which is what it is in essence.
      >
      > > Since it is clear that it is as fitting fo us to observe an annual
      > > thanksgiving for harvest ingathered as it was for the Jews,
      >
      > No, it is not clear. It is assumed or asserted. But an assertion is
      not
      > an argument, much less it has been shown to be wrong above. An
      annual
      > thanksgiving sinfully assumes that every year there will be a
      harvest
      > and not a famine. It is to take more than it professes to give and
      is
      > the height of presumption, much more Scripture explicitly forbids.
      >
      > James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go
      into
      > such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get
      gain:
      > 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is
      your
      > life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and
      then
      > vanisheth away.
      > 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and
      do
      > this, or that.
      > Again, where in the word can we prove this arrogant assumption
      that God
      > owes us a harvest every year and that we need to/should have an
      annual
      > day of thanksgiving? We can't and therefore not only is the
      > statement erroneous, everthing built upon it below is also
      mistaken.
      >
      > 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.
      >
      > While the first is true regarding the bread from heaven, the rest
      is a
      > non sequitur. It does not follow, it has not been established.

      Tim-I am arguing from the lesser to the greater..ie if it remains
      morally fitting to do the lesser (thanksgiving) it remains more
      fitting to do the greater (Nativity festival).

      It has
      > been assumed and is only in accord with the natural man or natural
      > reasoning. If God had wanted that, we would have been informed of
      it in
      > the scripture. Instead, we have a day of thanksgiving, once a week.
      To
      > sincerely want to add to it is not scriptural. Rather it is will
      worship
      > in principle, regardless if one considers their conscience clear
      on
      > the matter. God simply forbids it by saying we may not add to his
      > worship. That's the real issue.
      >
      >
      > Tim-As noted above, I take issue with your premise that God has
      prohibited annual civil celebrations. I also note that moral
      fittingness of celebrating the Nativity remains, and I agree with the
      Sydics and others that, properly celebrated, the festival of the
      Nativity is a useful and beneficial service.
      >
      Tim
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