Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Christmas a pagan festival? Maybe not
- The following newsletter is sort of the modern day
traditional rite, Roman Catholic and Jesuit view on
the subject of Christmas. They discuss some of the
historical precedent for the December 25 date, as well
as its history from the ultra orthodox Roman Catholic
view. It is worth a review from the context of what
the founders of Christmas think, perhaps.
Remember, this group is not fully recognized by the
Vatican, but more and more Catholics are going this
direction from my watching them the past 10 years.
--- Jerry <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:
> gmw wrote:__________________________________________________
> > *Whew! This discussion is getting Loooong! I must
> preface this post by
> > stating that I'm having some difficulty here, in
> that I am trying to
> > express my own views, explain Calvin's views
> (which I confessed were
> > not exactly what mine are, though I think not so
> very far off), while
> > condemning Christmas as it actually is now
> celebrated by practically
> > the entire world, why trying to interact with Tim
> and his views, *
> I'm having trouble spelling as well... should be
> "while trying to
> interact" etc.
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I do not think the Cartwright is online (I have the English Experience facsimile). The Gillespie on Purim is at the link previously noted in an earlier post, and the section from M’Crie on Esther on the days of Purim is posted as an appendix to my article, “The Religious Observance of Christmas and ‘Holy Days’ in American Presbyterianism at http://www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/americanxmas.htm
Owner, Naphtali Press http://www.naphtali.com
Editor, The Confessional Presbyterian journal http://www.cpjournal.com
Member, Faith Presbyterian Church Reformed, Mesquite TX http://www.fpcr.org
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org , "bob_suden" <bsuden@...> wrote:
>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 email@example.com, "bob_suden"
> Greetings again Tim,
> > Tim-Although the ceremonial festivities are covenantally abolished
> > with the rest of the ceremonial laws, it is worth asking if some
> > these festivities may remain remain morally fitting if not legallyyou
> > binding.
> True, but they have already been asked and answered in the material
> mentioned, which leads to the question again, have you read theWe may
> 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:
> do, because the Jews have done; we may do for Christ, becauseChrist
> 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 for23:11).
> > reception of food for the next year in their festivals of
> > firstfruits, festivals that did not occur on the Sabbath (Lev.
> > Now there is no doubt that today we are not obliged to offer suchsuch
> > sacrifices to God as a fulfillment of covenant stipulations, as
> > actions would be Galatianism and heresy.thanked
> > 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
> > for each harvest he provides apart from the regular service ofMore
> > 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.
> than that, it is not morally and reasonably fitting to celebratean
> annual harvest day in the midst of a famine or as Cason mentions,the
> observe an annual national day of thanksgiving (harvest day) in
> 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 exactlywhat is
> argued for.this
> The modern national and civil "Thanksgiving Day" is deficient on
> very ground. Our nation ought to be repenting in sackcloth andashes,
> and praying God to withhold his fury against our sins. Instead, thegreatly
> annual civil Thansgiving perpetuates the idea that America is
> beloved and blessed of God although we have nationally turned ourbacks
> 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
> 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
> a harvest day. And God did not approve, in that he wants theheart, not
> the external days, months and years, because if he has the heart allannual
> else follows. But we want to give him everything but, including
> days. It is not enough that the motive appears to be pure - ourhearts
> are deceitful beyond knowing - but the end has to be right also.Adding
> man appointed annual days is not a right end.God
> > And if we are morally obligated to take such pains to thank
> > for the giving of earthly food, how much more should we not sothank
> > 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 thatproceeds
> > out of the mouth of God and pre-eminently that Word is Christ.proved.
> Morally obligated is not annually obligated. That has not been
> "Every word of God" assumes that the regulative principle ischurch.
> operative and Christ has already sufficiently provided for his
> Worship is a command performance, not a "bring your own" affair.Deut.
> Every word includes "whatsoever is not commanded is forbidden."
> 12Tim-There has already been a long discussion of the RPW in the
> and the will worship of Col.2
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 becauseof
> the resurrection of Christ, replaces the OT sabbath ordained atdie.
> 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
> Yet Christ came to redeem sinners in his death, but did not die,rising
> from the grave. Hence his death accomplished its purpose in savingspecial
> sinners from sin, roughly is the argument.
> Consequently the emphasis in Scripture is 1. not on one or two
> days of the year, but on one day a week - "Easter" if you will, nothelp
> Christmas and 2. we may not be wiser than God and devise ways to
> God beyond what he has already ordained, however reasonable it mayextraordinary
> appear to us. Assertions and opinions though, are not reasonable
> > > "2. God has given his church a general precept for
> > fastspeople,
> > > (Joel 1:14; 2:15), as likewise for extraordinary festivities to
> > praise
> > > God, and to give him thanks in the public assembly of his
> > uponof
> > > the occasional motive of some great benefit which, by the means
> > our(:20:23)
> > > fasting and praying, we have obtained (Zech. 8:19 with 7:3).
> > Tim-I notice that Gillespie does not include Purim (Esther
> > in which an extraordinary deliverance was provided after fastingand
> > prayer. I wonder why the ommission.....??? Was it because the Jewscivil)
> > realized that this deliverance was so great it rightly deserved
> > annual rememberance??
> Mordecai was a prophet (though the first institution of Purim was
> according to Gillespie in Dispute 1993, NP, p.305Tim-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
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:instituting
> "Shall we suppose that Christ and his apostles, in abrogating those
> days which God himself had appointed to be observed, without
> others in their room, intended that either churches or individualssteady
> 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
> the ark of God's worship in the light of what is right in our ownsee
> eyes. Rather that God might open the eyes of our understanding to
> what he has already provided for us in his instituted worship. Weneed
> no substitutes or additions.it is
> 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
> our duty to comply with these calls, and to set apart time for therecurrent
> respective exercises. But this is quite a different thing from
> or anniversary holidays. . . . . Stated and recurring festivalson
> countenance the false principle, that some days have a peculiar
> sanctity, either inherent or impressed by the works which occurred
> them; [as in we know that the 25th was the day of Christ's birth orthe
> that it should be observed even though God didn't tell us so?] they
> proceed on an undue assumption of human authority; interfere with
> free use of that time which the Creator hath granted to man; detractappointed;
> from the honour due to the day of sacred rest which he hath
> lead to impositions over conscience; have been a fruitful source ofeffects
> superstition and idolatry; and have been productive of the worst
> upon morals, in every age, and among every people, barbarous andthey
> civilized, pagan and Christian, popish and Protestant, among whom
> have been observed."[M'Crie in Cason, CK&RF pp.39,40, ul.made
> To man made days on the account of man made reasons, come also man
> rites, man made pictures etc. and the end is even worse than thestart.
> But who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean (Job 14:4)? Manby
> his nature, even redeemed is incapable of appointing anything forGod's
> worship (place, hour, this chapter over that chapter are not of thebecause
> substance of worship.)
> > If it is
> > > said that there is a general command for set festivities,
> > therepraising
> > > is a command for preaching and hearing the word, and for
> > Godmore
> > > for his benefits; and there is no precept for particular fasts
> > thancommand for
> > > for particular festivities, I answer: Albeit there is a
> > > preaching and hearing the word, and for praising God for hisgenerality) for
> > benefits,
> > > yet is there no command (no, not in the most general
> > > annexing these exercises of religion to set anniversary daysmore
> > thanand
> > > to other days;
> > Tim-Gillespie has overlooked the question of whether or not Purim
> > Hanukah are good examples to follow. In each case a most extremeand
> > danger was present (Purim-national extinction, and Hanukah-
> > destruction of the covenant relationship between Israel and God)
> > both deliverances were recognized as to be so great (in both caseshad
> > 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
> the authority to institute a day such as Purim. Further, one eitherof
> admits, in the totality of Scripture and the reformed understanding
> the Second commandment, that only what God has commanded orinstituted,
> either explicitly, by approved example or by necessary consequencesis
> permitted in public worship or they are necessarily forced to theGod
> conclusion that one may institute as they please in the worship of
> as historically the Lutherans and Anglicans have done and you aresame
> 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
> "redemptive-historical" arguments re. Purim, the Feast ofDedication
> etc. New redemptive events mean new songs or new/annual dayscelebrating
> that redemption/incarnation/fill in the blank. Where does it end? Itnot
> 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
> an argument, much less it has been shown to be wrong above. Anannual
> thanksgiving sinfully assumes that every year there will be aharvest
> and not a famine. It is to take more than it professes to give andis
> the height of presumption, much more Scripture explicitly forbids.into
> James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go
> such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and getgain:
> 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what isyour
> life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, andthen
> vanisheth away.do
> 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and
> this, or that.that God
> Again, where in the word can we prove this arrogant assumption
> owes us a harvest every year and that we need to/should have anannual
> day of thanksgiving? We can't and therefore not only is themistaken.
> statement erroneous, everthing built upon it below is also
> 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
> > that we glorify God by treating the coming of His Son to earth tothe
> > achieve our redemption (which began the inauguration of the new
> > covenant) and His acheivement of that redemption (which completed
> > same) in a way equivalent to or even greater than the festival ofis a
> > thanksgiving.
> While the first is true regarding the bread from heaven, the rest
> 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).
> been assumed and is only in accord with the natural man or naturalit in
> reasoning. If God had wanted that, we would have been informed of
> 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 willworship
> in principle, regardless if one considers their conscience clearon
> the matter. God simply forbids it by saying we may not add to hisprohibited annual civil celebrations. I also note that moral
> worship. That's the real issue.
> Tim-As noted above, I take issue with your premise that God has
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.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "gmw"
> >> No, Calvin's rhetorical use of this question was to stronglyimply
> >> that they had no good answer. The answer is NOT, "God told usTim-Actually they had learned ultimately from the early church
> > >it's Christmas,"
through the RC medieval church, through which it had become
traditioal. Calvin was making the point that those answers wern't
> >Tim-Calvin did not absolutely deny that we could celebrate the
> >nativity. Therefore he would say the EC told us that it is
> Can I assume by celebrating the nativity you are referring to the
> celebration of the Nativity Festival, commonly called Christmas? ITim-Correct.
> would hope all Christians in some sense "celebrate the
> nativity," and it would be wrong to suggest that all
> non-Christmas-keepers are un-celebratory of the birth of Christ.
> If indeed you refer to the annual festival day/holy day, commonly
> Christmas, then we see in Calvin that an
> 1). He demands an answer for where they got the idea that December
> 25th was Christmas.
> 2). He calls them poor beasts, and reiterates that "poor
> beasts" is a fitting name for such people who have come to church
> for a special service on December 25th thinking it was Christmas.
> 3). He calls them "as crazed as wild beasts" for thinking
> Jesus was born on December 25th.
> 4). He says that they think they're serving God by coming, when
> what they are doing is more like honoring Satan.
> 5). He calls the attempt to make December 25th a holy day making
> idol out of the day.Tim-The question being begged in all of this is whether Calvin was
rebuking the occasianal attender's present for their presumption in
celebrating Christmas or denying the feast itself was lawful. Since
according to Englsma he is elswhere on record as keeping the feast
and not calling the keeping of it an inevitable second commandment
violation, we cannot say that Calvin was condemning all celebrations
of the day, only those celebrations not done by true Christians.
> 6). He tells his audience that their intent does not justify their
> actions, by telling the story of Saul's "worship" of God
> (which Saul says was his intent), which worship leads to the
> of heresy, apostasy, and soothsaying.our
> 7). He says that if we seek to establish worship service based on
> whim (which I perceive to be Calvin's answer to "Who told you ityou to
> was Christmas?" It was whim and not God), we blaspheme God and
> create an idol, even if we think we're honoring God.
> 8). He calls the worshiping of God "in the idleness of a holiday
> spirit" a heavy sin to bear, and one that encourages others to sin,
> thus lifting you to the "height of iniquity." (NOTE: Below you
> ask me to acquit God of this charge, given that God instituted rest
> days/festival days in the OT here I simply point out that whether
> you agree with Calvin's statement on this matter or not, you cannot
> deny that this is what Calvin said. If he was alive, I would ask
> take up your objection with him. Since he is not, I shall do mybest to
> answer your objection to Calvin's statement below).only to
> 9). Calvin brings the audience back to the text he's preaching on
> (Micah 5:7-14), and exhorts from the Scriptures that we are not
> eliminate things that are bad themselves, but also those things thatDecember
> might foster superstition (like the observance of Christmas on
> 25th, if context means anything).you
> 10). He explains that once you understand all that he said above,
> will understand why Christmas, or Noel, is not being celebrated inthis
> church. Those of you who came to get a special Christmas service onwe
> December 25th are just going to have to go home, because we're not
> doing it.
> Now, if Calvin said all of this regarding Christmas-keeping, and if
> know from other writings of Calvin that he believed that holidayswere
> "fooleries," and if he advised against approving them, and if helittle
> called them superstitious and things that foster superstition, if he
> believed them to be Judaical, then the Christmas-keeper can take
> comfort in the fact that Calvin conceded to read from the nativitybeing
> story, preach on the goodness which comes from Christ's birth, and
> serve communion on God's real holy day (the Lord's Day)
> UNLESS, all that is being advocated is that it would be good that
> sometime near the end of the year one of the Lord's Day services
> focus on the birth of Christ. And again, if that is all that is
> advocated, I may still say "you give too much heed to the days andsuperstition, do
> the seasons, and you could just as easily, to avoid all
> this in the Summer or in the Spring," but I suppose I would have notherein.
> great quarrel, as no unlawful acts of worship are discernible
> > Tim-If Englsma is right that Calvin elsewhere said celebrating the
> > nativity was not necessarily idolatry, than we must restrict his
> > charge here to how the Genevans were keeping it and not to the
> > question of whether to keep it.
> Unless I'm shown more material that I have not yet read, I believe
> that Engelsma can only make such a statement if by it he means
> that, at the end of December, Calvin allowed an ordinary Lord's Daypossibly
> service to focus on the birth of Christ (and that much quite
> due to political or pastoral factors which we have not yet broughtup).
> If Englesma means any of the things that Calvin totally shoots downTim-Then you need to check the citation E. gave before making that
> (enumerated above), which seems to include most things that most
> Christians, with honest intentions to honor God, mean by
> "Christmas," then I must conclude that he is wrong.
asertion and read it in its context.
> certainly Calvin would not have approved of many of the modernpractices
> associated with Christmas some of which were not yet prevalent inhis
> day one would labor in vain to find Calvin's approval ofTim-This is not in dispute
> Christmas trees, mistletoes, and all that stuff.
> >Tim-Calvin's view of the RP may have been similar to that of the
> >but unless he has contradicted himself over this issue, it was notnativity
> >identical. Calvin according to Englsma does not condemn the
> >festival itself as idolatry, the WCF does.Tim-If Calvin anticipated and fully followed the Standards here, he
> Do you see any substantial difference between Calvin's doctrine of
> the Regulative Principle of Worship, and that of the Westminster
could not possibly have assented to keeping Chistmas which he
certainly did, however reluctantly. So there is certainly a
difference between them on the point at issue.
Because I think one could line up, side by side, almost
> identical statements of the doctrine, with no real difference inmeaning
> Calvin condemns festival days, as do the Westminster Standards.
> Calvin's concessions, it seems to me, are an attempt to make sure
> that the worship service in which they read of the nativity story,
> preach thereon, and partake of the Lord's Supper are NOT celebrated
> as a festival day, by deferring all these things to the Lord's Day
> (God's festival day).
> > Tim-then don't incoporate those 20th century abuses into your
> > argument against the nativty.
> I have NO argument against the nativity itself I'm a
> Christian. I only have an argument against the annual holy
> celebration of it, TOGETHER WITH all of the trimmings now attachedto
> it.Tim-Instead of nativity, I should have said "nativiity festival". My
bad. I will point out below that you should not confuse arguing
against the festival and arguing with the way it is celbrated. They
are two separate issues.
I cannot go back and convince the church fathers to refrain from
> inventing and keeping a feast day, I can only implore my brothersand
> sisters in Christ to stop celebrating Christmas with all of itsTim-So do I!!!!! Again you are confusing how the festival is kept
> trappings of today. I think that you're warning me not to throw the
> baby out with the bathwater, but I believe that the light-up plastic
> baby "jesus's" should be thrown out too!
with whether it should be kept and you should not mix the questions
This is NOT to
> accuse you, or the people of Geneva in Calvin's day, of advocatingcheap
> blasphemous Christmas merchandise being set up in the front lawn.It's
> only to say that when we, today, speak of Christmas, we can hardlydo so
> without dealing with what Christmas actually IS, here, today.Tim-I am not saying in the least that Christians should celebrate it
with the world's excesses. Those who agree that a Nativity festival
is useful, have to decide how to keep it to the glory of God. A
platic Jesus doesn't is no part of doing so.
> >Tim-What difference is there between "today's Christmas" and "the
> >commercial racket".
> Nothing that I can tell. Bury it all.
> >Tim-Is not the best answer to abuse of a good thing the right use
> >good thing? Would you deny your brother the liberty of a beerbecause
> >he might get drunk?have
> 1). If he has a marked history of drunkenness, and therefore I
> reason to believe that he is GOING TO GET DRUNK, then denying himthe
> liberty of a beer may do him good.Tim-Gerry, it is the world that has the history of drunkenness and is
captive to sin. Christ's church is made up of Christians who are
freed from sin, ie need not be "drunk" and are no longer "aloholic"
such people can learn to glorify God in whatever they do that is not
> 2). If everyone else in the room is getting drunk, the brotherprobably
> needs to put down his beer and leave, so as to not keep company withsake
> drunkards, nor to countenance them in their drunkenness.
> 3). Otherwise, sure go ahead and have a beer (or two, if
> they're good and you're thirsty).
> >In the same way is not the best answer to a
> >superstitious keeping of Christmas a truly Christian keeping of the
> I'm not willing to grant that keeping holy days/festival days is
> like consuming alcoholic beverages. However, for the sake of
> discussion, let's use the comparison you suggest, granting for the
> for the sake of illustration that Christmas keeping is indifferent,worship
> 1). If the person involved has a marked history of superstitious
> practices and idolatrous worship, then he ought to refrain from his
> liberty, lest it prove to actually be slavery.
> 2). If others are stumbling into superstition and idolatrous
> practices over this liberty, then my brother ought to forbear hisought
> liberty for the sake of his neighbors.
> Therefore, even if Christmas-keeping were a thing indifferent, it
> to be forsaken, because many (most?) those who practice it, do havea
> history of superstitious practices and idolatrous worship, and ourover
> neighbors are stumbling into superstition and idolatrous worship
> the issue of Christmas.for
> "He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the
> groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made:
> unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: andhe
> called it Nehushtan" (2 Kings 18:4).word of
> The Geneva Bible notes "That is 'a piece of brass': thus he calls
> the serpent by contempt, which even though it was set up by the
> God, and miracles were wrought by it, when it was used for idolatrythis
> good king destroyed it, not thinking it worthy to be called aserpent,
> but a piece of brass."and
> If such treatment was justifiable against something set up by God,
> used by God to bless His people, once it becomes the occasion ofthat
> stumbling into idolatry, what shall we say of something indifferent
> has also become such a remarkable stumbling block to God'schildren?
> How much more of something that is not indifferent, but which is inholiday
> itself superstitious and idolatrous?
> >Tim-If all restraint from regular work was "the idleness of a
> >spririt" and "a heavy sin to bear" how will you acquit God from theordaining
> >charge of leading his OT people into such "a heavy sin" by
> >the OT festivals? The answer you will rightly give is that theywere
> >instructed how to keep those days. And I will reply; then letthe
> >Christians learn to keep the nativity and other festivals with the
> >same spirit that OT Israel was instructed to keep its festivals.
> As I've pointed out before, this opinion I mentioned, that tanking
> day just because it's December 25th is idleness, a heavy sin tobear,
> etc., is Calvin's opinion. He preached it against Christmas-keeping.
> Your question then, ought to be posed to him. Yet since he is nothere,
> but in the enjoying the eternal Holy Day, I'll say this inresponse:
> Not only did God tell the OT people how to keep the holy day, Healso
> told them ~that they are~ to keep it. IF GOD COMMANDS A DAY OFbe
> RELIGIOUS REST, WE SHALL REST IN OBEDIENCE TO HIM, because He has
> commanded it. What we are to be doing during this rest, would also
> commanded by God. And yet we have neither the command to keepyou
> Christmas, nor any direction as to how to keep Christmas. And so
> reply, "let us keep the nativity [and apparently a host of otherinstructed to
> festivals besides] with the same spirit that OT Israel was
> keep its festivals.how
> To which reply I reply, but "Who hath required this at your
> hand?" and "
> But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God,
> turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desireare
> again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and
> years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in
> >> That's not what "Christmas" is, now is it?
> >Tim-Not to many people, but it could be to Christians. And if we
> >going to celebrate it, that's what it should be.the
> So then, if all that you are asking for is that Christians be given
> liberty to read the nativity story, hear Gospel preaching aboutChrist's
> birth, and partake of the Lord's Supper, and that on the Lord'sDay --
> none of which things require "Christmas" our only disputethat
> is over the idea that this needs to occur at the same time of year
> all manner of idolatry and blasphemy and debauchery are takingplace in
> the name of Jesus' birthday.Tim-You can't ask "What's merry about it?" and go with the response
> >> Tim-So why not ask him what he means and lead the resultant
> >> conversation into an evangelistic opportunity?
> Honestly, I cannot respond to each "Merry Christmas" with that
> deep of a discussion.
I can't see that anyone has that kind of time
> everyone's wishes me a Merry Christmas, ranging from Mormon's, toprofession of
> Roman Catholics, to people who don't make any discernible
> faith during any other time of the year, and everyone in between.It
> practically makes the term meaningless, because it has a differentthereby.
> meaning for everyone saying it. I usually keep it short to "Thank
> you for the sentiment, but I don't celebrate it." If I get a
> "why not?," then we talk.
> >Tim-Keeping a special service to remember the coming of the second
> >person of the Trinity into this world and the good that came
>Tim-Once again, I am not arguing for the Xmas racket in any way shape
> On the Lord's Day? Special service meaning "reading the scriptures,
> preaching, and receiving the Lord's Supper"? Cool. Go ahead. No
> complaints from me on those things. Why the insistence that this be
> done at the same time when so much superstition and idolatry abound,
> called "Christmas" by the whole civilized world, though?
> >Tim-If the reminder of Christ's nativity does not make your heart
> >merry than there may well be something wrong with your spiritual
> The light up plastic baby-jesus nativity scene, complete with "the
> three kings," and angels floating overhead, certainly bring some
> remembrance of the coming of Christ, but it's mixed with grief as I
> behold this appalling display. Honestly, "Christmas" is more of
> a distraction from the birth of Christ than it is a proper holy
> remembrance of it.
God tells us how to properly remember Christ and how
> to celebrate Him. He tells us in His Word. The same Word of Godthat
> is silent about Christmas, or about annually celebrating Jesus'birthday
> in any way whatsoever (even while he dwelt on earth), outside ofthey
> allusions to his bar mitsvah.
> Tim-Right, that's Old English.
> Yes, English. That's what I speak. That's what people speak when
> say "Merry Christmas," and it's what the Romanists speak whenmean
> they refer to Christ-Mass, Michael-Mass, Mary-Mass, etc. And they
> "Mass" in the abominable way now too.nativity
> > If one wants to claim that it is inappropriate to call the
> > Christmas, one will need to demonstrate that the Latin fathersnever
> > called the nativiy Christmas during this period.Tim-Red herring, not argument, and unworthy of you. And the case of
> How about we just call it Nehushtan now.
Nehustan is not a parallel. It was never morally fitting to make
Nehustan an idol, but it is morally fitting to at least annually
render thanks for the coming of Christ into the world.
> > Tim-It may be so understood by Roman Catholics, but RC's are not
> > thick on the ground where I live.nearly
> Not that this is at all fundamental to my position, but the Roman
> Catholic Church is the largest denomination in the United States,
> twice the size of the next denomination (Southern Baptists) theand
> third largest Roman Catholic population in the world next to Brazil
> Mexico (where they celebrate Christ's Mass too!). You may not bumpinto
> too many, but they sit next to me in my office at work, live in mydoing
> neighborhood, I'm not celebrating Christmas and I hope they stop
> it too.next
> > As Englsma rightly notes " the
> > word "Sunday" is "derived from pagan sources and denotes the day
> > devoted to the sun" (p. 653).
> Actually, I call it the Lord's Day or Sabbath, and would that the
> Reformation includes removing these monuments of idolatry too.So, the
> "why have you not advocated the changing of the name of the day"me.
> argument doesn't stick with me. It might for others, but not for
> For now, there is something civilly significant about maintainingthe
> current system of identifying the day of the week, and my just needto
> be borne with anybody recall a discussion on the names of the weekmy
> days by Rutherfurd? I'm having trouble recalling where I saw this
> >Tim-ISTM that you are putting the words "various merriments" into
> >mouth. If so, why?I can
> Because unless you spell out specifically what you're advocating in
> Christmas-keeping, and contrast it from other Christmas practices,
> only define "Christmas" by what it actually is, here, now,Tim-My definition is Englsma's. Why is that not clear to you?
> >Tim-If the church has the right to thank God for extraordinaryright
> >mercies received, then by parity of reasoning the church has the
> >to offer, not compel, its members the opportunity of repeatedlymay be
> >remembering so extraordinary a mercy as the coming of the Lord.
> How does parity of reason require that because the Church may
> occasionally observe fast days or feast days in response to God's
> providence, therefore permanent annual celebration of feast days
> The Church (and the state, for that matter) has warrant for
> days of religious fast or feast, Judges 20:26; 2 Chronicles 20; Ezrapermanent
> 8:21; Jonah 3:5-10. Yet there is no warrant for instituting
> annual holy days.Tim-OK do you take Mordecai as a prophet or not? See my response to
Bob, for my anwer to these questions.
> Now, I see that Mr. Suden has taken up against this line ofargument, so
> I will defer for the sake of saving me some precious time (Time Icould
> use to take my decorations down... just kidding).done on
> > Tim-That's shorthand for everything and anything arising from the
> Everything the whole world calls Christmas?
> >> Sadly, the world, and "the Christian
> >> world" at that, continues to support it.
> >Tim-True, but what is that to the truth of what the Christian world
> >should do.
> I know what Hezekiah would do! The Bible tells me that.
> > Although he stated in the sermon you cited that such would be
> > the following Sunday, he did do so on this "Christmas" as well.NOT
> He tolerated certain things, while complaining against them (note:
> APPROVING OF THEM, but tolerating them for a time, and for reasonin
> political and pastoral), gradually doing less and less (it appears)
> acknowledgment of the nativity observance. So, if your point isonly to
> say that Calvin reluctantly tolerated some things that the ScotsChristmas
> outright condemned, I do not pretend this isn't true. But no
> keeper can turn to Calvin for support of Christmas-keeping, any moretime
> than he can turn to Westminster. Maybe in Geneva, depending on the
> period you were there, your Christmas-keeping would have beentolerated,
> but it would not have been championed by Calvin. I'm not sayingthis is
> what you're asserting, I'm just wanting to make this point clear tolerated
> Englesma appears to be trying to use Calvin to justify
> Christmas-keeping, which is just silly. That he reluctantly
> some things that he cried down and complained about, is about asmuch as
> I'll grant.Tim-And I agree with you.
> > Tim-Once again, it has been a pleasure engaging in discussion ofcharity
> > difficult matters with you. Again, I thank you for setting a
> > remarkably high and inspriring standard of Christian courtesy in
> > disagreement, (and I hope some of your readers will learn from how
> > you conduct yourself in these discussions even if, like me, they
> > cannot share your eccliesiology).
> I'm humbled, and I thank you, my friend.
> > I trust the Lord will enlighten our
> > eyes where we are in darkness, give us encouragement to hold on to
> > what we have light to see, and if we cannot see alike then let us
> > hold the essentials of our faith in that winsome and blessed
> > that is the fruit of God's Holy Spirit in us.
- Excuse me, but could we please exercise some snippage here?
Sic semper imperatoris...Non jam est nostra patria quondam qualis erat...
...... Original Message .......
On Mon, 01 Jan 2007 04:00:12 -0000 "timmopussycat" <timmopussycat@...>
>--- In email@example.com, "gmw"
>> >> No, Calvin's rhetorical use of this question was to strongly
>> >> that they had no good answer. The answer is NOT, "God told us
>> > >it's Christmas,"
>Tim-Actually they had learned ultimately from the early church
>through the RC medieval church, through which it had become
>traditioal. Calvin was making the point that those answers wern't
>> >Tim-Calvin did not absolutely deny that we could celebrate the