Go read! An excellent resource on Christmas


John 1

AKJV

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.


Christmas: An Historical Survey Regarding Its Origins and Opposition to It

by Kevin Reed

Lately, I’ve posted excerpts from this article, here and here. This is the introduction:

To speak against Christmas observance is considered by many people to be sacrilegious and others as religious fanaticism. After all, how can anyone legitimately oppose such a hallowed institution?

The purpose of this study is to set forth scriptural reasons for opposing Christmas celebration. A brief historical survey will provide the suitable means for such an examination. Following an initial look at the origins of Christmas, we will note historic opposition to its observance, with special emphasis on Protestant objections to the holiday. We will see that Protestants, and especially Presbyterians, have rejected Christmas celebration, as demonstrated by the following facts: (1.) the scriptural principles of worship upheld by Reformed churches; (2.) the confessional testimony of the churches; (3.) the historic practice of the churches in their most orthodox times.


 

Who said this? William Ames!


Ephesians 5:13,14

13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”


So who is William Ames? – For me, he is someone new, but he was an important English Puritan theologian who lived in the Netherlands. I agree with his view of manmade holy days and was struck by his quote of Martin Bucer, the Strasbourg Reformer. Solid!


Dr William Ames (1576–1633)

One of Ames’s sermons became historical in the Puritan controversies. It was delivered in the university Church of St Mary the Great, Cambridge on 21 December 1609, and in it he rebuked sharply ‘lusory lotts’ and the ‘heathenish debauchery’ of the students during the Twelve Days of Christmas. ~ Wikipedia

[To adopt a lusory attitude is to accept the arbitrary rules of a game in order to facilitate the resulting experience of play. ~ Wikipedia]


excerpt:

Christmas: An Historical Survey Regarding Its Origins and Opposition to It

by Kevin Reed

William Ames (1576-1633), the prominent English Puritan who lived on the Continent among the Dutch for many years, sums up several fundamental principles relating to proper worship:

“No instituted worship is lawful unless God is its author and ordainer.  Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 12:32.”

“The most solemn time for worship is now the first day of each week, called the Lord’s Day, Revelation 1:10; 1 Corinthians 16:2.”

“Opposed to the ordinance of the Lord’s Day are all feast days ordained by men when they are considered holy days like the Lord’s Day.”

Shortly before his death, Ames prepared a massive volume, A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship (1633). This book was written as a response to earlier publications by John Morton and John Burgess. Throughout his work, Ames provides a detailed rebuttal of many of the Episcopal arguments related to church polity.

In one place, Ames speaks of the scriptural law of worship. Referring to Leviticus 10:1, he states:

“The sons of Aaron are there condemned for bringing strange, or ordinary fire to God’s worship; as doing that which God had not commanded, and yet had not otherwise forbidden, than by providing fire proper to his worship, and not appointing any other to be used in the tabernacle. And this is the very plea which we make against ceremonies of human institution, in God’s worship.”

Then he notes Jeremiah 7:31, and comments:

“Seeing God under this title only condemns that which the Jews did because he had not commanded it [to] them; therefore no other reason need to be sought for the confutation of superstitions, than that they are not by commandment from God.”

In a separate section “Concerning the Lord’s Day, Temples, and Ceremonial Festivals,” Ames states:

“Concerning ceremonial festivals, of man’s making, our practice cannot be objected; because we observe none.”

“Martin Bucer” by Jean-Jacques Boissard

In support of his position he [Ames] cites several prominent Protestant writers, including the remarks of Bucer on Matthew 12:
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I would to God that every holy day whatsoever besides the Lord’s day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names.

 

 

Who said this?


Die Reformatoren Heinrich Bullinger, Girolamo Zanchi, John Knox, Huldrych Zwingli, Martir (?), Martin Bucer, Matthew Parker, William Perkins, Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, Theodore de Bèze (Beza) und John Wyclif um einen Tisch sitzend, Öl auf Leinwand, 87 x 142 cm, deutsche Schule des frühen 17. Jahrhunderts.


“I know how difficult it is to persuade the world that God disapproves of all modes of worship not expressly sanctioned by His Word.

“The opposite persuasion which cleaves to them, being seated, as it were, in their very bones and marrow, is, that whatever they do has in itself a sufficient sanction, provided it exhibits some kind of zeal for the honor of God.

“But since God not only regards as frivolous, but also plainly abominates, whatever we undertake from zeal to His worship, if at variance with His command, what do we gain by a contrary course?

“The words of God are clear and distinct,

Obedience is better than sacrifice.

1 Samuel 15:22

In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Matthew 15:9

“Every addition of His word, especially in this matter, is a lie. Mere ‘will worship’ (ethelothreeskia) is vanity [Colossians 2:23].

“This is the decision, and when once the judge has decided, it is no longer time to debate.”


Calvin, Tracts (1844; rpt. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983), Vol. 1, pp. 128-29.


source:

Christmas: An Historical Survey Regarding Its Origins and Opposition to It, by Kevin Reed


 

The most unpopular controversy – Should Christians celebrate Christmas?


Galatians 4

But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

1 Peter 2

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.


Most Bible believing Christians I know don’t celebrate Halloween because of its obvious association with witchcraft, horror, and death. Christmas is another story however, because as it is celebrated by Christians it is seen as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and who can object to this? Only people who are misguided and. . .well, fanatical.

Most of the devout Christians I know celebrate the season; otherwise, they have no interest in the liturgical calendar. I’m disheartened and perplexed. Is the celebration of Christmas really adiaphora, that is, indifferent, a matter of conscience? How can this be when it’s common knowledge that Christmas originates in the pagan world and Catholic Rome.

Wikipedia: In Christianity, adiaphora are matters not regarded as essential to faith, but nevertheless as permissible for Christians or allowed in church. What is specifically considered adiaphora depends on the specific theology in view.

Though it seems early to be thinking about all of this I believe it’s important to get a head-start on the season by learning what Christians who have been opposed to the celebration on biblical grounds have had to say about it. Since they are sound in other respects, they should at least be given a hearing.


Arthur Walkington Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) was an English Bible teacher who sparked a renewed interest in the exposition of Calvinism. Virtually unknown in his own lifetime, Pink became “one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.” ~Wikipedia~


from

XMAS (Christmas)

by A.W. Pink


Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen. . .for the CUSTOMS of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:1-3).

Christmas is coming! Quite so: but what is “Christmas?” Does not the very term itself denote its source – “Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Roman origin, brought over from paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth. It is? And WHO authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. Is it without reason that the only “birthday” commemorations mentioned in God’s Word are Pharaoh’s (Gen. 40:20) and Herod’s (Matt. 14:6)? Is this recorded “for our learning?” If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?

And WHO is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask, is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any true born again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are VAIN; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Ex. 23:2). . .



MORE FREE RESOURCES ON WHY CHRIST CONDEMNS CHRISTMAS

Stillwater Revival Books


Mr and Mrs Christian spend the night with Father Christmas, final part

Z.

cropped-las_golczewski_zima.jpg

“Sir,” said Mr C to Father Christmas, “do you have a room where we pilgrims can meet?”

Father Christmas slowly smiled, then winked. “Yes, by the street door,” he said. “I think you can find your own way…”

The pilgrims hurried out of his splendid dining hall, and past the door that led onto the main square of Vanity Fair. This door had been left open, and Godly Affection closed it with a strong hand against the howling wind and moonless darkness. They sought and found refuge in the small appointed room…


Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5


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Sweet Remembrance was missing. No sooner had the pilgrims reached the private room than they noticed. Immediately Mr Christian and Godly Affection left to find her, while her mother, Blessed Fellowship, led the women in prayer.

After they had prayed, Fellowship said, “Remembrance has always been sensitive, dwelling too much on the past. And Father Christmas has made much of her, you see, and it’s difficult not to respond in a friendly way when friendship is offered by such a person.”

“I remember how she was as a little girl,” said Mrs C. “She couldn’t bear to see even a tiny flower crushed underfoot and cried over it.”

“That’s true!” Godly Joy exclaimed. “I often tried to comfort her.”

Fellowship sighed. “Recently she determined to remember only the good things. But this has made her cling to the kind of memories Father Christmas provides.”

True Need stirred in Mrs. C’s arms and Mrs C quieted her. “In this way the Cross of Christ will be forgotten.”

“The cross is an offense,” Fellowship replied. “But in the home of Father Christmas there is no offense.”

Joy seemed to consider this. “Here, there is happiness. But in the cross of Christ there is eternal bliss.”

Fellowship smiled at Joy. “Your sister knows all of this but finds it difficult to part with things.”

There was a sharp knock and the door was flung open. Father Christmas appeared, his face flushed more than usual. He was gripping Remembrance by the arm, and he pushed her towards them, saying, “She is harping on the past again – even weeping about ‘the massacre of the innocents’! Did a massacre even happen? And the men overstepped the bounds! Here they come, ranting like hypocrites!”

Mr C and Godly Affection entered behind him. “Ho!” Godly Affection cried. “What is happening here?”

“And you!” Father Christmas’s voice rose. “If you want to talk about death – which is all you do – do your talking elsewhere! This is a house of cheer. I’ve had enough – you were warned, all of you! Take your belongings and go!”

“At night in winter?” Mrs C cried. “Pity us, sir – please! At least think of the child.”

Father Christmas smiled briefly upon True Need whose head was resting on Mrs C’s shoulder. “You have till the cock-crow,” he said.

After reading in their Holy Book the following passage, they spent the night praying.  

24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25 who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed… (Acts 4)

The cock crowed, the child True Need stirred, and the pilgrims awoke, prayed, and went forth into a world of glittering hoarfrost under a low sky that promised a bit of relief from the penetrating cold, their way leading across difficult snowy hills.

Behind them, beneath a creeping fog, the city of Vanity Fair still lay sleeping. Before them, in the distance and aglow with light, the Celestial City stood, beautiful beyond imagining and beckoning to them. Mr and Mrs C were walking with the child True Need safely between them, holding her hands. True Need was now seeing the Celestial City for the first time.

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Cropped image - Val Lemina (TO, Italy) seen from Talucco Alto, F Ceragioli, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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