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.


 

Quote of the day – William Bradford, pilgrim


2 Corinthians 12:9,10

NKJV

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


mayflower

“The Pilgrims’ longtime governor would not have made a popular Thanksgiving Day speaker.  Unlike the succession of statesmen who flattered their audiences with purple prose, lauding their adopted ancestors for their unsurpassed wisdom and nobility, Bradford chose instead to underline their shortcomings.  The first colonists had survived and flourished, Bradford insisted in his history Of Plymouth Plantation, not because of their many strengths and virtues, but in spite of ‘all their weaknesses and infirmities.’  In emphasizing that truth, he gave greater glory to God and offered greater hope to us.”

Robert Tracy McKenzie, professor and chair of the Department of History at Wheaton College

LEARNING FROM THE PILGRIMS’ STORY: DIVINE STRENGTH, HUMAN WEAKNESS


 

GREAT HOLIDAY READING

“As Christians, our challenge is to “take every thought captive in obedience to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5), including our thinking about our national heritage. Thanksgiving is a good place to start.”

Faith and History

Yes, I’m still alive.

I hope to return to semi-regular posting with the new year, but it occurred to me just now that Thanksgiving is only two and a half weeks away, so I thought I would take the time to engage in some shameless self-promotion.

On the possibility that some of you might be interested in a book about the history of the holiday, I will be bold and suggest that you consider my own: The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History.

The book came out in the fall of 2013 from Intervarsity Press, and it was a labor of love.  For years I had been gradually developing a new sense of vocation.  I believe that academic historians write too much for each other, leaving the public to learn about the past from pastors, talk-show hosts, rap musicians, and…

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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