Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Part I of my Response to Centuri0n on Christmas

January 1, 2008

This is part I. There will, Lord willing, be more parts.

I preface this series by indicating my sincere appreciation of Centuri0n taking his time to interact with what I have written, and to state that I consider Centuri0n to be a brother in Christ. The tone may get a little hot and heavy, but I hope people will remember that. Also, I’m not going to beat his graphics. He’s much more graphically inclined than I, and his blog is way cooler. I’d have to be a clown (HT: Centuri0n for that graphic) to imagine otherwise.

With that, here’s the first few things.

1. My position is the position of Christian liberty, and it has explicit Scriptural warrant.

I say that individual Christians should be free to celebrate Christmas or not, free from any obligation, whether imposed by the Roman Catholic Church or prominent bloggers.

My warrant is:

Romans 14:1-6
1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

2. Among other things, I have been charged with being a “killjoy” because of this stance on Christian liberty. This violates God’s word.

Centuri0n writes: “As we kick this off, let me say this: one is not a damned sinner if one doesn’t celebrate Christmas. One is simply a killjoy – someone who is afraid of enjoying the Gospel because someone might confuse that with the sins of prostitutes, publicans or (in the case of T-Fan) Catholics.” (source)

a. The labeling is sinful and contra-Scriptural.
The killjoy label is clearly a violation of Romans 14:5 as well as Romans 14:4. Centuri0n is unwilling to let each man be persuaded in his own mind, and Centuri0n is judging this blogger, Christ’s servant. The fact that Centuri0n does not call me a “damned sinner” makes his labeling less heinous, but it does not make it right, proper, or even acceptable.

b. The labeling is a non-sequitur.
It does not follow from the fact that one does not celebrate Christmas with Roman Catholics that one is “afraid of enjoying the Gospel.” There is nothing that brings greater joy to a Christian or even an elect angel, than the Gospel. All of heaven rejoices when any sinner is brought from death to life by the power of God, and we rejoice most of all at the fact that this was done for us.

(i) To suppose for one instance that failure to celebrate an artificial, man-made holiday suggests a lack of enjoyment in the Gospel simply doesn’t follow. Of course those of us who, like the Puritans, do not celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25, do not lack enjoyment of the gospel.

(ii) Those who are actually celebrating Christmas do not necessarily enjoy the gospel at all. I dare say that the vast bulk of Americans who celebrate Christmas do not even have a real knowledge of the gospel. These days, even many Jews celebrate Christmas. Mormons celebrate Christmas. And, as we all know, Catholics celebrate Christmas. I wouldn’t be surprised if Muslims celebrated Christmas, all the while filling the air with their (mpbuh’s). Thus, actually celebrating Christmas is no guarantee that it will be done as a celebration of the gospel. And let me perfectly clear: if one is going to celebrate Christ’s birth, one ought to do so with reference to the gospel, that Christ came to save his people from their sins.

Thus, there is no link: one can enjoy the gospel without celebrating a man-made holiday, and one can (though he ought not, we might note) observe the man-made holiday without enjoying the gospel.

c. The labeling is being misused.
Normally a killjoy is one who spoils the fun of others. Scrooge was a killjoy who shoved a ruler at the nose of the caroler, who insisted on spoiling the enjoyment of others. But, of course, that’s not what is happening here. I have not told Centuri0n he may not celebrate the day, or even that it would be better for him to desist. I’ve simply insisted on my own liberty, and the liberty of every Christian. If I’ve spoiled Centuri0n’s joy, it is only the joy of lording over others – a joy he ought to be deprived of.

Now, there is doubtless more that needs to be said, but it will have to wait for another post.


Is Christimas a Catholic Holiday?

December 27, 2007

In a recent discussion with Centuri0n (the wise Turk), he noted with apparent surprise my curious insistence, as a Puritan, that Christmas is a vestige of Catholicism, and is primarily objectionable for that reason, not for its more ancient connection with paganism.

Let’s be clear about one thing: just because one celebrates the birth of Christ does not make one a crypto-Catholic, and Centuri0n has the honor of having his photo posted in a popular Catholic apologist’s “Anti-Catholics” web page. Indeed, the Bible gives us the freedom, individually, to celebrate holy days according to our choosing.

Furthermore, let’s be clear that giving gifts, spending time with family, eating figgy pudding and honey-glazed ham, and drinking spiced cider, eggnog, or (if your conscience permits) a little brandy, is perfectly fine – whether the occasion is the birthday of Her Majesty, Elizabeth II (may God save the Queen!), Independence Day, Bastille Day, International Women’s Day, or a day you have set aside to remember Christ’s incarnation. Those things are not religious activities. For most folks, even etymologically questionable things like mistletoe and a conifer have lost their original druidic connotation, and are essentially just winter seasonal decorations. Bereft of original pagan significance, these two can be enjoyed as God’s gifts.

But Christmas was a Catholic holiday. While misguided modern evangelicals are busy trying to put the “Christ” back in “Christmas,” they are joined in that task by Catholics who are anxious to put not only the “Christ” back in, but the “mass” back in as well. Why? Because it was their holiday first.

One perfectly acceptable reason for an evangelical not to celebrate the Birth of Christ on December 25 each year is to say to the world: “My religion is not Catholicism. I do not honor their holy days, and I do not follow their traditions. The Scripture alone is my rule of faith and life.”

Now, I realize there is a counter-argument that we can Evangelical-ize Christmas, just as Catholics Christianized Christmas away from the pagans in the first place. I hate to be a sourpuss on this, but It’s not going to work. Too many false gospels with their false Christs are willing to be a part of almost every American child’s favorite holiday, and Catholicism is right there, leading the way, and pointing out that they came up with the idea of celebrating a mass to honor Christ’s birth.

Furthermore, in order to outnumber those who make Christmas a holy day of obligation, we’d practically have to make it obligatory on the people of our churches as well. Doing so would violate God’s law by unlawfully binding the consciences of men to a human invention.

Sorry, Centuri0n – it is a Catholic holiday, it is associated with Catholicism, and its only the influence of secularism/paganism that is likely to decatholicize it. We see that happening in America today, where the holiday is largely “secular” and humanist, despite Congressional attempts to declare it a Christian holiday (which, as you may have heard, got a surprising 9 votes against!). Feel free to celebrate it if you like, but don’t insist that we join you.

I have freedom in Christ to treat the day, for religious purposes, like any other, and I plan to exercise that freedom, without stepping on your freedom to set it aside as a holy day for yourself.

May God Incarnate be glorified,


This December, Consider Not Celebrating

December 8, 2007

This December, consider – to the Lord – not celebrating Christmas.

Romans 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Colosians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Here’s some sermon audio as to some reasons why it may be honoring to God to abstain from celebrating Christmas this year. (link)

But, if you are going to celebrate it, do so to the Lord, without (as the papists attempt) making it an obligation on your Christian brethren.

Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.


P.S. Here’s an interesting counterpoint to my position (link).
P.P.S. Here’s a more interesting (in my opinion) counter to the counter-point (link).

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