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:
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.