Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Part I of my Response to Centuri0n on Christmas

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.



Anonymous said...

I have my own conclusions about Christmas.

First, the Bible didn't tell us to set aside ONE day in the year to celebrate His birth, but instead instructs us to do so daily. Can Christmas which is a man made holiday be considered a holy day? I'm not sure that it can be. Can man make something holy? Doesn't a holy day have to come from God? I'd have to do a study on that to be dead sure but since nothing good comes from us I don't see how us making a "holy day" could be passed off as a holy day of which Rom 14 speaks. Instead, I think Rom 14 is speaking of the holy days that God had instituted in the OT that NT believers were no longer obliged to observe. I think Paul was speaking to the Jew who observed them and to the Gentile who didn't.

Secondly, if you can make Christmas a holy day then you necessarily must do it within the guidelines of Scripture. Going to a candlelight service one goes against the regulative principle of worship...how many do that? I know my cousin denomination, the PCA, holds candlelight services and if they do I can't imagine how many others do. Once you're out of the church service you might go home and read in the Bible about the birth of Christ (this is the only good part I can see happens) then you stuff your face with a HUGE meal coming close to gluttony then you open all the non-essential gifts that you've bought for everyone and lastly you watch a "Jesus" movie about His birth life and death thus possibly breaking the 2nd commandment depending on how reformed a person is.

Some people say that it is a time when they spread the Gospel! Well, shame on us if that is the time we are doing it! Shouldn't we be doing all the time and not have to wait for Christmas to come around?

No, I say celebrate Christmas as xmas which is a family get together when you enjoy family that you haven't seen for awhile and you eat normal amounts of food and give needed gifts of lower value to ward off excess...Americans really need to learn this! Christ is incorporated into this family get together as He is always incorporated into each part of your life.

Don't get me started on Easter! :o)

FX Turk said...

Wow. What if one does celebrate Christmas, but not with Roman Catholics? That is: what if one celebrates Christmas, but celebrates it apart from the Mass?

Somehow that doesn't enter into your reasoning, TFan. It is possible to celebrate this occation without doing it "with" Catholics in the sense you mean here.

Turretinfan said...

You seem to be missing the point(s).

(a) I'm not sure you get the "sense I mean here" because your comments seem to reflect something else, as evidenced by:

(b) attendance at a Roman Catholic church for the purpose of joining in the "mass" is sinful, and Christians ought not to do it, whether on Christmas or any other day. That's obviously not the sense I mean here, or I wouldn't say Christians have liberty to celebrate the day or not.

(c) You wrote: "What if one does celebrate Christmas, but not with Roman Catholics?" I think you're free to do that, unless your conscience would prevent you, which it might if you came from a Roman Catholic upbringing.

I think you misread my initial comment as saying "Christians must not celebrate Christ's birth," (which is not what I said) and you have been barking up the wrong tree ever since.

Am I right?


Affy said...

Hello Turretinfan,

I've read your discourse with Frank and i find that you are correct.

Frank assumes that being a 'killjoy' during Christmas is wrong. If the joy is right and proper, perhaps, but if the foundations of Christmas was built on lies, then killing the joy might be right because such joy is worldly joy; which we ought to sacrifice it so that we may have heavenly joy.

One might even ask: If the [real] Jesus was not born in Dec25, then is this 'god' of dec25 the same God as that who has the same name but born on another day and is the true Jesus of Scripture? If indeed that Dec 25 is NOT the true birthday of Christ, then those who go to church and celebrate it are simply celebrating the brithday of a false God.

I did some basic calculations from scripture and found that Jesus should be born either feb or august that year. Feel free to check.


But if the people are commemorating the birth of Christ, they are perfectly free to do so. But because there is no scriptural warrant to FIX it on that day, we can choose to celebrate the birth of Christ on other days like on our birthday or during a church anniversary or something. Us fixing dec 1 and the church fixing it on dec25 have the same weightage.

Honestly, i find Frank stubborn and mocking in this exchange; although he does well elsewhere.

Turretinfan said...

Dear Wexian,

Thanks for your comments, I'll check out your link.


Anonymous said...

I came across a study done by a lawyer/astronomer.



I liked how math and science points to dates long held to customs from the past.

Things line up according to the math and science and politics of the day to remove the mystery; the others dispel them and what is lined up with the constellation, the orbits of the planets and the calendar dates seem to point to His birth then, His worship then, the political events that drove the men then and so on. It's a good study. I don't suppose it brings out to much controversy. At least, it did not for me.

But, hey, "love" believes all things.

But, hey, test the spirits.

But, hey: "Isa 43:9 All the nations gather together, and the peoples assemble. Who among them can declare this, and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right, and let them hear and say, It is true."

Apparently the Apostle Paul believed Isaiah as he wrote this to the early Church members of his day:

1Th 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
1Th 5:20 Do not despise prophecies,
1Th 5:21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

I have tested the argument the man makes and don't have any counter arguments yet to dispel his.

Simply put, things line up with math and science and politics. I like that. The laws of nature and nature's God should line up!


Turretinfan said...

Hidden One,

I got your comment.

I don't think anyone is "damned" until they go before death.

Given that, I'm not sure what to make of your comment, and so I have rejected it for publication.

Feel free to clarify.