Advent and Christmas

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Advent and Christmas

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Any Christian discussion of holidays must begin with the recognition that we observe them in the absence of any biblical requirement. Does this mean that it is wrong to celebrate holidays? Not as long as the holiday is simply a focused instance of something that Christians have a biblical obligation to do anyway. Christians ought to ponder the incarnation, so it is not wrong to have a day or even a season regularly set aside for that purpose. Christians ought to exult in Jesus’ resurrection, so it is not wrong to set aside a day to focus especially on that event. Observances such as Easter and Christmas are allowable as matters of circumstance, but they must never be treated as required elements of our worship.

What complicates the discussion is the large number of cultural and commercial accretions that tend to attach themselves to the holidays. Holidays can even become occasions of vice. Something like this has happened within American Christianity. Evidently, the liturgical calendar of modern America includes seven principal holidays, each of which is devoted to the pursuit of a deadly sin: Thanksgiving (gluttony), Christmas (greed), Valentine’s Day (lust), Easter (envy), Independence Day (pride), Labor Day (sloth), and Halloween (vengeance).

To be clear, I do not believe that every cultural addition to the holidays is necessarily evil—just as long as we are careful to distinguish the Christian holy day from the cultural festivities. Plenty of enjoyment can be found in Christmas trees, eggnog, and tinsel, but they should be kept in our homes, not brought into our churches. Still, these cultural observances are the very things that get exploited by the hucksters who wish to commercialize Christmas. In this respect, we may discover that the growth of secularism works to the advantage of biblical Christianity. The cultural and commercial celebration of “Christmas” is dropping the façade of having anything to do with Christ. It is rapidly becoming simply the “Happy Holidays” or the “Winter Celebration.” Since the Lord Jesus was never the object of the buying and selling, separating the commercial and cultural festivities from the Christian observance may actually help to clarify what Christmas—the real Christmas—is about.

What American evangelicals think of as “the Christmas season” used to be divided between two distinct observances. The first was Advent, which began four Sundays before Christmas. The second was Christmas, which was not just a day, but a festival of at least twelve days. Each observance had its own emphasis.

Advent anticipated the entrance of the Savior into the world. It focused upon the reason for which God needed to send a Savior—namely, human sin. It was an occasion for pondering the darkness of the world into which God sent the true Light. Consequently, Advent was a season for affliction of soul rather than festivity, a time to consider one’s own contribution to the weight of guilt that the Savior would have to bear. The sensibility of Advent is nicely captured in the most famous of the Advent hymns:

O come, O come Emanuel, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear.

Just as Advent represents the anticipation of Christ’s coming in the incarnation, it also represents the anticipation of the Second Coming. The two comings are analogous in certain ways: as the world groaned under the guilt of sin until the Savior came to provide forgiveness, now the Lord’s people groan under the combined weight of depravity, mortality, and oppression until Jesus appears to bring deliverance. One of the important themes in the counterpoint of Advent is yearning for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In spite of its afflictions and ponderings, however, Advent is hardly a season of unrelieved gloom. The element of hope, of anticipation, is always present. Advent ends with Christmas, and for that reason, the blessing and joy of the incarnation, while subdued, are constantly bursting in. It is no accident that the hymn repeats the refrain,

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Because Advent combines elements of sorrow for sin with elements of anticipation, it is an appropriate season to consider those who were longing for the first coming of the Savior. Figures such as Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, and Anna provide models of the viewpoint of Advent. Above all, Mary typifies the spirit of one who anticipates the arrival of her Savior. Since Christians can learn from their godly example, we should give attention to these saints.

Whatever its secondary emphases, the primary message of Advent remains, “the Savior is coming.” The entire atmosphere changes with the arrival of Christmas itself, when the message becomes, “the Savior has arrived,” or, to put it in biblical terms, “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” Anticipation bursts into celebration and affliction into exultation as the season takes on the aspect of unmitigated joy.

Traditionally, the preparations for Christmas take place after mid-day on Christmas Eve. Decorating and baking form the immediate prelude to the celebration that begins at midnight. Furthermore, when Christmas day is over, Christmas itself has just begun. The celebration extends through the next twelve days, ending with a commemoration of the arrival of the Magi on what is sometimes called Epiphany (January 6).

While none of these observances is obligatory, they can be done so that they honor the Scriptures and communicate genuine spiritual values. If we are going to do them rightly, however, then we need to become genuinely counter-cultural. If we are going to celebrate Christmas, it needs to be the Christian Christmas, not simply the commercial or cultural Christmases. The advertisers want us to begin to celebrate on the day after Halloween, and they want us to celebrate mainly by using our credit cards. One very good way of both resisting the commercial Christmas and keeping the cultural Christmas in its place would be to reinstate the historic distinction between anticipation and realization, between Advent and Christmas. Perhaps we should make the attempt.

Thus Angels Sung
verse 1: George Wither (1588-1667); verses 2-7: anon.

Thus angels sung, and thus sing we;
‘To God on high all glorie bee!
Let him on earth his peace bestow
And unto men his favours show.’

If angels sung on Jesus’ birth
Then we have greater cause for mirth,
For it was all for our poor sake
He did our human nature take.

Dear Christ, thou didst thyself abase
Thus to descend to human race
And leave thy Father’s throne above:
Lord, what could move thee to such love?

Man, that was made out of the dust,
He found a paradise at first:
But see! The God of heav’n and earth,
Laid in a manger at his birth.

Surely the manger where he lies
Doth figure forth his sacrifice;
And, by his birth, may all men see
A pattern of humility.

Stupendous Babe, my God and King!
Thy praises will I ever sing,
In joyful accents raise my voice,
And in the praise of God rejoice.

My soul, learn by thy Saviour’s birth
For to abase thyself on earth,
That I may bee exalted high
To live with him eternally.

[node:bio/kevin-t-bauder body]

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Requirement

"Any Christian discussion of holidays must begin with the recognition that we observe them in the absence of any biblical requirement."

For our consideration: Requirement? No. We are under Grace, not Law (Col. 2:16-17, Rom. 14:6). Pattern? Yes (Lev 23, et al). Example? Absolutely! (e.g. John 7 [the Feasts point to "Jesus"]; Acts 20:7). Are they profitable if used correctly? Absolutely. (I Tim. 1:8).

Thank you, Dr. Bauder, for continuing to teach and challenge; for helping us all to "bring every thought captive in obedience to Christ." And especially thank you for the hymns and poems.

"While none of these observances is obligatory, they can be done so that they honor the Scriptures and communicate genuine spiritual values."

 

Jim Lowery,

Richmond, VA

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Family

One very good way of both resisting the commercial Christmas and keeping the cultural Christmas in its place would be to reinstate the historic distinction between anticipation and realization, between Advent and Christmas. Perhaps we should make the attempt.

Because holidays- Christmas especially- is supposed to involve a gathering of family, observing Christmas in a way that honors Scripture is often made unpleasant if not completely impossible. It feels as if one either has to shun family gatherings (or in our case, they shun us), or accept the insanity that is Christmas. 

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A hearty Advent 'Amen'!

Thanks, Dr. Bauder, for a very powerful and well-written article.
I would love for the church to get back to “the Christian Christmas.”
Being raised in a conservative Lutheran setting where the church year was featured prominently, my own perspective, for what it’s worth, is that many evangelicals and fundamentalists make a clumsy, half-hearted attempt to celebrate "the Christmas season."
At worst, their efforts seem to mirror (or even be driven by) “the commercial Christmas.” At best, they want to "take the opportunity to share the real meaning of ‘the cultural Christmas.’"
What most are neglecting is giving a Scripturally substantive basis to have such a prolonged celebration at all – at least in a way that can be sustained meaningfully for a month or longer.
The season of Advent (a Scriptural concept, as Dr. Bauder shows) should be a spiritually rich time that draws on thousands of years of Biblical history to prepare Christ's people for the climax of Christmas, when we actually remember the birth – His coming to earth to redeem us.
In that light, there are hundreds of Bible passages (most of which are neglected entirely) that could be the basis of our public and private meditations during the Advent season – not to mention many beautiful hymns written for Advent, one of which Dr. Bauder quotes, that we rarely sing in our churches.
We’re losing our Christian history, and it’s truly a shame.

The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.

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RE holidays devoted to the pursuit of a deadly sin

America includes seven principal holidays, each of which is devoted to the pursuit of a deadly sin: Thanksgiving (gluttony), Christmas (greed), Valentine’s Day (lust), Easter (envy), Independence Day (pride), Labor Day (sloth), and Halloween (vengeance).

Sorry Dr Bauder but I disagree with your assessment. My assessment:

  • Thanksgiving = Family centered. Good food a part of it!
  • Christmas = Family centered. Yes the world has made it a consumer-excess period but the Christian can easily eschew the materialism by limiting spending
  • Valentine’s Day: I really don't do much to celebrate this. I buy boxes of candy for my widowed Mother, widowed Sister and my wife.
  • Memorial Day: Because we've lost people to war (my wife's Uncle died in a Kamikaze attack in WWII) this is important to us
  • Independence Day = national pride. I'm OK with this.
  • Labor Day = Seems like for most people it is a half a day of yard clean up followed by a BBQ with friends and family.
  • Veterans' Day: Important to us because we have so many who have served our country in the services (including my son (USMC / Iraq) (others: Father, Brothers, Sister-in-law, etc)
  • Halloween = waste of time but I do enjoy the little kids coming to the door. A good opportunity to reconnect with neighbors at the front door! I don't really see any vengeance associated with it.
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Thanksgiving is Gone

Jim, your sentiments and disagreement with Dr. Bauder are understandable.  My wife works for a well-known low-cost discount chain Not Named Wal-Mart.  Because Wal-Mart decided to open at 8PM on Thanksgiving in addition to the observance of "Black Friday" most of the other retail chains followed suit.  My wife had to work a normal day on Thanksgiving, though she did earn time and a half.  This forced me to cook the entire dinner except for the desserts that were done in advance.  I don't mind at all cooking for Thanksgiving dinner, it's just the fact that I had to do so that was troubling.

Thanksgiving was a family holiday.  It is now the opening day of the Christmas shopping season.  My cynical Air Force nature tells me that Christmas is next.  The Last Christian Holiday will be eliminated next year by "After Christmas Sales" on Christmas Day.  What's to stop Wal-Mart from doing so?  The only day that retailers close will be the evening of Super Bowl Sunday, which is now THE National Winter Holiday.

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@JimFrank re retail workers

Agreed and that's an interesting angle. My D-I-L manages a large department store. She worked until past midnight (had to stay for closing) on Thanksgiving eve. Then had to be to work for the midnight opening on Thanksgiving night. Her Thanksgiving was basically a waste. 

 

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Where's the Beef?

Jim ,

Alright, I'm confused. Not for the first time, as my students will happily testify.

I don't see a point of disagreement. I stated that vice can creep into holidays. I observed that this creepage has become pronounced in America, even among many evangelicals, and offered some tongue-in-cheek examples.

You summarized your personal ideal for the holidays. Then, in your reply to Mr. Frank, you conceded that you were unable to fulfill that ideal this year because of the cultural pressures that are being applied to your family holidays.

Truthfully, I do not see a contradiction here. If anything, you have offered confirmation of my thesis.

Kevin

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@Kevin

OK 

Retreating

 

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No retreat necessary

Jim,

I don't think you need to retreat. From my point of view, our statements are complementary and not contradictory. In fact, that's part of my point--there is a good way to celebrate days like Christmas. You suggest some of those good ways, and I pretty much agree with you. But our present culture works against us, so we need to look for ways to become deliberately counter-cultural. I think that counter-culture needs to be centered in the church. I don't know whether a resuscitation of Advent is part of the answer, but I'd be willing to consider it.

Complementarily yours,

Kevin

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Advent and the RPW

Hi Dr. Bauder,

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on if and how the observance of Advent in a local church setting squares with the Regulative Principle of Worship.  Wouldn't it (the formal observance) be an instance of "esteeming one day as better than another"?

Curiously,

David

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Regulative Principle

David,

The Regulative Principle is the point of my opening paragraph. Because Advent and Christmas are not required by Scripture, they must not be imposed as an element of worship. At the same time, I do not believe that they are merely human inventions. Rather, they are specifications of activities which are biblically warranted. Advent commemorates the anticipation of the incarnation and Christmas is a celebration of it.

There is a difference between what we are not required to observe and what we are required not to observe. Holidays like Christmas and seasons like Advent belong to the former category. But at some point, if we do not reflect upon the incarnation in anticipation and celebration, we fail to communicate all the counsel of God.

Kevin

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Thanks

Dr. Bauder,

I had caught the terminology (circumstance vs. element) but had failed to how Advent observance might be categorized as circumstance.  I think I see now, though it would take careful handling.

Thanks again,

David

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Correct Amundo!

Dr. Bauder, I was agreeing with you, although you "dinged" me for lack of clarity.  I agree totally with your thesis and should have clearly written so.  Yes, it was "cultural pressure" that was applied to me to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a labor of love, I enjoy cooking a special dinner.  Interestingly my waiter son was off on Thanksgiving [but Mrs. jimfrank wasn't]and was able to eat supper with us.  Merry  Christmas to one and all from the jimfrank family!

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Agree - Good If We Observe Christ's Coming

Kevin wrote an article (12/16/2005) on the Three Christmases (I cannot find it in the Central Archives). I built on it in an article here: http://www.iarbc.net/seer/2007/2007-03.htm.

As my article indicates, I think we fight for things that have never really existed, except in our minds and traditions.

I like Kevin's article here. Both of Kevin's articles (12/16/2005, and this one) work well together.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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@Kevin Subra
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Since the topic of Thanksgiving has been coming back up...

I think this is an appropriate place to mention a concern that I have felt for several years now – moving the midweek service to Tuesday night during the week before Thanksgiving.

Is this not an accommodation to the culture? I grew up attending church on Thanksgiving morning. Now we have to be done with the "churchly" aspects of Thanksgiving by Tuesday??

I'm always astounded when Baptist churches, which have the practice of holding midweek services on Wednesday night all year, switch it to Tuesday the one week of the year when going to church on Wednesday night might actually carry spiritual weight. Is this essentially different than moving a Sunday night service so people can enjoy the Super Bowl? I think not.

By the way, how successful is this move anyway? I know it helps the travelers (at least half of them – the ones who are leaving), but it certainly doesn't help the masses who are trying to cram a five-day work week into three days. Have you noticed that our mainline counterparts often hold services on Thanksgiving Eve before full houses of worship??

Some turkey and dressing for thought Smile

The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.

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Yes

Thank you, Brenda. That's it.

Are Dr. Bauder's earlier articles archived in some public place online? He has many more very good articles dating back farther than the ones currently archived after seminary web redesign.

The article you provide with this thread's article are great together.

Thanks again for finding the older article and providing the link!

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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@Kevin Subra

I think you'll find the archived articles here:

http://seminary.wcts1030.com/resources/nick-of-time/132-nick-archives

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Not the Regulative Principle

Dr. Bauder has somewhat misrepresented the regulative principle of worship, at least as it has been expressed in history by its proponents.

The Regulative Principle is the point of my opening paragraph. Because Advent and Christmas are not required by Scripture, they must not be imposed as an element of worship.

The part above is correct. 

There is a difference between what we are not required to observe and what we are required not to observe. Holidays like Christmas and seasons like Advent belong to the former category.

The part above is incorrect, at least as an expression of the regulative principle. The entire point of the regulative principle is that whatever is not commanded is forbidden. As far as elements go, there is no adiaphora, no middle ground. The realm of adiaphora lies entirely within circumstances of worship, not elements. Religious holidays such as Advent and Christmas were in fact some of the primary targets of the Puritans who advocated the RPW. 

Here is more than you probably want to know about the RPW and Christmas: http://reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/xmas.htm

My Blog: www.sacredpage.wordpress.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

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Thanks!

Thanks again, Brenda!

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Midweek service day really that important?

Paul J. Scharf wrote:

I think this is an appropriate place to mention a concern that I have felt for several years now – moving the midweek service to Tuesday night during the week before Thanksgiving.

Is this not an accommodation to the culture? I grew up attending church on Thanksgiving morning. Now we have to be done with the "churchly" aspects of Thanksgiving by Tuesday??

I'm always astounded when Baptist churches, which have the practice of holding midweek services on Wednesday night all year, switch it to Tuesday the one week of the year when going to church on Wednesday night might actually carry spiritual weight. Is this essentially different than moving a Sunday night service so people can enjoy the Super Bowl? I think not.

By the way, how successful is this move anyway? I know it helps the travelers (at least half of them – the ones who are leaving), but it certainly doesn't help the masses who are trying to cram a five-day work week into three days. Have you noticed that our mainline counterparts often hold services on Thanksgiving Eve before full houses of worship??

Some turkey and dressing for thought Smile

Our church was one of those that moved the service.  Why?  Well, because a number of our families were traveling to visit relatives, others were meeting/picking up relatives coming into town, and we could easily accommodate that by moving the service.  That allowed us to have more people present, and to concentrate on prayer and testimony to remind us to have the right emphasis during Thanksgiving.  Quite a bit different than moving a service to allow easier Super Bowl watching (that service has never been moved since I've been attending this church).

I fail to see how moving the day is anything more than "one esteemeth one day above another, and another esteemeth every day alike."

I would also be a fan of having a short break/snacks after the Sunday morning service, and then continuing with the "evening" service rather than returning at night.  We keep more of our folks on the days we do do that (about 4 times a year), and the older people who do not like to drive at night can just stay on.  I suppose that would also be seen as compromise "to allow more TV watching at night."  I've also attended other churches where this is the regular practice and the number of people in the 2nd service is almost as many as in the morning service, and people really have time to fellowship a bit between services rather than run off to eat and come back just in time for the evening service.

Do I understand that your main complaint is that some want to work late on Tuesday night and then can't?  Wow.

Dave Barnhart

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@ Charlie

Thanks for the info.  I was still thinking through this last night and had not resolved everything yet. 

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Reply to dcbii

I have no problem with having church on a different night of the week – nor with having a creative schedule on Sunday, even Super Bowl Sunday.

Personally, I just do not like the Tuesday night Thanksgiving service thing and don't think it serves people well.

In the larger picture, it certainly seems like an accommodation to "the culture" – as much as any I see in Fundamentalism – that we don't have time for Thanksgiving after Tuesday night. Maybe it's a cultural thing; some folks don't like having church on Christmas Eve or Good Friday, either. I've known Fundamentalists who seem to think that having those services are almost marks of apostasy. Personally, I take a different approach.

I was speaking somewhat tongue-in-cheek to say that it's ironic that IFB churches that promote Wednesday night services all year long don't have time for it on the night before Thanksgiving.

And, by the way, not everyone who works late on Tuesday night is doing it because they want to. That night has no meaning at all in the secular culture, and lots of things are scheduled for that evening before people wind down for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Eve does have religious significance in the culture, at least where I live, and lots of people are going to church that night. So I don't think I'm just sucking this out of my thumb, as they say. Smile

The views I express are purely my own. However, I am happy to promote the great ministries with which I work: I minister for www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb. I do freelance writing for www.RegularBaptistPress.org. I speak through www.IMISOS.org.

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Sic et non

Charlie,

Misrepresentation? I hope not! There have been plenty of people (Reformed and Baptist) who have articulated the Regulative principle as I did above.

You are correct that there are no adiaphora in the elements of worship. But I have not treated Christmas (or Advent) as elements of worship. In fact, I have specifically stated that they must not be imposed as elements. In this case, the element, or actually the content of the element, would be something like "reflection on the incarnation." Days like Advent and Christmas would simply be the circumstance. Perfectly permissible, as the majority of those who accept the RPW acknowledge.

Remember that Puritanism flourished within living memory of an imposed Romanism. That location does much to explain the vigor of the Puritan objections to Christmas. Under Romanism, both fasts and festivals were elements of worship, matters of faith, and mandatory observances. The Elizabethan settlement continued to perpetuate these mandates to some degree. The Puritans were reacting, not so much against the suggestion of taking a day or even a season to ponder a biblical truth corporately, but to the mandating of invented elements. I would share that objection.

The heirs of the Puritans have, to a very large degree, abandoned the prejudice against Christmas. Even its supposed (and unproven) association with ancient paganism doesn't bother some of them too much. See, for instance Steve Hays over at Reformation 21 and Triablogue.

God rest thee merry.

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Kevin T. Bauder wrote:Days

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:
Days like Advent and Christmas would simply be the circumstance. Perfectly permissible, as the majority of those who accept the RPW acknowledge.

I guess I'm still having trouble reconciling this particularly.  I think it would be hard to categorize Advent and Christmas as a circumstance, which, in anything I've read on the RPW, includes the incidentals of where/when/etc the elements are conducted but doesn't includes the content.  Reflection on the incarnation is, of course, positively unobjectionable and would be a natural component of a sermon based on many, many texts, John 1:1ff, for instance.  And a sermon on such a text preached during December would likely also be unobjectionable.

But depending on how formally such a season or day is observed, I think a line may be crossed.  If Romans 14, one of the foundational passages of the RPW, expressly addresses esteeming one day above another, I don't see how a pastor could say of a Dec 23 service, "This is a day we set aside for the commemoration and celebration of the birth of our Lord . . ." without violating Romans 14.

Especially in light of this description of the liturgical year:

In the context of the liturgical year the term "ordinary" does not mean "usual or average." Ordinary here means "not seasonal." Ordinary Time is that part of the Liturgical Year that lies outside the seasons of Lent-Easter and Advent-Christmas. In Ordinary Time, the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ not in one specific aspect but in all its aspects.

(from http://www.cyberfaith.com/calendar/ordinary.html)

Since the full mystery of Christ and the Gospel may be contemplated/celebrated year round in response to their particulars as found in the passage at hand for the week, wouldn't imposing a season of anticipation followed by some weeks of celebration of a specific aspect essentially impose a differentiation of the days?

I understand I'm construing according to the strictest reading of the passages/application of the RPW, but I think it is helpful to "test the boundaries" and see how these things hold up.

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Jim and Jim

Jim,

I think I was probably writing to Jim, and not to you. But either way, I was happy for the interaction.

If you see Jim, tell him I said "hi."

Kevin

PS When I was a kid, I was the only person I new named Kevin. I didn't know any adults with the name. So I just assumed that kids named Kevin had their names changed a some point. I used to wonder what they'd call me when I grew up. I was hoping that maybe it would be Jim.

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It is only a "when" question

David,

That’s just the point. The content of Christmas (e.g.) is not the circumstance. It is an element, or (better) the content of other elements, that are biblically prescribed. Preaching, praying, singing are prescribed elements. We could in principle use them to focus upon the Incarnation at any time.

The only thing that sets Christmas apart is the “when.” We simply purpose to do things at this particular time that we could equally well do at any time. We do not impose this choice upon others, any more than we are imposing something on others when we decide that our church will meet at 10:00 on Sunday morning. It is no more an imposition than having the selection of hymns and the sermon prepared in advance of the service.

We have no right to impose an element, but we do have a right to agree upon a circumstance. When a church agrees upon a circumstance, it is not an imposition. In the case of Christmas, I think that there are good reasons for us to agree (circumstantially) that the best time for this focus is around midwinter.

As for the introduction of the liturgical calendar and the distinction involving ordinary time: it is probably extraneous to this discussion. You don’t have to keep a full church year in order to observe a few holidays (though, again, as a matter of circumstance I believe that it would be permissible to observe the full calendar). Even the Reformed, however, retain at least a vestigial awareness of the distinction between sacred and profane. There is, or ought to be, something different about the time that we spend in corporate worship as opposed to the time that we spend in vocation and recreation. But that’s another subject.

What we must NOT do is to confuse the Christmas of Dickens and Thomas Nast with the Christian observance.

Bah! Humbug!

 

-->

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Kevin T. Bauder wrote:As for

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:
As for the introduction of the liturgical calendar and the distinction involving ordinary time: it is probably extraneous to this discussion. You don’t have to keep a full church year in order to observe a few holidays (though, again, as a matter of circumstance I believe that it would be permissible to observe the full calendar). Even the Reformed, however, retain at least a vestigial awareness of the distinction between sacred and profane. There is, or ought to be, something different about the time that we spend in corporate worship as opposed to the time that we spend in vocation and recreation. But that’s another subject.

What we must NOT do is to confuse the Christmas of Dickens and Thomas Nast with the Christian observance.

Bah! Humbug

Hi Dr. Bauder,

My only purpose in referencing the commentary on the liturgical calendar was in highlighting the potential for such assignment of days and seasons to attain "esteeming-one-day-above-another" status.  I understand that you are asserting that saying, "We'll specifically purpose to remember the incarnation each Sunday beginning in late November and finishing up in January," is no different from saying, "We'll meet for worship at 10:00 am each Sunday."   

Thanks for your time in clarifying.    And of course I agree with your statement on celebrating the proper Christmas (if one is going to celebrate it.)

Thanks again.

David.
 

Phil Siefkes's picture
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Tue, 6/2/09
Posts: 23
Things Indifferent

Should you desire to read a bit more on the Regulative Principle, I found Iain Murray's "Scripture and Things Indifferent" to be helpful.  You can find in it Puritan Papers 1963-1964 (3:21-50) available here.

Discipling God's image-bearers to the glory of God.

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