One was more than a little disappointed to read the current Ref21 website headline article, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Mr. Hays, (which has since been superseded by an article on the Newton school shooting. Digging around even further, we did find two excellent articles by Roy Blackwood, Reforming Your Bible Study and The Exercise.)
While it is well enough written as far as it goes, it evades the real question regarding the celebration of Christmas among evangelically confessional churches, at least the presbyterian. IOW “invidious associations” of paganism, popery or partying upon the holiday are not of the essence of a principled concern or objection from Scripture.
Rather the P&R churches, contra the Lutheran or Anglican, understand the good and necessary consequences of the Second Commandment to be that ‘whatsoever is not commanded – explicitly or implicitly in Scripture – is forbidden in the worship of God’. In other words, what is called the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW). Thus the Larger, Shorter and Heidelberg Catechisms on the Second Commandment and the Westminster Confession Chapt. 21 On Religious Worship, if not also the Belgic Confession Art. 32 Of the Order and Discipline of the Church.
Consequently as the Appendix to the Westminster Assembly’s Directory of Worship states, “Festival days, vulgarly called Holy-days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued”. “No warrant” as in “uncommanded”. And if uncommanded, forbidden.
Again, while we are commanded in Scripture to observe Christ’s resurrection once a week, not once a year at Easter – that is after all the reason for the switch from the seventh to the first day when it comes to the 4th commandment – and his death in the Lord’s Supper, we are never commanded to observe or celebrate his birth whatever the associations it might have for us, sentimentally or culturally notwithstanding.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012