DRAKE SHELTON SAID:
Reasons why I cannot celebrate Christmas:
1. Diminish the importance of the Lord's day.
2. Monuments of past by idolatry.
3. Idols themselves.
4. God commands that we work on common days and if there is no prohibition to work, such as the Sabbath, we are commanded to work and redeem the time (Exo 20:9, Eph 5:16).
5. Duet 12:29-32; Holy days such as Christmas are not simply traditional days for public remembrance, heritage or civil celebration but are synchristic acts of religious worship that combine elements of Christianity and paganism.
6. Not just a family day, but more solemn and religious than the weekly Sabbath.
7. The Lord’s Day is given to remember all of Christ’s work and has apostolic authority in it’s practice. No other day commemorating any other work of Christ is commanded or practiced by apostolic example and therefore forbidden.
8. Relics of idolatry are never to be Christianized as the Roman religion seeks. Therefore, our relationship to Christmas trees is at least analogous to what Hezekiah did to the brazen serpent that had of late been used in superstitious worship (2 Kings 18:4). He did not baptize it, he destroyed it.
9. Christmas DayThe day Jesus died is referred to as the Passover in John 18:39. This celebration begins after sundown on the 14th day of Nisan which on our calendar would be in the middle of March. According to Daniel 9:24-27 there are 70 weeks (Weeks are periods of seven years) determined for Israel. There are 69 weeks from the building of the temple to Messiah. The Messiah’s ministry is in the midst of the 70th week and an in the middle of this week he is killed and his death puts an end to the sacrificial system (Mat 27:51). Therefore, his ministry began at the end of the 69th week and continued until the middle of the 70th week, making his ministry exactly 3 and _ years in duration. Jesus began his ministry when he was 30 (Luk 3:23) years old as was tradition among the Levite priests from the command of God in the law (Num 4:3). Therefore, his death was in mid March; 6 months before mid March is mid September and three years before that is obviously mid September. He began his ministry the same time as his 30th birthday, therefore he was born in the month of September not even close to December 25th . 10. Jesus was born and in the same day was lying in a manger (Luke 2:16). After eight days he received circumcision (vs
21). Even as Mat 2:1 and the context reveal, the magi who came bearing gifts came much later after his birthday; as is added by Mat 2:11 they found him in a house as compared with his manger birth. These were not birthday gifts and it was not the first Christmas celebration.
God commands that those things that are associated with idolatry be destroyed. Duet 12:29-32, Isa 30:22, Jude 23, Exo 34:13, Duet 7:25, Num 33:52, Rev 2:14, 20 (knowingly), Gen 35:4, 2 Kings 10:22-28, 2 Kings 23: 4, 5, 6, 7 ,2 Chron 23:15, Dan 1:8, 2 Kings 16:4, 10, 2 Chron 13:9, Exo 23:13, Duet 12:3,30, Josh 23:7. The purpose of this is so these religions will be forgotten and God's people will not ensnared by them. So, we determine what needs to be destroyed by this standard: could this thing that was used for idolatry of itself remind some person to return to that idolatry or of itself be a path back to it. Historical Examples: Chrysostom had temples of idols destroyed in Phoenicia; Constantine did not destroy the temples of the idols when he came into power and because of this Julian the Apostate was able to resurrect these idolatries. [EPC, 165] Angelic Virginity They say that they do that which the fathers have done. Yet Hezekiah breaks the brazen serpent which Moses had made. [2 Kings 18:4.]
I take it from Drake’s profile that he’s a student at Greenville Presbyterian Seminary.
1. A basic problem with Drake’s argument is that it seems to be a cut-n-paste objection to Christmas which isn’t responsive to the specific arguments that Jason and I have deployed. As such, Drake isn’t bothering to engage the actual state of the argument. As such, much of what he says can be safely ignored inasmuch as his argument ignores much of what we have said.
However, I’ll touch on a few points:
2. The issue of distancing ourselves from any idolatrous connotations is complex. For instance, Gen. Booth, when he founded the Salvation Army, ditched literal observance of baptism and communion because these sacraments had acquired so many idolatrous associations over the course of church history. He was reacting to high-church sacramentalism. Was he right?
We could say the same thing about Sunday worship. Given the traditional association between Sunday worship and the Mass, should Protestants avoid Sunday worship to avoid complicity with multiplied centuries of Roman Catholic syncretism? And it isn’t just a thing of the past.
3. Are we required to work nonstop six days a week, month after month?
If a husband celebrates his wedding anniversary, is he breaking the 4th commandment?
Suppose we take this a step further. Suppose, once a month, a married couple drop their kids off with the grandparents so that they can have a day together, just to spend in each other’s company. To give each other their undivided attention. Enjoy the time together. Is that a wasteful stewardship of their God-given time?
Likewise, suppose a father has three growing sons. Suppose, three or four times a year he takes a week off to take his sons camping, so that his growing sons will have some undivided “dad time.” He wants to have that quality time with his sons before they grow up and leave home. Is that a wasteful stewardship of his God-given time?
4. I can’t say that I ever harbored worshipful feelings towards a Christmas tree. Does Drake feel sorely tempted to bow down and worship a Christmas tree whenever he happens to find himself in the unwelcome presence of the offending tree? Must he resist an overpowering urge to do obeisance to the tree?