From TFan’s blog:
I've noticed that there are a number of Christmas-related posts over at Triablogue (link to said posts). I admit I have not read the posts carefully (and some are just for fun)
True, some are just for fun.
In fact, I would not have even thought to mention their posts at all, had not one kind reader privately messaged me indicating that he believed Triablogue's posts were directed at me in some way (something I could not find in my quick perusal of the tagged Triablogue posts).
None of my posts is directed at TFan. The precipitating event was a post that Jason did in response to a post by snake-in-the-grass James McGrath (which was, in turn, plugged by snake-in-plain-view John Loftus at DC).
Jason’s post generated some negative feedback, at which point I began to do some posting on the subject.
I did use Scott Clark as a foil for some of my posting.
…I have not seen any advocating the idea that the church is permitted to make December 25 a holy day of obligation or arguing that God has requested that we honor Jesus' birth with a holiday. If Triablogue were to hold those positions, I would find it pressing to engage with their posts. I trust that both non-Reformed and Reformed members of Triablogue would agree with me that no church has the right to impose on the conscience a duty to celebrate Christmas, and that God has nowhere indicated that he wishes to be worshiped by an annual feast of the nativity.
This gets to the nub of the issue:
I can only speak for myself:
i) Since the celebration of Christmas is not an implicit or explicit divine injunction, I don’t regard the celebration of Christmas as a religious duty.
ii) Different Christians find different things edifying or unedifying. Some Christians opt out of Christmas entirely. Some Christians celebrate certain aspects of the traditional Christian package, but avoid others. That’s a point of liberty.
iii) Denominations and independent churches are free associations. Within that context, members can assume voluntary obligations. That’s by mutual consent. It’s like any human compact.
By the same token, participants can change their mind. Withdraw their consent. It’s not a blood pact which the hellhounds enforce.
In that qualified sense, I supposed a holiday could be a “day of obligation.” But that’s conditional. Contingent on prior consent. It can be nullified at will–although that shouldn’t be done capriciously or frivolously.
iv) Ironically, my own position is laxer than the traditional Dutch-Reformed position, where Christmas was a “day of obligation.” In Holland, way back when, the Reformed church was the state church, and it could impose Christmas as a “day of obligation.” Or so I understand.
So that presents something of a dilemma for “Confessional Calvinists” who take Reformed tradition as their touchstone.
I myself am admittedly a Biblicist. So that doesn’t present a dilemma for my own position.