December 10, 2005

Skipping Christmas Part II

Clif Pointed to Perry Nobles post so I just wanted to make some comments about his comments.

First this is a silly controversy at some level. God will not ask us about our decisions to open on one particular Sunday before allowing entrance into the eternal Kingdom, and so as such who really cares. What it points to, however, are deeper issues of ecclesiology that have, in my mind, done damage to the way we think about church in general.

Perry's points were:

1. there is not a biblical mandate to open church on Christmas day when it’s on a Sunday.
2. We are worshiping on the 23rd and 24th and that’s enough.
3. People have a life outside the church

Ok here goes, first the idea that we need a biblical mandate to do those things that the church has deemed important to do for 2000 years is ridiculous. There is no biblical mandate to baptize infants but we have been doing it for 2,000 years (I hear my Baptists brethren wailing and that’s the point) There is no biblical mandate to have church on Sunday at all, yet it is the consensus day of worship for 2,000 years, There are hundreds of things that we do as Christians that are not biblically mandated. This is of course where some strains of Protestantism have become so iconoclastic that they have forgotten the importance of church tradition. I would think you would be hard pressed to find a Catholic Church that has ever failed to celebrate mass on any Sunday Especially Christmas Day.

2. Ok Pope John Paul regularly performed mass at midnight on Christmas Eve then got up the next morning and had Christmas Day services....Give me a break we can never worship God enough.

3. And to the point that people have a life outside the Church ah, this is the biggest flaw I see in Perry's reasoning. What is the Chief End of Man...? To Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever, by buying in to the idea of a separation between the sacred and the secular we are intimating that there are more important things....like family...than the worship of the Savior on the day we celebrate his birth. This is one of our two High Holy Days, can you imagine any other faith failing to show up at a place of worship on its most important day.

Bottom line is the 23rd is not Christmas Day; the 24th is not Christmas Day. The CHRIST MASS is to be celebrated on the 25th of December. It’s just the way it is, no biblical mandate, rather the mandate of our ancestors, our forefathers in the faith who would come back and slap us silly for even considering such a thing.

Basically I think the choice to close is mostly about Mega Church arrogance and historical ignorance. Back to the Catholics, one of the things I admire about them is that they would have a priest celebrate the Christmas Mass whether or not a single person showed up because the mass is about more than entertaining the masses.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Real Christianity begins where the church doors end.

Church attendance has always been a moot point; it is the life one lives and the decisions one makes (inside or out) that determine whether God is glorified or not.

Galatians 3:2. "How was it that you received the Spirit—was it by the practice of the Law, or by believing in the message you heard?"

Chuck Russell said...

Church attendance may be a moot point in todays consumer driven facilities we call church, but the gathering of believers is an unequivocal biblical mandate. God has chosen the Church to be THE vessel of His Glory so I beg to disagree...

Anonymous said...

Two requests:
1. What do you see as being the biblical definition of "the Church?" (Scripture references appreciated)
2. Do you have a reference for your last comment? (I'm not saying I disagree, just that I'm too lazy to look it up. :) )

My point is not to decrease the church, but to point out that the outward act of church attendance CANNOT please God because it is only an *outward* action. (Remember the Pharisees?) What you learn there and how you respond to others around you because of it, now that IS what God cares about.

If we could please God by obeying rules, then Christ died in vain. (See Galatians 2:21)

Chuck Russell said...

The church is the Body of Christ, it is the gathering of believers and its sort of emblazened on the whole of the new testemant so I wont bore you with 200 page refrences, second where do you get the idea that we cant do things that please God. Seems I remember Jesus saying something about sheep and goats and how the sheep did some things that the goats didnt and thats why they were inheriting eternal life. I dunno maybe us protestants dont like that passage or something.

Anonymous said...

And if Matthew 25:31-46 (the sheep and the goats) is the only passage you look at, it might be said that there are only five or six things you have to do to get to Heaven, ranging from feeding the hungry to visiting those in jail. Easy!

But if the key is in the doing, why was Jesus always blowing His top at the Pharisees who did ALL the right things according to the letter of the Law?

And why does Ephesians 2:8-9 say: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."

And how many verses can you reference indicating "the gathering of believers is an unequivocal biblical mandate?" (I'm not denying they're there, but for every one you list, I offer to list 10 on the importance of love.)

I will always be among the first to attempt to convince people that attending church is of the highest value in helping them live the Christian life--so long as they don't think that attending church IS living the Christian life!

That's why I say:
real Christianity begins where the church doors end. It is our daily actions, not our Sunday pastime.

Brett said...

"God will not ask us about our decisions to open on one particular Sunday before allowing entrance into the eternal Kingdom, and so as such who really cares." Be careful when using this argument. The logic is twisted and can be used to justify a multitude of sins.

Anonymous said...

See this post-- great perspective:

http://inside.growthtrac.com/inside/2005/12/megachurches_cl.html

Anonymous said...

Thats kind of a rehash of what I've heard elsewhere, frankly I've just concluded that Willow just dropped the ball on this one, didnt realize how stupid it was to close on CHRIST MASS day (The day we celebrate the Mass For Christ) and if they had it to do over again they probably wouldnt set such a ludicrous trend. It is materialistic, consumeristic, and human centered in its thinking and that is the dangerous trend for mega churches live and learn, if they do it again in 5 years then they should be called on the carpet.

Gina said...

If we read the scriptures carefully, Our Lord Jesus Christ, did not wish to be honoured above the Father, hence his birthday is not recorded in accuracy anywhere in scripture. Jesus' intention was not to honour any man above another. On earth he was a man...what he actually stood for was our Fathers' word and his love.And the faith in our redemption by beleiving on him. Christmas Day was introduced by the Roman Catholic Church at the same time time of the pagan Festival. The Romans beleived if they could introduce a festival at the same time the pagans were celebrating they may take them into the church. God's word says" Thou shalt have no other Gods before thee.." Even Santa Claus"...
Why does man and his ancestors insist on creating laws and rituals that are NOT from his word. Christmas is paganismn at its' best. Becareful and watchful.
May God bless you in search of his truth.