Contemporary Authors against Christmas

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
I just saw that Sinclair Ferguson has a couple of Advent devotionals and thought: Are there any contemporary “big name” reformed pastors/authors who have written against Christmas, Easter, and various other man-made holy days (even our beloved Reformation Day)?
 

alexanderjames

Puritan Board Freshman
I guess it depends on how you define "big name"..
I doubt you'd find any considerably big name authors being outspoken against it.

Personally I gave up on following popular "big eva" and internet (or otherwise) famous Christians a while ago.
 

CGS

Puritan Board Freshman
A bit off the specific topic...but I have often wished that there was some type of RPW apologetics book that was brief and written specifically for a layman/unacademic audience. Just something very basic and high level that I could give to family, friends, other church members to help them understand the RPW and how it applies to holidays, EP, instruments, special music, choirs, wine vs grape juice, images of Christ, etc. So...when they look at me like I'm from Mars because I just told them that Christians should not observe Christmas, or have choirs or use grape juice, etc...I can give them a brief defense of those views to read. There are Puritan works and lengthy, scholarly essays - such as the CPJ article that Chris referenced above which is an excellent resource - but these are not something that my 87 year old mom, or a young college person, or even some of my friends would be willing to devote the time to reading. If anyone knows of a resource like this, please let me know. If not, I'm sure there are some men on these board who could write one. :)
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
A bit off the specific topic...but I have often wished that there was some type of RPW apologetics book that was brief and written specifically for a layman/unacademic audience. Just something very basic and high level that I could give to family, friends, other church members to help them understand the RPW and how it applies to holidays, EP, instruments, special music, choirs, wine vs grape juice, images of Christ, etc. So...when they look at me like I'm from Mars because I just told them that Christians should not observe Christmas, or have choirs or use grape juice, etc...I can give them a brief defense of those views to read. There are Puritan works and lengthy, scholarly essays - such as the CPJ article that Chris referenced above which is an excellent resource - but these are not something that my 87 year old mom, or a young college person, or even some of my friends would be willing to devote the time to reading. If anyone knows of a resource like this, please let me know. If not, I'm sure there are some men on these board who could write one. :)
I read this book a few years back. It's very brief and teaches the regulative principle. Our pastor would encourage members to read it to understand why we worship the way we do. Even at its most basic definition, I think the RPW is still so difficult for Christians who are not familiar with it because it is such a foreign teaching in our culture. It's like the mind needs to be reprogrammed to comprehend it.

 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
I read this book a few years back. It's very brief and teaches the regulative principle. Our pastor would encourage members to read it to understand why we worship the way we do. Even at its most basic definition, I think the RPW is still so difficult for Christians who are not familiar with it because it is such a foreign teaching in our culture. It's like the mind needs to be reprogrammed to comprehend it.

Does he get into specifics like what @CGS mentioned? Holidays, EP, choirs, etc?
 

CGS

Puritan Board Freshman
Dr. Johnson is not EP so don't think he goes there; being against the old pretended holy days is also so minority the general type rpw works don't go there. One of the better general and brief pamphlets is the late Dr. Bogue's but again, does not go there. https://www.all-of-grace.org/pub/others/lawworship.html
Yes, this is the problem I have found with most of these introductory type RPW books. They do a pretty good job of defining the RPW, but then are terrible on the application of it. Another recent example is Derek Thomas's book on Reformed worship. He claims to follow the RPW, but then his church uses uninspired hymns, has an organ, choir, observes pretended holy days, etc. And then there's Sproul. I hear that alot. "Well...if Sproul said Christmas is the holiest of days and he had images of Christ in his church, then how can it be a violation of the RPW?" I have found a few good older articles from Blue Banner, G.I. Williamson, etc. in regards to "holy days". I will post links to them later when I have more time.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Junior
As I routinely comment in these threads because it is such a common mistake, the RPW tells you nothing about the content of worship, any more than the inerrancy of Scripture tells you about the deity of Christ. The RPW as such just tells you that we should only worship in ways commanded (directly or by good and necessary inference) from the Word. What the Bible teaches about worship has to b determined by proper exegesis of the relevant passages. That is why you can have a variety of people who sincerely hold to the RPW but worship in very different ways. What you are looking for is books that do exgesis of Scripture on the topic of worship, not books about the RPW (though there could be an overlap).
 

CGS

Puritan Board Freshman
As I routinely comment in these threads because it is such a common mistake, the RPW tells you nothing about the content of worship, any more than the inerrancy of Scripture tells you about the deity of Christ. The RPW as such just tells you that we should only worship in ways commanded (directly or by good and necessary inference) from the Word. What the Bible teaches about worship has to b determined by proper exegesis of the relevant passages. That is why you can have a variety of people who sincerely hold to the RPW but worship in very different ways. What you are looking for is books that do exgesis of Scripture on the topic of worship, not books about the RPW (though there could be an overlap).
Agreed...good reminder and point of clarification. Thank you.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
There is a whole class of Reformed and Presbyterian works against worship abuses generated during the Puritan era, such as Gillespie's Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies, and of course at controversies that have successively come up as folks introduce innovation, Watt's imitations, the organ controversy, the renewed interest of the church calendar, though' the last seems to have washed in with little resistance in what Dabney would call an "advancing wave of worldliness and ritualism in the evangelical bodies."
 

alexanderjames

Puritan Board Freshman
There is a whole class of Reformed and Presbyterian works against worship abuses generated during the Puritan era, such as Gillespie's Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies, and of course at controversies that have successively come up as folks introduce innovation, Watt's imitations, the organ controversy, the renewed interest of the church calendar, though' the last seems to have washed in with little resistance in what Dabney would call an "advancing wave of worldliness and ritualism in the evangelical bodies."
What other works do you have in mind please (aside from Gillespie)?
 

Megs

Puritan Board Freshman
Not a big name (?) but Brian Schwertley's "The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas" helped me understand the RPW when I was trying to wrap my head around it. It doesn't look like it's available free online anymore.

At one time, I actually printed out tons of articles on the RPW and Christmas and bound them because it took a while to wrap my head around the doctrine (I was raised Anglican). Unfortunately, most of those articles are no longer even on the internet!
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior

What is the Regulative Principle of Worship?​

The Bible tells us to worship the one true and living God, to the exclusion of all the idols of false religion. The Bible also tells us what to do in His worship – that is the Regulative Principle. God has not left His church free to invent her own worship. Rather, He has laid down in His Word exactly what is to be done. The Reformed and Biblical principle is that what is not commanded is not allowed in divine worship (Deut. 12:32 and Matt. 28:20).

The Second Commandment begins: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Ex. 20:4). The Shorter Catechism rightly explains that this forbids “the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in His Word” (Q. 51). Everything in worship must have divine warrant drawn from Scripture. Nothing else must be added.

-from the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Website


 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Junior
Not sure if he's considered "big name" anymore (or ever was, outside our small circles), but A.N. Martin has a very good series on Sermonaudio titled "Christmas and the Christian," which explores at least the topic of holy days, and morphs into instruction on Christian Liberty. It was helpful to me in furthering my understanding of the RPW and holy days.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Not a big name (?) but Brian Schwertley's "The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas" helped me understand the RPW when I was trying to wrap my head around it. It doesn't look like it's available free online anymore.

At one time, I actually printed out tons of articles on the RPW and Christmas and bound them because it took a while to wrap my head around the doctrine (I was raised Anglican). Unfortunately, most of those articles are no longer even on the internet!
Megs, If you still have it, could you give a list of the tiles you collected?
 
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