Private Observance: The RPW & the Home

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David073

Puritan Board Freshman
This question is for those who do not observe xmas:

For those who believe that the private observance of xmas and/or the private cultural observance of xmas is a violation of the RPW could you please explain how with scripture? Thank you!

(To be clear what I mean by “cultural observance” is the decorating of the home with lights, a tree, an exchanging of gifts, etc., but without any religiosity to it.)


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Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
I dont celebrate it in any sense. I don't think the RPW is necessarily relevant to the private/cultural aspects - it's just pagan idolatry that we shouldn't be involved with (and blasphemous). The RPW comes into play as an additional (not separate) concern when it gets mixed up with worship, which typically happens in the public setting, though I suppose it is relevant too if one was inclined to the superstition as part of private or family worship.

Basically, in worship / public, it's a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th commandment concern. In private / culturally it is principally just a 1st and 3rd commandment concern.

That's my take.
 

David073

Puritan Board Freshman
I dont celebrate it in any sense. I don't think the RPW is necessarily relevant to the private/cultural aspects - it's just pagan idolatry that we shouldn't be involved with (and blasphemous). The RPW comes into play as an additional (not separate) concern when it gets mixed up with worship, which typically happens in the public setting, though I suppose it is relevant too if one was inclined to the superstition as part of private or family worship.

Basically, in worship / public, it's a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th commandment concern. In private / culturally it is principally just a 1st and 3rd commandment concern.

That's my take.

That was very helpful, thank you! Could you please further explain how observing the cultural aspects of xmas violates the 1st and 3rd commandments? There are many who would consider the observance of that day culturally as the same as someone observing birthdays (as far as the exchanging/giving of gifts and decorating the home accordingly, etc.). What’s your view on that take?


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jw

Administrator
Monuments of past idolatry (brought forward to prominence by antichrist), for one. Associating something to a lie (i.e. Dec. 25th being the birth of Christ). Multiple other implications, applications, and considerations of the commandments, and aggravations there against. We are dissociate from works of darkness, lament where we’ve failed, and endeavor to repent from such carnal -howsoever well-meaning or not- meddling in the worship of God, secret, private, or public.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
We don't celebrate in the home (though we will join with family for meals this time of year and try to keep it nothing beyond that), but our concerns are not with the Regulative Principle of Worship. It seems there is so much syncretism with xmas and find it easier to avoid the whole lot of it.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
To make sure we do not forget - the Christ Mass is not just a monument of past idolatry, but due to papal antichrist and others - it is a monument of present idolatry too that derived from the imposition of the unlawful use of Church power in legislating illegitimate "holy days" and binding the people to observe them. This day's blasphemy continues to grow throughout my land (the United States) - as the last survey I read showed the Roman Catholic church increases while the Protestant churches decrease.

So, while this is not a strict RPW issue, to celebrate this monument of idolatry should be grievous to us all on multiple fronts.
 

jw

Administrator
To make sure we do not forget - the Christ Mass is not just a monument of past idolatry, but due to papal antichrist and others - it is a monument of present idolatry too that derived from the imposition of the unlawful use of Church power in legislating illegitimate "holy days" and binding the people to observe them. This day's blasphemy continues to grow throughout my land (the United States) - as the last survey I read showed the Roman Catholic church increases while the Protestant churches decrease.

So, while this is not a strict RPW issue, to celebrate this monument of idolatry should be grievous to us all on multiple fronts.
True, but typing from a phone is exhausting! ;) Hopefully, using lesser-to-greater reasoning will help bring out more implications.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
That was very helpful, thank you! Could you please further explain how observing the cultural aspects of xmas violates the 1st and 3rd commandments? There are many who would consider the observance of that day culturally as the same as someone observing birthdays (as far as the exchanging/giving of gifts and decorating the home accordingly, etc.). What’s your view on that take?


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The first because it is participation in the superstitions of a false religion, namely Paganism.

The third because it is an abuse of that by which Christ makes himself known, that is, of his name.

It is more akin to celebrating Diwali or Eid than celebrating a birthday.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Invites to family get togethers are something I still do if not every year, though I'm far less inclined since losing both my mom and the old homestead which was sort of the glue for such things for far flung family to travel here. So the event has shrunk considerably. But this year after two hard close family losses, I'm more inclined, though some things have to be put up with I'd rather not. As folks get older and gatherings fewer and smaller you sort of don't want to pass any up. However, Covid may have other plans since it may currently be moving through our church. All that to say, you should do surgery on such things with a scalpel and not a meat cleaver.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
We do not celebrate "Christmas" in any religious sense, and we try to do away with the things that I still perceive as monuments of idolatry. (We don't have a tree for example). I do not know how decorating a home with snowmen, pine cones, etc. are necessarily idolatrous however. Nor am I convinced that eating with family on the 25th necessarily indicates a compromise of principles. Others may differ, and I think we all will come down in slightly different places even while holding the same principle. It is possible to be gracious to others in matters of conscience and still hold such things strongly.
 

jw

Administrator
We do not celebrate "Christmas" in any religious sense, and we try to do away with the things that I still perceive as monuments of idolatry. (We don't have a tree for example). I do not know how decorating a home with snowmen, pine cones, etc. are necessarily idolatrous however. Nor am I convinced that eating with family on the 25th necessarily indicates a compromise of principles. Others may differ, and I think we all will come down in slightly different places even while holding the same principle. It is possible to be gracious to others in matters of conscience and still hold such things strongly.
A man's gotta eat. ;)
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
We had a really difficult situation this year in which the annual family reunion for this time of year was held this past Lord's day. This, following on the sad loss of my husband's sister this past summer. It was a very emotional time for all the siblings, of course. My husband went by there after church, as he believed that for him to not go would cause unnecessary harm, and I didn't go. We had asked the family not to hold events like this on the Lord's day; they think that's a matter of our being overly scrupulous about church attendance. (There are conversations about the Lord's day that need to be had and I regret that they weren't had long before this.)

Next year, Dec. 25 falls on the Lord's day. It becomes even more obvious then the competition this idolatrous festival makes with Christ.
 

jw

Administrator
We had a really difficult (for me) situation this year in which the annual family reunion for this time of year was held this past Lord's day. This, following on the sad loss of my husband's sister this past summer. It was a very emotional time for all the siblings, of course. My husband went by there after church, as he believed that for him to not go would cause unnecessary harm, and I didn't go. We had asked the family not to hold events like this on the Lord's day; they think that's a matter of our being overly scrupulous about church attendance. (There are conversations about the Lord's day that need to be had and I regret that they weren't had long before this.)

Next year, Dec. 25 falls on the Lord's day. It becomes even more obvious then the competition this idolatrous festival makes with Christ.
Compare what it looks like outside this coming Saturday, shops closed, restaurants empty, etc. to what it will look like this coming LORD’s Day, with shops open galore, crowds thronging restaurants, demanding refills. The stark contrast only demonstrates the truth that the doctrines and commandments of men always serve to push out the commandments of God.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
Compare what it looks like outside this coming Saturday, shops closed, restaurants empty, etc. to what it will look like this coming LORD’s Day, with shops open galore, crowds thronging restaurants, demanding refills. The stark contrast only demonstrates the truth that the doctrines and commandments of men always serve to push out the commandments of God.

The sad part is it is not just in the civil sphere. My parents attend on of the huge dispensational/calvinistic-ish churches in Dallas. They cancel services every year on the Sabbath closest to the 25th.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor

^addresses in application private observance.
 

jw

Administrator
The sad part is it is not just in the civil sphere. My parents attend on of the huge dispensational/calvinistic-ish churches in Dallas. They cancel services every year on the Sabbath closest to the 25th.
That the visible church is not making the connection between 1) the LORD shutting down churches across the land, thereby raising a dearth of His word on the sabbath day, and 2) the widespread idolatry in our churches, is a matter of great grief. We’ve had an even more palpable species of such a famine occur within the last 1.5 years with very little acknowledgment as to the First Cause.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior

^addresses in application private observance.

Probably the best (contemporary) sermon on the topic I have heard.

Next year, I look forward to preaching against the Christ Mass on Dec. 25th as it falls on the Lord's Day, including against private observation.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
We had a really difficult situation this year in which the annual family reunion for this time of year was held this past Lord's day. This, following on the sad loss of my husband's sister this past summer. It was a very emotional time for all the siblings, of course. My husband went by there after church, as he believed that for him to not go would cause unnecessary harm, and I didn't go. We had asked the family not to hold events like this on the Lord's day; they think that's a matter of our being overly scrupulous about church attendance. (There are conversations about the Lord's day that need to be had and I regret that they weren't had long before this.)

Next year, Dec. 25 falls on the Lord's day. It becomes even more obvious then the competition this idolatrous festival makes with Christ.
We repeatedly have this struggle with my husband's brothers. They will call several times for each event and ask why we put church over family.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
So it's saying Protestant churches are losing members, while Catholic churches are gaining? Wow that's interesting.


"Though Protestants remain the largest group, most of the drop in religious affiliation has come from their ranks. Some 40% of Americans now identify as protestant, compared with 43% in 2019 and 52% in 2007. Other religious groups have remained relatively stable over the past two years. Catholics make up 21% of the adult population, up 1 percentage point from 2019."

From: https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-a...G5uvWVNh5jbPMabGWP_tVVN432kYCYV60ILzdhkUAgSqc
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
(To be clear what I mean by “cultural observance” is the decorating of the home with lights, a tree, an exchanging of gifts, etc., but without any religiosity to it.)

Being purely cultural, it seems no different than visiting war memorials on Memorial Day or setting off fireworks on Independence Day.

It is connected to a religious day so I'm not sure you can say it is without any religiosity. Maybe similar to yoga. Is it just stretching or is the fact that it is connected to Hinduism make the activities somewhat religious?
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
We should protest false worship. The religious observance of Christmas is false worship by the RPW. The various cultural activities are tied to the religious observance and even viewed as part of the religious observance by many. Taking part in these activities weakens the protest against the religious observance, since taking part in these activities shows by one's actions that one does not have so great a desire to see the religious observance abolished that one will take part in activities that are associated with the existence of the pretended holy day. That is, taking part in these activities, since the activities are tied to the existence of the holy day/season, legitmizes the existence of the holy day/season by one's actions, which is the opposite action that one should take if one is to protest the holy day's existence. Let us keep ourselves from idols, not merely from the worship of idols but from idols altogether (even when we do not partake of the idolatry itself).
 

CJW

Puritan Board Freshman
I was overjoyed when I discovered the RPW and that all that fluffy stuff which happened in mid-December wasn’t required of me! I have an extremely low tolerance for extraneous work and bother placed upon me by cultural ‘norms,’ but since I was taught and had always believed it was a required Christian holyday I went along. Now that I’m free of that shackle of modern materialism, advertising, and sentimentality, I have zero desire to return to that particular Egypt.

If folks like that sort of fluffy stuff, I’m fine, but do wish they’d pick another date, like the Ides of March or something, so as not to confuse people. I find it very difficult to separate the fluffy stuff from the idolatry. If it’s just twinkly lights and a family get together, I don’t know why you need a Popish and pagan calendar day to do it.

Apologies that I have no scripture argument! Perhaps, ‘learn not the way of the pagan’ best sums it up for me.

Blessings!


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