R.C. says nothing more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating His birthday...

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Tirian

Puritan Board Sophomore
I can't think of anything more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating His birthday every year. —R.C. Sproul

Source: https://www.facebook.com/Ligonier/posts/10153870123688115 and http://www.ligonier.org/blog/celebration-christmas-pagan-ritual/

"I wish we had more annual festivals. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, celebrates with great joy the Feast of the Ascension every year. Some Protestant bodies do, but most do not. I wish we would celebrate that great event in the life of Christ when He was raised up into heaven to be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. We celebrate His birth; we celebrate His death. I wish we would also celebrate His coronation."

I wish we had less celebrity Christians and a bigger view of Christ.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Or, if we must have celebrities, may they be true to Scripture. This is not a biblical view and embarrassing to see come from a Presbyterian; but then a less than Puritan view of the Sabbath seems to go along with a touting and pinning after days of our own creation.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
When it is conceded that there is no commandment to celebrate Christ's birth, this kind of overstatement is actually rather breathtaking.
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
If preachers would preach during the year on Christ's incarnation,then there would be no need to celebrate what is essentially a fictional introduction. A text like "a body hast thou prepared for me,"would keep a pastor going for a couple of months of sermon material.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I think Christ would be glorified much more if we observed the 52 annual festivals that he has appointed in his Word. It is not without significance that many churches will be open for business this morning, but will cancel their evening service this coming Sabbath. "You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. ... You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition." (Mark 7:8, 9)

On a lighter note, I was talking to someone in church about Christmas and said (in jest) "I only like the pagan bits!" To which he replied, "You are not missing out on much!" :rolleyes:
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
If preachers would preach during the year on Christ's incarnation,then there would be no need to celebrate what is essentially a fictional introduction. A text like "a body hast thou prepared for me,"would keep a pastor going for a couple of months of sermon material.

I wonder if the current obsession with expository preaching has, to some degree, fed the desire for holy days. Preaching that is little other than an endless running commentary on the books of the Bible, but which does not draw together the teaching of scripture on particular subjects may lead to a lack of emphasis upon the major doctrines of Christianity. That is one reason why I like the Dutch practice of Heidelberg Catechism preaching, as a congregation gets to hear the "whole counsel of God" once a year. Doing something similar in Presbyterian circles might negate at least one excuse for holy days.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Laying aside the argument of whether or not it is appropriate to celebrate Christmas, I cannot fathom how anyone could believe that nothing could be more pleasing to Christ. Really? Nothing?
 

Gforce9

Puritan Board Junior
If preachers would preach during the year on Christ's incarnation,then there would be no need to celebrate what is essentially a fictional introduction. A text like "a body hast thou prepared for me,"would keep a pastor going for a couple of months of sermon material.

I wonder if the current obsession with expository preaching has, to some degree, fed the desire for holy days. Preaching that is little other than an endless running commentary on the books of the Bible, but which does not draw together the teaching of scripture on particular subjects may lead to a lack of emphasis upon the major doctrines of Christianity. That is one reason why I like the Dutch practice of Heidelberg Catechism preaching, as a congregation gets to hear the "whole counsel of God" once a year. Doing something similar in Presbyterian circles might negate at least one excuse for holy days.

Daniel,
This is a perspective I had not considered before......thanks for sharing.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
If preachers would preach during the year on Christ's incarnation,then there would be no need to celebrate what is essentially a fictional introduction. A text like "a body hast thou prepared for me,"would keep a pastor going for a couple of months of sermon material.

I wonder if the current obsession with expository preaching has, to some degree, fed the desire for holy days. Preaching that is little other than an endless running commentary on the books of the Bible, but which does not draw together the teaching of scripture on particular subjects may lead to a lack of emphasis upon the major doctrines of Christianity. That is one reason why I like the Dutch practice of Heidelberg Catechism preaching, as a congregation gets to hear the "whole counsel of God" once a year. Doing something similar in Presbyterian circles might negate at least one excuse for holy days.

This is why the giving up of the evening worship service has possibly caused an effect on what we preach on and 'celebrate'. Think if you are preaching through Genesis and had no other sermon series. You are in Gen. for 2 years. You don't get to hear the whole of the Scriptures and losing the forest for the trees (you might say). But I feel with two services the same could happen (especially if you preach slowly through books). This is why in my congregation we have a serial reading (usually about a chapter in length) in morning and evening services and after reading, that reading is expounded upon and applied to the congregation (i.e. preaching). It is more general in nature and not as specific as a 'sermon' would be and yet still application (and thus very much shorter in time). In that way the trees are not lost for the forest, nor the forest lost for the trees.

Since 2011, my congregation has heard read, expounded and applied the following:

VIA 'sermons':

Genesis, Exodus (present), Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Lamentations, Jonah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. John, Acts (Present), Ephesians, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude.

VIA 'serial readings': Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah (present). Matthew (present), Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation. [Basically all of NT except Gospels].
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I'm not sure this is necessary if Presbyterians were as diligent as times past, catechizing. I think more than likely such an argument leads to, or actually such an argument is used for retaining the church calendar, ie all it is, is catechetical preaching on the aspects of our redemption in Christ.
I wonder if the current obsession with expository preaching has, to some degree, fed the desire for holy days. Preaching that is little other than an endless running commentary on the books of the Bible, but which does not draw together the teaching of scripture on particular subjects may lead to a lack of emphasis upon the major doctrines of Christianity. That is one reason why I like the Dutch practice of Heidelberg Catechism preaching, as a congregation gets to hear the "whole counsel of God" once a year. Doing something similar in Presbyterian circles might negate at least one excuse for holy days.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
My old church did this (full chapter of O and NT) and in 20 years we went through all of scripture a number of times. The reading and brief (sometimes not brief) expositon does add to the length of both services; kiss of death to such ideas in our current culture. But having experienced it I couldn't recommend the practice highly enough.
This is why in my congregation we have a serial reading
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
For someone who just wrote a book against Roman Catholicism that seems like a bizarre thing to say. Dr. Sproul is very much still UPCUSA on the 2nd and 4th Commandments.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
If preachers would preach during the year on Christ's incarnation,then there would be no need to celebrate what is essentially a fictional introduction. A text like "a body hast thou prepared for me,"would keep a pastor going for a couple of months of sermon material.

I wonder if the current obsession with expository preaching has, to some degree, fed the desire for holy days. Preaching that is little other than an endless running commentary on the books of the Bible, but which does not draw together the teaching of scripture on particular subjects may lead to a lack of emphasis upon the major doctrines of Christianity. That is one reason why I like the Dutch practice of Heidelberg Catechism preaching, as a congregation gets to hear the "whole counsel of God" once a year. Doing something similar in Presbyterian circles might negate at least one excuse for holy days.

I am not sure expository preaching qualifies as a "current obsession". It has been the preferred method of preaching in certain circles for quite some time. Also, it does not automatically follow that expository preaching is an "endless running commentary on the books of the Bible" that "does not draw together the teaching of scripture". Poorly done expository preaching may have negative results, but proper exposition will not only proclaim the text, it will unpack the truth contained therein.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
If preachers would preach during the year on Christ's incarnation,then there would be no need to celebrate what is essentially a fictional introduction. A text like "a body hast thou prepared for me,"would keep a pastor going for a couple of months of sermon material.

I wonder if the current obsession with expository preaching has, to some degree, fed the desire for holy days. Preaching that is little other than an endless running commentary on the books of the Bible, but which does not draw together the teaching of scripture on particular subjects may lead to a lack of emphasis upon the major doctrines of Christianity. That is one reason why I like the Dutch practice of Heidelberg Catechism preaching, as a congregation gets to hear the "whole counsel of God" once a year. Doing something similar in Presbyterian circles might negate at least one excuse for holy days.

I am not sure expository preaching qualifies as a "current obsession". It has been the preferred method of preaching in certain circles for quite some time. Also, it does not automatically follow that expository preaching is an "endless running commentary on the books of the Bible" that "does not draw together the teaching of scripture". Poorly done expository preaching may have negative results, but proper exposition will not only proclaim the text, it will unpack the truth contained therein.

I do not deny that expository preaching can be done in a such a manner, but in at least some cases it does descend into a running commentary. For those who lack the ability to relate their exposition to the whole counsel of God, perhaps occasional catechetical preaching might be helpful.
 

TheOldCourse

Puritan Board Sophomore
If preachers would preach during the year on Christ's incarnation,then there would be no need to celebrate what is essentially a fictional introduction. A text like "a body hast thou prepared for me,"would keep a pastor going for a couple of months of sermon material.

I wonder if the current obsession with expository preaching has, to some degree, fed the desire for holy days. Preaching that is little other than an endless running commentary on the books of the Bible, but which does not draw together the teaching of scripture on particular subjects may lead to a lack of emphasis upon the major doctrines of Christianity. That is one reason why I like the Dutch practice of Heidelberg Catechism preaching, as a congregation gets to hear the "whole counsel of God" once a year. Doing something similar in Presbyterian circles might negate at least one excuse for holy days.

I can't say I totally understand this comment. Wouldn't a commitment to expository preaching preclude the celebration of holy days since ordinary providence would determine the text preached rather than the day or time of year? If one was committed to lectio continua preaching they wouldn't interrupt it for a Christmas or Easter message. I actually like catechetical preaching having spent some time in Dutch churches, but I have often thought that both forms of structured preaching help place a restraint on novelty from the pulpit. That said, my experience indicates that a commitment to afternoon catechetical preaching hasn't stopped quite a few confessional Dutch Reformed churches from incorporating holy days into their services.
 
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VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I can think of two things more pleasing: Love God. Love your neighbor.

#IWin

Amen. Pretty straightforward and, probably, too easy to understand and too hard to do.

I think a lot of this is related to our culture's celebration of birthdays. We all like our birthdays celebrated, so Jesus must really like it....

(Not exactly a proper use of lesser to the greater).

One observation I made years ago is that I can only see two birthday celebrations in Scripture. Pharaoh's in Genesis 40 (the baker lost his head) and Herod's in Mat 14/Mark 6 (John the Baptist lost his head).

Now I like birthdays as much as anyone, but the Scripture narratives don't offer much encouragement for celebrations.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I can't say I totally understand this comment. Wouldn't a commitment to expository preaching preclude the celebration of holy days since ordinary providence would determine the text preached rather than the day or time of year

My point is that people who only get to listen to an endless running commentary on the Bible often only get to hear the words of God, without getting to hear the word of God (i.e. the systematic preaching of the whole counsel of God). For that reason, the idea of special seasons to focus on the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ may be seen as a relief from the monotony of an endless running commentary. As you note, catechetical preaching is not a "magic bullet" that will solve the problem of holy days, though I do think it would negate the above-mentioned excuse for them.
 
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