Christmas by A.W. Pink

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by J.D., Dec 20, 2007.

  1. J.D.

    J.D.
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    Christmas


    by A. W. Pink

    "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen . . . for the CUSTOMS of the people are vain." (Jer. 10:1-3)

    Christmas is coming! Quite so; but what is "Christmas?" Does not the very term itself denote its source — "Christ-mass." Thus it is of Romish origin, brought over from Paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Saviour's birth. It is? And who authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples "remember" Him in His death, but there is not a word in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth. Moreover, who knows when, in what month, He was born? The Bible is silent thereon. Is it without reason that the only "birthday" commemorations mentioned in God's Word are Pharaoh's (Gen. 40:20) and Herod's (Matt. 14:6)? Is this recorded "for our learning?" If so, have we prayerfully taken it to heart?

    And who is it that celebrates "Christmas?" The whole "civilized world." Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who "despise and reject Him," and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask, Is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any truly born-again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world's joys? Verily, the customs of the people are vain; and it is written, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (Ex. 23:2).

    Some will argue for the "keeping of Christmas" on the ground of "giving the kiddies a good time." But why do this under cloak of honoring the Saviour's birth? Why is it necessary to drag in His holy name in connection with what takes place at that season of carnal jollification? Is this taking the little ones with you out of Egypt (Ex. 10:9,10) a type of the world, or is it not plainly a mingling with the present-day Egyptians in their "pleasures of sin for a season?" (Heb. 11:25). Scripture says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Prov. 22:6). Scripture does command God's people to bring up their children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4), but where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the little ones a "good time?" Do we ever give the children "a good time" when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask the Lord's blessing?

    There are those who do abstain from some of the grosser carnalities of the "festive season," yet are they nevertheless in cruel to the prevailing custom of "Christmas" namely that of exchanging "gifts." We say "exchanging" for that is what it really amounts to in many cases. A list is kept, either on paper or in memory, of those from whom gifts were received last year, and that for the purpose of returning the compliment this year. Nor is this all: great care has to be taken that the "gift" made to the friend is worth as much in dollars and cents as the one they expect to receive from him or her. Thus, with many who can ill afford it, a considerable sum has to be set aside each year with which to purchase things simply to send them out in return for others which are likely to be received. Thus a burden has been bound on them which not a few find hard to bear.

    But what are we to do? If we fail to send out "gifts" our friends will think hard of us, probably deem us stingy and miserly. The honest course is to go to the trouble of notifying them — by letter if at a distance — that from now on you do not propose to send out any more "Christmas gifts" as such. Give your reasons. State plainly that you have been brought to see that "Christmas merry-making" is entirely a thing of the world, devoid of any Scripture warrant; that it is a Romish institution, and that now you see this, you dare no longer have any fellowship with it (Eph. 5:11); that you are the Lord's "free man" (I Cor. 7:22), and therefore you refuse to be in to a costly custom imposed by the world.

    What about sending out "Christmas cards" with a text of Scripture on them? That also is an abomination in the sight of God. Why? Because His Word expressly forbids all unholy mixtures; Deut. 22:10, 11 typified this. What do we mean by an "unholy mixture?" This: the linking together of the pure Word of God with the Romish "Christ-mass." By all means send cards, preferably at some other time of the year, to your ungodly friends, and [at] Christmas too, with a verse of Scripture, but not with "Christmas" on it. What would you think of a printed program of a vaudeville having Isa. 53:5 at the foot of it? Why, that it was altogether out of place, highly incongruous. But in the sight of God the circus and the theatre are far less obnoxious than the "Christmas celebration" of Romish and Protestant "churches." Why? Because the latter are done under the cover of the Holy name of Christ; the former are not.
    "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Prov. 4:18) Where there is a heart that really desires to please the Lord, He graciously grants increasing knowledge of His will. If He is pleased to use these lines in opening the eyes of some of His dear people to recognize what is growing evil, and to show them that they have been dishonoring Christ by linking the name of the Man of Sorrows (and such He was, when on earth) with a "Merry Christmas," then join with the writer in a repentant confessing of this sin to God, seeking His grace for complete deliverance from it, and praise Him for the light which He has granted you concerning it.
     
  2. J.D.

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    Beloved fellow-Christian, "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh." (Jas. 5:8) Do we really believe this? Believe it not because the Papacy is regaining its lost temporal power, but because God says so — "for we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7) If so, what effects does such believing have on our walk? This may be your last Christmas on earth. During it the Lord may descend from heaven with a shout to gather His own to Himself. Would you like to be summoned from a "Christmas party" to meet Him in the air? The call for the moment is, "Go ye out to meet Him" (Matt. 25:6) out from a Godless Christendom, out from the Christ —deserted "churches," out from the horrible burlesque of "religion" which now masquerades under His name.
    "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10) How solemn and searching! The Lord Jesus declared that "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." (Matt. 12:36) If every "idle word" is going to be taken note of, then most assuredly will be every wasted energy, every wasted dollar, every wasted hour! Should we still be on earth when the closing days of this year arrive, let writer and reader earnestly seek grace to live and act with the judgment-seat of Christ before us. His "well done" will be ample compensation for the sneers and taunts which we may now receive from countless souls.

    Does any Christian reader imagine for a moment that when he or she shall stand before their holy Lord, that they will regret having lived "too strictly" on earth? Is there the slightest danger of His reproving any of His own because they were "too extreme" in "abstaining from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." (1 Peter 2:11)? We may gain the good will and good word of worldly religionists today by our compromisings on "little (?) points," but shall we receive His smile of approval on that Day? Oh to be more concerned about what He thinks, and less concerned about what perishing mortals think.

    "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." (Ex. 23:2) Ah, it is an easy thing to float with the tide of popular opinion; but it takes much grace, diligently sought from God, to swim against it. Yet that is what the heir of heaven is called on to do: to "Be not conformed to this world" (Rom. 12:2), to deny self, take up the cross, and follow a rejected Christ. How sorely does both writer and reader need to heed that word of the Saviour, "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thou crown." (Rev. 3:11) Oh that each of us may be able to truthfully say, "I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word." (Psa.. 119:101)

    Our final word is to the pastors. To you the Word of the Lord is, "Be thou an example of believers in word, in deportment, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Tim. 4:12) Is it not true that the most corrupt "churches" you know of, where almost every fundamental of the faith is denied, will have their "Christmas celebrations?" Will you imitate them? Are you consistent to protest against unscriptural methods of "raising money," and then to sanction unscriptural "Christmas services?" Seek grace to firmly but lovingly set God's Truth on this subject before your people, and announce that you can have no part in following Pagan, Romish, and Worldly customs.

    N. B.—The following extract is from the late C.H. Spurgeon's exposition of Psa. 81 in the Treasury of David. "Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day." (v. 3) Obedience is to direct our worship, not whim and sentiment: God's appointments gives a solemnity to rites and times which no ceremonial pomp or hierarchical ordinance could confer. The Jews not only observed the ordained month, but that part of the month which had been divinely set apart. The Lord's people in the olden time welcomed the times appointed for worship; let us feel the same exultation, and never speak of the Sabbath as though it could be other than a 'delight' and 'honorable.' Those who plead this passage as an authority for their man-appointed feasts and fasts must be moon-struck. We will keep such feast as the Lord appoints, but not those which Rome or Canterbury may ordain.
    'For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.' (v. 4) It was a precept binding upon all the tribes that a scared person should be set apart to commemorate the Lord's mercy, and truly it was but the Lord's due. He had a right and a claim to such special homage. When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide and other Popish festivals were ever instituted by a divine statute, we will also attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men as to observe the ordinances of the Lord."

    This article can be found at http://www.apuritansmind.com/Christmas/AWPinkOnChristmas.htm.
     
  3. TCGreek

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    The respected Pink is quite opinionated and is making too much of nothing. His use of Scripture begs the question.
     
  4. J.D.

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    Well, Rice has an opinion, and Pink has an opinion. At least we have both sides represented.
     
  5. J.D.

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    from
    Dr. Matthew McMahon. at http://www.apuritansmind.com/podcast/WBNP 45 - Xmas and the Regulative Principle.pdf

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ, which the very purpose of the


    incarnation, is abhorrent to the world – they hate it.
    They reject the Gospel and despise Jesus. They do not
    desire nor love Him. But they love the holiday season.
    Some Christians desire to “reclaim” Christmas and put the
    “Christ” back in “Christ-mas.” But what the participating
    Christian has done is taken the world and adapted himself
    to it. He is to be salt and light, being transformed from
    the world, not giving into it. Not only does he break the
    principle of worship set in the Word of God by God Himself,
    but he also associates himself with the world; he adapts
    himself to their practices with a “Christian twist.”
    Moreover, we know that “friendship with the world is enmity
    toward God.”​

    It is true, that on account of the Bible’s direct witness
    to the Regulative Principle, most of the good theologians
    and pastors of the church throughout history have rejected
    such practices as participating in Christmas, or Easter, or
    the like, until we have happened upon our more
    theologically lazy century. Defining worship and the
    Regulative principle is of utmost importance, and no
    Christian should be theologically lazy about what God
    requires of them. They should study the subject diligently
    that they would be able to give an answer for the hope that
    lies in them.​

    1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the
    world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is
    not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the
    flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not
    of the Father but is of the world. And the world is
    passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will​
    of God abides forever.”


     
  6. menageriekeeper

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    Well since I never gave Christmas away, I reckon I'd have a hard time taking it back! :laugh:

    I am certainly not responsible for the world taking out the parts of Christmas they enjoy and rejecting that they wish weren't true. Neither do I feel it necessary to reject the entire idea of Christmas because some or even most of the world doesn't celebrate it in a manner I agree with!

    Each person must decide what is best for his own self.

    Doggone it! There's that priesthood of the believer thing again! It just keeps coming up! ;)
     
  7. pinoybaptist

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    My wife and I stopped celebrating Christmas a long time ago.
    Stopped sending Christmas cards and giving gifts and decorating Christmas trees and all those things normally done during the 'season'.
    However, well meaning friends and relatives send us cards and gifts even if we don't send them anything in return.
    What are we supposed to do ?
    Talk to them and tell them, keep the gifts and the cards, but, no, thank you.
     
  8. TCGreek

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    Then the reader has a choice. :thumbs:
     
  9. J.D.

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    It's not easy. Contrary to the image I might have cast in my recent posts, I do participate, in a subdued manner, in the SECULAR activities of the "holidays". I enjoy a day off from work, and nice meal with the family, I send present to my children and they to me, and cards to my closest friends and relatives.

    Here's a guy that kind of looks at it the way I do but expresses it better:

    http://thin-edge.org/2007/12/11/why-i-no-longer-celebrate-christmas-part-3-final/
     
  10. Aaron

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    John Calvin and Martin Luther celebrated Christmas. I don't think anyone could accuse them of being theologically soft.
     
  11. righteousdude2

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    What's Wrong With Celebrating Christmas?

    I am having a difficult time understanding where a lot of the cyber-vocal members of this board are coming from when it comes to Christmas. Don't misunderstand me, I am not passing judgment on anyone, just wondering when I missed the road signs leading away from celebrating Christmas as the birth of Jesus.

    I realize that this is simply a man made day to recognize the birth of Jesus, but, is it a sin to celebrate this day? I realize that Jesus wasn't born on this day, but, is there any better time of the year to use? And while I admit that Christmas has become TOO commercialized, I wonder where I missed this change in heart when it comes to Christians celebrating this time of year in recognition of the birth of Jesus.

    There is no right or wrong [for you or me], and to be truthful with you folks, I am doing less and less decorating and celebrating each year.

    When my parents were alive, this was the happiest time of the year for our family [something like Disneyland being the happiest place on earth]. It's been 8 years since my mom went home to be with the Lord, and our family have all went their own way, celebrating with their individual families, and that seems to be a natural occurrence in life.

    Still, whenever Christmas is mentioned on this board, there are an awful lot of members who share how they no longer celebrate [and what seems like anger towards those who do-celebrate], so, I'm wondering if it has to do with doctrinal teachings, or just pure [human] burnout on the celebratory hype of the holiday.

    I'd love to know who stole Christmas from us [and please don't blame the Grinch], and if there is any hope of reviving the pomp and joy of the holidays past?

    Shalom and lot's of love,

    Pastor Paul :type:
     
  12. J.D.

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    Pastor Paul, I can tell that you have a heart for God from your posts and I want you and everyone else to know that I have great respect and love for you, as much as I can know you from this forum. I do not hate Christmas or the holiday season. I enjoy it very much. But I do not believe in "observing" Christmas, and although individuals may exercise liberty of conscience in the observance of holidays in their homes, I do not believe that a church has any Biblical authority to recognize Christmas (Christ-mass).

    It's not that the Bible says "Thou shalt not observe Christmas", but it is that the Bile does NOT say "thou shalt observe Christmas". It's called the Regulative Principle. We do what we do in church because the Bible tells us what to do in church. Singing, praying, preaching, fellowship - we find all of these in scripture. But where do we find Christmas? It's not there. We also find the Lord's direct command concerning how we are to memorialize Him. It's called the Lord's Supper. "This do in rememberance of me".

    People say "why not do it anyway - the Bible doesn't forbid it". That's called the Normative Principle. If the Bible doesn't specifically forbid it, it's okay. That's why kids are having dances at church instead of repenting. Anything goes. Go to church in nothing but your underwear if you want to - it's not specifically forbidden in scripture you know.

    So everyone says "live and let live", "he that observes the day, to the Lord he observes it; he that observes not the day, to the Lord he observes it not; let each man be fully persuaded", etc. I say it myself, but it turns out that people don't really mean that. Have you ever tried to not observe Christmas? Try it and see how long it takes till you are wearing the title of scrooge/prude/sad/angry person. Just look at John R Rice's comments on that other thread. Let's analyse them.

    Just what is supposed to be "sad" about my convictions? They do not cause me sorrow. This is the same thing my office-mates say about me because I do not attend the office christmas debauchery party. They say it's "sad" that I can't enjoy life (meaning drunkeness and sex). And then a christian author comes along and says that it's "sad" that I can't enjoy the things HE thinks I should enjoy. And besides, as I said, I actually DO enjoy it. I just don't make a religion out of it.
    Am I the only one that sees the arrogance of the use of that word "even"? Non-observance is such a malignant cancer that even some devoted Christians are affected by it! Can you imagine? All those puritans, separtists, pilgrims, and early Baptists that forbad the observance of Christmas - good folks, no doubt, but what sad, negative people they must have been!
    Okay, go ahead and regard the Christ-mass to the Lord. No one's stopping you.
    Again, am I the only one that sees the arrogance of that statement? I'm supposed to assume that the non-observer must be WARNED to behave in a Christian-like manner while his fellow believers mock his convictions. I think John R Rice should behave like a Christian and not say that non-observers are sad, sour, cantakerous people.
    So, the non-observer must sit in the corner and keep his mouth shut while John R Rice writes a book on the glories of Christ-mass. And I suppose referring to people as sad, cantakerous, and sour is not criticizing.

    As far as I know, I have said to no one that they are a bad person if they observe Christmas. I have challenged people to verify their beliefs and practices from scripture, and I have defended my position against attacks. If I have been unnecessarily offensive I apologize.
     
  13. saturneptune

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    Your thoughts are expressed quite well. I think Pink had too much time on his hand and needed some hobbies.

    Christmas brings out different emotions for different people. For some, it triggers sadness or even depression, perhaps because of a past event. For others, it is a nuscience due to either the extreme pressure at work resulting from shopping or mailing, or just shaking ones head at the furious pace of wasting money, time spent hanging lights that are coming down next week, or gorging ourselves like pigs.

    However, for the Christian, Christmas is exactly what it should be, a celebration of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There is absolutely nothing wrong in that spirit of celebrating Christmas as you choose with your children, relatives, and friends. If that means exchanging gifts, trees, lights, fellowship meals, then God bless them all. Maybe the Spirit changes someone through this, who knows? It is not my problem why or what the rest of the world does with Christmas.

    As said above, those who have nothing better to do than sit around nit picking the Scripture and publishing their flawed opinions about insignificant issues either need a second job or a hobby, as they have too much time on their hands.

    If you dont want to celebrate Christmas, then don't. Hope it makes you feel holy.

    For the rest of you all, a very Merry Christmas.

    [​IMG]
     
    #13 saturneptune, Dec 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2007
  14. Bro. James

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    Sound Theology

    They also baptized infants--major theological flaw.

    A.W.Pink was not a Protestant.

    He was a voice--crying in the wilderness--make the paths straight. He had few followers--he preached The Word--to mostly those with hardened hearts.

    The path is still straight--there be not many on it--it is not strewn with the trappings of pagan idolatry. The ditches are over flowing with those who, willingly or not, have conformed to this world.

    Remember Lot's wife. Lot had difficulty "getting out of Dodge"too--why?

    Pink had faults too--that is why we should not lift up men/women. That is our basic problem we idolize Apollus, Cephas and Paul, holy fathers, etal.

    Read I Cor. 3, the whole chapter.

    Repent.(turn around)

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
    #14 Bro. James, Dec 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2007
  15. saturneptune

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    You are entitled to your opinion. However 1 Cor 3 and repenting have nothing to do with celebrating or not celebrating Christmas.
     
  16. Karen

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    J.D.,
    You quoted Dr. McMahon at length. His ultimate conclusion may be quite different than you think. He and many others who hold to the Regulative Principle DO observe Christmas. In all of its secular, cultural trappings.
    This varies with the individual, but this can include trees, presents, lights, special food, singing secular seasonal songs such as "Frosty the Snowman".

    What he and others of his opinion do NOT do is observe Christmas services in church or tie their celebration to the birth of Christ. Part of the reason is a belief of not "binding" the individual Christian's conscience to attend such a stated Christmas Eve service.

    So ironically, while many Baptists of all types are busy trying to "reclaim" Christmas for its true meaning, many Confessional and Reformed types, some Baptists among them, are the greatest secularizers of all of Christmas. Their churches will be dark on Christmas Eve, but they will often be having a great party in which there are presents but no reference to the Incarnation.
     
  17. righteousdude2

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    Very Good Answer - Thanks

    I appreciate your response. It was not confrontational in any way, in fact it gave me a lot of insight to your theological stand. I have noticed more and more believers choosing to by-pass the celebrations of the season, and by far, your answer to my post is clear enough to help me better understand just where you folks are coming from.

    I can respect your stand, and I have no qualms with your stand or teachings.

    His blessings to you for spending the time to open your heart and soul regarding this matter.

    Shalom,

    Pastor Paul :type:
     
  18. J.D.

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    Karen, Dr. McMahon's conclusion is very close to my own. I'm very clear on his position. I'm probably a couple of degrees closer to Pink than McMahon is, but overall I'm closer to McMahon than Pink. I enjoy, in moderation, the holiday of Christmas and New Years. But I believe it's definitely wrong to have a Christmas service in church.
     
  19. J.D.

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    Thank you Pastor Paul for your kindness.
     
  20. Karen

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    On that, we disagree. The Christmas service I attended in church this morning was wonderful. The songs and prayers all contributed towards explaining the wonder of the Incarnation. The sermon was on Philippians 2, and it explained the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. We concluded with singing "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name". Well, on that last one, I think Dr. McMahon would say that was wrong, too. I am pretty sure he holds to exclusive Psalmody.
     

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