Only Unlawful When Used Religiously

If I could get no other meat to eat than the consecrated host, which papists idolatrise [idolize] in the circumgestation[1] of it, I might lawfully eat it; and if I could get no other clothes to put on than the holy garments wherein a priest has said mass, I might lawfully wear them. Things abused to idolatry are only then unlawful when they are used no otherwise than religiously, and as things sacred.

1. [Meaning to carry around; obviously a scornful remark respecting the papal practice of uplifting, displaying, and carrying the elements around to be adored by the people.]

~George Gillespie, A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies (Naphtali Press, 2nd critical ed., 2013), 150.

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They Should Be Utterly Abolished

The argument in hand I frame thus:

All things and rites which have been notoriously abused to idolatry, if they are not such as either God or nature has made to be of a necessary use, should be utterly abolished and purged away from divine worship, in such sort that they may not be accounted nor used by us as sacred things or rites pertaining to the same.

But the cross, surplice, kneeling in the act of receiving the communion, &c., are things and rites,  &c., and are not such as either God or nature, &c.

Therefore they should be utterly abolished, &c.

~George Gillespie, A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies (Naphtali Press, 2nd critical ed., 2013), 149.

Purged Away From Divine Worship

“Ceremonies are unlawful, because they are monuments of by-past idolatry, which not being necessary to be retained, should be utterly abolished, because of their idolatrous abuse… All things and rites, which have been notoriously abused to idolatry, if they be not such, as either God or nature hath made to be of a necessary use, should be utterly abolished and purged away from Divine worship, in such sort that they may not be accounted nor used by us, as sacred things, or rites pertaining to the same…”

~George Gillespie, Popish Ceremonies are Proved to be Idolatrous Because They are Monuments of Past Idolatry (EPC 3.2), from Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies, book III, ch. 2, pgs. 150-155

Source: https://purelypresbyterian.com/2016/10/31/monuments-of-idolatry-george-gillespie/

Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/george-gillespie/holy-days/monuments-to-past-idolatry/

A Transformation of Heathen Festivals

“The Christmas festival was probably the Christian transformation or regeneration of a series of kindred heathen festivals—Saturnalia, Sigillaria, Juvenalia, and Brumalia—which were kept in Rome in the month of December, in commemoration of the golden age of universal freedom and equality, and in honor of the unconquered sun, and which were great holidays, especially for slaves and children. This connection accounts for many customs of the Christmas season, like the giving of presents to the children and to the poor, the lighting of wax tapers, perhaps also the erection of Christmas trees, and gives them a Christian import; while it also betrays the origin of the many excesses in which the unbelieving world indulges at this season, in wanton perversion of the true Christmas mirth, but which, of course, no more forbid right use, than the abuses of the Bible or of any other gift of God. Had the Christmas festival arisen in the period of the persecution, its derivation from these pagan festivals would be refuted by the then reigning abhorrence of everything heathen; but in the Nicene age this rigidness of opposition between the church and the world was in a great measure softened by the general conversion of the heathen.”[70]

~Philip Schaff

[70] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989 [1910]), 3:398.

Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20150331225339/http://entrewave.com/view/reformedonline/Christmas%20%28web%29.htm#_ftnref70

God is Offended

“God does not want His church to take pagan days, and those pagan and popish rites and paraphernalia that go with them, and adapt them to Christian use. He simply commands us to abolish them altogether from the face of the earth forever. You may not be offended by the Yule log, the Christmas tree, the mistletoe, the holly berries and the selection of a pagan day to celebrate Christ’s birth, but God is offended. God commands us to get rid of the monuments and paraphernalia of paganism.

If your wife was promiscuous before you married her would you be offended if she had pictures of her old boyfriends on her dresser? Would it bother you if she celebrated the various anniversaries relating to her past relationships? Would you be offended if she kept and cherished the various rings, jewelry and mementos given to her by her old boyfriends? Of course you would be offended! The Lord God is infinitely more zealous of His honor than you are; He is a jealous God. Could Israel take festival days to Baal, Ashteroth, Dagon and Molech and alter them to make them pleasing to God? Of course not! The Bible makes very clear which kings of Judah pleased God the most. God is pleased when idols, their temples, their religious dress, earrings, sacred houses, sacred trees, poles, ornaments, rites, names and days are utterly cut off from the earth, never again to be restored. God wants His bride to eliminate forever the monuments, the days, the paraphernalia and the mementos of idolatry. “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are futile…” (Jer. 10:2-3). “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord, which he hates they have done to their gods…” (Deut. 12:31).””

~Brian Schwertley, “The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas”

Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20150331225339/http://entrewave.com/view/reformedonline/Christmas%20%28web%29.htm#_ftnref70

Redeem the Pagan Shrines

A 2nd Generation of Homeschooling:

“Never did God say, “Take the Asherah poles and idols and make them into holy monuments to me… Place my relics upon their altars. Redeem the pagan shrines for me…”

Read more: http://www.a2ndgenerationofhomeschooling.com/2010/10/no-to-halloween.html

To Prevent a Revolt to False Gods

Matthew Henry:

“To prevent a revolt to false gods, we are forbidden to worship the true God in such a way and manner as the false gods were worshiped in, and are commanded to observe the instituted ordinances of worship that we may adhere to the proper object of worship…. [Thus] they [pagan methods, practices, places, customs, etc.] must be destroyed…so the varying names of them might be buried in oblivion.”

~Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible, 1:774.

Source: “Halloween: A Biblical Critique of James Jordan and American Vision,” page 18, http://www.reformedonline.com/uploads/1/5/0/3/15030584/halloween.pdf

Their Origins and Symbolism Remain Largely Pagan in Nature

“Q. [A 2nd Generation of Homeschooling]:

Why don’t you participate in Halloween any longer?

A. [Jennifer Bogart from QuiverfullFamily.com]:

So many of our Western ‘holidays’ are secularized/Christianized pagan holy-days. As a one-time pagan who mocked Christians who took part in these adulterated holidays, I can in no way celebrate them with my family. Halloween is only one on a list of holidays that have been co-opted from pagan belief systems: Christmas, Easter, Halloween – they may all be widely accepted, and the former two have had Jesus thrown into the mix, but their origins and symbolism remain largely pagan in nature.”

Read more: http://www.a2ndgenerationofhomeschooling.com/2010/08/former-wiccan-and-self-proclaimed-witch.html