They Refused To Acknowledge Any Human Institution

“Even before Calvin arrived in Geneva, those church holidays that were not Sundays had been abolished. Farel and Viret wished to honour only the Sunday as the Lord’s Day. They refused to acknowledge any human institution.”

~Ioannis Calvini Opera omnia, Series 5, Sermons volume 8, Plusieurs sermons de Jean Calvin, ed. Wilhelmus H. Th. Moehn (Genève: Librairie Droz, 2011), xix qtd. in “John Calvin’s Letters to the Ministers of Montbéliard (1543–1544): The Genevan Reformer’s Advice and Views of the Liturgical Calendar,” Intro by Chris Coldwell, translation by David C. Noe

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/what-would-you-think-on-my-pastors-view-on-the-sabbath.93089/page-2, Comment 59

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The Church Calendar v. Biblical Worship and Biblical History

This whole cyclical liturgical view of worship is wrong. Fesko writes albeit too briefly on this, observing,

The Church Calendar conflicts with the biblical view of worship and what the Reformed tradition calls the regulative principle. There is the constant theme in Scripture that God sets the standards for worship, not man (Deut. 12.32; Matt. 15.9; Lev. 10.1-2; 1 Cor. 14.1ff). For this reason the Westminster divines write that “the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will” (WCF 21.1b). God has not instituted the Church Calendar. Paul exhorts Timothy to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4.2); he does not give him a schedule to follow. Moreover, the previously cited author claims that the Church Calendar would bring about unity that nothing else can bring about. If this was the case, why did God in all of His wisdom not command the Church to do this? Moreover, the argument that the entire Church body needs to follow the same schedule flies in the face of the occasional nature of the New Testament epistles. A Church Calendar will not bring about greater unity, only Christ can bring unity through the work of the Holy Spirit and the means of grace. If this is how the Church Calendar conflicts with the biblical view of worship, how does it conflict with the Bible’s view of history?​

Note the language that is used to describe the Church Calendar: “In the liturgical year the various aspects of the one Paschal mystery unfold. This is also the case with the cycle of feasts surrounding the mystery of the incarnation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 303, § 1171; emphasis). Notice that the church calendar operates on a cyclical pattern. It is ancient pagan religions that have a cyclical view of history: “The world-cycle runs its course, obeys it stars, absolves its round, and then the end links on to a new beginning, ushering in a repetition of the same sequence” (Geerhardus Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 334). A cyclical view of history is at odds with the biblical view, which is linear—a definite beginning and end, not an endless repetitive cycle. The Church should not expect “a quasi-consummation, which would bear on its face the Sisyphus-expression of endless toil” (Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 334). In other words, the Church Calendar repeats the same endless cycle, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, only to start over again with Advent. The biblical view, on the other hand, recognizes that the events of Christ’s ministry are in the past and that we are moving forward to a goal—the consummation of history, the return of Christ, the final judgment, and eternity with our triune Lord.​

God reminds us of this linear understanding of history, a beginning and an end, by the Sabbath. For example, the author of Hebrews writes: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4.9). He reminds his recipients that just as God concluded His creative work and entered His Sabbath rest (Gen. 2.2; cf. Heb. 4.1-11), so too we must desire to enter God’s Sabbath rest. We get a foretaste of that final eschatological rest each and every Sunday. For this reason, OPC Minister and professor at Westminster Seminary, Richard Gaffin, notes that “the pattern of six days of activity interrupted by one of rest is a reminder that human beings are not caught up in a meaningless flow of days, one after the other without end, but that history has a beginning and ending and is headed toward final judgment and the consummation of all things” (“The Sabbath: A Sign of Hope,” OPC Position Paper, p. 6). In a sense, God has given the Church a calendar—observe a Sabbath rest and worship Him on this day (Exo. 20.8-11; cf. Acts 20.7; 1 Cor. 16.2). On the Sabbath we recall the great redemptive events of the past, namely Christ’s first advent, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension, and look forward to the consummation of the age and His second advent.​

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/real-easter-sunrise-services.92617/, Comment 5

Advancing Evil and Impeding Its Solution

Calvin:

December 25, 1557, “With respect to ceremonies and above all the observance of holy days [I offer the following]: Although there are some who eagerly long to remain in conformity with such practices, I do not know how they can do so without disregard for the edification of the church, nor [do I know] how they can render an account to God for having advanced evil and impeded its solution…. Nevertheless, since we have to endure a number of imperfections when we cannot correct them, I am of the opinion that no brother ought to allow the above to be the cause of his leaving his church, unless the majority support the opposite.”[1]

[1] Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Advice, trans. by Mary Beaty and Benjamin W. Farley {Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991}, 90.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/the-compromise-of-calvin.92378/, Comment 4

Lent, Ash Wednesday, Idolatry, and Bondage

In other words, the very practice of Ash Wednesday and Lent are simply made up observances and this is the problem. It is not that one might not learn something valuable by abstaining from this or that for 40 days or that there is no value in gathering on Wednesday 40 days before Easter to remember the suffering and death of our Savior. The problem is that the human heart is an idol factory (Calvin). Once it is given license to create and impose Christian observances, it never ends. What begins with good intentions becomes a form of bondage.

Read more: https://heidelblog.net/2017/03/relevance-leads-back-to-rome/

Why Some Christians Don’t Celebrate Christmas

By Karl M. Baker

Excerpt taken from Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, Alexander Hislop’s: The Two Babylons and The King James Bible.

 Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?

 Having been a pastor for 30 years, from year to year I am confronted with the question of why are there Christians who do not celebrate or partake of the festivities of Christmas.  It seems unimaginable that a professor in Jesus Christ could find fault with Christmas: an apparent unique opportunity to present the coming of our Lord into this world as it’s Saviour.  Why would anyone want to oppose the undeniable recognition given to Him by the world that he came to redeem?  Could there be a negative aspect so strong as to override the tradition that could stir up an animosity against its observance from a true believer?  To protest the commercialization or a worldly reveling and such like seem understandable, but to totally reject any association at all with the holiday seems to be unrealistic for any real Christian.  Yet, there are those who don’t just let December 25th pass in quiet protest of inobservance, but rather openly express an attitude of intolerance as to write, preach and even suffer family disunity in their opposition of it’s observance.  What is it about December 25th that affects some Christians in this matter?  Is it fanaticism?  Is there a reasonable cause behind their actions?  Does the Word of God say anything that would provoke this minority’s views toward Christmas?  This pamphlet is intended to help answer these questions…

Read more: http://www.calvarybaptistbeaufort.com/why-some-christians-dont-celebrate-christmas/

Halloween and the Occult

David J. Meyer:

Witchcraft is very real but greatly misunderstood. I know because witchcraft goes back on the paternal side of my family for over five generations to Chesterfield, Massachusetts in 1770.

My great grandmother became a well-known witch in Wisconsin in the early days of this century. Caroline was a blind witch and used her fingers to read palms and also became adept at putting “the hex” on people.

Many spooky things would happen in our family…

Read more: http://jamesjpn.net/basic-bible/halloween-and-the-occult

James Gilfillan on Holidays

James Gilfillan

Holidays1

Copyright © 1997 Naphtali Press

From an early time piety and zeal, by adding to the institutions of Heaven, began, unwittingly, to prepare the way for further errors and future strife. In these feelings originated the appointment of stated days for the commemoration of particular events in the history of the Savior. The same feelings produced another class of sacred seasons. The day of martyrdom was regarded as “the day of birth to a happy life for ever,” and, therefore, worthy of grateful celebration. Such days were called Natalitia. To ceremonies without Divine rule there was no limit. The saints entitled to the honor of commemoration amounted, in the course of some centuries, to a multitude for each day of the year, [Note: “Except the first day of January, when the Gentiles had been so intent upon their own riots as to have no leisure for martyring the Christians” (Durandus, Ration. Off., lib. vii. fol. 242). Durandus, alleging Eusebius as his authority, gives the number of martyrs at 5000 a day. The Editor of Cosin’s Works (v. 23, notes) alleges another authority than Eusebius, and reduces the number to 500!] and the annual holidays of man became more numerous than the Sabbath-days of God…

Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/worship/james-gilfillan-holidays/

Reasons Against Festival Days (David Calderwood)

David Calderwood

Reasons Against Festival Days1

Copyright © 1997 Naphtali Press

[Taken from David Calderwood’s (1575-1651) Perth Assembly (1619).]

From the beginning of the Reformation to this present year of our Lord 1618, the Kirk of Scotland has diverse ways condemned the observation of all holy days, the Lord’s Day only excepted. In the first chapter of the First Book of Discipline penned anno 1560, the observation of holy days to Saints, the feast of Christmass, Circumcision, Epiphany, Purification, and other fond feasts of our Lady are ranked amongst the abominations of the Roman religion, as having neither commandment nor assurance in the word. It is further affirmed that the obstinate maintainers and teachers of such abomination should not escape the punishment of the civil magistrate. The book aforesaid was subscribed by the Lord’s of secret Council.

In the General Assembly held at Edinburgh anno 1566, the latter confession of Helvetica was approved, but with special exception against some holy days dedicated to Christ: these same very days that now are urged. In the Assembly held anno 1575, complaint was made against the Ministers and Readers beside Aberdeen, because they assembled the people to prayer and preaching upon certain patron and festival days. Complaint likewise was ordained to be made to the Regent upon the town of Drumfreis for urging and convoying a Reader to the kirk with Tabret and Whistle to read the prayers all the holy days of Yule, or Christmass, upon the refusal of their own Reader. Item, an article was formed to be presented to the Regent, craving that all days heretofore kept holy in time of Papistry beside the Lord’s Day, such as Yule day, Saint’s days, and other like feasts, may be abolished, a civil punishment appointed against the observers of the said days. Banqueting, playing, feasting, and such other vanities upon the days foresaid is condemned…

Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/worship/calderwood-against-days/

The Religious Observance of Christmas and ‘Holy Days’ in American Presbyterianism

It may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with the history of the beliefs of American Presbyterians, that they were opposed to the religious observation of Christmas and other ‘holy days.’ This article explores some of the historical background of Presbyterianism’s opposition to such days, as well as their practical handling of Christmas in particular, and traces the views of the American Presbyterians up to their embracing ‘holy day’ observance in the early 20th century…

Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/chris-coldwell/the-religious-observance-of-christmas-and-holy-days-in-american-presbyterianism/

John Calvin and Holy Days

It is that time of year the Genevan reformer is trotted out to justify in some manner the observance of the church calendar, particularly by folks in traditions that have no business observing it, if they were true to their Reformational principles (i.e. Presbyterians). The Scottish Presbyterians managed to remove observance of any pretended holy days other than the divinely prescribed Lord’s Day in their reformation. Indeed, the Reformed early on seemed ready to precede them in this; but due mostly it seems from desires of magistrates to preserve accustomed holidays, ie. days off for workers and servants, they retained various sets of days. This retained a set of other issues, and to ensure the riotous activities of the old days were not retained, the state churches prescribed that there be services and preaching at those times..

Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/chris-coldwell/john-calvin-and-holy-days/