It really wasn’t that long ago that devout Christians acknowledged Christmas’s paganism. Even though some people have heard of Christmas being outlawed in America and England, most people have forgotten how it all began. The “War on Christmas” can be traced all the way back to the height of The Reformation. It follows the path of Calvinism which flowed through Scotland where Christmas was first banned in 1583. The Church of Scotland tells us that the Scottish ban on Christmas lasted almost 400 years. It was only lifted in the 1950s after Scottish soldiers were exposed to the holiday during World War II. What’s more amazing is this reality corresponds to the Presbyterians in the American South too!
History records that Christmas was incredibly outlawed in American in Boston from 1659 to 1681; and because of the Puritan influence, the secular festive aspects of Christmas, including the tree, were not accepted in New England until about 1875. As late as the 1840s, Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.
Puritans first got their name due to their attempt to purify the Church of England. Although many were Calvinists, Puritans were not associated with a single theology or with a single definition of the church; but they were critical regarding religious compromises. The Bible was their sole authority. Puritans believed that access to Scripture was a fundamental necessity and the principles articulated in the Bible applied to every area of their life. They also encouraged direct personal religious experience (individual faith) and sincere, moral conduit. If these things resonate with you, you should thank the Puritans in America for a godly legacy.
On the grounds that Christmas was invented by man, not prescribed by the Bible, and the early church fathers had simply co-opted the midwinter celebration of several pagan societies, Puritans disapproved of their celebration. Puritans were not the only ones to lay down Christmas, most English-speaking Protestant denominations – Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists – did too.
After Puritanism waned, the piety concerning abstaining from Christmas was still in place throughout the 1800s, due to the fact that many religious leaders remained steadfast in resistance. In 1855, the “New York Times” report on Christmas services in the city noted that Methodist and Baptist churches were closed because they “do not accept the day as a holy one.” It might surprise Methodists to learn that their founder, John Wesley, gave no Christmas sermon.
Another giant in the faith, Charles Finney, stated in 1843: “Even among Protestants, how many regard it as a duty to observe Christmas. I have been afraid our Methodist brethren were becoming entangled.”
The famous Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon opened his sermon on December 24, 1871 with the following words: “We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement of Christmas: … because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.”
I personally like how the Quakers never translated their dismissal of Christmas into legislation; rather they urged their members to be “zealous in their testimony against the holding up of such days.”
The Presbyterians maintained a strong stance against Christmas until the return of the 20th century when various secular customs began to subtly infiltrate the churches, coming in through St. Nicholas in the Sunday School, Christmas Trees, and other secular displays. Incredibly, Christmas and Easter did not appear on the official Southern Presbyterian calendar until the late 1940s and 1950s.
Historically, it seems like when any major move of God has hit His church, like the Reformation, Christmas and other pagan rites and rituals within the church are either questioned or rejected outright. Which is a good thing for the people of God, because if we want His Dwelling Presence among us, and not merely having visitations from the Lord, Christmas is the biggest crux the Body of the Messiah will have to deal with. Please see –> CRUX FOR THE GOD’S DWELLING PRESENCE http://wp.me/p2k1dQ-le
~ Robin Main
Copyright Dec. 12, 2013 – Sapphire Throne Ministries – Robin Main.
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