‘A Happy Christmas To You All!’ – C. H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon Online:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a faithful pastor to the people of God in his day. Part of his faithfulness may be seen in how he stood against the various errors and corruptions of the medieval church. One of these errors was the adding to the calendar various holidays. Not even Christmas was exempt from his fiery zeal: “WE have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas.”

But one would be mistaken to think that dear old Spurgeon had no place in the heart and home of a Christian for the joyful celebration of our Lord’s birth. This can be seen from the fact that he often preached sermons on the incarnation at or on Christmas (the statement above comes to us from a sermon preached Dec. 24th the subject matter was the birth of Christ) and by these statements that are of the stock of Spurgeon’s verbal genus…

santa spurgeon

Now, a happy Christmas to you all; and it will be a happy Christmas if you have God with you… I shall say nothing to-day against festivities on this great birthday of Christ. I hold that, perhaps, it is not right to have the birthday celebrated, but we will never be amongst those who think it as much a duty to celebrate it the wrong way as others the right. But we will to-morrow think of Christ’s birthday; we shall be obliged to do it, I am sure, however sturdily we may hold to our rough Puritanism…

 Feast, Christians, feast; you have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting to-morrow, celebrate your Savior’s birth; do not be ashamed to be glad, you have a right to be happy. Solomon says, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.” “Religion never was designed To make our pleasures less.” Recollect that your Master ate butter and honey. Go your way, rejoice tomorrow; but, in your feasting, think of the Man in Bethlehem; let him have a place in your hearts, give him the glory, think of the virgin who conceived him, but think most of all of the Man born, the Child given. I finish by again saying, “A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!”

More…

Longing for more than Christmas [Jason Ching]

Pastor Jason Ching
Pastor Jason Ching

Every week on our headlines podcast [The Dunker Bunker] we highlight some posts from our Reformed Baptist blog aggregator [The BaptiBot]. One of the blogs that always gets highlighted is Jason Ching’s, who is one  of the pastors at Grace Community Church in Minden, Nevada.

We love it because once or twice a week he gives you a good 30-second devotional.

Allow me to highlight his latest post, which isn’t much longer than my intro:

Longing for more than Christmas

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5–6, ESV)

The morning is coldest when the sun first rises.

Part of it is just temperature, the morning hasn’t yet been able to soak up the warmth of the sun. But the other part must be deeper than that.

Our longing for the sun’s warmth reaches its peak when the light is glimpsed, but not yet felt. There’s the hint of warmth, but the absence of its touch.

Two thousand years ago the sun peaked over the horizon. Rays of hope pierced death’s dark dominion.

Perhaps the chill is most pronounced right now. We’ve glimpsed the Son but still we wait. Like watchmen for the morning, we long for more than Christmas.

We long for more than the past, we long for the future that He promised.

With groaning hearts, we long for the One who is coming again.

Visit this blog or subscribe [RSS].

James White’s Refutation of Kurt Eichenwald’s Newsweek Article “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin” [Audio|Video]

Newsweek Bible Sin Cover

Dr. James White
Dr. James White

James White:

Other than a few magical moments with my surprise co-host Clementine (stage name “Clemskidoodles”), this 90 minute program is a review and refutation of this horrifically biased, erroneous, and just plain anti-Christian cover article in the current issue of Newsweek magazine. If you encounter anyone spouting this stuff, please, please, share this program with them!

Video [91 min.]:

Audio [mp3]:

Update Dec. 31, 2014 – Part two:

Today we spent another 90 minutes responding to Kurt Eichenwald’s Newsweek hit-piece on the Bible. I informed Mr. Eichenwald of the program and opened the phone lines for him to respond, but he chose not to. Please share these programs with those who have encountered the Newsweek article!

Video [91 min.]:

Audio [mp3]:

Does God Change in the Incarnation? Spurgeon Answers [Quote & Sermon Audio]

Pastor Erik Raymond points out a quote from Spurgeon that is, “especially helpful in considering the immutability of God (the fact that he does not change) even in light of the incarnation of Christ“:

Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

All creatures change. Man, especially as to his body, is always undergoing revolution. Very probably there is not a single particle in my body which was in it a few years ago. This frame has been worn away by activity, its atoms have been removed by friction, fresh particles of matter have in the mean time constantly accrued to my body, and so it has been replenished; but its substance is altered.

The fabric of which this world is made is ever passing away; like a stream of water, drops are running away and others are following after, keeping the river still full, but always changing in its elements.

But God is perpetually the same. He is not composed of any substance or material, but is spirit—pure, essential, and ethereal spirit—and therefore he is immutable. He remains everlastingly the same. There are no furrows on his eternal brow. No age hath palsied him; no years have marked him with the mementoes of their flight; he sees ages pass, but with him it is ever now. He is the great I AM—the Great Unchangeable.

Mark you, his essence did not undergo a change when it became united with the manhood. When Christ in past years did gird himself with mortal clay, the essence of his divinity was not changed; flesh did not become God, nor did God become flesh by a real actual change of nature; the two were united in hypostatical union, but the Godhead was still the same. It was the same when he was a babe in the manger, as it was when he stretched the curtains of heaven; it was the same God that hung upon the cross, and whose blood flowed down in a purple river, the self-same God that holds the world upon his everlasting shoulders, and bears in his hands the keys of death and hell.

He never has been changed in his essence, not even by his incarnation; he remains everlastingly, eternally, the one unchanging God, the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither the shadow of a change.

Here is the entire sermon (his first preached at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark).

Read out [mp3]:

2014 Christmas Roundup

dore wisemen woodcut Christmas header nativity star

Here is the Christmas Roundup from last year with some recent posts added on:


Podcast The IncarnationSola Scripture Ministries International

On today’s broad cast of After Darkness Light, Heinz Dschankilic and Michael Haykin look at the essence behind the Christmas story. This essence is described in John 1:14 where the apostle notes that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Come join us today as they explore The Incarnation.


Christmas and Christianity, Part 1 | Nick Kennicott

I’m not sure if every pastor out there gets the same questions I do, but one that seems to come up pretty regularly this time of year is all about Christmas…

While Christians often debate this issue, I am convinced that the 2nd commandment forbids the making of images of Christ in every respect. I oppose the ikons of Eastern Orthodoxy depicting the members of the Trinity, and just as strongly oppose the myriad of attempts at depicting Jesus in art of various forms (film, paintings, sculptures, crucifixes, etc.). God has said quite categorically, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). So the nativity scenes of Christmas depicting Jesus as a baby are a violation of the 2nd commandment, and while well intentioned, should not be displayed by Christians.

Christmas and Christianity, Part 2

There are at least five areas to consider when working through the biblical arguments against Christmas celebration. They are festivals and special days of observance, the Lord’s Day, the regulative principle of worship, cultural engagement, and Christian liberty.

Christmas and Christianity, Part 3

What About History?


elf santaSanta Claus is coming to town?Stephen Rees

It’s that time again. The run-up to Christmas. We’ve been preparing our children. We’ve warned them. They mustn’t say it. They mustn’t even hint at it. Whatever anyone says to them, they mustn’t let it slip. They don’t believe in Santa.

The cost of Christmas

In a few weeks time most of us will be celebrating Christmas. So how do we, as Christians, decide what it’s right to spend at Christmas? We face the same pressures as other folk. Let me remind you of five important truths.


albert n martinChristmas and the Christian | Feileadh Mor

Albert N. Martin is a straight shooter. In a series on Christmas he outlines the history of the practice in connection with Christian liberty…

MP3s:

Christmas and the Christian 01
Christmas and the Christian 02
Christmas and the Christian 03
Christmas and the Christian 04
Christmas Liberty 01
Christmas Liberty 02
Christmas Liberty 03

gillGill on Christmas

It directs to the observation of several fasts and festivals, which are no where enjoined in the word of God, and for which it provides collects, gospels and epistles to be read: the fasts are, Quadragesima or Lent, in imitation of Christ’s forty days fast in the wilderness, Ember weeks, Rogatian days, and all the Fridays in the year; in which men are commanded to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving. The festivals, besides, the principal ones, Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide, are the several saints days throughout the year; which are all of popish invention, and are either moveable or fixed, as the popish festivals be; and being the relics of popery makes us still more uneasy and dissatisfied with them.


“Because you have been attending the wrong church.”

Santa Claus, the Gospel & the Church + The “right way to fire your pastor” | Tom Ascol

It happened again last week. On Thanksgiving morning I received an email from a friend of a friend. The first line read, “It appears I am being forced out of my pastorate.” The story that unfolded in the rest of that email and upon further inquiry is filled with themes that are tragically too common…


Should We Celebrate Christmas? | Scott Brown

Each year, I receive letters asking my thoughts about the celebration of Christmas. So last year, I posted over a dozen articles on the subject of Christmas expressing a number of different perspectives from respectable men…

Ponder through the Twelve Days of Christmas series and test each of them by the Word of God.

Day 1: Sermon by Charles Spurgeon

Day 2: Jonathan Edwards on Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s

Day 3: XMAS by A.W. Pink

Day 4: John Piper

Day 5: George Whitefield

Day 6: Brian Schwertly

Day 7: John MacArthur on the Christmas Tree

Day 8: A Scottish Covenanter – George Gillespie – on Christmas

Day 9: Two Sermons Commenting on Christmas Observance from Charles Spurgeon

Day 10: Rethinking the Pagan Origins of Christmas

Day 11: The Puritans on Christmas

Day 12.1: Did We Celebrate Christmas in Early American History?

Day 12.2: More Quotes from the 17th to the 19th Centuries

Day 12.3: What Roman Catholics Say About Christmas

Day 12.4: Christmas and the Use of Time

Day 12.5: R.C. Sproul and J.I. Packer


JoyFriday Funny: ‘Twas the Sunday pre-Christmas: a cautionary tale [Jeremy Walker] + Audio Interview About This Poem Jason Delgado

We interviewed Jeremy Walker about his newest book and this topic came up. Here is a five minute preview of Tuesday’s podcast:


The Power of the Most High | Stephen Yuille

We are in the midst of the Christmas season, when we give particular attention to the incarnation of Christ.


Jesus and the Real Meaning of Christmas | John Samson

Each Christmas we hear the story about angels and shepherds, of wise men and strange sightings of a star, of a donkey, and of the Child that was laid in a stable manger. Yet the actual birth of Jesus, though highly unusual, was not entirely unique. Of course, not everyone is born to the sight of a star moving and coming to rest overhead, or to the sound of angelic announcements and trumpet blasts! Yet it is true to say that many children have been born in humble surroundings. Therefore, it was the manner in which Jesus was conceived that marks Him out from others.

The doctrine of the Virgin Birth holds that Jesus’ birth was the result of a miraculous conception whereby the Virgin Mary conceived a baby in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, without a human father.

Christ’s miraculous birth tells us much about His nature.


In the Fullness of Time | Mike Porter

So, why did Caesar, the most powerful man in the known world, send out the decree? Because “this…has been written by the prophet”.  Because “the heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord as rivers of water — he turns it wherever he wills”. Because the fullness of time had come, and for no other reason. It was God’s sovereign design, and not that of men.


spurgeon14 reminders from Spurgeon for those home for Christmas | Tony Reinke

On Sunday morning, December 21, 1856, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon to prepare his growing church for the coming Christmas season. He titled it “Going Home,” and the aim of the message was to encourage each member of his congregation to humbly, wisely, and appropriately find opportunities to share their personal testimony with family and friends.


Have Yourself An Eschatological Christmas | Eric Ayala

When we think of Christmas, we often think of the beginning of Jesus’ life here on earth, of when he was incarnate in the flesh and the beginning of the story of the Gospels. But we don’t often think of Christmas as an Eschatological event. The historical reality of the incarnation wasn’t just a sign of a new beginning, but of a completion and fulfillment. Christmas is a mark of the end, the eschaton, as the God who will bring the final day steps into time and space to bring about the culmination of all things. With him comes light and peace and hope; and also judgment and terror, and finality. Far from a celebration of just a cute little baby that we call Jesus, Christmas shows us the declarative and magnificent power of the omnipotent God who reigns over all things.


Christmas in Jesus’ Own Words | Paul Gordon

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:10

Christmas in The Words of The Apostles of Jesus

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”
1 John 4:14


poetry poetic poet write draw“To Nazareth came Gabriel, a herald of God’s love” | Jeremy Walker

Recently, preaching from Luke 1, I was disappointed with the range of hymns available that focused on the miraculous conception. What follows is a first attempt at addressing that lack.


A Tale of Two Christmases | Tom Chantry

A thought occurred to me while I was driving home on Christmas Eve listening to callers to a radio station share their Christmas memories. They were all trying to be happy, but they all sounded depressed. It struck me of a sudden that I understand why this is.


 

More will be added here as they appear.

The 2014 Gift Guide for that special 1689’r in your life :)

Wondering what to get the Particular Baptist in your life? We here at ConfessingBaptist.com have you covered!

Gift Guide 2014

 

Here are our picks for that special person “having bin baptised upon a profession of their faith” in your life! […or yourself :) ]


 

From Patrick “Paddy McDubs” McWilliams:

Recovering Covenantal Heritage
[ RBAP | AMZ ]
Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology

As most of our readers are probably already aware, this newly-released book is a collection of essays from various Confessional Reformed Baptist pastors and scholars exploring many facets of our…covenantal heritage. Get this one for your Presbyterian brother-in-law who says Baptists aren’t really covenant theologians, and/or your Dispensationalist co-worker who likes history. Pick up a copy for yourself from RBAP.net too, while you’re at it. You will find the content helpful and edifying.

 –

[ AMZ ]
[ AMZ ]
Leuchtturm1917 Notebooks

Over the past year, I’ve learned there are two types of people: Those who regularly use a notebook, and those who should. I have yet to find a better way for me to plan for the future (both short- and long-term), document events, journal daily, remember names, dates, phone numbers, and other important info, increase productivity, and generally organize my whole life. Sure, many (such as my fellow Confessors, perhaps) may find various electronic gadgets that help them do the same things in a way that’s more suited to their lifestyle. But if you’re like me, and you have an appreciation for tangible objects like these – things you can hold in your hand and watch take shape over time – then I currently recommend the Leuchtturm1917 line of notebooks for quality and affordability. No need to be charged, no waiting for a page to load, and it works regardless of your current proximity to WiFi signal.


 

From Jason Delgado:

soft leather 1689
[ SGCB ]
1689 Confession, Catechism + more in Cromwell Flexible Bonded Leather

Because… well, have you picked up one of these things? Book nerds will love it, especially if they are 1689’rs (for obvious reasons which I don’t think require further explanation). But if you need more convincing, and since we aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s (beautiful, soft, smooth, eye-pleasing) cover, just check out all that is in this bad boy! Packed with our faith and practice and then some. This is a no-brainer for the 1689’r in your life.

 –

Kindle
[ AMZ ]
Kindle

One thing I know about most Reformed Baptists I run into… they love to read. And physical books can get pretty expensive, and space consuming. Though there are some die-hard physical book only-ist, I even know it is hard for them to pass up on a deal when a book they’ve been wanting is under a buck! So think about the gift of a Kindle. There are many varieties to match what you think the 1689r in your life will enjoy best.

[For even more “Brownie Points”, consider loading it up with some great free ebooks & Kindle deals.]

(We limited ourselves to two items, but I just gotta mention these: For those with a bigger budget I’d recommend checking out the Christmas Sale @ Rare Document Traders. For those wanting something that last year round, consider paying for a monthly subscription to CBTS, IRBS, or RBS.)


 

From Junior “Bigg Dippa” Duran:

HTRAB
[ AMZ ]
How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

A beloved friend of mine once told me when asked about a certain theological position he would reply, “I take the position of the book I’m currently reading.” Of course he was being facetious. Reading interweb posts and comments I have to wonder how many Reformed Christians, allow the “argument from authority’.  I think there was a time in Western history that students were taught logic and critical thinking. That time has passed. It’s needed so much in this age of information overload. You should read this book before you read any theological work.

[For even more “Brownie Points”, point that beloved 1689’r in your life to the CredoCovenant podcast so they can go through the book together]

 –

Cocoon
[ AMZ ]
Cocoon Innovations Tablet Travel Case

When I look about my house at things I have that I believe every Particular Baptist should have I think of this. When I go to meetin’ I use the Adobe, Evernote, Kindle, OneDrive, PocketBible, Psalter, and Word apps. Here’s the product detail page where you can find which tablets are compatible with this case. I currently have an iPad mini. When I received my case I removed the molded bottom corners inside the case to allow it to fit. On the outside I keep my Leatherman Skeletool and Fenix LED Light. On the inside I keep an eraser, sharpie, pencil, pen, post-it flags, pencil lead, iPad mini, and sometimes a paperback book. So whichever OS you use, if you have a tablet I recommend this.

(In this post we were each limited to two items, you can find my other recommendations [e.g. Sam Waldron, “A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Confession of Faith”here)


 

From Javier Hernandez:

No comment… he currently has his hands tied up :)

Javy Baby


 

What would you add for that special 1689’r in your life?

Or, what are you hoping for?

Pastors Jon Speed, Eric Ayala, & Brian Mann on Kirk Cameron’s ‘Saving Christmas’ movie

saving-christmasJon Speed’s review:

… It was just sad in a “what could have been” sort of way. It’s just a bad movie that leaves you shaking your head as you leave the theater saying, “What was that?” It had some very good moments, but strangely misfired. While the main body of the movie makes some excellent points regarding how we should think about the nativity scene, the Christmas tree and St. Nick, those points are muddied by a sea of confusion…

 

I often find myself angry at Christian film because the message that’s conveyed is built on pop-theology and is poorly done. This time I’m depressed because the message of this film, as optimistic and excellent as it is, is with the very best of intentions, misrepresenting the excellence of Jesus Christ. A good message done poorly is no credit to the message. I wish that the producers would have worked harder to give that important message a delivery it is worthy of. In art, it is not enough to merely communicate a message. It should be communicated well. This was simply a missed opportunity.

Eric Ayala comments on an article about the movie “Saving Christmas” and the claims that St. Nicholas was a Roman Catholic. [17 min. mp3]:

The above is episode two of the new Covenant Legacy Webcast.

Brian Mann:

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas movie is a breath of fresh air to the church. There have been over-reactions to holidays, and under-reactions, but Cameron hits the nail on the head in this movie…

God With Us [Charles Spurgeon] [Xmas]

 

In 1854, a young Charles Spurgeon preached his Christmas Eve sermon on Isaiah 7:14-15. Using Spurgeon’s words from that sermon, an original score and a collection of animated paintings, this Christmas video illustrates the wonder of the ages, God with us.

 

http://vimeo.com/56710936

 

 

Interview #38 – Jeremy Walker – Life In Christ: Becoming & Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ

PodcastPromo38 Jeremy Walker Life In Christ Christmas Santa Elf Hat

On episode 38 of our podcast, we interview Pastor Jeremy Walker on his new book Life In Christ: Becoming & Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We ask questions such as:

  • How does one become a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ?
  • What might be the effects of not understanding that a Christian is “in Christ” (Union with Christ)?
  • What gets in the way of us enjoying the riches of Christ?
  • Does working out our salvation contradict grace?
  • + more…

Subscribe to the podcast in a RSS readeriTunes or by Email

Enter Book Giveaway:

Life-In-Christ-3D

[$10.12 Amazon | £9.12 {Preorder} Amazon UK | $11 RHB]

We are giving away 2 copies of this book. Enter here!

Links Mentioned:

Hymn (In order of appearance):

Advent Series by David Dykstra [Audio]

The Mystery of Godliness

The contrast confession, & content of the mystery of godliness.

 

“In verse 16 [1 Timothy 3:16] is a test by which you can discern the true church from the false. Does it both believe and confess this mystery of godliness?”

MP3:

An Advent Primer: Two Given Names

Observations on the names, Jesus and Emmanuel from Matthew 1:18-25

MP3:

An Advent Attitude

Observations on Paul’s practical use of the humiliation & exaltation of Christ from Philippians 2:5-11

 

“Here is an attitude to be displayed always because of the advent of Christ. The attitude that led to the incarnation of God the Son must have its affect on us producing within us an attitude that is Christ-like.”

MP3:

2013 Christmas Roundup

dore wisemen woodcut Christmas header nativity star

Here is the Christmas Roundup from last year with some recent post added on:


Podcast The IncarnationSola Scripture Ministries International

On today’s broad cast of After Darkness Light, Heinz Dschankilic and Michael Haykin look at the essence behind the Christmas story. This essence is described in John 1:14 where the apostle notes that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Come join us today as they explore The Incarnation.


Christmas and Christianity, Part 1 | Nick Kennicott

I’m not sure if every pastor out there gets the same questions I do, but one that seems to come up pretty regularly this time of year is all about Christmas…

While Christians often debate this issue, I am convinced that the 2nd commandment forbids the making of images of Christ in every respect. I oppose the ikons of Eastern Orthodoxy depicting the members of the Trinity, and just as strongly oppose the myriad of attempts at depicting Jesus in art of various forms (film, paintings, sculptures, crucifixes, etc.). God has said quite categorically, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). So the nativity scenes of Christmas depicting Jesus as a baby are a violation of the 2nd commandment, and while well intentioned, should not be displayed by Christians.

Christmas and Christianity, Part 2

There are at least five areas to consider when working through the biblical arguments against Christmas celebration. They are festivals and special days of observance, the Lord’s Day, the regulative principle of worship, cultural engagement, and Christian liberty.


elf santaSanta Claus is coming to town?Stephen Rees

It’s that time again. The run-up to Christmas. We’ve been preparing our children. We’ve warned them. They mustn’t say it. They mustn’t even hint at it. Whatever anyone says to them, they mustn’t let it slip. They don’t believe in Santa.

The cost of Christmas

In a few weeks time most of us will be celebrating Christmas. So how do we, as Christians, decide what it’s right to spend at Christmas? We face the same pressures as other folk. Let me remind you of five important truths.


albert n martinChristmas and the Christian | Feileadh Mor

Albert N. Martin is a straight shooter. In a series on Christmas he outlines the history of the practice in connection with Christian liberty…

MP3s:

Christmas and the Christian 01
Christmas and the Christian 02
Christmas and the Christian 03
Christmas and the Christian 04
Christmas Liberty 01
Christmas Liberty 02
Christmas Liberty 03

gillGill on Christmas

It directs to the observation of several fasts and festivals, which are no where enjoined in the word of God, and for which it provides collects, gospels and epistles to be read: the fasts are, Quadragesima or Lent, in imitation of Christ’s forty days fast in the wilderness, Ember weeks, Rogatian days, and all the Fridays in the year; in which men are commanded to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving. The festivals, besides, the principal ones, Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide, are the several saints days throughout the year; which are all of popish invention, and are either moveable or fixed, as the popish festivals be; and being the relics of popery makes us still more uneasy and dissatisfied with them.


“Because you have been attending the wrong church.”

Santa Claus, the Gospel & the Church + The “right way to fire your pastor” | Tom Ascol

It happened again last week. On Thanksgiving morning I received an email from a friend of a friend. The first line read, “It appears I am being forced out of my pastorate.” The story that unfolded in the rest of that email and upon further inquiry is filled with themes that are tragically too common…


Should We Celebrate Christmas? | Scott Brown

Each year, I receive letters asking my thoughts about the celebration of Christmas. So last year, I posted over a dozen articles on the subject of Christmas expressing a number of different perspectives from respectable men…

Ponder through the Twelve Days of Christmas series and test each of them by the Word of God.

Day 1: Sermon by Charles Spurgeon

Day 2: Jonathan Edwards on Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s

Day 3: XMAS by A.W. Pink

Day 4: John Piper

Day 5: George Whitefield

Day 6: Brian Schwertly

Day 7: John MacArthur on the Christmas Tree

Day 8: A Scottish Covenanter – George Gillespie – on Christmas

Day 9: Two Sermons Commenting on Christmas Observance from Charles Spurgeon

Day 10: Rethinking the Pagan Origins of Christmas

Day 11: The Puritans on Christmas

Day 12.1: Did We Celebrate Christmas in Early American History?

Day 12.2: More Quotes from the 17th to the 19th Centuries

Day 12.3: What Roman Catholics Say About Christmas

Day 12.4: Christmas and the Use of Time

Day 12.5: R.C. Sproul and J.I. Packer


JoyFriday Funny: ‘Twas the Sunday pre-Christmas: a cautionary tale [Jeremy Walker] + Audio Interview About This Poem Jason Delgado

We interviewed Jeremy Walker about his newest book and this topic came up. Here is a five minute preview of Tuesday’s podcast:


The Power of the Most High | Stephen Yuille

We are in the midst of the Christmas season, when we give particular attention to the incarnation of Christ.


Jesus and the Real Meaning of Christmas | John Samson

Each Christmas we hear the story about angels and shepherds, of wise men and strange sightings of a star, of a donkey, and of the Child that was laid in a stable manger. Yet the actual birth of Jesus, though highly unusual, was not entirely unique. Of course, not everyone is born to the sight of a star moving and coming to rest overhead, or to the sound of angelic announcements and trumpet blasts! Yet it is true to say that many children have been born in humble surroundings. Therefore, it was the manner in which Jesus was conceived that marks Him out from others.

The doctrine of the Virgin Birth holds that Jesus’ birth was the result of a miraculous conception whereby the Virgin Mary conceived a baby in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, without a human father.

Christ’s miraculous birth tells us much about His nature.


In the Fullness of Time | Mike Porter

So, why did Caesar, the most powerful man in the known world, send out the decree? Because “this…has been written by the prophet”.  Because “the heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord as rivers of water — he turns it wherever he wills”. Because the fullness of time had come, and for no other reason. It was God’s sovereign design, and not that of men.


spurgeon14 reminders from Spurgeon for those home for Christmas | Tony Reinke

On Sunday morning, December 21, 1856, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon to prepare his growing church for the coming Christmas season. He titled it “Going Home,” and the aim of the message was to encourage each member of his congregation to humbly, wisely, and appropriately find opportunities to share their personal testimony with family and friends.


Have Yourself An Eschatological Christmas | Eric Ayala

When we think of Christmas, we often think of the beginning of Jesus’ life here on earth, of when he was incarnate in the flesh and the beginning of the story of the Gospels. But we don’t often think of Christmas as an Eschatological event. The historical reality of the incarnation wasn’t just a sign of a new beginning, but of a completion and fulfillment. Christmas is a mark of the end, the eschaton, as the God who will bring the final day steps into time and space to bring about the culmination of all things. With him comes light and peace and hope; and also judgment and terror, and finality. Far from a celebration of just a cute little baby that we call Jesus, Christmas shows us the declarative and magnificent power of the omnipotent God who reigns over all things.


Trappings of TraditionReformed Baptista

Blogs and discussion groups abound with ideas on what to do for Advent, claiming that by doing these things I will create meaningful memories for my children. If I don’t fill my kids with sugar and deck them halls with red, green, silver or blue, have I deprived my children forever?

Is there something wrong with you if you don’t follow tradition?

…If this time of year brings an undue amount of pressure for you, here is a sanity-saving tip that I have come to know: if a holiday event brings you stress and pressure, then don’t do it.

Let me repeat: if a holiday event brings you stress and pressure, then don’t do it!

It is truly that simple. Breaking the trappings of tradition can be difficult, but once done, the freedom is thrilling. The doctrine of Christian liberty is such a precious doctrine to study. Usually we hear it summoned as a defense for various holiday celebrations. Yet let’s remember that it also offers freedom from holiday celebrations.


More will be added here as they appear.

Friday Funny: ‘Twas the Sunday pre-Christmas: a cautionary tale [Jeremy Walker] + Audio Interview About This Poem

The poem begins:

purse gran

‘Twas the Sunday pre-Christmas, and all through the church,
On the laps of their parents the children did perch.
All sitting agog in great anticipation
Of the visiting preacher’s pre-sermon oration.

 

(For this was a place where the children receive
Their own little talk and then promptly they leave,
And the preacher is left with a half-congregation –
But that’s not my point in today’s proclamation.)

 

And so I began to compare and contrast
With an image I hoped would be sure to stick fast,
Between God and his goodness in giving his Son
And the myth of the Chubby and Red-Suited One.

Read the rest of this cautionary tale [7 min. readout]

Here is some background to this poem that we got when we interviewed Jeremy Walker about his newest book. Here is a five minute preview of Tuesday’s podcast:


Here are some of his other hymns and psalms.

I imagine this was the look on the kid’s faces when he told them Santa wasn’t real:

Joy

Santa Claus, the Gospel & the Church + The “right way to fire your pastor” [Tom Ascol]

“Because you have been attending the wrong church.”
“Because you have been attending the wrong church.”

Tom Ascol:

It happened again last week. On Thanksgiving morning I received an email from a friend of a friend. The first line read, “It appears I am being forced out of my pastorate.” The story that unfolded in the rest of that email and upon further inquiry is filled with themes that are tragically too common…

Read the rest [7 min. reaout]

In this article he mentions the “right way to fire your pastor” [23 min. partial readout], which begins:

“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” (1 Timothy 5:19-21, NKJV).

Several years ago I preached a message with the same title as this article to the church I serve in Cape Coral. When I mentioned my intentions to a pastor friend, he said, “Tom, haven’t you heard that you never put a loaded gun into the hand of your enemy?” My response then remains my conviction now. First, I do not consider the church I serve to be my enemy. Far from it. Though some individuals from time-to-time have positioned themselves as my enemies, the church as a whole has been and remains the body of Christ and therefore a wonderful means of grace in my life. When a pastor starts viewing the church as his enemy it is a sure sign that he has outlived his usefulness to that congregation.

 

Secondly, in the sense in which my friend meant it, church members already have a gun. As one who is charged with the responsibility to lead and nurture the flock of God, I want to do everything I can to make sure that it is loaded with the proper ammunition and fired in a right direction.

 

Even the pastor who rejects any form of congregational government must face the fact that the members have a huge say in his tenure. Regardless of formal suffrage policies, all church members vote in two ways: with their feet and their pocketbooks. Many ministers who have never been officially dismissed have nevertheless been forced out of office by the withdrawal of support by the members.

 

The pastor-church relationship is a sensitive and vitally important issue. The proper dissolution of that relationship in difficult circumstances needs to be carefully considered in the light of biblical teachings…

Santa Claus is coming to town? [Stephen Rees]

elf santaPastor Stephen Rees:

It’s that time again. The run-up to Christmas. We’ve been preparing our children. We’ve warned them. They mustn’t say it. They mustn’t even hint at it. Whatever anyone says to them, they mustn’t let it slip. They don’t believe in Santa.

 

A kindly, cheerful shop assistant asks David what he’s hoping Father Christmas is going to bring. “There’s no Father Christmas!” he declares. “It’s just mummy and daddy”. She looks at us aghast. The look of horror in her face slowly turns to hostility and then to fury. “You’ve told them!” she hisses. And we begin to edge towards the door before she calls for the store security men to come and arrest us. We’re guilty. We’re blighted our children’s lives, deprived them of their human rights, committed a crime against humanity. We deserve to be exiled from all civilised society.

 

It’s happened again and again. Our children have blurted out the dreadful truth. And we’ve been left defenseless. So now, we’ve bound them to silence. Or to some irrelevant response, “Ooh, Christmas is so exciting isn’t it!”. That usually satisfies the inquisitors.

 

Even the tooth-fairy doesn’t hold this sort of control over the public. To voice doubts about his/her (which is it?) existence may render you an object of suspicion but it is permitted. Father Christmas is different. No child must be allowed to doubt his reality. And that means no adult must question it.

santa-claus_watch_1-via-www-global-customer-com

Why?

Read the rest [17 min. readout]