The scripture condemns such practices as Christmas. Jeremiah 10:2,3 tell us to “learn not the way of the heathen” and that “the customs of the people are vain.” In Matthew 15:9 Jesus explains that men worship Him in vain, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” In Colossians 2:8 we are told to beware lest someone should spoil us “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world.” I Timothy 1:4 instructs us to “neither give heed to fables … which minister questions.”
13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
So who is William Ames? – For me, he is someone new, but he was an important English Puritan theologian who lived in the Netherlands. I agree with his view of manmade holy days and was struck by his quote of Martin Bucer, the Strasbourg Reformer. Solid!
One of Ames’s sermons became historical in the Puritan controversies. It was delivered in the university Church of St Mary the Great, Cambridge on 21 December 1609, and in it he rebuked sharply ‘lusory lotts’ and the ‘heathenish debauchery’ of the students during the Twelve Days of Christmas. ~ Wikipedia
[To adopt a lusory attitude is to accept the arbitrary rules of a game in order to facilitate the resulting experience of play. ~ Wikipedia]
by Kevin Reed
William Ames (1576-1633), the prominent English Puritan who lived on the Continent among the Dutch for many years, sums up several fundamental principles relating to proper worship:
“No instituted worship is lawful unless God is its author and ordainer. Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 12:32.”
“The most solemn time for worship is now the first day of each week, called the Lord’s Day, Revelation 1:10; 1 Corinthians 16:2.”
“Opposed to the ordinance of the Lord’s Day are all feast days ordained by men when they are considered holy days like the Lord’s Day.”
Shortly before his death, Ames prepared a massive volume, A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship (1633). This book was written as a response to earlier publications by John Morton and John Burgess. Throughout his work, Ames provides a detailed rebuttal of many of the Episcopal arguments related to church polity.
In one place, Ames speaks of the scriptural law of worship. Referring to Leviticus 10:1, he states:
“The sons of Aaron are there condemned for bringing strange, or ordinary fire to God’s worship; as doing that which God had not commanded, and yet had not otherwise forbidden, than by providing fire proper to his worship, and not appointing any other to be used in the tabernacle. And this is the very plea which we make against ceremonies of human institution, in God’s worship.”
Then he notes Jeremiah 7:31, and comments:
“Seeing God under this title only condemns that which the Jews did because he had not commanded it [to] them; therefore no other reason need to be sought for the confutation of superstitions, than that they are not by commandment from God.”
In a separate section “Concerning the Lord’s Day, Temples, and Ceremonial Festivals,” Ames states:
“Concerning ceremonial festivals, of man’s making, our practice cannot be objected; because we observe none.”
I would to God that every holy day whatsoever besides the Lord’s day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names.
Romans 12King James Version
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Despite its pagan origins and celebration by occultists in our day, some Christians celebrate Halloween. For some, it’s actually part of the church calendar year, for others it is their choice. Is this you? If so, are you willing to forsake the world, take up your cross, and follow Jesus?
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Many of us don’t celebrate the day but we do use the season to throw a “harvest party” for our children or youth, where they can dress up like people from the Bible and enjoy seasonal treats. (Just to be clear, I’m not referring to Reformation Day celebrations.)
Why do we do this? Often, it is to keep them from feeling left out of the “fun”. Another reason may be that we’re nostalgic about our own childhood. Then, too, the Church seems to have fallen in love with “programs”, as well as “the church year.” That is, the Church has fallen from simplicity of devotion to Christ.
Is there wisdom in any of this? Wisdom is teaching our young people that, even for them, these things are true:
Christians are not people of disguise (pretenders),
following Jesus demands sacrifice in everyday things,
this is not their holiday, even if we “take out the bad parts.”
We can’t sanitize or sanctify the things of the world and use them. They will never be heavenly things.
Some of us use this day and season to witness. Praise God! But, a word of warning seems necessary: we should be discerning about any materials such as tracts that we buy to witness, that have Halloween as their theme. Some of them are silly or ghoulish. We don’t want to:
trivialize the Gospel,
be ineffective in our witness,
line the pockets of merchandisers.
Buying and selling “Christian stuff” is big business. Remember what went on in the Temple during the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and that He cleansed the Temple? There is nothing new under the sun. Isn’t the Bible what we should be pointing people to?
How silly we make the Gospel look
when we witness to the world
using the things of the world.
How foolish we are
when we celebrate
what the world celebrates –