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December 14, 2005

Comments

Galations 4:8
Colossians 2:16-17

Placing emphasis on a 'day' of the week for worship or on a special 'holy day' (holiday) is legalistic. Our worship should not consist of what we do when we are at church but how we make ourselves available for God to use us...Romans 12:1
This kind of thinking places the emphasis on what WE are doing instead of letting Christ work through us...what HE is doing. It teaches that worship only happens inside an organized church in their 'special building'...a house of God. WE are now the temple of the Holy Spirit...not the building down the street.

Did the apostles or Jesus teach that we should set aside a day to worship Christ? Or did they teach that being a Christian is an everyday thing?

We teach our children to worship God in everything we do.
Paul said the only thing that matters is "faith expressing itself in love".

Teaching that you MUST go to church whenever the doors are open or that you must go to special services for holidays is pure legalism. Colossians 2:23, Galations 2:6.

Legalism leads to life in the desert...just like the Israelites wandering for 40 years. They were saved but did not get to rest in the promised land. So it is with legalistic attitudes. You spend you life trying to please God when you could be resting in the finished work of Christ. HE fulfilled ALL of the righteous requirements of the law for us. So now our sabbath rest is in him...EVERY DAY.
Christmas is a tradition. Nothing more. It's okay to celebrate or okay to attend a special service. Just don't think that you are required to do one of these to please God.

Nothing else needs to be said. Very well done. There are many things that the megachurches do that I have problems with but this is not one of them.

Mike,

If the post had been about how everyone MUST go to church services on Christmas, your comments might have merit. It wasn't even remotely implied. The services are canceled! To point out the absurdity of a Holy day (one which the vast majority of Christians observe joyfully by choice, not "legalistically") without corporate worship services is perfectly appropriate.

The fact that the mega-churches are not having services on Christmas is yet another sign that these "churches" are really businesses... and the employees want the day off.

If you click on my name below, it will take you to amazon.com... an excellent book on this topic by Os Guiness... "Dining With the Devil"

I agree with you that when everyone MUST go to church services that would be legalistic, but I think you are overlooking a few things here. A local church body can corporately decide to take that particular Sunday off in observance of Christmas and still focus on Christ's birth. How do we know that they haven't put together teaching that revolves around how a family can focus on Christ and worship Him at home on Christmas Sunday. As a matter of fact, a mega church here in Oklahoma City, called Life Church, surveyed the congregation and they decided that they will have services on Christmas Eve instead. I see nothing biblically that would prohibit this from happening. To say that a local body can't or even shouldn’t does come across as legalistic.

Unfortunately, most organized institutions are businesses. And if not that, they're separatist movements. Both are reasons why I won't be part of them. I will be worshipping with my family and giving glory to Yahweh very well whether anyone cancelled a service or not.

People might want to check out the comments made by David Wells on this issues. Goto my home page, where the links are located. It is in part 1 where David Wells answers some questions on this.

Tim,

"Doesn't worshiping Jesus not only on Christmas, but on the regular day of worship..."
"...it's another to cancel the Sunday service because it's Christmas..."

In her post, Melinda placed an emphasis on a "regular day of worship", meaning Sunday. She is even emphasizing the importance of celebrating Christmas by attending an organized 'church' service. That if we don't, we are somehow NOT worshiping properly.
That's legalism--plain and simple.

And it's not just the megachurches that are run like a business. Our local church, which we left because of this, is just an elaborate tax dodge. It only has about 110 in SS on any given week. Small church but corrupt through and through. Had I not gotten involved with the running of the church, I would have never known this. I can look back now at other churches I have been a member of and see the same things were occuring. How many members don't know what goes on behind the curtains?

It is true that our society is secularizing Christmas. Many churches are also responsible for this, too. There is a huge commercial aspect to it. This is a huge issue today which I'm sure most here are well aware of...churches run as a business. There are many problems with the way churches are run today but I think it was a little nit-picky to write about some who are not having a Sunday service because it falls on Christmas day. The sabbath day was done away with at the cross.

As Christians, we could do more to change society not by having a Christmas service, but by going out and sharing the gospel message with everyone possible. (I don't mean we should cancel the Christmas service) Hearts aren't changed by attending a service, they are changed by Jesus.

"Unfortunately, most organized institutions are businesses. And if not that, they're separatist movements. Both are reasons why I won't be part of them. I will be worshipping with my family and giving glory to Yahweh very well whether anyone cancelled a service or not."

Eh, I don't know about that. Rejecting the body of Christ is not a good way of "giving glory to Yahweh." The apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear that the church is a body that functions as a whole, not a bunch of severed limbs off doing their own thing. We need one another, and we need the church for discipline, encouragement, fellowship, teaching, etc. The person who says "I have no need of you" (1 Cor. 12:21) to the other members of the body is a person who places a low priority on obeying the word of God.

The church must be reformed, not abandoned. Instead of euthanizing the body of Christ, perhaps we should try to heal it.

Excellent post, Red Loser.

I would add to that Hebrews 10:24-25, "and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

Mike,

I agree with many of your points. It still seems like you are attributing emphasis where it isn't and legalism where it doesn't exist.

LEGALISM

The Bible has much to say about what we ought to do. We ought to share our faith, to live holy lives, pray, study God's Word, gather as a body ... is it legalism to believe so? Is it legalism to exhort others to believe so?

I read an article critiquing "Way of the Master" in Modern Reformation magazine that accused them of being "terribly legalistic." That which causes conviction (or simply expresses a "moral ought") is not legalism. Legalism says, "in order to be saved, you must do x, y, z..." It is quite another thing to say; those who are saved exhibit the fruits of x, y, z... This encourages self-inspection, repentance, and growth... sanctification.

DEMOCRACY?

Churches (local bodies) are not supposed to be democracies where the babes in Christ can make unwise decisions for the body. It is supposed to be mature leadership making such decisions. (If appealing to Scripture about how to "do church" is legalistic... I plead guilty.)

I don't know if these were congregational (corporate) decisions or if they were made by leadership. What it does reveal is where their heart/priorities lie. Notice I didn't say such churches were run like businesses, I said they are businesses. You gave a sad example of that in your post.

COMMERCIALIZATION OF CHRISTMAS

I heard a guy say that we Christians used to complain about the commercialization of Christmas... now we complain that Christmas is not commercialized (ref. boycott of Target stores...).

How dare we complain that Christmas be defiled, then complain that Christmas is abandoned in favor of the defilement! It is like throwing out the baby and keeping the bathwater.

Folks,

The most troublesome part isn't the fact that church services on Christmas Day have been cancelled. Rather, it is the REASONS given for cancelling the services.

People want to spend time with their families? So what? There'll be plenty of time to do that afterwards, or even beforehand.

There won't be many non-believes in attendance? Even if that turns out to be true, what about worship? What about equipping the saints?

It makes for inefficient use of manpower and resources? Then scale back on the big dramatic presentations and musical numbers, for pity's sake. Besides, the church exists to equip it's people, not to make a profit.

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