Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The good accidentally conferred by the season
I was listening to Charles Spurgeon's sermon "A Christmas Question" of December 25, 1859 on sermon audio (you can also read the text here) and reading the various posted comments. This time of year always features a debate on sermonaudio about Christmas. I thought this comment from Stephen Hamilton was particularly sensible:
The fact that Spurgeon used the opportunity conferred by the annual Christmas holiday to preach the gospel of the Incarnation in no way diluted his Protestantism, anymore than the usage of pagan names for our days of the week (Monday, Tuesday etc.,), and months of the year (January etc.,.), makes today's Christians into pagans. The old "chestnut" is resurrected every year about ChristMASS, as if every person even using the term is about to become a Papist! Some folks love to quote Spurgeon very selectively in relation to ChristMAS, rightly pointing out,of course,that he fully rejected Romanism, but conveniently ignoring his embracing of "the good accidentally conferred by the season"(CHS quote). Such people usually do not have the courage to label him a "compromiser", yet do not hesitate to condemn gospel preachers who organise their worship services in December in the same way as CHS did each year. It is patent nonsense to tar faithful gospel preachers with the same brush as the worshippers of the "pancake god", simply because they use the ChristMAS season to proclaim the truth about the Incarnation. Are these annual hobby-horse riders the only faithful custodians of the Faith? I think not. Perhaps soon they will show a similar zeal to take Janus (pagan goddess)out of January!
In this regard I also found the articles by another sermonaudio preacher, Bob Vincent of Grace Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, Louisiana to be of interest. See "A Short History of Our Experiments With Christmas" which he signs, "a recovering neurotic" and "John Calvin's Christmas Observance."