A Romans 14 Christmas?

Posted in 2015

Does Romans 14 give us a defense for keeping Christmas? I’ve seen v.5 cited often as a general defense for the keeping of holy days.

It reads;

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Well folks, I don’t believe it applies to Christmas, just read the passage in context. The passage is speaking to the church at Rome made up of Jewish converts and Gentiles. Some wanted to keep old Mosaic holy days while other did not.

Gill explains this passage is;

“not to be understood of days appointed by the Christian churches for fasting, or abstinence from certain meats, either once a year, as the “Quadragesima”, or Lent; or twice a week, as Wednesdays and Fridays; for these are things of much later observation, and which had never been introduced into the church of Rome in the apostle’s time; nor were there any disputes about them: much less of days of Heathenish observation, as lucky or unlucky, or festivals in honour of their gods; for the apostle would never say, that a man who regarded such a day, regarded it to the Lord; nor would have advised to a coalition and Christian conversation with such a man, but rather to exclude him from all society and communion:”

If Paul isn’t defending Christian liberty to make up and keep holy days what is his point?

“it must be understood of Jewish days, or of such as were appointed to be observed by the Jews under the former dispensation, and which some thought were still to be regarded; wherefore they esteemed some days in the year above others, as the days of unleavened bread, or the passover; particularly the first night, which was a night to be observed throughout their generations; and in their service for it to this day”

Ahh, that makes sense. Gill continues;

“but let it be observed, that the man that did so was one that was weak in faith; the same man that ate herbs, because he would not be guilty of violating those laws, which ordered a distinction of meats to be observed, the same weak man esteemed one day above another, imagining the laws concerning the distinction of days were still obligatory, not rightly understanding the doctrine of Christian liberty, or freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law”

The context of Romans 14 doesn’t support the introduction of unbiblical holy days. It just doesn’t.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

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5 thoughts on “A Romans 14 Christmas?

  1. Short comment: Rom 14 is not an excuse for someone who does something unscrupulous such as ignoring something the Scripture teaches. Rom 14 is about those who are overly scrupulous (they don’t eat certain foods, they observe certain days, etcetera) and how those how are not overly scrupulous should respond (namely, by not doing ANYTHING that causes an overly scrupulous person to stumble, even to the extent of changing your diet.)

    So, while food and days is not an issue in today’s church, the issue of women’s clothing often comes up. What I often hear is, “Well, I think I am dressing humble like this,” or “that promiscuous clothing does not bother me,” which either of which amount to, “my weaker brother, if this kind of clothing bothers you, toughen up.” Paul’s command could have not been any more simple, “No, if the overly scrupulous brother is offended by your freedom in Christ, do NOTHING that causes him to stumble.”

    Hence, what we often see is the opposite application. The overly-scrupulous should chill out and not judge their less scrupulous brothers to the point of capitulating to all their desires. Clearly, the passage teaches the exact opposite. This, I attribute to, people misunderstanding the Scripture out of selfishness and Satanic influence.

    God bless,
    Craig

      • It does not work in reverse. We are indeed supposed to bear the burdens of others, but if it is unclean to you to celebrate Christmas, whatever is not of faith is sin. Hence, it is those who celebrate who are supposed to stop for the sake of their conscience. Surely, none of them believe it is sinful not to celebrate Christmas. We are supposed to defer to the overly scrupulous.

      • That’s what I thought you meant but I wanted to clarify. Craig, are you confessionally Reformed? I notice you deny the third use of the Law.

      • I’m like an average PCA pastor. I deny the 17th century consensus on the Sabbath in favor of the ancient consensus of the Church. I thought that was the 4th commandment, however.

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