Tuesday, December 20, 2005

MacArthur on Christmas church closings: "I think it's ridiculous"

Some Churches Taking Heat for Closing Doors Christmas Sunday

There have been very few critical voices in the public arena on this business of churches cancelling their Sunday morning services on Christmas Day. Most who are still doing Christmas Day services that have been quoted in the media or appeared on the cable news channels have been quite congenial to those who have cancelled services.

Agape Press found 3 who were not willing to bite their tongues: Fuller Seminary's Robert Johnson, D. James Kennedy and John MacArthur. MacArthur told Agape that "he believes a consumer mentality may be to blame for what he sees as a disrespectful or even sacrilegious move on the part of these churches that are opting to cancel services on Christmas...'I think it's ridiculous...You certainly wouldn't want to have a church service interrupt a celebration of Christ's birth, I guess. What kind of thinking is that?'

"Those churches that are choosing to forego gathering for worship on Christmas Sunday are exercising flawed judgment, MacArthur contends. 'To me it is an indication of the superficiality, the shallowness, and the disinterest in really worshipping Christ -- disinterest in truly exalting Him,' he says."

I find it interesting that none of those quoted mentioned the Lord's Day as a reason to not cancel church services, including Kennedy whose ordination vows are tied to the Westminster Confession of Faith.


SJ Camp said...

Good post brother.

I mentioned the Lord's Day over at COT quoting Ted Olsen from CT online as well.

Thank you Chad for your consistent work here each day to honor the Lord and guard the trust. I appreciate you very much.


Nosser B said...

Hey, why dont we cancel church on Easter so we can spend more time with our families egg hunting and eating chocolate bunnies!

Nosser B said...

Seriously, it's pretty sad because christmas is actually one of the few times during the year that many lost people do make there way into a church and could hear the Gospel, truly a lost opportunity.

pilgrim said...

The biggest reason to not cancel the service is that it is the Lord's Day.

As I've mentioned elsewhere we've had to combine with a sister congregation to worship as our facility is closed this Christmas--so we aren't cancelling the service--we're just moving it.

We did cancel once a couple of years ago due to weather (a sudden huge snow storm on a Saturday that showed no signs of slowing down.)

pilgrim said...

The biggest part is cancelling the Lord's Day.

I'd say to all whose churches have cancelled their services to check if there is another church they can worship with so they are no neglecting the gathering of the saints.

pilgrim said...

oops--it said my comment wasn't saved...

Nosser B said...

is your "facility" your church building? I'm confused on your "not cancelling" but moving your services elsewhere. Did your church cancel services and your going somewhere else or did your church actually lose the use of a facility and the church is relocating?

pilgrim said...

We meet in rented facilities--we have them Sunday morning and early afternoon.
Since those in charge of the facility had made it unavailable for Christmas the elders contacted a sister congregation with their own building, and made it "official"--so we had many members there on Sunday.
Others attended the church of a family member or friend, and a lot were travelling.
As for the church relocating--well we don't have to, but it could become an issue.
Pray for us.

Breuss Wane said...

I agree the biggest problem here is cancelling the Lord's Day service. IMHO, a very dispensational understanding of "worship in Spirit and in Truth".

Nosser B said...

Glad you were able to make do for Christmas with your fellowship, sorry your "facilitators" didnt see the importance of worship on Christmas Sunday.

pjc said...

I've appreciated and even enjoyed reading the posts and responses over the past couple of months. Thanks for the thought-provoking work.

Even though this response comes well past the event and in danger of becoming ancient history in our culture, your comment, Chad, "I find it interesting that none of those quoted mentioned the Lord's Day as a reason to not cancel church services" from my perspective simply begs the issue. The whole reason for the discussion is that Christmas Day fell on the Lord's Day this year. MacArthur would not have been questioned and therefore would not have responded had not this issue been centered on the matter of church services on the Lord's Day. It seems to me that when he uses the phrase "on Christmas Sunday" he is recognizing the importance of meeting together on the Lord's Day.

Thanks for the opportunity to spout off....

Breuss Wane said...


I suppose that could be the case. But you and I both know that MacArthur does not subscribe to the Reformed understanding of Sunday as the Christian Sabbath. So when I read his comments, I see his objection to be that the churches are not meeting together to worship (per Hebrews 10:25) when they usually do, rather than that they are not gathering on the Lord's Day (per Rev. 1:10).

While I'm not a Sabbatarian, I think there is enough evidence in the text to suggest that the "timing" of the worship is a matter of importance, even as the gathering is important.

But... I could be wrong... maybe Mac has *moved* a little. :-)

Nice to hear from you.