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Author Topic: Why don't Protestants celebrate more religious holidays?  (Read 23071 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 03, 2009, 12:50:46 AM »

In tonight's Bible Study, Father mentioned how each of the 12 feasts we celebrate on the Liturgical calander are on the calander to remind us of how each part of Christ's life plays a role in our salvation.

This reminded me of a question I've always had, even in my days in the Baptist church.

Why does the Protestant church water down the Liturgical calander to Christmas and Easter?

While I understand your reasoning for throwing out the days that honor the Saints and the Theotokos, why throw out the days that honor Christ?

Specifically I am referring to Theophany (Christ's Baptism) (Luke 3:21-22), the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Luke 1:22-24), Transfiguration (Mark 1:1-13), Palm Sunday (John 12:13-15) and the rest of Holy Week, Pentacost (Acts 2:3-5), and Ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

All of these events are recorded in the Bible, and are worthy of our praise. On Christmas and Easter you celebrate what Christ did for your salvation; why not include the other dates in the year?

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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 01:36:03 AM »

So you're asking why Protestants do not embrace certain aspects of the True Faith?

I'm only a catechumen right now, but I assume this is what the Orthodox call a Mystery...  Grin
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2009, 01:45:54 AM »

Are you asking about "Protestants" or Evangelical Protestants? I was an Episcopalian most of my life and the Episcopal, Lutheran and to a certain extent the Methodist Church celebrated all the major feasts as well as special feasts of Mary and some saints.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_of_saints_(Episcopal_Church_in_the_United_States_of_America)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheran_calendar_of_saints
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 06:24:46 AM »

What you say is right: we observe Christmas and Easter, and perhaps some minor acknowledgement when it is Whitsun, but we have nothing like the Orthodox church calendar. As I put on another thread, I am currently reading day by day (i.e. really at the wrong times) Sergei Bulgakov's "Churchly Joy: Orthodox Devotions for the Church Year". (I think that is the exact title: it is not to hand here where I am.) It has made me think what a good thing a church year is, if observed under grace and not legalistically of course - but that applies to all aspects of our religion. It is the first time I remember when I have exposed myself to the concept of a church year.

I can only speak about the sort of church that I tend to circulate among most, and what I say will not apply to all Protestants of course. Every age seems to have a "canon within the canon": for the mediæval West it was the Gospels and Psalms; for the Cistercians it seems to have been the Song of Solomon. The sort of Evangelical church I go to most often (that is, go to with my Albanian work, mainly in England and Wales but sometimes in Scotland) has the epistles of Paul as its "canon within the canon", especially the Epistle to the Romans. There is more preaching from Romans and the other pauline epistles than from anywhere else.

Now I see this as a defect, not a strength, which a church calendar such as yours, marking the events in the Gospels, would help us to put right. We hear preaching from the Gospels far too seldom, and I wish we had more. When we do get ministry from the gospels, it tends to be John more than the synoptics. I think we like to hear didactic rather than narrative preaching - or at least, our preachers like to give that sort! I love to hear good preaching which presents Christ to me from the record of his life and words. Of course we believe all the narratives, in all the Gospels, and all the events, works and words of our Lord find mention scattered throughout the year in our sermons and Bible studies. But you have something there which we would be well advised to learn from.

You ask why we lack it. That is harder to answer, and I have no idea. It is of course easier to give teaching from the epistles than from the Gospels, for the revelation was complete at the time the epistles were written, and our Lord himself said that his disciples did not understand everything, but would do so after the Comforter was sent following his ascension. It takes more thought and divine help to present a fully evangelical message (small e-) from the Gospels than from the epistles, where the precepts are set out more explicitly and more fully. But why don't we devise some means, such as you have, of ensuring that we do turn to the Gospels more? I don't know.

A church historian could probably tell us (you and me) when the idea or use of the church calendar was discontinued. He would perhaps find it harder to say why.

On a personal note, I have made some attempt over the last year or two to rectify this to some extent in my own preaching by turning to the Gospels for passages to preach from. The influence of my Orthodox reading? Who knows?
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 01:47:02 PM »

Crucifer beat me to it. There's no such thing as "Protestants" as a monolithic bloc.  I've been Episcopalian for over 30 years and we have all the feasts mentioned in our Book of Common Prayer.  Palm Sunday through Easter is "Holy Week" with lots of services for example.

Ebor
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 02:24:45 PM »

Crucifer beat me to it. There's no such thing as "Protestants" as a monolithic bloc.  I've been Episcopalian for over 30 years and we have all the feasts mentioned in our Book of Common Prayer.  Palm Sunday through Easter is "Holy Week" with lots of services for example.

Ebor

And Episcopalians are also a small minority of Protestants, so it's not like that actually refutes the fact that the bulk of Protestants don't observe any feasts.  Even among those mainline Protestant denominations that do observe them, Episcopalians are again the exception in that they actually have special services.  For Methodists and the like, the acknowledgment is often confined to the topic of the sermon and a couple of the hymns.  Even then, however, we're still only talking about a plurality of Protestants (at best). 
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 05:13:13 PM »

What you say is right: we observe Christmas and Easter, and perhaps some minor acknowledgement when it is Whitsun, but we have nothing like the Orthodox church calendar. As I put on another thread, I am currently reading day by day (i.e. really at the wrong times) Sergei Bulgakov's "Churchly Joy: Orthodox Devotions for the Church Year". (I think that is the exact title: it is not to hand here where I am.) It has made me think what a good thing a church year is, if observed under grace and not legalistically of course - but that applies to all aspects of our religion. It is the first time I remember when I have exposed myself to the concept of a church year.

I can only speak about the sort of church that I tend to circulate among most, and what I say will not apply to all Protestants of course. Every age seems to have a "canon within the canon": for the mediæval West it was the Gospels and Psalms; for the Cistercians it seems to have been the Song of Solomon. The sort of Evangelical church I go to most often (that is, go to with my Albanian work, mainly in England and Wales but sometimes in Scotland) has the epistles of Paul as its "canon within the canon", especially the Epistle to the Romans. There is more preaching from Romans and the other pauline epistles than from anywhere else.

Now I see this as a defect, not a strength, which a church calendar such as yours, marking the events in the Gospels, would help us to put right. We hear preaching from the Gospels far too seldom, and I wish we had more. When we do get ministry from the gospels, it tends to be John more than the synoptics. I think we like to hear didactic rather than narrative preaching - or at least, our preachers like to give that sort! I love to hear good preaching which presents Christ to me from the record of his life and words. Of course we believe all the narratives, in all the Gospels, and all the events, works and words of our Lord find mention scattered throughout the year in our sermons and Bible studies. But you have something there which we would be well advised to learn from.

You ask why we lack it. That is harder to answer, and I have no idea. It is of course easier to give teaching from the epistles than from the Gospels, for the revelation was complete at the time the epistles were written, and our Lord himself said that his disciples did not understand everything, but would do so after the Comforter was sent following his ascension. It takes more thought and divine help to present a fully evangelical message (small e-) from the Gospels than from the epistles, where the precepts are set out more explicitly and more fully. But why don't we devise some means, such as you have, of ensuring that we do turn to the Gospels more? I don't know.

A church historian could probably tell us (you and me) when the idea or use of the church calendar was discontinued. He would perhaps find it harder to say why.

On a personal note, I have made some attempt over the last year or two to rectify this to some extent in my own preaching by turning to the Gospels for passages to preach from. The influence of my Orthodox reading? Who knows?


How has preaching from the gospels changed the perspective of the congregation, if at all? 

Also, would you ever preach from a feast day theme?  Or do you just not acknowledge them at all. 

For example, February 2 (yesterday) is the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, to the Elder Symeon (which is in the gospels).  How would that work out for you?  Would you have to explain then where you got the date from, and how you know it happened on this day, etc.  Or would you rather just preach on that topic and let it go? 

Just curious.  thank you in advance! 
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 06:07:31 PM »

How has preaching from the gospels changed the perspective of the congregation, if at all? 

I can't really say. In churches where I preach only occasionally, I do not know the congregations well enough to judge. In the church where I am a member, which I joined in 1977, I am grateful to the Lord that my preaching is appreciatively and warmly received, but I have not sensed a difference between the people's response whether I am preaching from the Old Testament, Gospels, Acts, epistles, or Revelation. The fact is that a high proportion of the services I take there are Communion services, so I tend to take a passage and theme related to the Eucharist and its meanings; and a further high proportion have tended to be at special times like Good Friday or Christmas, so again the theme was sort-of predetermined. When there are no such constraints - or rather, pointers - I have a freer choice, but I suspect the difference in feeling about the sermon is within me more than in my hearers. There is something inwardly satisfying in preaching direct from the Gospels. I hasten to add that I hope and pray that all my sermons point people to Christ.

Quote
Also, would you ever preach from a feast day theme?  Or do you just not acknowledge them at all. 

Yes. I would need to explain what the day was, as people probably wouldn't know other than Christmas, Easter and Whitsun. I suspect people would think it was largely coincidental that the theme I had fixed upon happened to fall on a day which in other churches had significance for that theme. They wouldn't mind, but they wouldn't deem the coincidence of any significance. I would be more likely to do it in a church where I am known and trusted from long acquaintance.

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February 2 is the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, ... Would you have to explain then where you got the date from, and how you know it happened on this day,

Yes, I would have to explain. It is however highly unlikely that I would know about it myself, unless someone told me. I did sent a text message to a friend who lived in Worcester on St Wulfstan's Day, wishing him the blessing of Wulfstan's God. He is a Pentecostal and knows of my admiration for Bishop Wulfstan. If I had an opportunity, I would gladly give a talk on the life of Wulfstan on that day, but that wouldn't be a Sunday sermon, but a 'paper', 'talk' or 'lecture', more likely a midweek evening.

Quote
Or would you rather just preach on that topic and let it go? 

We probably do cover the whole gamut of themes as time passes. Most pastors, that is, men who preach regularly to the same congregation, devise their own systems. For example, ours is currently going through Acts in the morning and Malachi in the evening. This sort of thing is the more usual pattern.

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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2009, 04:33:58 AM »

RED EGGS

When we arrived in Albania in 1991, immediately after the fall of Communism, people left us puzzled by telling us earnestly, "We always kept the Faith - we never stopped making red eggs." We had no idea what red eggs mean, although it was plain they were a paschal thing. Someone put a post on another thread recently, saying what great risks people took if they continued to make red eggs at Easter during Communism. Now nobody is going to risk their goods and liberty for eggs: it must have a powerful religious significance.

Please explain to me: and I can explain to others. I assume it refers to the blood of Christ. But so does the cup at the Eucharist; and we can call gratefully to mind, in our hearts, the value and power of that blood whenever we want. We don't need the eggs as well. Why are they so important?

We are bidden to give honour where honour is due, and it is good that I should come to understand - even if it is 17½ years late.
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2009, 08:36:49 AM »

here is the wiki site to that explanation.  It's actually pretty good, and fairly thorough.  The major thing you want to look into is the example of Mary Magdelene. (it's on the site). 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg


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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2009, 09:45:15 AM »

here is the wiki site to that explanation. 

Most informative. Thank you. I wish I'd known that years ago.
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 09:58:26 AM »

David Young,

You said this above: 
Quote
We probably do cover the whole gamut of themes as time passes. Most pastors, that is, men who preach regularly to the same congregation, devise their own systems. For example, ours is currently going through Acts in the morning and Malachi in the evening. This sort of thing is the more usual pattern.

Is that a standard thing, with NT in the morning and OT in the afternoon?  That would be very interesting if true...
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2009, 12:49:12 PM »

Is that a standard thing, with NT in the morning and OT in the afternoon? 

Not standard, but probably opted for quite often.

Sometimes the minister of a congregation will take a doctrine rather than a book of the Bible - say, for example, "The Last Things" or "The Atonement", and will expound that by means of a series of sermons on different aspects of the theme. Or he might take a series on a more devotional, hortatory theme, such as "Finding God's Guidance" or "Coping with Doubt".

Often, of course, his sermon will be a one-off, not part of a series at all. This might happen if something special arises, like the tsunami, and he wants to help Christians deal with the problem of wide-scale suffering or whatever the event might relate to; or if he preaches on a short book, like Obadiah, which only has one chapter.

People like to hear, and pastors like to give, consecutive ministry, and there is a host of ways of devising it.

Preaching is always from the Bible, but biographical or historical talks are sometimes given at mid-week meetings. They will have a spiritual application, and can make an interesting and refreshing change. Most mid-week meetings however will consist of a Bible study, and these are seldom taken by visiting speakers, so I am familiar only with how it is done at our church; but we are probably fairly typical. Usually we sit in a circle and whoever is leading the study will guide a discussion on it, asking questions, probing for people's understanding of the passage, inviting them to ask questions, express insights, and so on. This is an excellent way of discovering what the people know and think, and don't know and don't think - their strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and difficulties - and this knowledge can then be built into Sunday preaching from other passages as well. These can also, of course, take the people gradually through a book of the Bible, or into a theme (such as Prayer, Worship, or whatever). In this way, we build each other up; it is different from listening to preaching.
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2009, 02:05:21 PM »

Is that a standard thing, with NT in the morning and OT in the afternoon? 

Not standard, but probably opted for quite often.

Sometimes the minister of a congregation will take a doctrine rather than a book of the Bible - say, for example, "The Last Things" or "The Atonement", and will expound that by means of a series of sermons on different aspects of the theme. Or he might take a series on a more devotional, hortatory theme, such as "Finding God's Guidance" or "Coping with Doubt".

Often, of course, his sermon will be a one-off, not part of a series at all. This might happen if something special arises, like the tsunami, and he wants to help Christians deal with the problem of wide-scale suffering or whatever the event might relate to; or if he preaches on a short book, like Obadiah, which only has one chapter.

People like to hear, and pastors like to give, consecutive ministry, and there is a host of ways of devising it.

Preaching is always from the Bible, but biographical or historical talks are sometimes given at mid-week meetings. They will have a spiritual application, and can make an interesting and refreshing change. Most mid-week meetings however will consist of a Bible study, and these are seldom taken by visiting speakers, so I am familiar only with how it is done at our church; but we are probably fairly typical. Usually we sit in a circle and whoever is leading the study will guide a discussion on it, asking questions, probing for people's understanding of the passage, inviting them to ask questions, express insights, and so on. This is an excellent way of discovering what the people know and think, and don't know and don't think - their strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and difficulties - and this knowledge can then be built into Sunday preaching from other passages as well. These can also, of course, take the people gradually through a book of the Bible, or into a theme (such as Prayer, Worship, or whatever). In this way, we build each other up; it is different from listening to preaching.

Firstly, thank you so much for this! 

Secondly the reason why I thought it was interesting is b/c during Great Lent (in the EOC tradition), we have readings from the Old Testament during the Vespers service (late afternoon), as well as in the morning.  BUT the interesting thing is that on REGULAR days, we have NT readings in the mornings.  I wonder if there is some kind of inherant connection there with night time and OT, and morning with NT.  Just curious. 

Also, do you do anything different for Lent (along the lines of the original post), or do you not celebrate lent at all?  how does that all work out in terms of celebrations and etc.?  Do you have Holy Week, etc. ? 
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 02:07:17 PM »

Crucifer beat me to it. There's no such thing as "Protestants" as a monolithic bloc.  I've been Episcopalian for over 30 years and we have all the feasts mentioned in our Book of Common Prayer.  Palm Sunday through Easter is "Holy Week" with lots of services for example.

Ebor

Crucifer, Ebor,

After I submitted the post and left the thread I thought "I'm gonna get some 'heat' for putting all Protestant groups in one bucket."  Wink By then it was very late in the evening, and it was too late for me to edit my post.

I want to apologize for doing so, for I know better, and know that there are some Protestant groups that do have a Liturgical calander.

Please forgive me,

Maureen
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2009, 02:15:20 PM »

What you say is right: we observe Christmas and Easter, and perhaps some minor acknowledgement when it is Whitsun, but we have nothing like the Orthodox church calendar. As I put on another thread, I am currently reading day by day (i.e. really at the wrong times) Sergei Bulgakov's "Churchly Joy: Orthodox Devotions for the Church Year". (I think that is the exact title: it is not to hand here where I am.) It has made me think what a good thing a church year is, if observed under grace and not legalistically of course - but that applies to all aspects of our religion. It is the first time I remember when I have exposed myself to the concept of a church year.

I can only speak about the sort of church that I tend to circulate among most, and what I say will not apply to all Protestants of course. Every age seems to have a "canon within the canon": for the mediæval West it was the Gospels and Psalms; for the Cistercians it seems to have been the Song of Solomon. The sort of Evangelical church I go to most often (that is, go to with my Albanian work, mainly in England and Wales but sometimes in Scotland) has the epistles of Paul as its "canon within the canon", especially the Epistle to the Romans. There is more preaching from Romans and the other pauline epistles than from anywhere else.

Now I see this as a defect, not a strength, which a church calendar such as yours, marking the events in the Gospels, would help us to put right. We hear preaching from the Gospels far too seldom, and I wish we had more. When we do get ministry from the gospels, it tends to be John more than the synoptics. I think we like to hear didactic rather than narrative preaching - or at least, our preachers like to give that sort! I love to hear good preaching which presents Christ to me from the record of his life and words. Of course we believe all the narratives, in all the Gospels, and all the events, works and words of our Lord find mention scattered throughout the year in our sermons and Bible studies. But you have something there which we would be well advised to learn from.

You ask why we lack it. That is harder to answer, and I have no idea. It is of course easier to give teaching from the epistles than from the Gospels, for the revelation was complete at the time the epistles were written, and our Lord himself said that his disciples did not understand everything, but would do so after the Comforter was sent following his ascension. It takes more thought and divine help to present a fully evangelical message (small e-) from the Gospels than from the epistles, where the precepts are set out more explicitly and more fully. But why don't we devise some means, such as you have, of ensuring that we do turn to the Gospels more? I don't know.

A church historian could probably tell us (you and me) when the idea or use of the church calendar was discontinued. He would perhaps find it harder to say why.

On a personal note, I have made some attempt over the last year or two to rectify this to some extent in my own preaching by turning to the Gospels for passages to preach from. The influence of my Orthodox reading? Who knows?

This is very interesting, as I never noticed this "canon of the canon" in the Baptist church I attended. (Just speaking from my personal experience.) To their credit, the pastors and leaders there were very effective in using the entire Bible for a sermon. It was not uncommon to have the whole congregation flipping back in forth from one part of the Bible (whether it be Old or New Testament) to another section of the Bible.

But back to my original question, was there a point during the Reformation where one of the Reformers felt the need to throw out the Liturgical calander, and if so, why? Did they just see it as another one of the "distractions" that needed to be tossed out?

To me, this is just another example of the proverbial "throwing the baby out with the bath water."
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2009, 02:21:07 PM »

do you do anything different for Lent ?  Do you have Holy Week, etc. ? 

No. We have no Lent, and (as I wrote on a different post) we probably don't even know when it's on. Around Easter, we only have a morning service (Communion) on Good Friday, and the theme of at least one of the two Sunday services will be the Resurrection. It ought to be a much bigger thing.

Mind you, we are likely to have preaching and Bible studies on the Resurrection, both Christ's and ours, a number of times during the year. The motif is constantly there, but Easter ought to be a much bigger celebration.
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2009, 02:30:41 PM »

Firstly, thank you so much for this! 

Secondly the reason why I thought it was interesting is b/c during Great Lent (in the EOC tradition), we have readings from the Old Testament during the Vespers service (late afternoon), as well as in the morning.  BUT the interesting thing is that on REGULAR days, we have NT readings in the mornings.  I wonder if there is some kind of inherant connection there with night time and OT, and morning with NT.  Just curious. 

Also, do you do anything different for Lent (along the lines of the original post), or do you not celebrate lent at all?  how does that all work out in terms of celebrations and etc.?  Do you have Holy Week, etc. ? 

While I can't speak for David Young's church, I can say that this is more of a church by church practice, not something that "All Baptists" or "All Protestants" do. Each church will have it's own way of approaching the Bible, and how they study it.

In the Baptist Church I grew up in, there was no particular rhyme or reason as to why we would be studying a particular passage/theme. I mean around Christmas you always look at the Christmas story and the prophetic readings of the Old Testament, and on Easter we would read of Christ's ressurection, but the rest of the year was based on the whim of the Pastor. In speaking with other family members who are of various Protestant groups, they have said the same thing.

As far as any recognition of "Holy Week," this always upset me because there was no recognition of it. Here was an event that was clearly Biblically based and we wouldn't talk about it until Sunday. Sometimes on Good Friday we would have an evening service where they would read about the crucifixion and give everyone a nail to take home. The nail was supposed to be similar to one they would have used to nail Christ to the cross, and to give us an image of how he suffered. We were supposed contemplate on His suffering all weekend and then bring the nail back on Sunday to be symbolic of His Ressurection. Personally speaking, I always thought it was kind of lame, and looked forward to spending Holy Friday with my father in the Orthodox Church. I didn't feel like the service captured the intensity of the day, and just left me feeling kind of empty. (One of the advantages of having divorced parents of different faiths was that most of the time the issue of "who do we spend the holiday with" didn't exist because of the different church calanders. Spent Easter with Mom, Pascha with Dad, and the two never conflicted.)

Perhaps Cleopas would also like to weigh in?
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2009, 02:30:59 PM »

do you do anything different for Lent ?  Do you have Holy Week, etc. ? 

No. We have no Lent, and (as I wrote on a different post) we probably don't even know when it's on. Around Easter, we only have a morning service (Communion) on Good Friday, and the theme of at least one of the two Sunday services will be the Resurrection. It ought to be a much bigger thing.

Mind you, we are likely to have preaching and Bible studies on the Resurrection, both Christ's and ours, a number of times during the year. The motif is constantly there, but Easter ought to be a much bigger celebration.

How do you know when Easter is, if you don't have a lenten period? 
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2009, 02:33:18 PM »

do you do anything different for Lent ?  Do you have Holy Week, etc. ? 

No. We have no Lent, and (as I wrote on a different post) we probably don't even know when it's on. Around Easter, we only have a morning service (Communion) on Good Friday, and the theme of at least one of the two Sunday services will be the Resurrection. It ought to be a much bigger thing.

Mind you, we are likely to have preaching and Bible studies on the Resurrection, both Christ's and ours, a number of times during the year. The motif is constantly there, but Easter ought to be a much bigger celebration.

This is very interesting because the only day of the Liturgical year where it is forbidden to have Divine Liturgy (which is a Eucharistic service) is Holy/Good Friday.

As my post prior to this one indicates, I agree with you, it does need to be a bigger thing.
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« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2009, 02:34:31 PM »

How do you know when Easter is, if you don't have a lenten period? 

They use the same method the Catholic Church does to calculate the date. Once the date is calculated, they know which day to have the Easter service, but that's it. There's nothing that leads up to it.
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« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2009, 06:07:46 PM »

How do you know when Easter is, if you don't have a lenten period? 

They use the same method the Catholic Church does to calculate the date. Once the date is calculated, they know which day to have the Easter service, but that's it. There's nothing that leads up to it.

Not entirely true. We keep the Orthodox date in an Orthodox environment and the Catholic one in a Catholic environment. In Britain, the government announces bank holidays at Easter and it is always printed in secular diaries and calendars. And the shops lead up to it by selling chocolate eggs and other things - just to make money, no religious motive that I can discern.

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From Handmaiden: Personally speaking, I always thought it was kind of lame... I didn't feel like the service captured the intensity of the day.


I feel the same.
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« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2009, 06:33:37 PM »

In tonight's Bible Study, Father mentioned how each of the 12 feasts we celebrate on the Liturgical calander are on the calander to remind us of how each part of Christ's life plays a role in our salvation.

This reminded me of a question I've always had, even in my days in the Baptist church.

Why does the Protestant church water down the Liturgical calander to Christmas and Easter?

While I understand your reasoning for throwing out the days that honor the Saints and the Theotokos, why throw out the days that honor Christ?

Specifically I am referring to Theophany (Christ's Baptism) (Luke 3:21-22), the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Luke 1:22-24), Transfiguration (Mark 1:1-13), Palm Sunday (John 12:13-15) and the rest of Holy Week, Pentacost (Acts 2:3-5), and Ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

All of these events are recorded in the Bible, and are worthy of our praise. On Christmas and Easter you celebrate what Christ did for your salvation; why not include the other dates in the year?



Puritanism. Read up on the British civil War, Oliver Cromwell, and what happened during those years. Puritanism was transplanted to North America, and their modern day decendants are Congregationalists(United Church of Christ, Uniterians, Universalists, Harvard University.....ect), Prespyterians(PCUSA,PCA,OPC, Yale, Princeton,....ect), Baptists(Southern Baptists, National Baptists, American Baptists, Free will Baptists, 7nth Day Baptists, Primative Baptists, Missionary Baptist.......ect.), Quaker, and uhm.....who else? The Pilgrims...but they later merged with their Congregationalists counter parts. Infact, the english separatists came from congregationalism. You had puritans that were Episcopalian too, but I'm not including them in this. The Church of Christ(the cambellite movement) mostly came from Prespyterianism, but they were also mixed with Baptists, and Methodhists. Alot of the other groups that came later seemed to be influenced by them too. Like the Holiness movement(Church of the Nazerine, and Church of God cleveland tenessee) came from the Methodhists(United Methodhists, weslyian churches, and other methodhists groups), Most Pentecostal groups came from your Holiness churches. And most Americans are from this background. So this is probably why they don't have church calanders.


But yeah, my bet would be Puritanism....I would point the finger at that movement.


It took a long time for Puritans in this country to tolerate and accept Christmass. But Christmass and Easter are part of our "National Holidays"........so they are embeded in our federal government.


I could be wrong about this......so please double check me on this........but I don't think the churches that have their roots in puritanism care about church calendars.

They just don't have them. I could be wrong about this, but it seems to be a "puritan" thing.






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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2009, 07:23:18 PM »

How do you know when Easter is, if you don't have a lenten period? 

They use the same method the Catholic Church does to calculate the date. Once the date is calculated, they know which day to have the Easter service, but that's it. There's nothing that leads up to it.

Not entirely true. We keep the Orthodox date in an Orthodox environment and the Catholic one in a Catholic environment. In Britain, the government announces bank holidays at Easter and it is always printed in secular diaries and calendars. And the shops lead up to it by selling chocolate eggs and other things - just to make money, no religious motive that I can discern.

Quote
From Handmaiden: Personally speaking, I always thought it was kind of lame... I didn't feel like the service captured the intensity of the day.


I feel the same.

Forgive me for being so ignorant with this....what do you mean by "orthodox invironment"??  Like Protestant churches in orthodox countries?  Sorry...that was fairly confusing. 
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« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2009, 08:22:10 PM »

Not all Protestants are aliturgical.  I don't know about Europe but in the US the besides the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches do keep a liturgical calendar with most of the usual feast altrhough those of Christ will often be transferred to the nearest Sunday.

http://www.pcusa.org/calendar/seasons09.htm
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« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2009, 07:13:16 AM »

what do you mean by "orthodox invironment"??  Like Protestant churches in orthodox countries? 

Actually I had southern Albania in mind, where the population is at least nominally Orthodox or Moslem, and not many Catholics, and (apart from Korçë) no Protestants before 1991 that we know of for sure. As I understand it, Protestant churches in northern Albania observe Easter on the RC date, and in southern Albania on the Orthodox date. I have only been in Greece once at Easter, and I suppose it could have been one of those years when the two dates fell at the same time, but as far as I am aware the Evangelicals and Pentecostals observe Easter on the Orthodox date in Greece. I shall in fact, after this post, send an e-mail to my pastor friend in Corfu, Miltiades Pantelios, and ask him, and shall post a correction if it turns out I am wrong.
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« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2009, 08:48:08 AM »

FROM GREECE

Hi
All Evangelicals and Pentecostals in Greece observe Easter according to the Orthodox date.
 
God bless
Miltiades
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« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2009, 12:07:45 PM »

Crucifer beat me to it. There's no such thing as "Protestants" as a monolithic bloc.  I've been Episcopalian for over 30 years and we have all the feasts mentioned in our Book of Common Prayer.  Palm Sunday through Easter is "Holy Week" with lots of services for example.

Ebor

Crucifer, Ebor,

After I submitted the post and left the thread I thought "I'm gonna get some 'heat' for putting all Protestant groups in one bucket."  Wink By then it was very late in the evening, and it was too late for me to edit my post.

I want to apologize for doing so, for I know better, and know that there are some Protestant groups that do have a Liturgical calander.

Please forgive me,

Maureen

I assure you that I didn't mean to give you any "heat".  I meant no offense to you either.   Smiley

It seems sometimes that between the "Protestants are all alike" in some posts and "Protestants are all split up because they're all different in everything" that there isn't a middle ground.. a via media (sorry I gave into temptation and put that in.) 

Ebor
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« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2009, 07:45:55 PM »

FROM GREECE

Hi
All Evangelicals and Pentecostals in Greece observe Easter according to the Orthodox date.
 
God bless
Miltiades


Very very interesting.  So the celebration of Easter, and it's precise date is not a big deal to you? 

I definitely want to keep in line with the OP, but I might be stretching it at this point....the Mods might have to move this discussion to a new thread (just wanted to let you know in case they do it)  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2009, 04:05:26 AM »

FROM GREECE

Hi
All Evangelicals and Pentecostals in Greece observe Easter according to the Orthodox date.
 
God bless
Miltiades


So the celebration of Easter, and it's precise date is not a big deal to you? 

To celebrate it is important, though we are not very good at doing so, alas! But we believe it with all our hearts, for without the Resurrection of Christ, we are of all men most miserable, as it is somewhere written. But the precise date on which it occurred does not engage our hearts.
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« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2009, 04:37:48 AM »

But the precise date on which it occurred does not engage our hearts.
Really? That's in Scripture, you know--the Sunday after Passover.
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« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2009, 05:51:42 AM »

in Scripture, you know--the Sunday after Passover.

To be honest, it's not something I have ever looked into. Even at the fateful Synod of Whitby it seems that the debate centred more on the tactical advantages of Roman practice than on how to calculate the correct date. I imagine that both Rome and Lindisfarne (or if you prefer, Rome and Byzantium) had reasons which are sufficient to convince each that he is right. But I cannot debate it, for I have never studied it. Rightly or wrongly, it seems that we Evangelicals are content to observe the date of the dominant surrounding church, and in Protestant or formerly Protestant countries that means the Roman date, as we sprang from Rome not Constantinople. I do not say we are right: I merely answer the question that was put as to what we do.
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« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2009, 07:07:00 AM »

it seems that we Evangelicals are content to observe the date of the dominant surrounding church, and in Protestant or formerly Protestant countries that means the Roman date, as we sprang from Rome not Constantinople.
I suspect this is correct. There are very few Protestant churches with a liturgical calendar; in fact, most Protestants I know have no idea how Easter is calculated.
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« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2009, 07:07:12 AM »

in Scripture, you know--the Sunday after Passover.

To be honest, it's not something I have ever looked into. Even at the fateful Synod of Whitby it seems that the debate centred more on the tactical advantages of Roman practice than on how to calculate the correct date. I imagine that both Rome and Lindisfarne (or if you prefer, Rome and Byzantium) had reasons which are sufficient to convince each that he is right. But I cannot debate it, for I have never studied it. Rightly or wrongly, it seems that we Evangelicals are content to observe the date of the dominant surrounding church, and in Protestant or formerly Protestant countries that means the Roman date, as we sprang from Rome not Constantinople. I do not say we are right: I merely answer the question that was put as to what we do.

Sorry brother if this is insensitive, my ignorance might come through!  

Doesn't this seem rather ticky-tacky?  You just look at the "christians" next to you, and say "hey you celebrate pascha too?  We do too!  Why don't we just do it together!"  without ever knowing who these people are, what they believe in, etc.??  What happens if you're in an area where there are SEVERAL celebrations of Pascha?  For example, i'm not sure how good of an example the US is, but there are 2 groups with 2 Pascha's that are in the "mainstream" culture (for the most part).  Or what about areas like Ethiopia and Egypt, where you not only have ORthodox, Roman Catholics, but also COpts who have their own calendar and etc., PLUS the Muslims.  What do Protestants do there?  See where i'm getting at with this?  

It seems like the date of the resurrection is not important, but rather just celebrating it, in concert with other local christians.  Is this correct?  
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« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2009, 08:24:10 AM »

you... say "hey you celebrate pascha too?  Why don't we just do it together!"  without ever knowing who these people are, what they believe in, etc.??  

Not quite. The fundamental reason is that we don't tend to observe dates. Each church will probably hold its own services in its own building, though some will doubtless mount a joint service. I don't think anyone believes that Jesus was born on 25th December, or for that matter on 6th January. We just don't know, and as one of those dates has been used to celebrate his birth, they are as good as any. This is probably a contributing factor to our lack of interest in correctness of the date. Also, the whole idea of a church calendar has no place in our practice, apart from Christmas and Easter (and probably Whitsun).

With the Resurrection, I am aware that people believe they can calculate it correctly, though either Rome or Byzantium must be mistaken. But the actual date does not hold importance for us. The fact does: so we are happy to accept the ambient dominant date.

Quote
What happens if you're in an area where there are SEVERAL celebrations of Pascha?  

In Kosova where currently all the Evangelicals are Albanian and there is no Albanian Orthodox Church but there is a 4% Albanian Catholic minority and perhaps a 5% Serbian Orthodox minority, the Evangelicals follow the Catholic practice, but I suspect that is because it is Albanian rather than because they have given much thought to the actual date. In any case, the Albanian community is 96% Moslem, so the question of a dominant ambience does not come into play. In southern Albania, where there are some Catholics but 20% Orthodox, the Orthodox date is followed. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Republic of Macedonia (if I may use that name without offence) when an Evangelical church is established, for there are, as far as I know, no Albanian Catholic churches in the Albanian area and I have heard rumour of only one Albanian Orthodox church, in the deep south somewhere if it exists. There are probably fewer than a dozen Evangelical believers and no church, but if the community grows, it will be interesting to watch what they decide upon. You get the idea, but in regard to...

Quote
Ethiopia and Egypt, where you not only have ORthodox, Roman Catholics, but also COpts

I have no idea, but I guess they follow the dominant practice, especially in places where the secular government awards a national holiday on the same date.

Quote
It seems like the date of the resurrection is not important, but rather just celebrating it,

Correct.

Quote
in concert with other local christians

Less correct: it depends how ecumenically minded each congregation is. Some will have nothing to do with Catholics or compromised Liberal congregations. Personally, I would be quite happy, here in Wrexham, to join the open-air witness in which Catholics and Protestants join (we have no Orthodox church), because the only thing that event testifies to is the fact the Christ is risen from the dead. I can see no harm in joining with others to testify publicly to what we all agree on: but some would frown upon even that.

As ytterbiumanalyst says, "There are very few Protestant churches with a liturgical calendar; in fact, most Protestants I know have no idea how Easter is calculated." He is right: I have no idea how the date is worked out, and I suspect that 99% of my fellows haven't any idea idea. If someone were interested in that question, I think it would be regarded as a rather odd but harmless pursuit, perhaps akin to my reading the homilies of Ælfric in the original.
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« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2009, 01:28:49 PM »

you... say "hey you celebrate pascha too?  Why don't we just do it together!"  without ever knowing who these people are, what they believe in, etc.??  

Not quite. The fundamental reason is that we don't tend to observe dates. Each church will probably hold its own services in its own building, though some will doubtless mount a joint service. I don't think anyone believes that Jesus was born on 25th December, or for that matter on 6th January. We just don't know, and as one of those dates has been used to celebrate his birth, they are as good as any. This is probably a contributing factor to our lack of interest in correctness of the date. Also, the whole idea of a church calendar has no place in our practice, apart from Christmas and Easter (and probably Whitsun).

What does that mean you "don't tend to observe dates"...?  You do have Christmas right?  Well, Christmas was changed to December 25 to reflect the Annunciation which is March 25, to make it exactly 9 months, in order to reflect the perfection that is God (explanation from our liturgics class).  Do you celebrate NO other days or feasts or celebrations, etc. - that are in your calendar?? 

Quote
With the Resurrection, I am aware that people believe they can calculate it correctly, though either Rome or Byzantium must be mistaken. But the actual date does not hold importance for us. The fact does: so we are happy to accept the ambient dominant date.
There are several threads on this forum dealing with this topic if you want to educate yourself on the issues.  I would go through them, but the Mods are not big fans of rehashing stuff.  Let me know if you need any help on that. 

Quote
I have no idea, but I guess they follow the dominant practice, especially in places where the secular government awards a national holiday on the same date.

I would assume that the dominant practice is that of the Copts, but that's why I brought it up b/c it's an interesting case.  Also, in general, all of the christians in that area (eastern orthodox and oriental orthodox) do things in conjunction, b/c of the Muslim presence, so how do the Protestants fit into that (I wonder)?

Quote
Less correct: it depends how ecumenically minded each congregation is. Some will have nothing to do with Catholics or compromised Liberal congregations. Personally, I would be quite happy, here in Wrexham, to join the open-air witness in which Catholics and Protestants join (we have no Orthodox church), because the only thing that event testifies to is the fact the Christ is risen from the dead. I can see no harm in joining with others to testify publicly to what we all agree on: but some would frown upon even that.

It's interesting that you say this, and in conjunction with everything else we have said, because in the ancient church celebrating Pascha, or the Lord's Resurrection was of PARAMOUNT importance.  The problem was that many people celebrated it based on different "calculations" (see the other threads to the details on this).  When all of the "churches" or patriarchs or etc. saw this they decided that it could no longer happen.  EVERY christian had to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord on the SAME day, for the same reasons, and with the same calculation, etc.  For details on this, just read the acts of the first ecumenical council (www.ccel.org)


 

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« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2009, 01:44:04 PM »

You do have Christmas ... Do you celebrate NO other days or feasts or celebrations? 

Only Easter and Pentecost (Whitsun). Whitsun is very low-key. Of course we get plenty of preaching and teaching about the Holy Spirit, but again the date is not greatly marked.
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« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2009, 06:25:19 PM »

In tonight's Bible Study, Father mentioned how each of the 12 feasts we celebrate on the Liturgical calander are on the calander to remind us of how each part of Christ's life plays a role in our salvation.

This reminded me of a question I've always had, even in my days in the Baptist church.

Why does the Protestant church water down the Liturgical calander to Christmas and Easter?

While I understand your reasoning for throwing out the days that honor the Saints and the Theotokos, why throw out the days that honor Christ?

Specifically I am referring to Theophany (Christ's Baptism) (Luke 3:21-22), the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Luke 1:22-24), Transfiguration (Mark 1:1-13), Palm Sunday (John 12:13-15) and the rest of Holy Week, Pentacost (Acts 2:3-5), and Ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

All of these events are recorded in the Bible, and are worthy of our praise. On Christmas and Easter you celebrate what Christ did for your salvation; why not include the other dates in the year?


Because, among those of us who are not liturgical, we feel that unless the days are shown or commanded to be observed in Scripture they are not held to be necessary to the faith. They are additions. Indeed they can detract from it (this is along the lines of DY's accretions and encrustations thought). Therefore, except NT practice or instruction dictates it, we typically shy away from observance of days, dates, weeks, years, etc.

Why? Well because of these...

Galatians 4:10-11
Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.


Colossians 2:16-17
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.


For those who find they can observe such things without becoming ritualistic, indeed who feel they can edify by such, so long as they do not compel it of other believers, they are perfectly within their right to observe such via...

Romans 14:5-6
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.



That said, there are a couple of other reasons we tend to avoid the most liturgical dates and/or observances.
1. They seem to us to come from (even inadvertently) a paganistic influence within Christianity (i.e. the name "Easter" itself), when it should be vice versa.
2. There is an obvious undercurrent of antisemitism (just read Eusibius), and what seems a dismissal, if not rejection, of the Hebraic roots of the faith (i.e. an admitted break from the observance of the Lord's Supper on the God ordained OT date of Passover as calculated among the Jewish authorities to the Nicene fixation of the date for "Easter").
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« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2009, 08:28:58 PM »

Because, among those of us who are not liturgical, we feel that unless the days are shown or commanded to be observed in Scripture they are not held to be necessary to the faith.

I do not understand. Every single event I listed is noted in scripture. Each of these events has a bearing on our salvation. I'm not talking about celebrating St. Nicholas Day. I'm talking about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, the Baptism of Christ, the Transfiguration, etc.

Therefore, except NT practice or instruction dictates it, we typically shy away from observance of days, dates, weeks, years, etc.

The Bible doesn't specifically say to show up to Church on Sunday or to observe Christmas, Easter, or your birthday. Do you do any of these things?

The Bible also doesn't say to celebrate the 4th of July, your wedding Anniversary, or Thanksgiving. Do you do any of these things?

If so, why not celebrate the events that celebrate Christ?

Why? Well because of these...

Galatians 4:10-11
Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.


Colossians 2:16-17
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.


For those who find they can observe such things without becoming ritualistic, indeed who feel they can edify by such, so long as they do not compel it of other believers, they are perfectly within their right to observe such via...

Romans 14:5-6
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

These were written to Jews who were continuing to observe the law of the Torah and to Gentiles who were continuing with Pagan practices. What I am suggesting does not fall under either category.


That said, there are a couple of other reasons we tend to avoid the most liturgical dates and/or observances.
1. They seem to us to come from (even inadvertently) a paganistic influence within Christianity (i.e. the name "Easter" itself), when it should be vice versa.


While it is true that some holidays did replace Pagan holidays in an effort to turn people's attention from Pagan gods to Christ, I hardly see how that is a bad thing. If a child was watching a rated-R film that had lots of pornography, violent content, and foul language in it, and I walked over and switched the program to "Veggie Tales" (a children's cartoon program that has Biblically based stories) would you say that was wrong? The Church did the same thing with the holidays. They replaced celebration of the winter solstice with Christmas, and celebration of the Spring solstice has been replaced with Pascha. (We don't call it Easter. We call it "Pascha" as in "New Passover", since Christ came to fulfill the law.)

2. There is an obvious undercurrent of antisemitism (just read Eusibius), and what seems a dismissal, if not rejection, of the Hebraic roots of the faith (i.e. an admitted break from the observance of the Lord's Supper on the God ordained OT date of Passover as calculated among the Jewish authorities to the Nicene fixation of the date for "Easter").


Wha-wha-wha-huh?  Huh

We no longer observe the Jewish holidays of the Old Testament because all of those holidays pointed towards the coming of Christ. Now that He has come and fulfilled the law, the holidays we celebrate now commemorate this event, and have us look to His second coming. In regards to "rejection of the Hebraic roots of the faith" if you exam the architecture of an Orthodox church and our Liturgy you will see the obvious similarities between an Orthodox CHRISTIAN temple and a Jewish temple. This is because we have built upon the faith that was handed to us from the Old Testament. This is why we have Liturgical worship. Just as the Jews did; so do we. The differance is that they are still waiting for Christ and we are celebrating His Resurrection.
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« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2009, 09:02:29 PM »

In tonight's Bible Study, Father mentioned how each of the 12 feasts we celebrate on the Liturgical calander are on the calander to remind us of how each part of Christ's life plays a role in our salvation.

This reminded me of a question I've always had, even in my days in the Baptist church.

Why does the Protestant church water down the Liturgical calander to Christmas and Easter?

While I understand your reasoning for throwing out the days that honor the Saints and the Theotokos, why throw out the days that honor Christ?

Specifically I am referring to Theophany (Christ's Baptism) (Luke 3:21-22), the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Luke 1:22-24), Transfiguration (Mark 1:1-13), Palm Sunday (John 12:13-15) and the rest of Holy Week, Pentacost (Acts 2:3-5), and Ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

All of these events are recorded in the Bible, and are worthy of our praise. On Christmas and Easter you celebrate what Christ did for your salvation; why not include the other dates in the year?


Because, among those of us who are not liturgical, we feel that unless the days are shown or commanded to be observed in Scripture they are not held to be necessary to the faith. They are additions. Indeed they can detract from it (this is along the lines of DY's accretions and encrustations thought). Therefore, except NT practice or instruction dictates it, we typically shy away from observance of days, dates, weeks, years, etc.

Why? Well because of these...

Galatians 4:10-11
Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

Oi Vay.  Saint Paul said this because they were observing feast days and new moons over and against their faith.  Of course this is a problem.  But to remove them altogether (when the apostles did not) is heresy.  If Paul had meant for us to never observe a feast, then he himself would not have observed the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16), and specifically needed to "keep this coming feast in Jerusalem" (his own words in Acts 18:21).

Quote
Colossians 2:16-17
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Hmmmm... I think there is someone who can address this better than me:
Quote
He said not, “Do not then observe them,” but, “let no man judge you.” He showed that they were transgressing, and undoing, but he brought his charge against others. Endure not those that judge you, he saith, nay, not so much as this either, but he argues with those persons, almost stopping their mouths, and saying, Ye ought not to judge. But he would not have reflected on these. He said not “in clean and unclean,” nor yet “in feasts of Tabernacles, and unleavened bread, and Pentecost,” but “in part of a feast”: for they ventured not to keep the whole; and if they did observe it, yet not so as to celebrate the feast. “In part,” he saith, showing that the greater part is done away. For even if they did keep sabbath, they did not do so with precision.
Emphasis mine
St. John Chrysostom: Homilies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf113.iv.iv.vii.html

Quote
For those who find they can observe such things without becoming ritualistic, indeed who feel they can edify by such, so long as they do not compel it of other believers, they are perfectly within their right to observe such via...
If this is your interpretation of the above passage from Colossians, I would say that it is innovative.  See St. John Chrysostom above, a rather older and more traditional interpretation than yours.

Quote
Romans 14:5-6
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Again, someone else can say this better than me:
Quote
In Orthodox Christianity, there are things that cannot be compromised, and there are areas of flexibility.  God is gracious and allows diversity in doubtful things (v. 1), matters not related to essential doctrines and moral teachings.  The weak in faith are people who assign primary importance to secondary matters.  The two examples of flexible areas given here involve food restrictions (v. 2) and the observance of liturgical calendars (v. 5), things which the weak might try to use to judge others or to divide the Church.  In both cases, we are commanded to give flexibility to others, just as God Himself does (v. 3).
This passage is read on the eve of Great Lent, reminding the faithful that the main focus of the season is not on the details of fasting restrictions, but rather on overcoming passions of the soul (13:14).
The Orthodox Study Bible pg. 1545.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Quote
That said, there are a couple of other reasons we tend to avoid the most liturgical dates and/or observances.
1. They seem to us to come from (even inadvertently) a paganistic influence within Christianity (i.e. the name "Easter" itself), when it should be vice versa.
Yeah, okay, prove that please.  Prove to me how CHRISTIAN holidays come from pagan holidays.
And we don't refer to it as Easter, by the way.  It's "Pascha," which is the transliteration coming from the Hebrew.  It means "Passover."  "Easter" is a strictly Western innovation and influence.  See the following:
Quote
The origin of the term Easter comes from the Germanic name for the month in which the Christian feast usually fell, and so, just as the American civic holiday of the Fourth of July has nothing to do with Julius Caesar for whom July was named, neither does Easter have anything to do with the pagan goddess Eostre, the namesake of the month in which Pascha fell. This potential difficulty only exists for speakers of Germanic languages, however. Most languages in the world use a cognate form of the Greek term Pascha and so are free of any pagan connotations for the name of the feast.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Pascha

Quote
2. There is an obvious undercurrent of antisemitism (just read Eusibius), and what seems a dismissal, if not rejection, of the Hebraic roots of the faith (i.e. an admitted break from the observance of the Lord's Supper on the God ordained OT date of Passover as calculated among the Jewish authorities to the Nicene fixation of the date for "Easter").
Obvious?  Really?  Cause I have NO CLUE how you arrived at that!  Again, you'll have to explain and prove this one for me, too.  We jumped from an observance of the calendar (which has its roots in Judaism and is derived from the Jewish dating of Passover), to antisemitism.  How was that, exactly?

Here is a little bit about how Pascha is dated:
Quote
The determination of the date of Easter is governed by a computation based on the vernal equinox and the phase of the moon. According to the ruling of the First Ecumenical Synod in 325, Easter Sunday should fall on the Sunday which follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox. If the full moon happens to fall on a Sunday, Easter is observed the following Sunday. The day taken to be the invariable date of the vernal equinox is March 21.

Herein lies the first difference in the determination of Easter between the Orthodox Church and the other Christian Churches. The Orthodox Church continues to base its calculations for the date of Easter on the Julian Calendar, which was in use at the time of the First Ecumenical Synod. As such, it does not take into consideration the number of days which have since then accrued due to the progressive inaccuracy of the Julian Calendar. Practically speaking, this means that Easter may not be celebrated before April 3 (Gregorian), which had been March 21--the date of the vernal equinox--at the time of the First Ecumenical Synod. In other words, a difference of 13 days exists between the accepted date for the vernal equinox then and now. In the West, this discrepancy was addressed in the 16th century through the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, which adjusted the Julian Calendar still in use by all Christians at that time. Western Christians, therefore, observe the date of the vernal equinox on March 21 according to the Gregorian Calendar.

The other difference in the determination of Easter between the Orthodox and other Christian Churches concerns the date of Passover. Jews originally celebrated Passover on the first full moon following the vernal equinox. Christians, therefore, celebrated Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the other tragic events, which gave rise to the dispersal of the Jews, Passover sometimes preceded the vernal equinox. This was occasioned by the dependence of the dispersed Jews upon local pagan calendars for the calculation of Passover. As a consequence, most Christians eventually ceased to regulate the observance of Easter by the Jewish Passover. Their purpose, of course, was to preserve the original practice of celebrating Easter following the vernal equinox.

As an alternative to calculating Easter by the Passover, "paschal (Easter) cycles" were devised. The Orthodox Church eventually adopted a 19-year cycle, the Western Church an 84-year cycle. The use of two different "paschal cycles" inevitably gave way to differences between the Eastern and Western Churches regarding the observance of Easter. Varying dates for the vernal equinox increased these differences. Consequently, it is the combination of these variables, which accounts for the different date of Orthodox Easter, whenever it varies from the rest of Christendom.
http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7070
I apologize for the length.  Summarizing this would be nearly impossible for me.  But please note the highlighted part.  I think it speaks for itself. 
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« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2009, 09:11:18 PM »

I apologize for the length.   Summarizing this would be nearly impossible for me.  But please note the highlighted part.  I think it speaks for itself. 

Presbytera, you know I say this with love, but when have your posts EVER been short?  Grin  laugh  Wink
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« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2009, 09:52:06 PM »

I apologize for the length.   Summarizing this would be nearly impossible for me.  But please note the highlighted part.  I think it speaks for itself. 

Presbytera, you know I say this with love, but when have your posts EVER been short?  Grin  laugh  Wink

LOL!  True, though I was actually speaking of the length of the quote that I posted... laugh
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« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2009, 10:14:59 PM »

You do have Christmas ... Do you celebrate NO other days or feasts or celebrations? 

Only Easter and Pentecost (Whitsun). Whitsun is very low-key. Of course we get plenty of preaching and teaching about the Holy Spirit, but again the date is not greatly marked.

I think some of the other posts have bearing on our conversation as well.  Do you care to comment?  Especially about the celebration of strictly biblical events like Transfiguration and etc. 

I know you've tried to explain this to me in several ways, but i'm still not getting it.  Please forgive me! 

I think that the understanding is that you just celebrate the EVENT...sort of whenever...right?  Again, please forgive me! 
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« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2009, 03:19:26 AM »

I do not understand. Every single event I listed is noted in scripture. Each of these events has a bearing on our salvation. I'm not talking about celebrating St. Nicholas Day. I'm talking about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, the Baptism of Christ, the Transfiguration, etc.

The fault here I think is mine. I was not as clear as I needed to be. Please permit me to clarify.
It is not the validity of the event being commemorated that we would oppose. It is the commemoration itself we would oppose, UNLESS we have an explicit example of the church doing so in the NT and/or a command to do so in the NT.

That said, I must clarify further, we would not oppose the voluntary observance of such an event, so long as it was not forced or compelled or otherwise used as a source of judgment of other "non-commemorating" believers.


Quote
The Bible doesn't specifically say to show up to Church on Sunday or to observe Christmas, Easter, or your birthday. Do you do any of these things?
The Bible also doesn't say to celebrate the 4th of July, your wedding Anniversary, or Thanksgiving. Do you do any of these things?
If so, why not celebrate the events that celebrate Christ?

Please see reply to quote above.

Quote
These were written to Jews who were continuing to observe the law of the Torah and to Gentiles who were continuing with Pagan practices. What I am suggesting does not fall under either category.

Yes, but the principle remains, transcends, and is thus applicable. Regard the days if you like, just realize they are not necessary to the faith universal.


Quote
While it is true that some holidays did replace Pagan holidays in an effort to turn people's attention from Pagan gods to Christ, I hardly see how that is a bad thing. If a child was watching a rated-R film that had lots of pornography, violent content, and foul language in it, and I walked over and switched the program to "Veggie Tales" (a children's cartoon program that has Biblically based stories) would you say that was wrong? The Church did the same thing with the holidays. They replaced celebration of the winter solstice with Christmas, and celebration of the Spring solstice has been replaced with Pascha. (We don't call it Easter. We call it "Pascha" as in "New Passover", since Christ came to fulfill the law.)

Yet, paganistic leaven used such holy, just, and good endeavors to infiltrate the church (here I speak generally, not exclusively of Orthodoxy).

Quote

Wha-wha-wha-huh?  Huh

We no longer observe the Jewish holidays of the Old Testament because all of those holidays pointed towards the coming of Christ. Now that He has come and fulfilled the law, the holidays we celebrate now commemorate this event, and have us look to His second coming. In regards to "rejection of the Hebraic roots of the faith" if you exam the architecture of an Orthodox church and our Liturgy you will see the obvious similarities between an Orthodox CHRISTIAN temple and a Jewish temple. This is because we have built upon the faith that was handed to us from the Old Testament. This is why we have Liturgical worship. Just as the Jews did; so do we. The difference is that they are still waiting for Christ and we are celebrating His Resurrection.

Again, recall Eusibius. Indeed such anti-Semitic undertones carried over into the reformation, even via that mighty disciple and teacher of Our Lord, Luther himself.

Now in saying that I do not mean to say all generations, teachers, or adherents following those who made such statements or judgments were or are antisemitic. Only that, historically speaking, antisemitism is indicated if not explicitly articulated as at least part of the reason for deciding to standardize a different means of calculating "Easter" from that method of the Jewish people themselves.

I am glad to see that Orthodox and Catholics both have been more embracing of the Hebraic roots of the faith. They are important to the continuity of the revelation of God in both Testaments, as you yourself have rightly pointed out.


I hope these responses help better clarify my thoughts and intentions from earlier. Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2009, 03:46:45 AM »

Oi Vay.  Saint Paul said this because they were observing feast days and new moons over and against their faith.  Of course this is a problem.  But to remove them altogether (when the apostles did not) is heresy.  If Paul had meant for us to never observe a feast, then he himself would not have observed the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16), and specifically needed to "keep this coming feast in Jerusalem" (his own words in Acts 18:21).

Agreed! However, the inherent danger of ritualism is hereby inferred. He was afraid of them because they clung to the rituals instead of the object they were intended to indicate. Once in the light they preferred the shadows.  Likewise, even "Christian holy days" can become ritualistic observances that obscure and shadow when one looks ot them rather than the source of light.

Quote
Hmmmm... I think there is someone who can address this better than me:
Quote
He said not, “Do not then observe them,” but, “let no man judge you.” He showed that they were transgressing, and undoing, but he brought his charge against others. Endure not those that judge you, he saith, nay, not so much as this either, but he argues with those persons, almost stopping their mouths, and saying, Ye ought not to judge. But he would not have reflected on these. He said not “in clean and unclean,” nor yet “in feasts of Tabernacles, and unleavened bread, and Pentecost,” but “in part of a feast”: for they ventured not to keep the whole; and if they did observe it, yet not so as to celebrate the feast. “In part,” he saith, showing that the greater part is done away. For even if they did keep sabbath, they did not do so with precision.
Emphasis mine
St. John Chrysostom: Homilies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf113.iv.iv.vii.html

I see not where he differs with me. Sure Paul did not say do not observe them. Neither did he say you must observe them. My contention is not over whether such is a permitted practice within the faith, bur rather whether such is a required practice of the faith.

Quote

If this is your interpretation of the above passage from Colossians, I would say that it is innovative.  See St. John Chrysostom above, a rather older and more traditional interpretation than yours.

Actually it is my application of Romans 14:5-6 to the observances brought in question by the OP.
One man esteems the day. Another does not. Let each be persuaded. Let each recognize that God receives both.
Hence, the observance is not a necessary component of the faith, but rather at best a permitted "trapping" if you will.

Quote
Again, someone else can say this better than me:
Quote
In Orthodox Christianity, there are things that cannot be compromised, and there are areas of flexibility.  God is gracious and allows diversity in doubtful things (v. 1), matters not related to essential doctrines and moral teachings.  The weak in faith are people who assign primary importance to secondary matters.  The two examples of flexible areas given here involve food restrictions (v. 2) and the observance of liturgical calendars (v. 5), things which the weak might try to use to judge others or to divide the Church.  In both cases, we are commanded to give flexibility to others, just as God Himself does (v. 3).
This passage is read on the eve of Great Lent, reminding the faithful that the main focus of the season is not on the details of fasting restrictions, but rather on overcoming passions of the soul (13:14).
The Orthodox Study Bible pg. 1545.  Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Okay. Like I said it is insisting on the observance of days and weeks and practices that are not explicitly delineated by word or example of the NT church , or insisting on a form or method of observance not delineated thereby, that we would disagree with.  We see no need to have to keep so many days, and God accepts us without them. So, no biggie.

Quote
And we don't refer to it as Easter, by the way.  It's "Pascha," which is the transliteration coming from the Hebrew.  It means "Passover."  "Easter" is a strictly Western innovation and influence.

I meant to share this with handmaiden. However, I was glad to learn this (re-learn actually). I had forgotten that the Orthodox called it Pascha. Someone linked me to the minutes of Nicaea the other day and the article they linked used the terminology easter. I was working from that framework here.

Quote
Obvious?  Really?  Cause I have NO CLUE how you arrived at that!  Again, you'll have to explain and prove this one for me, too.  We jumped from an observance of the calendar (which has its roots in Judaism and is derived from the Jewish dating of Passover), to antisemitism.  How was that, exactly?

see reply above to handmaiden^
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 03:48:53 AM by Cleopas » Logged

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