Church Is: Closed

December 7, 2005 — 13 Comments


Today, we’re going to look at a story that, I’m sure, will be widespread across the blogosphere, but one that everyone needs to see and consider.

Fox News Reports:

This Christmas, no prayers will be said in several megachurches around the country. Even though the holiday falls this year on a Sunday, when churches normally host thousands for worship, pastors are canceling services, anticipating low attendance on what they call a family day.

Critics within the evangelical community, more accustomed to doing battle with department stores and public schools over keeping religion in Christmas, are stunned by the shutdown.

It is almost unheard of for a Christian church to cancel services on a Sunday, and opponents of the closures are accusing these congregations of bowing to secular culture.

“This is a consumer mentality at work: ‘Let’s not impose the church on people. Let’s not make church in any way inconvenient,’” said David Wells, professor of history and systematic theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a leading evangelical school in Hamilton, Mass. “I think what this does is feed into the individualism that is found throughout American culture, where everyone does their own thing.”

Professor Wells said it well (no pun intended). It is catering to the unsaved, and putting aside the needs of those who are saved. What better day to have church but on Christmas Sunday?

Willow Creek Church spokeswoman, Cally Parkinson, defended the move to not have services on Christmas Sunday by stating:

“If our target and our mission is to reach the unchurched, basically the people who don’t go to church, how likely is it that they’ll be going to church on Christmas morning?” she said.

Pardon me?

Other megachurches are doing something much better:

First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., led by the Rev. Bobby Welch, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, will hold one service instead of the usual two. New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., led by the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, will hold one Sunday service instead of the typical three.

Now, quickly, we must ask ourselves “What’s wrong with not having church on Christmas Sunday?”

That’s where the difference comes in on this site. I really want you to consider that. We need to ask ourselves tough questions like that and answer them biblically.

First of all, in the beginning, God set aside a day of rest to worship him. This day is made to please God. Our churches are there so that those who are saved can come into a building together and worship God. Please note, much of the evangelism takes place outside of that building, not always on Sunday mornings.

Christmas is a day set aside by man to celebrate the day Christ was born on this earth. It was probably one of the most important days ever, apart from Christ’s death and his ressurection from the dead. If Christ had not been born of a virgin as the Scriptures foretold, he would have never died and he would have never been raised to life again, giving us the opportunity to receive forgivness from our sins and to receive the gift of eternal life in heaven forever.

What better day to go to the house of the Lord and worship him for the greatest gift on earth? Why back down to the commercialized Christmas? Why cater to the unsaved and put aside the spiritual needs of those who are already saved? You cannot feed Christians on milk forever. Why do you disdain their needs? Why do you put them aside?

Who cares what the world thinks? Why are these workers for the Lord tired? Why are they tired of doing good? Why “take a day off” from doing the Lord’s work? That makes no sense at all!

These congregations are ” bowing to secular culture” and they know it. People who don’t want to attend church on Christmas Sunday are showing who it’s all about: and it’s not Christ. It is obvious that those who want to “be at home” do not want to be in the presence of the Savior.

Now, I’ll give you this: they are having services beforehand. But why not Sunday? Because, they say, “our target and our mission is to reach the unchurched.” Is that their only mission? What kind of church is that?

I leave that up to you.

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a 22-year-old writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

13 responses to Church Is: Closed

  1. I’m going to church on Christmas!! And my cousins are coming too. Yippee!!

  2. I was just about to post on this, but it looks like you beat me to it. ;-)
    That article is really tragic, and a very sad reflection on the purpose of American churches.

  3. This is a tough one. I’m not sure what we’re doing. Considering our circumstances, we may just do our own little service. Otherwise, this is really tragic and very sad.

  4. I think it is so good to hear that there are people in this ungodly world who care so deeply for God and his son. I’m glad that people are upset that some churches won’t be having services on Christmas. It says a lot about you when you care.

    Have you ever done a search on Christmas? The origins? It’s very informative. And I am not trying to make anyone mad or to argue but, although it’s true that Jesus birth is important because without it he woudn’t have come here and died for us, and also that, like you said, his death is much more important, we need to think about what the bible says. Is there any evidence that Jesus celebrated his birthday? Is there any evidence that he celebrated his death? Did he ever tell his followers to celebrate his birthday? Did he tell them to memorialize his death?

    What was the weather like in Bethlehem during December? Was it cold? Would the shepherds be outside with their sheep in the cold if it was cold in December in Bethlehem?

  5. I think the Willow Creek spokeswoman said it all and illustrated the mistake of the ‘seeker-sensitive’ church. As you said, Tim, the church is a place for believers to come together and worship as a body. Evangelism is when we make the effort and go out to the unsaved to share the Gospel. It’s great to bring non-christians into a service, please do! But what they should see there is the body of Christ worshipping Him, rather than the entire service being focused on the visitor.

  6. That’s a sad piece of news. I think you’re absolutely right, though, Tim. Thanks for letting us all know.

  7. Some callers on our local talk radio station suggested that these megachurches closed simply because all their staff would be out of town on Christmas day. I don’t find this theory very convincing based on what the spokespeople for the megachurches said, but what do you think?

  8. How terribly sad. I am always pleased when Christmas falls on a Sunday, for that is truly a day to worship. The sabbath honors God, as is commanded, and Christmas honors the Virgin Birth – what better way to honor the Father than to be in Church on Christmas day?

  9. annalise,
    I’ll get back to you on that. Thank you for bringing it up!

    Gabriel,
    It somewhat like what I said “People who don’t want to attend church on Christmas Sunday are showing who it’s all about: and it’s not Christ. It is obvious that those who want to “be at home” do not want to be in the presence of the Savior.”

    I believe that some would be “out of town” but that shouldn’t mess you up. People don’t just leave work right? I know that even those who work in the church need time off, but on a special Sunday? Wherever the staff is, I think the above statement covers what I think about it. But it is an interesting theory.

    Everyone else,
    I really hate to bring you sad news every day. Don’t be depressed! Remember in spite of all this what the TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS IS!

  10. Gene Edward Veith of World Magazine wrote a great article that should answer a lot of your questions, Annalise. Check it out at http://www.worldmag.com
    Tim,
    this is sad! thanks for bringing it to our attention. we need to be praying for the leaders of these churches. even my church (of 500 people) isn’t holding a service on sunday, but on saturday night. grr….i’d much rather listen to a sermon and worship with the body than forget it as my family and i do gifts…backwards, backwards. Lord help us!

  11. We will be in church as well. What a great day to worship our Lord. What a mixed message the mega churches are sending. Family day? Ah Sunday is the Lords Day! Wow.. Thanks for the article and sharing your thoughts on it. Have a great and bless Christmas.
    Tammy

  12. Tim, your first point under what is wrong with not having church on Christmas Sunday is that in the beginning God set aside a day to worship Him. However, we do not keep this day today. Sunday is not the day that God ordained in that way; it was Saturday. I understand your concern, but I see nothing wrong with not having church. Church has become such an institutional thing where we go and sit and “worship.” This, I do not believe, is what God wants of us. God wants us to serve Him with our lives. We wants us to worship Him all the time and rest in Him every day of the week. Of course getting together with other believers is vitally important. But why must it be Sunday?

    You ask what our mission is. It should not be to get together and sit in comfy pews to listen to a monologue that makes us feel good about ourselves and how we have received God’s Son who came while the rest of the “secular culture” is denying Him and how surely this must be a sign of coming judgment etc. (I’m not trying to be harsh, I’m trying to be critically engaging.) Our mission should be to LOVE. To live lives that display peace and stand for peace, lives that display His love to all people, lives that are involved in the lives of hurting and under-priveliged people. If we can sit around debating about what Christians should do on Christmas, I think we have lost our focus.

    In the peace of our Lord, Javan Lapp

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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