I recently read Sinclair Ferguson’s article Should Christians Abandon Christmas? and felt like someone had pirated his computer and submitted an article on Christmas in his name. It was less than what I would expect from Sinclair Ferguson. I expected a good biblical treatment of the man-made tradition with some biblical support either for or against the holiday. I expected…some light and really just got a bunch of willy nilly retread that was neither rooted in Scripture or sound reasoning. It was very un-Sinclair-like.
His basic defense of the holiday was that since God is not specific in order of worship, or specific about what the preacher preaches on Sunday morning, then we have the freedom to go all in on Christmas. In the process of saying as much, he belittles the regulative principle of worship that those in his tradition have held for several hundred years, all so we celebrate a day and in a way that God has not commanded.
First, the biblical response. We are responsible to obey all God commands in his word. But that isn’t the same as saying that unless Scripture specifically commands it we should not do it.
Actually, the regulative principle of worship is based upon a text of Scripture showing just the opposite of what Ferguson is saying. Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron and priests in the Levitical system, decided to offer profane fire before the LORD. The LORD had not commanded it. Given Ferguson’s statement, it should have been fine. The brothers were just being creative in their worship. But God made it clear that we don’t have the freedom to be creative in our worship, or add to what He has not commanded us to do.