Christian Apologetics Society

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
- Matthew 22:29

Isaiah 55:11
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it
Gen 1:3
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light
Matthew 26:26
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body."
Malachi 1:11
My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.
John 20:23
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Luke 20:38
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.
Rev 21:27
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
1 Cor 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1 Timothy 3:15
but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Baptists Don't Celebrate Christmas

Baptists don't celebrate Christmas, or at least they didn't for the first several hundred years of Baptist history. CAS readers may recall that in our earlier post on Advent wreaths at our local Lifeway store, that we encountered a clerk busy stocking several shelves with Christmas ornaments and cards. A Baptist from Colonial American days would be shocked to discover 21st Century Baptists not only stocking Advent supplies, but hawking Christmas decorations and openly celebrating Christmas. Why, it just wasn't done!

So it was that on our return from Lifeway, we decided to investigate just what Baptist history was in regards to Christmas. Once again, we turned to that repository of all human knowledge, Google. True to past experience, there in the digital stacks of Google Books we found several tomes from the early 19th Century documenting the Baptist history of Christmas, or rather the lack of any Christmas.

In The American Christmas By James Harwood Barnett, we found written:

"In general, Puritans, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Quakers strongly opposed the religious observance of Christmas,..."

One must remember that the English Puritans passed an Act of Parliment in 1647 banning any observance of Christmas or Easter. The Puritan fathers in New England likewise enacted a law to punish those who "kept Christmas." As historical points of reference, Jamestown, VA was settled by Anglicans in 1607, Plymouth by Puritans in 1620 and Roger Williams founds his Baptist church in Rhode Island in 1639.

Penne L. Restad, author of Christmas in America, writes the first recorded Calvinist to dabble in Christmas was the Reverand Ezra Stiles who attended Lutheran Christmas services in Newport, Rhode Island in 1769 and 1770. The first Baptist congregation to keep Christmas seems to be the Baptist Church of Newport under Mr. Kelly, according to Stiles' diary. Kelly prophesied;

"This will begin the Introduction of Christmas among the Baptist Churches,..."

Restad further details that Baptists would often mask "their 'sin' of Christmas visitation by using it as a pretext for an asthetic critiques on Roman Catholicism." The big Baptist turn towards Christmas seems to have begun just after 1820. Restad writes that Congregationalist Thomas Robbins kept a diary and mention in 1823 the turning of yet another Calvinist congregation to Christmas.

Baptist history regarding Christmas gets scarce after 1820. The Suthern Baptist Convention comes into being in 1840 and the first Lottie Moon Christmas collection occurs in 1887. I suspect that just as WWII standardized the traditional Thanskgiving menu, that the Civil War in the early 1860's may have played a part in standardizing the observance of Christmas among Baptists.

Related Posts:
Baptists Observing Advent
Evangelical Christians Adopting Advent

Christmas in America: A History
The American Christmas
Christmas: A Candid History‎

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