December 20, 2005
Closed for Christmas 3: Scot McKnight's Good Will Toward Megachurches
Advent 2005, rather than a season of peace and good will, may be remembered as a month when cantankerous Christians did battle with the culture and one another. This was the year a Florida church spread Christmas spirit with a billboard that read, "To Hell with Happy Holidays," and Christian activists went to bed with dreams of boycotts dancing in their heads.
But the story that has caused the most uproar on this blog has been the closure of megachurches on Christmas Day. Christian leaders on both sides have defended their positions with vigor and conviction. With Christmas just a few days away, I wanted the final installment of this conversation to be thoughtful, intelligent, and charitable.
Scot McKnight, professor of Religious Studies at North Park University, has insightfully addressed the Christmas closure controversy on his blog. Below are a few quotes from his post.
My suggestion is this: let's be a little more charitable in light of what the NT does and does not say. Let's permit our brothers and sisters, once every seven years, to make decisions that we might not approve of but know that they answer to God, that we answer to God, that it is about worship of God and incarnating the gospel in our world for the good of others and the world.
Let's ask a question at the heart of the discussion: Does the NT teach a Sunday morning worship service? Well, the evidence isn't what some are making it out to be. We need to be fair here: there is a distinction between what is taught and what is mentioned or hinted at as something practiced. And there is no clear text legislating that Christians are to meet for worship on a Sunday morning.
let me assume that many who are blogging and commenting about this issue are low-church Protestants where local churches make such decisions ? that is, the local church pastor and board of elders/deacons/whatever, as leaders of a congregation, make the decision about whether or not there will be a worship service on Sunday morning. If we believe in such a theory of church government, then we get decisions like this and we have to trust those elders and pastors and churches to make good decisions.
You can read Scot McKnight's entire article at his blog, JesusCreed.org.
Whether your church building will be open or closed this Sunday, I hope you have a blessed and merry Christmas. -Url