Sometimes Guilt by Association is enough and no further comment is needed.  On CRN? the “editor” posted an excerpt of a story about Evangelicals adopting Advent.  When I followed the link, I discovered it was not an excerpt but the whole story.  The story is simply “Evangelicals are adopting and adapting Advent rituals.”  No reason is given by either the editor or the watcher why this is an issue except the tag that these are Roman Catholic rituals.  Apparently GBA stands on its own.

What both sites fail to do (as usual) is to exercise true discernment and investigate how Advent is being adopted and adapted by Evangelicals… What meanings are being taught, what practices are being adopted, how are they being adapted to take them from a Roman Catholic ritual into an evangelical experience…?  but then again, that’s probably moot – if the Catholics do it (or ever did) we should not.

When you focus on external behaviors regardless of meaning, when you assume that your way of doing things is the only true way regardless of biblical teaching, when you narrow the method of true worship to a certain time and a certain place… you are forced into a pretty narrow (and extra-biblical) definition of what is orthopraxy – acceptable practices.

It’s a shame to see the worship of God limited to the praxis developed by a Western Culture in a period after the 16th Century but before the 1960’s – anything before this period is too Roman… anything after is too everything else… What a burden they bear, to constantly lift their own cultural praxis to the level of orthpraxis while also constantly making sure the immutable God does not escape from the box they have created for him.

BTW – our thoroughly evangelical and orthodox church has been observing advent for 17 years… I guess we’re ahead of the apostasy wave… who knew?

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 at 10:51 am and is filed under Christian Living, Editor, Legalism, Worship. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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26 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh
December 3rd, 2008 at 11:20 am

Neil – as was noted on the Watcher’s Lamp blog, Ingrid and her church observes Advent. But of course she does it to the glory of God.

All observances of seasons and holy gays are unscriptural and can be a help as well as a detraction from spritual worship. I love how hypocritical it is to express umbrage while you still celebrate the grand daddy of all liturgical observances – CHRISTMAS!!

The irony is palpable.

2   Neil    
December 3rd, 2008 at 11:27 am


I assume you mean “holy days” not “Holy gays” – lest we get into another tangent…

Also, I think you mean “extra-scriptural” not “unscriptural” – correct?

3   Rick Frueh
December 3rd, 2008 at 11:38 am

“Also, I think you mean “extra-scriptural” not “unscriptural” – correct?”

Yes. If not careful, though, they can be viewed as a means of grace. And I refer you to Sandman’s excellent and insightful quote:

“If you’re going to hold yourself up as a watchman on the wall, you need to resist in sounding the klaxon as though the barbarians are at the gate every time a sparrow lands on the wall.”

Some things remain the same since the father’s slept.

4   Brett S    
December 3rd, 2008 at 11:53 am

how Advent is being adopted and adapted by Evangelicals

I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit and appreciate creative adopting and adapting, and have done so with Advent in my family.

One of the things I’ve learned over the last few years (having kids and a life will do that to you), is the beauty of tradition. Sometimes I just don’t have time for adapting and tradition is just good for tradition’s sake.

5   Brendt
December 3rd, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Newly discovered manuscripts reveal that John 1:46 actually reads this way:

And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Yeah, but not from Rome. Didn’t you get the memo?”

6   nc    
December 3rd, 2008 at 12:21 pm

yeah, it’s just sooooo bad to use tools that help you prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth.

I mean there’s nothing worse than adopting practices that help you and your family and your community deepen their devotion to Jesus.

7   Rick Frueh
December 3rd, 2008 at 12:36 pm

nc – it isn’t the correct “season”, we have no NT direction, and 99% of it isn’t a celebration of Christ’s birth. And in a created twist, on HIS birthday we give gifts to EACH OTHER.

Anyway, I hope to see you and Ingrid at the Advent wreath together! :lol:

8   Chad
December 3rd, 2008 at 1:24 pm

No NT direction? Christianity should not be about codifying 1st century rituals. It should be about learning how to follow the leading of the Spirit who was at work in the 1st century, every century before and presently active today …..leading….

Advent (along with most if not all the traditions of the church) is a wonderful time for us to unlearn bad habits and learn to “speak a new tongue.” It is through these practices and others (primarily the sacrament of baptism and Eucharist, which I would argue are means of grace) that we are reinterpolated into the world as new creation – creatures who speak a new tongue in a world that is speaking the many languages of Babel – still.

To demonize or dismiss the traditions of the church is to, essentially, render it inarticulate to the world at large – the very world we are to be a witness to.

9   nc    
December 3rd, 2008 at 1:41 pm

It is a season of anticipation….4 weeks that lead up to the appearing of Christ in history–in the past, and in the coming future.

Advent is a time of confrontation and witness to the re-ordering presence of God who creates “a new” simply by virtue of God’s appearing…and then on from there.

I don’t understand why people would be resistant to this…

Christmas has come alive to me in a deeper way because of observing Advent…it focuses me on the movement of God in history and my life, not on the consumerist orgy and flat cultural appeals to “togetherness” and “family”.

10   nc    
December 3rd, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Another thing…

the Christian calendar is fantastic because it shoots the whole narrative of Christ throughout the year. It sets us in a place to intentionally order our days within the story of Christ…I think this is a great resource and/or framework for my daily walk–my story is immersed in the story of my Saviour.

11   Chad
December 3rd, 2008 at 1:45 pm

I agree, nc. I don’t understand the resistance to it, either.

12   Chad
December 3rd, 2008 at 1:48 pm

#10 – the early church up through the Medieval age had this right. Their entire lives were ordered around the Christian calendar. They ordered their whole life not around secular holidays or platitudes but around the biblical narrative and festivals.

In many ways, the Christians of the middle ages were far more articulate in the ways of Christ than we are today.

13   Brett S    
December 3rd, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I don’t understand the resistance to it, either.

Pride. As well as too much focus on me and my own personal Jesus, and not enough on Jesus and His body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 1 Cor 12:21

14   Chad
December 3rd, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Brett S-
You forgot to mention the fact that it resembles the Whore of Babylon far too much :P

15   Neil    
December 3rd, 2008 at 3:35 pm

I think the resistence comes from a narrow view of God based on ethnocentrism… in other words, God only accepts worship thet way we do it…

16   Kevin I
December 3rd, 2008 at 5:25 pm

I’ve been in solid evangelical churches most of my life and every one of them has observed advent for as long as I can remember. How can someone have a problem with advent?

17   Jerry
December 3rd, 2008 at 9:11 pm

We started using an ‘Advent Wreath’ complete with candles last year at Holidaymass time. It has given us yet another excuse to have to read Scripture during our morning worship. That’s too bad.

Stupid Holidaymass traditions.

18   Chad
December 3rd, 2008 at 9:50 pm

lol Jerry.

Below is the heresy I had read during our Advent wreath candle lighting…

But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come . . . in the evening, or at midnight, or at dawn. Keep awake. (Mark 13:24-26, 32, 33, 35, 37, NRSV)

Such amazing things happen in the sky to herald the return of the Son of Man:
. . . Jesus, coming in the clouds
. . . the sun grows dark
. . . the moon doesn’t shine
. . . and stars fall from the heavens

So different from that first coming more than 2000 years ago:
. . . with angels singing of God’s glory and peace on earth
. . . with the single star guiding the way to the manger
. . . with shepherds and wisemen — rich and poor — coming to worship.

And so we watch, and wait, and stay alert, waiting again for the coming of Jesus.
And we light a single candle in preparation for that glorious day.

[Light the first candle on the Advent wreath.]

. . . And even if the sun should grow dark
. . . even if the moon refuses to shine
. . . even if the stars should fall from the

. . . we will have Jesus, the Light of the World, to shine brightly in our hearts, lighting our way.

All: Come, Lord Jesus, come. Amen.

19   Jerry
December 3rd, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Heretic!!!!! How dare you read Scripture while lighting a candle!!!!

I’ll bet you wear some sort of vestments while you preach too, don’t you? You flaming liberal in Rome’s clothing!!!!!

20   Chad
December 3rd, 2008 at 9:57 pm

The candles are only taboo because they could light my alb on fire.

In my defense, I instructed our liturgists not to breath during the ceremony. I didn’t want anyone mistaking them for Buddhists.

21   Neil    
December 4th, 2008 at 11:50 am


I think you miltiplied your Roman heresy by also having the people respond in unison… that too is a Roman ritual!

hey, this finding fault with others is easy! ;)


22   Neil    
December 4th, 2008 at 11:53 am

And to Jerry, if you need to find an “excuse” to read Scripture to your church you too must be part of the neo-liberal-cult of the postmodern-emerging/ancient root-rot heresey.

Look ma, I can write like an ADM too…


23   Jerry
December 4th, 2008 at 12:01 pm


What do Scripture and Church have to do with one another?


24   Chad
December 4th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

lol Neil. You can throw sticks at me all you want but no one has been able to top Dr. Robert Morey who once wrote a paragraph that named me as heretic and it was entirely in Latin!

25   Neil    
December 4th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

OK Chad, that’s a bar I cannot clear… I’ll stop thinking like an ADM.

26   Chad
December 4th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I’ll stop thinking like an ADM.

another soul saved..