Things Not To Say About Jesus At Christmas (Or Any Other Time)

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

(Part 1)

In the spirit of Festivus, Reformed folk have historically had a lot of problems with both the ecclesiastical calendar, including advent, and Christmas. It is not because we do not heartily affirm the incarnation of our Lord—we do!—but because neither the Scriptures nor the earliest church know anything about an advent celebration, a feast of the nativity, or Christmas. The earliest vestiges of Christmas appear in the late 4th century. Recently someone asked me whether it was true that the early church calculated Jesus’ birth on the basis of feast of the annunciation. The best answer seems to be no since that feast developed after than the feast of the nativity. Nevertheless, Christmas is here and does give us opportunity to think about the incarnation of our Lord. Since it is such a widely celebrated holiday, it is a good thing for Christians to distinguish between genuinely Christian ways of speaking about Jesus and heresy.

Christological heresies are everywhere. Consider the theologian Ricky Bobby, who prefers to pray to “baby Jesus” because he’s an idolater but he is not materially different from the rest of us by nature. We are all idolaters by nature, we all prefer to make our own gods or to make God in our own image. Ricky Bobby’s version of idolatry may be more crass than some but all idolatry is substituting a god of one’s own preference instead of the holy, righteous, awesome God who is. Ricky Bobby also has a poor Christology. He likes to think of Jesus as an infant because he does not really understand, appreciate, or believe the true humanity of Christ. The denial of Jesus’ true humanity is one of the two great Christological heresies. The other is the denial of Jesus’ deity. There are related heresies but these are the two great heresies related to the person of Christ.