Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Philip Ryken "Chimes" In on Veith

Here are the comments of Philip Ryken concerning Veith's "Commercialization of Christmas." Does Ryken share your sentiments?

Ryken: In response to Gene Veith's short essay in defense of commercializing Christmas, I have four short observations:

First, as a notable Christmas enthusiast and fellow-Lutheran, Luther himself would have enjoyed Gene's piece.

Second, it is quite right to give gifts -- and generous ones, too -- at Christmas and at other times. When the Bible describes the grace of God as a gift, it assumes a universe in which people give and receive gifts. It is to the credit of Christianity that gift-giving has flourished most in cultures that celebrate the birth of Christ.

Third, when secular people seek to find something special in Christmas, we should not scorn them for missing its true meaning, but rather sympathize them for grasping for what their hearts are seeking.

Fourth, while something can and perhaps should be said for the commercialization of Christmas, something always needs to be said about its over-commercialization.

(Comments are taken from Reformation 21 Blog)

1 comment:

LouLove said...

First: Ryken has no idea what Luther would have enjoyed. To transport Luther’s approval of a 21st century article without allowing Luther to consider the times is irresponsible. Can Ryken be so sure that Luther would even consider himself a Lutheran?

Second, can Ryken supply any data that supports that “gift-giving has flourished most in cultures that celebrate the birth of Christ”? Ryken is as guilty as Veith is in using a little piece of truth and stretching it to accommodate his own objective. Ryken needs to provide just a little more information about the so-called gift giving i.e. who is giving the gifts, who are receiving the gifts, why are the gifts being given etc.
I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the giving and receiving of gifts, but let’s not attempt to make a theology of it.

Third, the problem is not with secular people missing the true meaning of Christmas, it is with believers who have missed it. Ryken should poll his church and see how many of the good people who sit under his ministry can say enough about the Virgin Birth of Christ, and the Incarnation, etc. to refute the average Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon or intelligently share these truths with his/her co-worker. I sympathize with the ignorance of 21st century American Christianity and I sympathize with the import of such non-essentials to the Faith handed down to us while the Faith itself lies in the compost of ignorance.

Fourth, when someone comes up with something valuable to say “for” the “commercialization of Christmas” (does that even sound right?), I’m all ears.

By the way has anyone else noticed the elephant in the room? I am referring to the application Veith made concerning Phil. 2:10-11. I am quite surprised that the Biblical scholar (Ryken)allowed Veith to get away with that while at the same time supporting his position. Hey support his position, but do not allow him to say that Phil. 2:10-11 supports his position. That’s how slave trades and slavery are granted approval in Christian cultures.