The Lighthouse Trails Research blog links to a USA Today article, "Evangelicals Adopting Advent." In the links below the linked article, provided so that the reader might "understand the significance of this story" are several writings critiquing the emerging church, contemplative spirituality, ecumenism, and ancient Christian practices. Having read the USA Today article and the first critique ("Home to Rome," by Roger Oakland), I ask the following:
  • How is spiritually preparing yourself to celebrate the birth of the Messiah equivalent to heading "Home to Rome"?
  • How does Advent go against Scripture?
  • We have two biblically initiated celebrations: baptism and communion. Everything else is cultural. So, since Christmas is not a biblically-initiated celebration, why should we celebrate it at all?
  • How should we go about developing biblically-sound rituals* for our celebration?
* ritual: "The prescribed order of a religious ceremony"



  1. There are some people who think that anything involving ritual is on the road to Rome -- which is historically and culturally naive. To suggest that the emerging folk are moving toward Rome suggests that they've never actually met someone of that bent.

  2. There are many evangelicals - Anglicans, Lutherans, and others from liturgical traditions - who have always practiced Advent, so "Evangelicals Adopting Advent" is a bit misleading.

    I don't think Advent does go against Scripture. My wife and I, who are from a nondenominational movement, attended an Anglican church while I was in graduate school and followed the traditional church calendar during that time. We have no choice but to observe changing seasons (summer, fall, winter, spring), and the traditional church year places the seasons in the context of Scripture - the birth of Christ and second coming at Advent, the cross and resurrection at Easter, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and so on. Mandating that ALL Christians observe Advent would violate Scripture, IMHO, but anything that focuses our attention on Scripture and Christ is helpful.

  3. Brad, I do wonder how LTR arrives at some of their conclusions. At the very least, treating the emerging church like a monolithic theological movement is unwarranted.

    Micheal, USA Today and LTR appear to have a very narrow view of evangelicals; I'm a lifelong Baptist and we celebrated Advent in the 60s and 70s. As to your conclusions, I tend to agree. Forcing others to celebrate the church year would be unbiblical, yet using the calendar to focus on Scripture is good.

    While I disagree with LTR's critique, it does raise the question of criteria. Does Scripture set limits on how we ought to celebrate? If so, what might those limits be?