‘Christianity Today’ and Lent

Cross of Ashes

Cross of Ashes


The Protestant publication which calls itself “Christianity Today” (CT) had at least four articles about Lent lately.  Basically, the writers seem to somewhat support this Catholic holiday, but also seem to have some reservations about its usefulness.

Lent is a forty-day period of abstinence, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending around Easter.  We are now in the current “Lenten season” for 2012.

Here was are some interesting comments from a reader at the CT site who responded to what people give up for Lent:

This reminds me of tithing mint dill, and cumin. Lent is a man made holiday… Lent is whatever you want it to be…a weight loss holiday, a self abasement holiday, a self-improvement holiday preceded by Shrove Tuesday (the day of pancakes or Mardi Gras) and Ash Wednesday… Paul warned us against these very “spiritual” rituals in Colossians “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” But of course 200 years after writing these words the church began formulating these ascetic rituals like Lent, originally a 40 day total fast.

While much of the above is true, the true Church never adopted Lent.  However, many who have compromised have, and some have really misinterpreted scripture along this line.

Notice this disturbing comment from a writer of one of the four recent articles at the CT site titled Giving Up Self-Discipline for Lent:

In short, I don’t believe we need Lent or God to improve ourselves in these small matters. But we need Lent and God if we’re going to get saved.

Well, while we do need God to be saved, we most certainly do not need Lent.  If Lent was needed, one would feel that the original apostles would have endorsed it or practiced it, but they did not.

The Catholic Saint Abbot John Cassian (also known as Cassianus, monk of Marseilles) in the fifth century wrote:

Howbeit you should know that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist (Cassian John. Conference 21, THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEONAS. ON THE RELAXATION DURING THE FIFTY DAYS. Chapter 30).

The historian A. Hislop wrote:

Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing (Hislop A. Two Babylons. pp. 104-106).

Yet, oddly, Protestant groups, like the falsely named Christianity Today seem to have endorsed it. Notice comments from two older articles at its website:

Let’s Lengthen Lent
pre-Lenten festivals such as the Mardi Gras have turned into bacchanals that have become a reproach to civilization.So what do we do? Observe Lent or ignore it?…I hope to be in my church on Ash Wednesday as a worshiper. (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/marchweb-only/34.0.html)


Lent is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has changed over the years…(http://www.christianitytoday.com/holidays/)

Despite claiming that it is part of the “Christian calendar,” the fact is that neither Ash Wednesday nor Lent can be found to be endorsed in the Bible nor in the writings of the early followers of Jesus. Obviously, many of those at the falsely named Christianity Today do not believe in sola Scriptura.

Do not the editors of that publication realize how far they are straying from scripture?  Of course, this has always been a problem within Protestantism.

Some articles of possible interest may include:

Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Did Jesus celebrate Carnaval? Where did it come from?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Living Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?

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