CT: Why Lent?

Christianity Today Needs to Teach Doctrines From the Bible


The magazine calling itself  “Christianity Today” has several articles about Lent.  Its current lead article on it, like most “historical” articles at the CT site, fails to truly understand real Christian history:

What is the purpose of Lent? Why do we celebrate this 40-day season of fasting and prayer that begins this year on February 25 (Ash Wednesday), observes Good Friday on April 10, and concludes triumphantly on Easter Sunday, April 12? Lent is intended to resurrect our joy. Lent originally meant “springtime”: the word comes from the Old English word for “spring,” lencten, which came from lengan, “to make longer”—reminding us that the slow, wonderful lengthening of this season in our souls can signal an end to a winter of bitterness and the flowering of Christ’s love in us…

In our rush to get the best “education” possible, we overlook the greatest teacher, Jesus, whose humility and holy living are our best text. We need to sit at His feet because His life can teach us everything. Ever notice how everyone wants to “serve Christ,” but who wants to follow Him?

While CT got some information correct, some of its conclusions are in error as are some of its implications.

Here are 17 points to consider:

  1. There is no holy day or practice close to Ash Wednesday in the Bible.
  2. Ash Wednesday was apparently not adopted by the Church of Rome until the 8th century.
  3. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not observe Ash Wednesday.
  4. No one in the Bible observed the Lenten fast.
  5. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that people are to keep anything like Ash Wednesday, Lent, nor Good Friday.
  6. CT is correct that Lenten means springtime as Lent seems to be the reenactment of an ancient pagan practice.
  7. The Bible does, however, talk about examining oneself near  Passover.
  8. The article fails to mention the Church of Rome, even though that is where Protestants adopted this practice from.
  9. CT apparently is striving to cause an ecumenical unity between Protestants and Catholics, which writers from both groups have long warned will end up as a disaster for both groups as they both will have to compromise their principles for this to occur.  However, something like this will happen so that the prophesied Beast power can rise up.  Hence CT is supporting that, though unknowingly.
  10. Jesus kept  Passover and those who truly follow Him would do what He did.  Sadly, almost no one really wants to follow Him.
  11. Early Christians did, in fact, keep  Passover.
  12. The Church of Rome, the Orthodox, and certain others do realize that what is now called Easter Sunday was originally a change in the date of  Passover.
  13. The date of Passover was changed by some of the Romans in order to distance themselves from the Jews in the second century in a compromising attempt to reduce persecution.
  14. Polycarp of Smyrna went to Rome and urged them to change back the practices of the Bible and the Apostle John.
  15. Church of Rome and Church of God sources understand that the Apostle John kept  Passover on the 14th of Nisan and not on Easter Sunday.
  16. The Apostle John taught that those who were “antichrist” would not keep with his practices.
  17. The Living Church of God which traces its history through Peter, Paul, John, and Polycarp still observes Passover on the 14th of Nisan, which will be right after sunset on April 7th in 2009.

“Christianity Today”, once again (see CT Wants Ritual) is failing to teach doctrines from the Bible.  Instead it continues to promote traditions of men.

It should be understood that the Church of Rome has long recognized that the Apostle John had practices that differed from it. Catholic priest and scholar Bagatti admits this regarding John:

Since St. John spent the first years of his apostolate in Palestine, together with James, it is obvious that he had taken the custom of celebrating Easter on the 14th of Nisan from the mother Church (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi, 13 Maii 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 14 Junii 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 80).

Thus, it was the original practice of “the mother Church” to keep Passover (often wrongly translated as “Easter” in English) on the 14th.  And pretty much none who observe Lent follow the practices of Jesus or the Apostle John.

While I realize that many feel that they have noble purposes in observing the Lenten period, the fact is that if people truly wish to worship God, they would listen to Jesus and keep the practices and commandments of God and not instead prefer traditions of men.  Notice what Jesus taught:

“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,But their heart is far from Me.  7 And in vain they worship Me,Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men–the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” 9 And He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition..” (Mark 7:6-9)

Sadly, that condemnation is appropriate for much of what passes for “Christianity” in today’s world.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
Why The Living Church of God Does Not Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day Should non-Catholics observe a Catholic holiday?
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
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?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Living Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith.  Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like information on how to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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