Skip to comments.[Catholic] Tradition catching on with Baptists [Ecumenical Ash Wed. Service]
Posted on 03/01/2006 10:35:38 AM PST by Full Court
Tradition catching on with Baptists
Protestants begin to take part in Ash Wednesday for its theological lessons
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
GREG GARRISONNews staff writer
It used to be that Baptists had nothing to do with Ash Wednesday, a liturgical holiday they associated with Catholics. No more.
"It's a good way of putting the congregation in the right mind-set to prepare for Easter," said the Rev. Christopher Hamlin, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Smithfield.
An ecumenical service at 6:30 tonight at Our Lady Queen of the Universe Catholic Church will include participation by three Baptist churches - Baptist Church of the Covenant and Trinity Baptist, both on Southside, and Tabernacle.
"For us to go to the Catholic church, that's something new as Baptists," said the Rev. Sarah Jackson Shelton, the Covenant pastor. "It unites us as the bigger church, and with a larger tradition. ... It's being part of a sacred story that belongs to all of us."
Other Baptist churches observe the tradition on their own. Fellowship of the Valley, for example, will have a service at 7 tonight at the Lake Cyrus Clubhouse in Hoover.
"It's an appreciation for the symbols of our faith, an opportunity to see, feel and touch those symbols," said the fellowship's pastor, the Rev. Michial Lewis.
Lewis said the Reformation of the 1500s, when Martin Luther led a reaction against abuses in the Roman Catholic Church, resulted in rejection of traditions such as Lent by many Protestants.
"We do emphasize that our relationship with Christ is through faith alone, and the reformers wanted to avoid the appearance that we gain acceptance with God through rituals or symbols," Lewis said. "Now, people can understand the difference. These symbols come alongside as holy reminders."
Robert Hodgson, dean of the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at the American Bible Society in New York City, said many evangelicals are beginning to see the biblical roots of Lent. "Jesus goes into the wilderness for 40 days and disciplines himself with fasting and prayer."
The 40 days of Lent are preparation for Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Easter is April 16 this year for more than a billion Western Christians and April 23 for Eastern Orthodox.
Baptists are taking an increased interest in the liturgical season for its theological lessons, Shelton said. "It's important for us to take the opportunity to confess our sin."
During many Christian observances of Ash Wednesday, the minister rubs ashes on the foreheads of congregants and says, "You are dust and to dust you shall return," quoting a verse from Genesis.
The wearing of ashes is prominent in the New Testament with John the Baptist, who called for repentance and wore sackcloth and ashes.
"It's the outward, visible symbol of something that's happening internally," Shelton said.
"We too will return to ashes," she said. "There's life beyond that, and hope beyond what we experience in this life."
Ah! There's the problem! We welcome ALL sinners to our services! It's quite true! Liberal lady ministers, struggling homosexuals, self-righteous opinionated Tennessee female pharisees, zionist conspirators. publicans, centurions, you name it --- especially when it's a service of repentance...
Repent and believe the good news!
I never read in any creed or catechism that the Catholic Church is supposed to be a conservative church. (Depends on exactly what you're trying to conserve.) The Catholic Church is much wilder and much more countercultural than conservative or liberal.
It's Catholic. Imagine that.
Yes. Very good.
Yeah, I bet you defend Biblical inerrancy all the time.
You'd bet correctly. The Bible is inerrant.
"My point was that this Catholic church basically gave encouragement to the more liberal elements of the local Baptist community. How would you feel if Baptists celebrated and encouraged liberal Catholics?"
"They don't? Baptist services are closed to Catholics, liberal or not?"
I haven't heard this one before. How did you come to this idea?
The question marks mean I'm asking.
In the apostle's creed, I would say that most conservative Baptists would have no problems with the doctrinal statements of the Creed, though the churches themselves do not have a Creed that they point to as the "Baptist Creed". Some Baptist churches are more liberal, some are more conservative. But the Apostles Creed defines core Christian beliefs. When it gets to the catholic church part we would understand that to mean one universal church,not one Roman Catholic church. But aside from that part, I don't see anything that I as someone who has graduated from a Baptist seminary would disagree with, nor my fellow Baptists. However, I could find plenty I would probably disagree with with certain American Baptists or other liberal Baptists even within my own denomination; but, I suspect that you would find the same thing in any denomination.
Revelation 12:1 ¶And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Mary was never a great wonder."
You will have to provide me with some references to support the tradition that a Biblical passage about a woman who carried the Messiah, pained to be delivered (gave birth in a manger), evaded his murder, delivered the child unto the Throne (had him consecrated in the House of the Lord), fled persecution into the wilderness (fled to Egypt), whose children profess the testimony of Jesus Christ can not possibly be about the Messiah's mother.
You can't allow yourself to see that Mary's relationship to Eve, being the chosen vessel of the end of the fall of man as Eve was the inception of the fall is indeed a great wonder? Really? Eve:"my will" Mary:"Your will" You don't see it?
How can that not be wonderful to you?
As to the rest.
Please read Exodus 25-40, Leviticus 6:15-17 for just a small sampling of how incense figures in the worship of the Lord in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
But more to the point: will you walk a mile in my shoes? Please read the 5th chapter of Revelations. Then please seek out and attend a Tridentine Mass and come back and tell me whether you still think the incense, pomp, forms, order, and music in the Catholic Mass is from the Pagans or lifted straight from Scripture.
With an open heart, you could really see this at any Mass but it is really emphasized in the original on top of it being an early example of worship in the Church. The Tridentine Mass is an ancient Mass dating from the 6th century. That's as far back as I can take you with a living tradition. I would, though, like to see your documentation backing up your assumptions on Religious practices prior to that date & prior to Constantine's conversion.
The first part of my request to you (Reading Scripture To See If These Things Were So) is certainly easy enough that I would have hoped you would have done it prior to making your comment vis a vis pagan influences in my Church rather than taking someone else's rather poorly researched word for it. "It's right there in the Bible" would seem like it should carry some weight with those who declaim Catholicism, but I have observed that not to be the case here with some frequency, ultimately with "that can't possibly mean what it plainly says" following a close second.
If anything, the Catholic Mass adheres to the Jewish rituals of old. The pomp, the seriousness, the reverence and the Glory are all prefigured by both the Old Covenant and John's vision in Revelation. Can you give me any information on how it came to pass that the Baptists discarded the Holy Rituals of ages past along with so much of Scripture itself (outside of a few prooftexts) along the way? It's been a long time, but do I remember correctly that you will never kneel before him in corporate worship? However did this tradition come to pass?
Shoot. For just a minute there I thought you were going to say "Scripture is not always crystal clear. That is on purpose so that we may know for certain we are to also rely on the teaching Magisterium of the Universal Apostolic Church for clarification and continuity down through the ages."
>>John the Baptist, who [...] wore sackcloth and ashes.
No doubt when the camelhair garment was at the dry cleaners.
Nah. No need for teaching Magisterium when we have the ONE intercessor between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ; and the Holy Spirit who would guide us in all things.
I can't worship Mary, it's against my religion.
You're kind of a one-trick pony, aren't you? :D
v: Please read Exodus 25-40, Leviticus 6:15-17 for just a small sampling of how incense figures in the worship of the Lord in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But more to the point: will you walk a mile in my shoes? Please read the 5th chapter of Revelations Then please seek out and attend a Tridentine Mass and come back and tell me whether you still think the incense, pomp, forms, order, and music in the Catholic Mass is from the Pagans or lifted straight from Scripture.... The first part of my request to you (Reading Scripture To See If These Things Were So) is certainly easy enough that I would have hoped you would have done it prior to making your comment vis a vis pagan influences in my Church rather than taking someone else's rather poorly researched word for it.
WMFIGHTS: "The 6th century follows the era when the church became a part of the State under Constantine. The living tradition you refer to is another way of saying not SCRIPTURAL.
"No thank you. I will take my example from the Bereans who reviewed SCRIPTURE to determine if any doctrine was in conflict with it."
BTW, Baptists believe the Apostles had Supernatural (Godlike) Powers? That's surprising.
Thank you for your time.
They were given "sign gifts" when the Gospel was still being preached to Israel, because the Jews had been taught by the prophets to looks for signs to signify that the Messiah was the Messiah.
Also, in Israel, signs justified a prophetic ministry.
John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
1 Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom..
Once Paul was sent to the Gentiles and Israel rejected the Gospel, the sign gifts ceased.
If you will notice, after the books of Acts, it is a whole new world as far as supernatural acts by the apostles go.
And that is because the Greeks (or gentiles) were not seekings signs to prove anything as the Jews were.
Luk 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
Miraculous works continued to be performed to this very day by living Saints, not for signs but for good. However, that is not what was being discussed.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Not a sign at all. An ETERNAL authority.
That has absolutely nothing at all to do with sign gifts.
Baptist never co-opted the pagan rituals that Rome did.
"At Zurich, after many disputations between Zuinglius and the Ana-Baptists, the Senate made an Act, that if any presume to re-baptize those who were baptized before (i.e. as infants) they should be drowned. At Vienna many Ana-Baptists were tied together in chains that one drew the other after him into the river, wherein they were all suffocated (drowned)." (Vida Supra, p. 61)
"In the year of our Lord 1539 two Ana-Baptists were burned beyond Southwark, and a little before them 5 Dutch Ana-Baptists were burned in Smithfield," (Fuller, Church History.)
"In 1160 a company of Paulicians (Baptists) entered Oxford. Henry II ordered them to be branded on the forehead with hot irons, publicly whipped them through the streets of the city, to have their garments cut short at the girdles, and be turned into the open country. The villages were not to afford them any shelter or food and they perished a lingering death from cold and hunger." (Moore, Earlier and Later Nonconformity in Oxford, p. 12.)
The old Chronicler Stowe, A.D. 1533, relates:
"The 25th of May--in St. Paul's Church, London--examined 19 men and 6 women. Fourteen of them were condemned; a man and a woman were burned at Smithfield, the other twelve of them were sent to towns there to be burned."
Froude, the English historian, says of these Ana-Baptist martyrs--
"The details are all gone, their names are gone. Scarcely the facts seem worth mentioning. For them no Europe was agitated, no court was ordered in mourning, no papal hearts trembled with indignation. At their death the world looked on complacent, indifferent or exulting. Yet here, out of 25 poor men and women were found 14, who by no terror of stake or torture could be tempted to say they believed what they did not believe. History has for them no word of praise, yet they, too, were not giving their blood in vain. Their lives might have been as useless as the lives of most of us. In their death they assisted to pay the purchase of English freedom."
Likewise, in writings of their enemies as well as friends, Dr. Carroll found, their history and that their trail through the ages was indeed bloody:
Cardinal Hosius (Catholic, 1524), President of the Council of Trent:
"Were it not that the baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater number than all the Reformers." (Hosius, Letters, Apud Opera, pp. 112, 113.)
The "twelve hundred years" were the years preceding the Reformation in which Rome persecuted Baptists with the most cruel persecution thinkable.
Sir Isaac Newton:
"The Baptists are the only body of known Christians that have never symbolized with Rome."
"Before the rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay secreted in almost all the countries of Europe persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles of modern Dutch Baptists."
Edinburg Cyclopedia (Presbyterian):
"It must have already occurred to our readers that the Baptists are the same sect of Christians that were formerly described as Ana-Baptists. Indeed this seems to have been their leading principle from the time of Tertullian to the present time."
Tertullian was born just fifty years after the death of the Apostle John.
Baptists do not believe in Apostolic Succession. The Apostolic office ceased with the death of the Apostles. It is to His churches that He promised a continual existence from the time He organized the first one during His earthly ministry until He comes again. He promised--
"I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt. 16:18)
Then, when He gave the great Commission, which tells what His churches are to do, He promised--
"I will be with you alway, even unto the end of the age." (Matt. 28:20)
This Commission--this work--was not given to the Apostles as individuals, but to them and the others present in their church capacity. The Apostles and the others who heard Him give this Commission were soon dead--BUT, His Church has lived on through the ages, making disciples (getting folks saved), baptizing them, and teaching the truth--the doctrines--He committed to the Jerusalem Church. These faithful churches have been blessed with His presence as they have traveled the TRAIL OF BLOOD.
This history shows how the Lord's promise to His churches has been fulfilled. Dr. Carroll shows that churches have been found in every age which have taught the doctrines He committed unto them. Dr. Carroll calls these doctrines the "marks" of New Testament Churches. (From. Dr. Carroll.)
Precisely. So we agree.
Thank you for the post it was very informative.
I might add, Roman Catholic's like to think that the rituals/sacraments that they have added over the years are somehow special because they do them. The reality is plain for all with open hearts and minds. The two sacraments that JESUS performed are what is needed, communion and baptism and these should only be done AFTER someone has come into a right relationship with the LORD.
What's pagan about Ash Wed?
It's certainly not a Biblical or Christian practice to make a mark with ash on the forehead.
Ping to 226
Who died and made you the arbitrator of what is or isn't "Biblical" or "Christian"?
Stop sniping other Christian's beliefs. You've probably got just as much wrong as anyone else.
It's rooted in the ashes of penitence - which are found all over the Old Testament.
I watched the Pope offering the Ash Wednesday Mass on EWTN. He and the co-celebrants sprinkled/crossed the top of the heads of those who came forward. That was interesting. Further, a Cardinal came up, removed the Pope's cap and did the same to him.
The congregation did not line up either. Instead, they sort of milled around at the front and the Priests reached out into the crowd while the Pope sat and did the same to a long line of Priests, Friars, and the like.
The first mention of ashes are in relation to the ashes Moses tossed into the air, which then became boils on the Egyptians.
In another instance, Tamar put ashes on her head after she was raped by her brother.
ping to 233 for the first Scriptural mention of ashes tossed up.
Now if you please.
Yes, but what is Biblical instruction for making a mark with ashes on ones forehead?
Jesus Christ did not make you the judge of other Christians. Who are you to judge another man's servant?
Who cares about the "first mention?" That's a fallacious argument.
In another instance, Tamar put ashes on her head after she was raped by her brother.
As a sign of penitance and mourning. When Catholics put that ashen mark on their head, it is a sign of repentance from their sins.
Thank goodness we don't roll around in ash (see Jeremiah 6:26 below). What a mess that would make of the church!
Esther 4:1 When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 2 He went as far as the front of the king's gate, for no one [might] enter the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 And in every province where the king's command and decree arrived, [there was] great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
Job 16:15 "I have sewn sackcloth over my skin, And laid my head in the dust.
Job 42:6 Therefore I abhor [myself,] And repent in dust and ashes."
Jeremiah 6:26 O daughter of my people, Dress in sackcloth And roll about in ashes! Make mourning [as for] an only son, most bitter lamentation; For the plunderer will suddenly come upon us.
Daniel 9: 3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 "we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.
Matthew 11: 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Luke 10:13 " Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
I just showed you repentance symbolized with ashes. We are now back to what I said earlier was going to happen, namely that some Catholic detractor, having been shown a Scriptural source for a Catholic practice was going to insist that "that can't possibly mean what it plainly says"
And here you are.
Now if you don't mind, I'm trying to study. Unless you can show me Biblical instruction calling for Bible study on Wednesday night we probably should part company now.
Where is the biblical instruction for preaching from a pulpit? More to the point where is the instruction to preach from a Bible on that Pulpit? If we go by the New Testaments we should be reading from the scrolls of the Torah.
People love to quote "judge not lest ye be judged" but neglect to quote the full chapter (start particularly with verse 15). Note, Jesus himself permits Non-self-righteous judgment. As a matter of fact, we are called to it. I'm no better than you. But we all have a right to be fruit inspectors, just not self righteously. He didn't mean no judgment period- else, by judging the person you wrote the post to you yourself are violating the very command you are trying to point out.
1Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
12Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
28And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
I know Mat. 5 as well as you did - and I did not cite it. I cited Rom. 14:4, 10 - who are you to judge another man's servant? When we see sin, yes, we're supposed to discern that it is sin; it is forbidden to us, however, to even criticize the man who worships God in a way we don't like. Among the issues forbidden to judge in Rom. 14 is rituals that some observe, but others do not.
(Also, long cut-and-pastes of entire Biblical chapters is not useful. Pinpoint citations make for a tighter, cleaner argument.)
You have shown a few examples where ashes are used as an expression of repentence in the OT. You have not shown at all where making a mark on ones head with ashes is anything Scriptural.
However, I have shown you that making a mark on the forehead is a pagan tradition and practice.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets,
that they may have glory of men.
Verily I say unto you,
They have their reward.
¶And when thou prayest,
thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.
Verily I say unto you,
They have their reward.
Matthew 6:16 ¶Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites,
of a sad countenance:
for they disfigure their faces,
that they may appear unto men to fast.
Verily I say unto you,
They have their reward.
Actually that passage is only about eating meat. It doesn't talk about any rituals.
Wouldn't the words that Jesus use apply to John the Baptist as well? Wasn't disfigured on Ash Wednesday. Just a smudge on the forehead, about as "disfiguring" as wearing a cross around the neck. Jesus also said something about not hiding one's light under a basket. The ashes symbolize our identity That they invite the scorn of people like you is expected.
if that's the case, and you really believe that, who are you to judge me?
It is much broader than just eating meat. It explicitly includes observance of holy days (and, by inference, the rituals that made those holy days unique).
You need to repent of your narrow-minded, hypocritical judgment of your Catholic brothers.
I haven't judged you - I have said that you have exceeded the scope of your authority in judging other Christians. Your spiritual state is a question above my pay grade. Your actions are self-evident.