Skip to comments.Baptists, Lent, and the Reformation Rummage Sale
Posted on 02/27/2011 10:55:58 AM PST by NYer
In recent years there have been a flurry of news articles prior to Lent, Holy Week, and Advent about how various Protestant groups and denominations have "discovered" that Catholic and Orthodox beliefs about the liturgical year are not nearly as "unbiblical" as many non-Catholics thought. Quite the contrary, as this Associated Baptist Press piece explains (ht: National Catholic Register):
Many Baptists are seeking to reclaim that pre-Easter focus -- historically called Lent -- which has been an integral part of many Christians experience since the earliest years of the church.
Its a biblical thing, not a made-up Catholic thing, says Kyle Henderson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Athens, Texas, acknowledging a robust Baptist suspicion of spiritual practices seen as too closely associated with the Roman Catholic Church or its distant cousins, the Anglicans.
Some Baptists say they sense those suspicions -- in part a legacy of the Protestant Reformation -- have left them with a diminished spiritual vocabulary.
There is an uneasy sense that something got lost, says Phyllis Tickle, whose 2008 book, The Great Emergence, chronicles the blurring of denominational distinctions in late 20th- and early 21st-century American Christianity.
Every 500 years or so, says Tickle, the church metaphorically holds a great rummage sale, getting rid of the junk that we believe no longer has value and finding treasures stuck in the attic because we didnt want them or were too naïve to know their true worth.
The Reformation was one of those rummage sales and the current great convergence is another, she maintains. For evangelicals, the long-forgotten treasures in the attic include a wide array of spiritual disciplines -- including Lent -- with roots in the churchs first centuries.
For Sterling Severns, discovering Lent and other seasons of the Christian year was an eye-opening experience, which he encountered at the first church he served after graduating from seminary.
It tapped into something in me that surprised me, says Severns, now pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. I remember I almost felt as if Id been let in on a great secret.
For many folks who have been Catholic their entire lives, such comments might be a bit surprising. "Secret? How is it a secret? Don't all Christians know about Lent and Advent?" No, they surely don't. I wasn't aware of either Lent or Advent until I attended Bible college as a 20-year-old Fundamentalist, and even then they were spoken of in mostly cautious or negative ways (most of my profs viewed the Catholic Church with suspicion or disdain, but a couple were quite positive about Catholicism). But things have changed a lot in the past couple of decades and an growing number of Evangelical groups are embracingin various ways and to differing degreesaspects of the Catholic liturgical calendar.
An excellent book for Evangelicals who are curious about Catholic beliefs about worship, the liturgical calendar, and the sacraments is Evangelical Is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament by Thomas Howard. Also see his essay, "Catholic Spirituality", from the collection, The Night Is Far Spent.
I read another article earlier in the week about a Catholic and Baptist community that come together each year to celebrate Ash Wednesday. Have any of you experienced this in your parish or nearby community?
Nope,, cause we are Baptist. Catholic calendar is like a season ticket to disneyland,,,, way too many blackout dates.
It would have been great if the modern , non-mainline Protestant churches had held onto some of the meaningful Reformation/ post-Reformation traditions— like recitation of the Apostles’ Creed, the Gloria Patri, the doxology, hymns written before the 80’s and a choir instead of wannabe rockers up front, but all that has been kicked to the curb. Lenten liturgy, etc, forget it.
“Have any of you experienced this in your parish or nearby community?”
Not that per se, but we do have many non-Catholics taking ashes on ash Wednesday.
We have ecumenical services during the weeks of Lent with various different denominations. We come together to pray and discuss the meaning of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
If it’s not in the Bible, how can it be a “biblical thing”?
So, DR, what are you going to do for the High Feast Day of Sts. Insouciance and Dysfunctiona?
I swear, someday im going to write a book on why the Catholics need to adopt the baptist faith,, and then every day after, post an article about how the Catholics should move to unify with protestants on purely one-sided terms.
It’s weird how obsessed they are with Christians who don’t see them as “the” church. Yes,, before 1600, they were usually more wrong than right.
“I have always been struck by the arrogance of people who think that no one understood or followed the Bible until they came along 1600 years after the fact.”
Arrogance? Compare the church of the 1600s to the life of Christ,,,, and look how they squeal at being reformed. That, is a good example of high arrogance.
I suppose to some Lenten fasting and repentence is actually a vain work and a denial that Christ’s work is finished. His justice and righteousness covers us letting God see the cleanliness of Christ instead of our sins. We can never truly be made clean. So practices such as this are wasteful and useless. It is a feel good exercise nothing more. The limit should be to ask for forgiveness for our sins. Anything else is extrabiblical and borders on idolatry.
Ohhhh,, i dunno,
Hold a “rummage sale” where i get rid of things i have found to be quite superfluous to the teachings of Jesus? And not be angry that my preacher isn’t speaking latin? And write a letter to the local Bishop that if he will give up the pope and the heirarchy, that i think i can see a path towards his reunification with ME?
Actually, I have a friend who is Russian Orthodox and in the current practice, we’re pikers in comparison. There’s a lot we’ve lost in the “modernizing” of the Church.
8 See to it that NO ONE TAKES YOU CAPTIVE THROUGH PHILOSOPHY AND EMPTY DECEPTION, ACCORDING TO THE TRADITION OF MEN, ACCORDING TO THE ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF THE WORLD, RATHER THAN ACCORDING TO CHRIST. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and IN HIM YOU HAVE BEEN MADE COMPLETE, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
16 THEREFORE NO ONE IS TO ACT AS YOUR JUDGE IN REGARD TO FOOD OR DRINK OR IN RESPECT TO A FESTIVAL or a new moon OR A SABBATH DAY 17 things which are a MERE SHADOW of what is to come; BUT THE SUBSTANCE BELONGS TO CHRIST.. 18 LET NO ONE KEEP DEFRAUDING YOU OF YOUR PRIZE BY DELIGHTING IN SELF ABASEMENT and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on vision he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and NOT HOLDING FAST TO THE HEAD, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
20 IF YOU HAVE DIED WITH CHRIST TO THE ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF THE WORLD (See verses 8, 16 above for details on what the Apostle Paul means by "the elementary principles of the world") IF YOU HAVE DIED WITH CHRIST TO THE ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF THE WORLD. WHY, AS IF YOU WERE LIVING IN THE WORLD, DO YOU SUBMIT TO DECREES SUCH AS, 21 Do not handle, DO NOT TASTE, DO NOT TOUCH! 22 (WHICH ALL REFER TO THINGS DESTINED TO PERISH WITH USE)IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMMANDMENTS AND TEACHINGS OF MEN? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the APPEARANCE OF WISDOM IN SELF-MADE RELIGION AND SELF-ABASEMENT AND SEVERE TREATMENT OF THE BODY BUT ARE OF NO VALUE AGAINST FLESHLY INDULGENCE. (Colossians 2:8-23, NASB Emphasis added)
The Holy Spirit Himself testifies about what will characterize the times we are living in:
1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will FALL AWAY FROM THE FAITH, PAYING ATTENTION TO DECEITFUL SPRITS AND DOCTRINES OF DEMONS, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage AND ADVOCATE ABSTAINING FROM FOODS which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:1-5, NASB Emphasis added) The Lord Jesus Christ also speaks of the folly of self abasement via abstaining from foods:
After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, HEAR AND UNDERSTAND.
IT IS NOT WHAT ENTERS INTO THE MOUTH THAT DEFILES THE MAN , BUT WHAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH, THIS DEFILES THE MAN.
Then the disciples came and said to Him, Do You know that THE PHARISEES WERE OFFENDED WHEN THEY HEARD THIS STATEMENT?
But He answered and said, Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; THEY ARE BLIND GUIDES OF THE BLIND. AND IF A BLIND MAN GUIDES ABLIND MAN, BOTH WILL FALL INTO A PIT.
Peter said to Him, EXPLAIN THE PARABLE TO US.
Jesus said, ARE YOU STILL LACKING IN UNDERSTANDING ALSO?
DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT EVERYTHING THAT GOES INTO THE MOUTH PASSES INTO THE STOMACH, AND IS ELIMINATED? (Mark's account in Mark chapter 7:18-19 adds the following insight into the matter: 18 "He said to them, Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that EVERYTHING THAT GOES INTO A PERSON FROM OUTSIDE CANNOT DEFILE, 19 since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine? THUS HE HAS DECLARED ALL FOODS CLEAN")
BUT THE THINGS THAT PROCEED OUT OF THE MOUTH COME FROM THE HEART, AND T H O S E DEFILE THE MAN.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man. (Matthew 15:10-20, NASB, Emphasis added)
Christins are FREE in Christ and not under obligation to abstain from anything during Lent because although abstaining and self abasement has:
"the APPEARANCE OF WISDOM IN SELF-MADE RELIGION AND SELF-ABASEMENT AND SEVERE TREATMENT OF THE BODY BUT ARE OF NO VALUE AGAINST FLESHLY INDULGENCE."
In other words to do so: is WORTHLESS and of NO VALUE! I didn't say this, God did and if anyone has a problem with the above, you can take it up with Him.
We also picked up some non-Catholics customs I remember from childhood.
Protestant friends kept poor boxes with them and dropped small change into them when they denied themselves candy or a treat.
The boxes were collected by their Sunday school teachers on Easter and the money sent to the needy.
Our church has something similar now with children giving their change from self-denied treats to Project Rice Bowl. Nice.
Teaches them a lot about self-denial, the needs of others, penitence, and ties in with Christ’s temptations.
Baptists are part of a general "primitive church" movement which acknowledges the truth that the first-generation church, as constituted directly under Christ, was necessarily inerrant and that the fruit of the early church fell not far from that tree. This is why Baptists are interested in the earliest Christian adaptations of Jewish tradition, in this case Passover.
For Catholics to lay claim to the early church from which we all derive makes as much sense as a child pressing a claim to superior ownership of his siblings parents.
Its weird how obsessed they are with Christians who dont see them as the church. Yes,, before 1600, they were usually more wrong than right.
Amen to that brother. I too wonder why they spend so much time and effort on ecumenical things, as if there is some kind of frequent flyer rewards waiting for them because they belong to a certain church.
Roman Catholics and Bible believing Baptist are so far apart on so many issues and to simply blow that off with invitations to Swim the Tiber are, at least to this individual, silly.
Moses, Elijah, and Jesus all had 40-day fasts to prepare themselves spiritually for some great work. Were they doing something unbiblical?
It’s very sad to say but where I live, the non-Catholic churches aren’t too kind or receptive to us Catholics. In fact, I’ve encountered many who are as hostile as certain FReepers. And, as usual, their thoughts/opinions are based on pure ignorance; they’ll just never see or admit that.
I wear a crucifix at all times, so I am subject to ridicule at work & in my social life since I am easily identified as one of “those Catholics”. But I really don’t care. And my 3 year old proudly wears her scapular & crucifix, too. We get some looks but I hope someday those things will serve as a precursor to some intellectually honest discussion about the Church.
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
-- Matthew 6:16-18
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**In recent years there have been a flurry of news articles prior to Lent, Holy Week, and Advent about how various Protestant groups and denominations have “discovered” that Catholic and Orthodox beliefs about the liturgical year are not nearly as “unbiblical” as many non-Catholics thought. Quite the contrary, as this Associated Baptist Press piece explains (ht: National Catholic Register):**
Are other denominations waking up to the truth?
**Not that per se, but we do have many non-Catholics taking ashes on ash Wednesday.**
This is so true. All three Ash Wednesday Masses are crammed full.
Are people coming home to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?
I think so.
You need to look up sack cloth and ashes in a Bible search program. It’s there!
Why are you yelling with all caps?? That’s too hard to read. Sorry, I skipped it.
So, Alex, are you Baptist or Evangelical? And does your church celebrate the biblical Lent?
Truth is alone and by itself. Few will embrace it. Falseness has many friends.
On the contrary. The spirit of Lent is the spirit of Christ Crucified. Therefore, whatever enables us to better understand Christ's Passion and Death, and deepens our responsive love for His great love toward us should be fostered during the Lenten season.
We can never truly be made clean.
Of course we can! John 20:21-23
So practices such as this are wasteful and useless.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our penance should strive to endure some pain in order to expiate the sinful pleasure that is always the substance of sin. This can take on a variety of forms, and no two people are the same in this matter. As an example, try renouncing television for 48 hours and devoting those hours to prayer, fasting and reading scripture. Most importantly, offer it up to God as repentance for your sins. You will be rewarded with a renewed strength of faith.
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. All churches that have a continuous history extending before AD 1500 observe Lent. The ancient church that wrote, collected, canonized, and propagated the New Testament also observed Lent, believing it to be a commandment from the apostles.
Lent began in the apostolic era and was universal in the ancient church. For this reason, Lent is observed by the various Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, and Anglican denominations, by Roman Catholics, and by Eastern Orthodox Churches.
It is much easier to explain who stopped observing it and why.
In the 16th century, many Calvinists and Anabaptists discarded all Christian holy days, on the theory that they were Roman innovations. That was their best information at the time, but today we know that they were wrong. In the late 19th century, ancient Christian documents came to light. The Didache from the first century, the Apostolic Constitutions from the third century, and the diaries of Egeria of the fourth century; all which give evidence of the Christian calendar and holy days.
NYer. I agree with all your points. I was playing devil’s advocate.
I see from your freeper profile that you are in PA. At one time, PA hosted large catholic communities. Has that changed?
I wear a crucifix at all times, so I am subject to ridicule at work & in my social life since I am easily identified as one of those Catholics. But I really dont care.
Ditto! The same was true in my previous job. They 'tolerated' me, even the self-proclaimed catholics, none of whom wore a crucifix. I am proud of my faith and never attempted to conceal who I am. During my years with the state, I was intrigued by the fact that on Ash Wednesday, a priest would come to the State Capitol to administer ashes to the "hard working" legislators. Knowing when and where he would be, I took it upon my self to let secretaries in the governor's office know so they could pass this information on to other staffers. Over the years, the secretaries would begin asking me for that information on Monday, even though it was publicly posted next to every elevator bank. I graciously accommodated them. Last year, the line was so long that it snaked out the door and down the hall :-) I am no longer there but I pray someone else will take on this task and keep the publicans in step with their professed faith.
The Baptist Church was formed in 1609 by John Smyth, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
When I was Protestant, we always observed Lent. I don’t remember the details of how the various congregations (either Congregational or Presbyterian) observed Lent, because Sunday School was held during the adult worship services. However, in Sunday School, we always discussed Lent, talked about giving things up, and did works of service to others.
Not in 33 A.D., eight Sundays after the Resurrection. The Church hung out in the catacombs for a few centuries (doubts? Go to San Calista in Rome sometime and see them) before an emperor was friendly enough to make the Church legal.
Which in no way counters anything I wrote ("Baptists are part of a general "primitive church" movement..."). It does, however, verify that you attach identity to formal institution and not any actual system of belief.
“Its very sad to say but where I live, the non-Catholic churches arent too kind or receptive to us Catholics.”
“I see from your freeper profile that you are in PA. At one time, PA hosted large catholic communities. Has that changed?”
I am also a bit surprised by your comments. I also live in Western Pennsylvania, and it seems to me that, at least where I live, a large majority of people are Catholic.
oh please....Baptists are indeed protestant and not necessarily good at it. If you are not Catholic, are christian, then you are protestant....
were there bad people in the Catholic church, you betcha but to call the protestant revolution a reformation is to ignore fact. First of all you revolt from without, you reform from within and a reformation should improve not alter the organization. The "revolters" denied some of the basic tenants of the church, completely changed some of the most basic teachings of Catholicism to a point that they are almost unrecognizable as Christial "denominations"...but go ahead and do your own thing, Christ warned that there would be "false witnesses" and there are...started with Martin Luther
I grew up in johnstown and now live in Pittsburgh. While it is accurate to say a majority identify as “Catholic”, I have found many are CINOs. In addition, where I am in the city, there is much New Age, humanist bullcrap as well as many mainline Protestant churches openly advocating gay marriage. The non-lib Protestants I’ve met consider me to be”unsaved” and barely a Christian. Add to that the fundie churches around here & you will see that although our bishop is prominent in the local media with some other high-profile Catholics (like the Rooneys), everyday encounters are generally unfriendly.
WOW, you are far more capable at establishing a religion than was Jesus and the apostles....what did they know...Keep up the good work, you might become a full fledged PROTESTANT
“While it is accurate to say a majority identify as Catholic, I have found many are CINOs.”
I think Catholics being mostly CINO is generally true practically everywhere in America, including here.
“In addition, where I am in the city, there is much New Age, humanist bullcrap as well as many mainline Protestant churches openly advocating gay marriage.”
I think where we live in the Pittsburgh area explains the differences between the surrounding attitudes. I’d assume that you would see more liberal attitudes in the city, compared to where I’ve lived my entire life, which is one of the inner suburbs. However, although I would never consider any of the parishes that I normally attend to be very “traditional” at all, it is common for homilies to preach against liberal social issues. Freepers often comment that they almost never hear social issues being addressed, but it seems pretty common where the priest will go down the list of evils naming abortion, premarital sex, divorce, homosexuality, contraception, etc. We must be really bad if we need to be lectured all the time.:) I guess in the city, you’d see that type of liberalism from all the those libs in Oakland, Shadyside, and the Christians in Squirrel Hill.
“Add to that the fundie churches around here”
There’s not many fundamentalist churches where I’m at either. Honestly, I have no idea where any Baptist church is at, and I can only think of one “megachurch,” and it is 20-25 minutes away. Most protestant churches here are mainline, and I have no idea what they advocate since they seem to have so little impact here.
“Add to that the fundie churches around here & you will see that although our bishop is prominent in the local media with some other high-profile Catholics (like the Rooneys), everyday encounters are generally unfriendly.”
While you mention the Rooneys, from what I heard, Dan is the only liberal one, while the rest of them are still conservative Catholics. Btw, after going to the Vatican Splendors at the history museum, I went up to the football section to see about Pittsburgh’s “other religion,” and thought it was funny that there were three Rosaries on display there, including Art Rooney’s. IIRC, one of Art’s brothers chose becoming a priest over playing for the Yankees.
“If you are not Catholic, are christian, then you are protestant....”
Don’t forget Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox :)
May this special united for ALL Christian churches Lent 2011 by both the grace and help of the Lord bring ALL Christians to full unity. Amen
John Chapter 17.
.....And even if you do not fast, but simply pray more, it is so much worth it to making faith stronger.
What I like about Lent is that it comes towards the end of winter, with spring just around the corner, a time for new, fresh beginings. :)
And we get the door-to-door guys trying to sell this targetting Catholics specifically. These "missionaries" consistently target Catholics to leave the faith -- now, how can you then say "someday im going to write a book on why the Catholics need to adopt the baptist faith,, and then every day after, post an article about how the Catholics should move to unify with protestants on purely one-sided terms." when this has already been done?
Baptists are part of a general "primitive church" movement
Aha -- now Brass Lamp, that is your opinion. There are other Baptists who differ with you, so hence what is it --> do we say Baptists are Protestants or not?
do we say Baptists are Protestants or not?
Depends on the definition of "Protestant", alas, it too has been corrupted.
From a demographers' standpoint, Baptists are put in the Protestant pigeon-hole. Where "Protestant" is defined as 'protestari' in the "publicly declare" sense then only those Baptists who have a confession (eg 1689 London Confession of Faith) are Protestants. If the "protest" version of 'protestari' is the definition, then Baptists are not Protestants. If you listen to independent Baptists, they will tell you that they can trace their roots to John the Baptist. If you read the webpage and mission statement of many Big Box Baptist, one can safely say that they are neither Protestant nor Christian but "American Religion"
If you read the webpage and mission statement of many Big Box Baptist, one can safely say that they are neither Protestant nor Christian but "American Religion"
From a demographers' standpoint, Baptists are put in the Protestant pigeon-hole.
Where "Protestant" is defined as 'protestari' in the "publicly declare" sense then only those Baptists who have a confession (eg 1689 London Confession of Faith) are Protestants.
Thank you, tt
BL -- as you can see, for a non-Baptist it can be confusing,but that's true for any outside to a tradition. No disrespect was intended.
I, personally have said before "Protestants and Baptists" and been corrected by Baptists who insisted they were Protestants.