Guest / Limited Access /

Steven R. Harmon, author of Ecumenism Means You, Too, Frederica Mathewes-Green, the author of The Jesus Prayer, and Michael Horton, author of The Gospel-Driven Life, suggest why Christians should care about Lent.

To Take Up the Cross

Steven R. Harmon

In central Texas, where I grew up, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday made obvious the distinctions between how Catholics and Baptists practiced their faith.

Catholic friends came to school with ash smudges on their foreheads, ate a lot of fish, gave up various pleasures for a time, and went to extra church services. My Baptist friends and I did not. We wrongly considered this evidence that Catholics believed they had to do these things to be saved. We believed we were saved by grace and therefore didn't have to do any of that.

As a seminary student, I served as pastor of a small Baptist church in the same area. By this time I had discovered the Christian year and decided to lead the congregation to take up its observance. Advent went all right; four Sundays of anticipating Christmas didn't seem like such a bad thing. Having two Sundays in the season of Christmas seemed a bit odd, but explaining their connection to "The Twelve Days of Christmas" took care of that.

With Epiphany approaching, I knew I would have some explaining to do, so I gave an overview of the history and significance of all the seasons in the Christian year. My church members looked at me, as the local expression went, "like a calf looking at a new gate." One said, "Brother Steve, this is all very interesting, but we're not Catholic. We don't observe Lent."

Can Baptists observe Lent? All Baptist congregations observe some sort of calendar in their worship. Though many Baptists may profess that they ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
TrendingWhich False Teachings Are Evangelical Christians Most Tempted to Believe In?
Which False Teachings Are Evangelical Christians Most Tempted to Believe In?
Hidden heresies come in many shapes and sizes.
Editor's PickO for 7,000+ Tongues to Meep
O for 7,000+ Tongues to Meep
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word birthed many more.
Comments
Christianity Today
Lent—Why Bother?
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.