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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. ...

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February 22, 2010  9:48am

It would seem that observing days should be a personal choice. If as a Christian, I choose not to observe "Christmas" I am not sinning. If I choose to, I am not sinning. The same goes for any other observation. The only thing God requires us to remember is his death through communion. So, please remember that observances of days including "Lent" is not a should or should not thing. Don't forget there is freedom in Christ.


February 19, 2010  10:18pm

I find that my fasting helps me to gain discipline in my prayer and Scripture reading, also. I also find Lent suck a joyful time--as I give up movies and tv and spend more time in services and spiritual pursuits, I always draw nearer to the Lord. Many of my fellow Orthodox Christians that are older talk about how Lent is their favorite time of they year. It is a time of refocusing our lives upon our Jesus.


February 17, 2010  3:41pm

I would agree that there is much to commend earnest and thoughtful reflection on the life and work of Christ whether through internal meditation or external observance. I would not agree that this side of heaven, Philippines 3:10 presents the dominant thrust of discipleship. The preponderance of texts speak of a spiritual journey lived walking in the victory of the resurrected Christ. But this does not invalidate obsering Lent. I find it a very weak argument to endorse Lent because some churches already observe other calendar dates that are not specifically established by New Testament teaching. The concern that many have with Lent is that for many it is grossly misunderstood and become a distotion of clear Biblical teaching about salvation by grace through faith alone. Just make sure that whatever is done for Lent is understood within the whole teaching about the finished work of Christ and not perverted into another way to earn brownie points with God.


February 17, 2010  12:29pm

JJ - your reponse to JB's opinion reveals your own (inappropriate) biases. How would you know that he is a "joyless, self-absorbed Calvinist"? In addition, what makes the comment "stupid" - apart from your disagreement? It's precisely this type of cartoonish, immature and - unChristian - response that makes so much of the comment section of CT very discouraging. With all due respect, lay off the Calvinist-bashing and grow up.


February 17, 2010  11:57am

Too many churches today are ahistorical and have disconnected themselves from anything that even remotely looks, sounds and smells like Roman Catholicism. The baby has been thrown out with the bath water. But then putting a baby in a bathtub may remotely be akin to baptizing an infant so we cant have that LOL. But seriously the observance of Lent can improve our focus and add structure to our Christian lives as we draw near to the actual time of our Saviors crucifixion.


February 17, 2010  11:11am

I knew as soon as I started reading this article that some joyless, self-absorbed Calvinist would make a stupid remark. Thanks, John Bunyan, for proving me right again!


February 14, 2010  6:43am

I'm in a Presbyterian Church in America(PCA)parish and we observe Lent. I've observed that many Presbyterian USA churches are taking up Ash Wednesday and Lent as well as other observances of the litergical calendar, close to the litergies of the Episcopal Church. I believe today's Christians need solemn occasions to enrich their faith and repel the distractions of today's secular world.

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John Bunyan

February 12, 2010  2:54pm

Lent is strange fire and has no biblical justification.


February 12, 2010  9:16am

Before, Jesus started His ministry, He prayed and fasted for 40 days. Is it wrong to imitate His example, however poorly, prior to the death and Resurrection of our God?

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Roberto Abril

February 11, 2010  10:24am

This subject deserve a great deal of considerations and meditation. Thank you for your imput.

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Padre Dave Poedel, STS

February 10, 2010  6:47pm

This Evangelical Catholic (aka LCMS Lutheran) observes Lent in the catholic traditon. We begin with Ash Wednesday with ashes (I couldn't believe it, when I became a Lutheran, that most churches did not use ashes on Ash Wednesday), violet vestments and paraments, regularly scheduled private Confession and Absolution and, of course, weekly Eucharist. I don't make a big deal about "giving something up" but do not discourage those who choose to. Following our LCMS Lectionary readings leads us to Passion Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, simple liturgies for Monday - Wednesday, then Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. The Triduum (Thurs. through Saturday) are the most solemn, with scarlet colored vestment. Easter Sunday we blow the dust off the organ pipes with lots of lillies, white or gold vestments and gobs of "Alleluias". We celebrate Easter for 40 days; then the Ascension of Jesus, followed by Pentecost 10 days after that. Try it, you might like it.

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Rex Slagel

February 10, 2010  5:19pm

Agreed, non-Catholics can and should participate in the understanding of Lent. My personal experience is that "suffering" during the season amounts to the denial of insignificant likes and indulgences, and almost always snacks or a drink or a favorite TV show. Generally, there is no link to the mind or body of those participating as it relates to the suffering that Christ experienced for us. A lash or two along with the 10-20 days of healing might give us some idea of what He went through, and laying down His life in exchange for the denial of chocolate for a few days is just no comparison and makes the season, as experienced by most, almost blasphemous.

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February 10, 2010  4:21pm

I liked all three articles and the different perspectives on Lent they each presented. Having spent several decades in an Old-Testament-leaning Christian church where Passover was observed in a way that closely resembled the Jewish Seder, I can now fully appreciate the importance both of the Christian Passover and Lent, and especially what William Tyndale, the 14th century biblical translator, meant when he wrote this about festivals: ". . .though sacrifices and ceremonies can be no ground or foundation to build upon; that is, though we can prove nought with them, yet when once we have found out Christ and His mysteries, then we may borrow figures, that is to say allegories, similitudes, or examples, to open Christ, and the secrets of God hid in Christ. . . . For similitudes have more virtue and power with them than bare words, and lead a [person's] wits farther into the pitch and marrow and spiritual understanding of the thing, than all the words than can be imagined."

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