Skip to comments.Evangelical Angst About Ash Wednesday
Posted on 02/18/2015 3:24:56 PM PST by NYer
You wouldnt think that anyone would fight about Ash Wednesday and Lent. For Catholics its part of what we do. For others its something they can use or not as they find it helpful, and increasing numbers do. Down-the-line Evangelical churches have started to hold special services for Ash Wednesday complete with ashes and to treat the Sundays after it as Sundays in Lent. Rather severely anti-sacramental Evangelicals now speak of giving things up and fasting on Fridays.
I find this cheering, but my friend Carl Trueman doesnt. Carl teaches Church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, the flagship of serious Reformed (i.e., Calvinist) Christianity in America. Hes a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. If youre thinking of the somewhat wooly-minded, generically Protestant Presbyterians in the church in middle of town, youre not thinking of Carls kind of Presbyterian. The mainline Presbyterians are the ones in tweed and corduroy; Carls type are in biker leathers. Hes one John Calvin would have recognized as a brother.
Writing on Reformation21, the website of the Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals, Carl notes that Evangelicals have started observing the season and then lets loose:
He is clearly not pleased and I can see why. The adoption by Evangelicals of some Catholic practices cheers me, however, because it is a gain for them, an expansion of their ways of living their faith, and one that reduces the gap between divided Christians. And, to be honest, because it opens a way for them to understand what the Catholic Church is about.
Carl is right that theyve picked pieces they like without enough thought about the thing from which theyre picking pieces, but as a Catholic I think thats a blessing rather than a mistake. He wants them to be more consistent and coherent Protestants and I would like them to be Catholics, and movement from one to the other requires some inconsistency and incoherence, the way a man wanders back and forth in the forest trying to find his way until he sees in the distance the place he is looking for.
The Church offers riches like an over-loaded wagon in a fairy tale, spilling gold coins every time it hits a pothole. Evangelicals can find in Catholic practice many things they can use just by walking along behind it. Though they have in their own tradition ways to express penance and forgiveness, as Carl notes, Ash Wednesday the whole rite, not just the imposition of ashes offers them a more dramatic way of hearing the truth and enacting it.
The question for them is how much they can take and adapt to their own purposes without having to face the claims of the Church from which theyre taking the things they like. I think rather a long way, because the Church draws upon a wisdom that it is not exclusively Catholic. You can enjoy the imposition of ashes without asking Who is Peter?
But there should come a point where you ask, What is this thing from whom Im always taking? What makes it a thing from which I can take so much? As Carl says, more pointedly: If your own tradition lacks the historical, liturgical and theological depth for which you are looking, it may be time to join a church which can provide the same.
Men arguing over man-made traditions ...
As for the New Testament, participate in the “breaking of bread”.
Yep, that’s it.
The rest is just stuff.
Acts 20:7, On the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread ...
2nd post on this. Mighty quiet from the evans...
My granddaughter Delaney was born at 7:00 this morning, Ash Wednesday! She was truly a miracle baby because they discovered the cord was tied in an actual knot early in the pregnancy. That usually leads to fetal demise because the baby doesn’t get adequate nourishment during the gestational period. It was the talk of Labor & Delivery because it’s rare apparently. Delaney was blessed because the knot wasn’t too tight. Praise Jesus!
Your definition of an Evangelical Church is sadly badly incorrect.
Got a link to that church? Even a name?
As a die-hard fundie Evangelical; I can promise you this; Evangelical churches ARE NOT observing Ash Wednesday.
Congratulations to you and your family.
I am not Catholic, but I certainly believe we Christians need to humble ourselves and reflect on the price that Christ paid for us, and that we need to learn to deny ourselves (”fast”) as part of our walk to be more like Him. While I think we need to be doing those things throughout the year, not just at certain times of the year, I certainly do not object to some Christians, both Catholic and Evangelical, using this time of year as an opportunity and reminder to do these things to draw closer to Him. Of all the things Catholics and Protestants find to disagree over, this seems like a silly issue to fight about...
Indeed, that of largely a form of Christianity typically fostering liberalism , with its external holiness.
and that is very possible without beads and ashes on the forehead and worshipping Mary instead of Jesus.
I have been out of the church for twice as long as I was in it and even I would know that’s not true.
I have never been to one which did.
I don't think the argument is that Evangelicals that observe Ash Wednesday or give something up for Lent are also praying the rosary or praying to Mary. I go to an Assembly of God church, and for the past few years, my pastor has chosen to do a "fast" of something for Lent. He doesn't ask the church to join him or imply that this is a religious duty - it is just something he decided to do as part of his personal walk with God.
Well isn’t he just the model Catholic with the ash dot and all!!
Half my Catholic Church this morning was protestants wanting ashes on their forehead. Just another Catholic tradition that some protestants are trying to steal. If someones want to celebrate Ash Wednesday and get ashes on their head and actually know what it means, become a Catholic.
I JUST read this today.....
True and False Fasting
Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.
3 Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Much like Obama is the model Protestant.
Did you poll them or something?
Just another Catholic tradition that some protestants are trying to steal.
Seems the tinfoil is a little tight.
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