Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why do I want man to put ashes on my forehead when God will mark my forehead later? No Lent for me!

I'm not for Lent. It has a pagan foundation and is perpetuated by the false Catholic religion. It's associated with golden calf-Mardi Gras and Pharisaical rituals. In addition it is contrary to the Gospel. I know some say that Lent for them is just a personal time of preparation for the upcoming Resurrection Sunday AKA Easter. But personal preparation is also called for in advance of the Lord's Table (1 Corinthians 11:28) and to some extent every time we prepare for Sunday worship. (Ezra 7:10, Romans 12:1). Actually we're supposed to pick up our cross daily, so why set aside a special time once a year for self-examination, obedience, and repentance? Why do we make a display of preparing for just as sacred as an event so publicly? Why smear our faces with ashes and mourn when we have overcome the world, have His peace and have been given His joy?
 
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 6:1)
labeled for reuse. Cardinal Dolan on Ash Wednesday speaking to reporters
"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 6:17-18). [underline mine]

Further, the activity of placing a mark on our forehead looked at thorough a biblical lens... The bible shows that the false prophet places a mark on the hand or forehead of those who follow the antichrist. (Revelation 13:16). These will be doomed forever. The Whore of Babylon has a secret name written on her forehead. (Revelation 17:5). Who wants to be associated with THAT?

On the positive side, during the Tribulation, angels mark the foreheads of those who serve Jesus (Revelation 7:3, Revelation 14:1). Finally, gloriously, "They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads." (Revelation 22:4). The name of Christ will be upon our foreheads, placed there by angels at the behest of God, or by God Himself, so why do I want man to put any mark on my forehead? Can somebody explain that to me? Anyone? Anyone?? No thanks. I'll wait for God to do it.
Wikipedia CC

I know the pride of my heart. I know that participating in public displays of external worship activities will only go to my head and I'll end up promoting my own sanctity done on my own steam. No thanks, I don't need any help in substituting works for grace. Maybe others can withstand the temptation. I know I can't and I don't even want to tread one inch over there. Here are some people who feel the same but have expressed it much more eloquently. The first one is by a woman named Amanda-

Counting it all Joy: A Vent About Lent
"And here's where I may be upsetting to the more theologically-minded, but it really isn't first and foremost about a principle for me. Or a confession. It's about me thinking this is contrary to the GOSPEL."

John MacArthur on Lent's beginnings and how it is nowadays an abuse for sinning as much as possible-
Another vent about Lent:
"Some even more religious souls feel that you sort of have to work your way up to resurrection Sunday, and so they celebrate what has become known as Lent. Forty days of eating no meat and, supposedly, expressing penitence for sin. I suppose its, in most cases, hypocritical, since penitence for sin is not accomplished by some self-directed abstinence or some self-motivated plea toward God, and its hypocrisy is also seen, I think, in the fact that before Lent, people tend to really pile up the sinning since they have to do without for a while...

In fact, there are two words that come to mind when you think of the pre-Lenten season. One is the term Mardi Gras, and the other is carnival. In our country, we're familiar with Mardi Gras. In other parts of the world, they celebrate carnival. It is a time of unbridled sinning, of drunkenness, rioting, sexual misbehavior, getting ready for penitence...in view of Easter. In fact, Mardi Gras comes from two French words. If you know French, you know that the French word Mardi means Tuesday, and gras means fat. Fat Tuesday is the last day before Lent, and you better get fat now, because you're gonna go without for a while. Carnival comes from words that we're familiar with. Carne, we know from chili con carne, means meat. Val, we know from high school days when somebody was the valedictorian and gave a farewell speech, means farewell. Carnival means farewell to meat. So you have a big party before you get spiritual just to make sure you don't miss anything; and then you hope against hope that it'll all turn out in the end if you're penitent enough and abstain from enough, maybe someday God will raise you up.

By the way, as a footnote, Lent is not from the Bible. There is no such thing in the Bible. It comes from the mystery religions of the cults of Babylon and was connected with the supposed killing of Baal by a wild boar; and for forty days and forty nights, the priestesses and the followers of Baal mourned his death until, supposedly, he rose from the dead on the 40th day, and that is where Lent came from, and it has been superimposed on Christianity..."

Annnnd, this too, from Jeremy Walker,

This Lent I am giving up....reticence
Whether or not it is a vestige of the Emerging/Emergent appetite for a range of 'spiritualities' or an enthusiasm for an over-ripe liturgical renewal, I cannot say, but I wonder if it is in part a matter of distance both of time and space. This alleged 'recovery' of Lent and Easter is not actually a matter of historical sensitivity and an inheritance regained but of historical unawareness and an inheritance lost. Whether or not it is the high-grade muppetry of entire churches being urged to tattoo one of the stations of the cross on some part of their anatomy, or some gore-drenched re-enactment of the unrepeatable sacrifice, or some spotlit image-fest in which a total insensitivity to physical representations of the Christ - the image of the invisible God - is displayed, or some be-robed priest-figure half a step away from incense and obeisance, it does not come from Scripture and it does not belong in Christ's church.

So that is my thought on Lent. Why is it making a comeback into Protestant churches? Here are two essays discussing Lent.

What is the meaning of Lent?

What is Lent?

13 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. thanks Glenn. I have some friends and some co-workers celebrating Lent right now who attend the Methodist church and I pasted the link on my wall in hopes that perhaps the Spirit behind the verses I shared in the piece would pierce them. Though I don't believe every single Protestant engaging in Lenten practices is totally wrong or absolutely aberrant, I believe it is the start of a slippery slope that doesn't end well. I hope my friends will reconsider next year.

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  2. Thank you so much for posting this! It is very timely for me, as it is something I have been wondering about myself.

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad anything here was helpful.

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  3. Hi Elizabeth,

    You said, "Why is it making a comeback into Protestant churches?"

    One word: apostasy.

    The only "mark" I want on my forehead is similar to this one: Ezekiel 9:4 The LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst."

    -Carolyn

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  4. My parents are fasting but they don't put marks on there heads for everyone to know. Fasting is good and does bring you closer to God.

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    1. Fasting is good...IF it is done with the right motivation. All that fasting did for the Pharisees was bring them condemnation from Jesus. So fasting is not always good.

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  5. I don't think fasting EVER brings one closer to God.

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    1. It can and it does, when done with the right perspective. Fasting is a very powerful lesson that we are human with human frailities. It teaches that the only way to overcome human desires, hunger in this instance, is to lean on God. It also teaches to look at your fellow man who might be hungry with compassion and mercy. It may not lead to "God" but it reveals the heart of Jesus, which is the best start.

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    2. Anon 3/9 11:02 - you are under an incorrect impression about fasting. Fasting is a **response** to spiritual urgency, not something that one does to "overcome human desires".

      Colossians 2:23 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.

      And again,

      Galatians 3:3 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

      -Carolyn

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    3. I am not saying you fast to learn those physical things. I was responding to what was stated that it doesn't draw you closer to God. It does.

      You fast to be dependent on the Lord for your needs. You fast to remove a barrier between you and God. Of course you are not perfected by the flesh. That is the point of fasting. To remove a flesh component so that you may consume the spiritual manna. And when you cry out in that needful state, God is merciful and can hear your supplications more clearly.

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  6. I think those who believe fasting draws them closer to God are basing their belief on feelings. One is either close to God or they are not, and fasting is not some magic fix. One can be "closer" to God in prayer, in studying the Word, etc. Fasting doesn't change one's position with God.

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  7. Appreciated the linguistic analysis from JMac, since original meanings are a matter of importance to me, in determining how to relate to phenomena in our world today. I don't think I'll willingly promote anything with the word "carnival" attached to it, now, from a purity standpoint of personal choice.

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Kay Cude poetry: The Wondrous Draw

Kay Cude poetry, Used with permission. Click to enlarge. It gets really big.