The Reformed Reject Lent In Basle In 1534

Article XI

Concerning Things Commanded and Not Commanded
Of self law (Autonomia) or power in the conscience,
Relinquished to Christ alone in the church

We confess that no one ought to command in any manner that which Christ has not commanded; also, therefore, no one ought to prohibit that which he has not forbidden (For it has been written,”Hear him.” Matt. 17:5; Luke 9:35; Deut. 18:18, 19; Acts 7:37).

Of the Emptiness of the Precepts of the Popes, and Expressly
Auricular Confession, Lenten Fasts, and Papal Feasts

For this reason we do not hold as precepts, auricular confession, Lenten fasts, feast days of the saints, and things of that kind which have sprung up from men….

The First Confession of Basle, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation: vol. 1, 1523–1552. Ed. James T. Dennison, Jr. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008), 294.

15 comments

  1. I understand some of Zwingli’s associates, noting the non-Scriptural origins of Lent, scandalize their era by eating sausages during Lent–and Zwingli defended their action.

    • But Christ answered the disciples if John the Baptism that once the Bridegroom is taken away then they will fast I think its for all followers of Christ through all generation and the book of Acts is also full of fasting and prayers

    • Alice,

      I don’t know of any Reformed theologians or confessions who have rejected fasting. What is in question is the ecclesiastical imposition of a Lenten season or of any other observance not commanded by God.

    • am always blessed by your posting and I even asked for help with the podcast. Anyway what about Romans 14:5-6. Is it saying a different thing from Lenten season, Easter and Christmas?

    • Hi Alice,

      If we read Romans against the background of its own context, one of the major questions Paul addresses is the question of relations between Jewish and Gentile Christians. This takes up a significant portion of the last part of the book. It forms the backdrop to these verses. Gentile Christians had no necessary history of keeping the Jewish religious calendar (lunar Sabbaths, feasts etc), unless they were “Godfearers,” i.e., Gentiles who attended synagogue but were not circumcised. There were Jewish Christians emerging from the old calendar who felt an attachment to it.

      Paul said that if Jewish Christians wanted to keep those days, fine but he did not allow them to impose it (as in Galatians) upon the Gentiles and certainly not as a condition of justification and salvation.

      An analogy might be a Roman Catholic becoming a Reformed Protestant. They might want to keep Lent or some other observance. As long as it does not detract from the gospel or Scripture more broadly and as long as they are not seeking to impose it the “Gentiles” (those who have no attachment to them), fine.

      The Reformed churches were leaving Romish confusion of law and gospel and they were asserting properly the sole, final authority of the Scriptures for the Christian faith and the Christian life. Lent was a great burden on many Christians if only because it has no support whatever in Scripture. A private fast is one thing. A season of the church calendar imposed on the whole church is unknown in Scripture and in the very early post-apostolic church.

      For a little background see this:

      https://heidelblog.net/2017/03/relevance-leads-back-to-rome/

    • Thanks alot for the clarification and honestly lent is not mentioned anywhere in the Scripture but Easter is mentioned when Herod arrested Apostle Peter in Acts of the Apostles , and sadly most Christians here observe lent and other feasts but they know nothing about the Word of God. And they know nothing about Christian living

    • Alice,

      In the Authorized/King James Version, in Acts 12:4, the text says, “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.” The translators’ choice of Easter was, however, not a translation strictly speaking. They chose what they regarded as an equivalent word. It’s more paraphrase than translation. The Greek text says, τὸ πάσχα which is “Passover.” They were actually following Tyndale (c. 1525) in doing so.

      The word Pascha is the Greek word for Passover. That is why the RV (1888), ASV (1901), The NASB, the NIV, and the ESV all translate it Passover.

      There is no actual mention of Easter in the Scriptures. The first mention occurs in the early post-Apostolic writers.

    • The problem is that the human heart is an idol factory (Calvin). Once it is given license to create and impose Christian observances, it never ends. What begins with good intentions becomes a form of bondage. Very true just like what happened with the Church under the old dispension with brazen serpent that God commanded Moses to raise for them for their healing But later on they started to worship it

    • Alice, Dr Clark already answered your conern but it would’ve helped if I mentioned that the fast of Christ was his 40-day fast.

      Here is the link to the article I refered to: Repent of Lent.

    • Thanks alot I’d go through it after sometime, I lost my dad yesterday morning of cancer and now am just preparing to travel to Kenya from Egypt. Am in such a terrible pain I pray to God to be my strong habitation to which I may continually resort. Pray remember me in prayer. Once I go through it incase am confused somewhere please I’ll contact you. Thanks alot

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