The Heart Of The Evangelical Appropriation Of Lent

The problem with even the evangelical, self-imposed fast is that it creates a little law for us to obey, a rule that is within our reach. It is, not surprisingly, a law of our own making, for the law of God — love God and neighbor with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength — is impossible to obey, even for a moment. If we fulfill our personal law, we have confirmed ourselves in the conceit that we aren’t so badly off after all. Read more»

Brian Lee, “Repent Of Lent: How Spiritual Disciplines Can Be Bad For Your Soul”

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  1. The broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. (Ps. 52:17b ASV).

    Thank you for the insight into why Lent was created. But, I have another question: I note that the Second Helvetic Confession seems to see holidays centered on the life of Christ as adiaphoric, as long as they are not made to bind the conscience. Any comment?

  2. Isn’t it all about binding the conscience? If you eat meat sacrificed to an idol and you see that as participating in the idolatrous ceremony, it would be an issue of conscience, but if you do not, it is not an issue of conscience to eat it. If you believe circumcision is still a religious requirement, it is an issue of conscience, but if you do it simply for medical reasons, it is not. If you celebrate Christmas, or any other holiday, simply to enjoy social traditions it is not an issue of conscience, but it you attach any religious significance to it, as trying to add to your standing before God by it, it becomes a form of will worship. It would seem that is exactly what Lent, Advent, and all other observances and customs that the Roman church added to the life of believer were designed to do, make us more acceptable to God by going above and beyond what God requires. As though God has not done all that is required for our salvation in Christ, but we are going to add something to it, because we’re so good.

  3. Even the non obligatory practices of Lutherans and Anglicans about the church year and all of their gesimas and invocabits, etc easily distract from the simplicity of Christ and his worship.

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