Lent: What is its Origin?

When it comes to Christian practices, my inquisitive mind, generally, ask two questions:

  1. When was it started and by whom?
  2. Is it biblical?

History and study of the word proves that everything done in the name of the church or Christianity is not biblical. This brings me to Lent:

  • Is it biblical?
  • Is it based on the Bible?
  • What religious bodies practice or promote Lent?

What truth can you bring to this OP? "Opinions are personal and individual conclusions, identical in kind to inferences but without any support or grounding in fact".

Can you share any true facts on the subject of Lent? CM

SOURCE:

  • -- Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity1976 (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1990), p. 99
Tagged:

Comments

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,340

    Thanks for this thread, I was wondering the same thing.

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    As there are several specific examples of mentioning the number 40 in the bible and also one example of Jesus fasting for 40 days, there is not even one verse commanding anyone to "fast" or avoid certain pleasures for a period of 40 days, also, Jesus didn't ask anyone else to fast with him for those 40 days. Lent was invented by the Catholic church as a mean of control but since a commandment for the people to do so cannot be found anywhere in the bible, Lent is not biblical.

    The early Catholics supported lent by the example of Jesus fasting for 40 days in Matthew 4:1–2Mark 1:12–13Luke 4:1–2 but as we can all see, we are not commanded to do the same, therefore the Catholic claim is very weak.

    Churches that copied that practice from the Catholic church promote Lent, but as mentioned before, the bible does not.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,034

    What, the Bible doesn't teach:

    • No  Lent
    • No Christmas
    • No Easter

    What is Christianity is becoming? Is it being invaded by Paganism or Christianity is embracing paganism? Is it Christianity or a few denominations that is now promoting prayers and/talking to the dead? Is Christianity paying lip service to the Bible or embracing it as the inspired ("God breathe") Word of God? How much more paganism is there in Christianity? How can we rid Christianity of it damning influences? Are historical traditions viruses or a mole in today's Christianity? Should we be concern? CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,340

    Is there any command to not fast, to not reflect, etc. No. In fact, all of these things are found within Scripture.

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26


    The Catholic church distorted the bible and Jesus'es teachings for unjust causes, such as power, money, control, pride, and many other things (and characteristics) that Jesus preached against. Even their bibles are not the same as ours, they contain additional books that teach some things that contradict Jesus'es teachings, if you check, you would find that the Catholic bibles have 73 books, not 66, and that even some verses in the common 66 were modified or added or removed in order to try to match the bible to their unbiblical agenda.

    The Catholic church didn't do so for no reason, this is how it spread "Christianity" in most of the "civilised" world, in order not to provoke the Pagan ignorants that they wanted to convert to Christianity they allowed them to combine their Pagan traditions with the(ir own version of the) bible, this is why we can trace back most of the Pagan traditions that penetrated into modern Christianity to the Roman, Byzantine, Celtic, Nordic, German, etc. mythologies. Unfortunately, even most Protestants don't know about the Pagan origins of many of their traditions, therefore, it would be very hard to repair the harm that has been done for almost 2000 years by corrupt people who corrupted Christianity and restore it to what it should have been, which is only what the bible teaches us to do and avoid any Pagan influence.

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    Hi @reformed ,

    There is no command "not to fast" , "to not reflect" , etc. but there is a command to beware of deceivers and there are also verses in the bible that tell us what God hates and of what he expects from us, here are a few examples:

    Matthew 24:4-14 : "Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

    Proverbs 6:16-19 : "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community."

    John 8:44 : "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

    John 8:32 : "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    James 1:26 : "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. "

    Romans 12:2 : "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

    Thanks,

    ASN_032

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    Hi @reformed ,

    How would you call someone, who would tell you, that as a Christian, you have to fast during Lent, the way Catholics claim Jesus did (which is not what the bible taught us, as the bible taught us he didn't eat for 40 days, and that would cause us to starve to death if we tried that practice)?

    All of the known Lent practices, were invented by the early Catholics, who perfectly match the description in James 1:26 , and have nothing to do with what Jesus did. Adhering to their false doctrines means being deceived, and Jesus warned us against that in Matthew 24:4-14 . When someone follows false doctrines, he proclaims by that, that he is a partner of those described in John 8:44 and the opposite of those described in John 8:32 , by that they refuse to take the good advice given in Romans 12:2 .

    I would call someone like that a deceiver, and the follower of the deceiver a fool. Wouldn't you?

    Clearly, no one can fast for 40 days the way Jesus did, and the interpretation of Lent as a reflection of what Jesus did is not just foolish, it's corrupt and evil.

    Thanks,

    ASN_032.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,340

    Protestants who observe the SEASON of Lent don't take it to those extremes or even that purpose. The concepts within Lent are biblical.

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    Could you prove that the concepts within Lent are from the bible?

    In order to make it easier for you here is a list (too partial, but as someone who refuses to listen to deceivers, I admit that I know too little about the nonsense they spread, you may add to the list and add more proofs where/if you see fit):

    1) Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

    2) Refrain from eating meat on all Fridays in Lent.

    3) Eliminate a food or food group for the entire season of Lent.

    4) Not eat before receiving Communion in Lent.

    5) Abstain from a favourite activity for the entire season of Lent.

    Thanks,

    ASN_032

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,034

    ASN,

    Could it be that the fasts called for during Lent varied and limited, but not asking for a total abstinence from food like Jesus did during his time on earth? You're not saying all forms of fasting are "corrupt and evil"? Or the one who practices various form of fasting is a "deceiver" or a "fool"? CM

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    @C_M_ ,

    Whenever anyone says that a "good Christian" should/has to/must do anything that the bible does not teach we should do, clearly he is a deceiver and we are warned against deceivers in the bible. Deliberately misinterpreting the bible for creating false impressions is corrupt and evil, if necessary, I can quote more verses from the bible and elaborate. Therefore, as long as one does something that is not prohibited according to the bible but also not commanded, but does not try to convince others that if they don't do the same they're not "good Christians" or that they're "disobedient" for not doing the same as he does, then he is not corrupt or evil, but at the worst case misunderstanding, and that's not a sin, but if someone is spreading lies in order to get honour and glory for himself, then he is, for sure, corrupt and evil.

    It is clear, that the customs of Lent were not invented by Jesus or any of his disciples, and are nothing like what Jesus did during his 40 days of fasting, therefore, Lent could not be considered as a way of reflecting Jesus, therefore this practice cannot be considered biblical, just like Pagan customs cannot be considered biblical. Spreading lies about the bible (deliberately) is heresy and therefore a very serious sin.

    As for the people who let themselves be mislead, or do as they're told without verifying that what they were told was true, I consider them as fools, you may disagree, the bible does not say that they are fools (even though, there are several hints for that, mainly in the book of Ecclesiastes, but hints are not enough), so you may define them in any way you'd like, but the bible also doesn't forbid me to say that people who let themselves be deceived are fools.

    In the bible, we are commanded to show people the truth:

    Matthew 28:19-20 : "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    Titus 2:7-8 : "In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."

    2 Timothy 3:1-17 : "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.  Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.  But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,  persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.  In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,  while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,  and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. "

    Thanks,

    ASN_032

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,034

    @ASN_032 said:

    As for the people who let themselves be mislead, or do as they're told without verifying that what they were told was true, I consider them as fools, you may disagree, the bible does not say that they are fools (even though, there are several hints for that, mainly in the book of Ecclesiastes, but hints are not enough), so you may define them in any way you'd like, but the bible also doesn't forbid me to say that people who let themselves be deceived are fools.

    @CM said:

    How fool is a fool? To stimulate your mind, see below from an old thread ("The Fool” In The Book of Proverbs"). From there, I repost the contribution of a former poster, GaoLu, he grabbed off the internet:

    • Proverbs 18:2 -- A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
    • Proverbs 29:11 -- A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
    • Proverbs 1:7 -- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    • Proverbs 18:6 -- A fool's lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.
    • Proverbs 29:9 -- If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
    • Proverbs 26:19  -- Is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”
    • Matthew 5:22  -- But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
    • Proverbs 28:26  -- Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
    • Proverbs 18:7 -- A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
    • Proverbs 26:3-12 -- A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. ...

    Any new thought here or there? Read widely and think deeply. CM

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    Hi @C_M_ ,

    I can see in the list provided by you many characteristics of foolishness, for which any single characteristic mentioned is enough in order to define a person as a fool, that does not mean the list contains all characteristics that would be considered as foolish, and therefore it does not contain all possible reasons to define someone as a fool. If you find me any verses in the bible that support the idea that believing deceivers is not foolish or not harmful (the second one is impossible because the bible warns us against deceivers) or that acting foolishly is not a characteristic of a fool, or that there is another biblical definition for one who is easily deceived because of not verifying what is true and what is not, then I could accept that I have been wrong in calling those people fools, if not, I think that defining people who easily believe deceivers without checking the facts as fools is legitimate.

    Thanks,

    ASN_032

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,591

    @ASN_032 said:

    In order to make it easier for you here is a list (too partial, but as someone who refuses to listen to deceivers, I admit that I know too little about the nonsense they spread, you may add to the list and add more proofs where/if you see fit):

    1) Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

    2) Refrain from eating meat on all Fridays in Lent.

    3) Eliminate a food or food group for the entire season of Lent.

    4) Not eat before receiving Communion in Lent.

    5) Abstain from a favourite activity for the entire season of Lent.

    What all those practices have in common (most which, by the way, in recent decades have been neither expected nor practiced nearly as much as they once were by the Christian traditions in which they flourished) is a prominent theme in the teachings and life of Jesus. Each practice embodies the surrender of personal comfort, in the case of the Lenten journey, emblematic of one's pursuit of spiritual surrender to and identification with Christ, who during a 40 day journey in the wilderness, fasted and experienced profound spiritual testing.

    Whether we personally engage in ANY of the particular practices in your list, I think we can agree with the themes that underlie them. Lent is a season of spiritual reflection, surrender, and repentance for Christians on their way to the cross. Jesus commanded that we pick up our crosses and lay down (lose) our lives in order to follow him. Lent is simply a time for followers of Jesus to focus on and devote themselves to his commands.

    I'm curious, ASN_32, do you also object to Lent's grounding themes, or are your concerns limited to the specific ways Christians observe the season?

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    Hi @Bill_Coley ,

    My concerns are limited to the specific ways Christians observe the season.

    Personally, I don't see the practices of Lent as consistent with Jesus'es commandments you mentioned, I interpret them as unbreakable faithfulness, for all times, not just during Lent, moreover, I can't find anything in common between them and the practices of Lent.

    Thanks,

    ASN_032

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,591
    edited March 28

    @ASN_032 said:

    My concerns are limited to the specific ways Christians observe the season.

    Personally, I don't see the practices of Lent as consistent with Jesus'es commandments you mentioned, I interpret them as unbreakable faithfulness, for all times, not just during Lent, moreover, I can't find anything in common between them and the practices of Lent.

    Thanks for the additional clarification.

    I don't engage in any of the practices you included in your list, but in my view, they reduce to four manifestations of Lenten season fasting, and the surrender of a form of personal pleasure or satisfaction during the same time frame. Can't it be argued that when the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness following his baptism (Matthew 4.1-2) he engaged in a 40 day continuous fast the likes of which was NOT part of his conduct at "all times"? So can't it be said there is nothing necessarily spiritually suspect when during a 40 day period they call Lent, followers of Jesus engage in fasts or other acts of surrender of pleasure that are not common to their conduct at "all times"?

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    @Bill_Coley ,

    Jesus never commanded us to fast, he commanded us to "pick up our crosses and lay down our lives in order to follow him", these are expressions of faithfulness and lets not forget what he fasted for and why. Jesus never commanded us things he knew in advance we wouldn't be able to. Nobody literally carries a cross, but our willingness to carry a burden due to being faithful to him resembles "carrying a cross" and the acknowledgment of the risk to our lives by our enemies due to our faith resembles "laying down our lives". Nowhere in the bible you would find Jesus asking his disciples or any of his followers anything like "fast with me".

    Thanks,

    ASN_032

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,591

    @ASN_032 said:

    Jesus never commanded us to fast, he commanded us to "pick up our crosses and lay down our lives in order to follow him", these are expressions of faithfulness and lets not forget what he fasted for and why. Jesus never commanded us things he knew in advance we wouldn't be able to. Nobody literally carries a cross, but our willingness to carry a burden due to being faithful to him resembles "carrying a cross" and the acknowledgment of the risk to our lives by our enemies due to our faith resembles "laying down our lives". Nowhere in the bible you would find Jesus asking his disciples or any of his followers anything like "fast with me".

    Our disagreement here seems to be over the necessity of a specific command to fast with Jesus. I respect your view, but wonder how you understand the impact of Jesus' tacit acknowledgement and approval of fasting in a couple of places.

    In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6.16-18): (all emphases added)

    • 16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 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 youThe Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:16–18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

    Then in Mark 2.18-20, where Jesus seems to endorse the idea that his followers will practice fasting after his eventual departure from them:

    • 18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 2:18–20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

     

    Jesus clearly does not reject the practice of fasting, but instead issues guidelines to improve its implementation. Yes, he forbids fasting as a public display of piety or as ceremonial ritual while he remains on the earth, but he seems to accept the practice when properly exercised.

    Given Jesus' words in those two texts, how much of a stretch can it be to believe Jesus would approve of people's fasting during a 40 day season of the year inspired by and in spiritual tribute to his own 40 day fasting period?

  • YourTruthGodYourTruthGod Posts: 145

    1 Timothy 4:3 And they forbid to be married and they abstain from foods which God has created for use and thanksgiving for those who believe and know the truth.

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