We Shouldn’t Borrow Just Because It’s Lent

Yesterday marked the first day of Lent. In my context, there are saints who go to Protestant churches who practice it as well as those who go to churches that don’t. It is quite ironic that Protestant Christians would practice Lent though I understand it’s appeal. Christians, seeking to have a connection with the church’s long and precious history see Lent as an opportunity to connect with Church history as well as practice a season of spiritual renewal before Easter. The problem, however, and the Irony, is that Lent is historically practiced by Roman Catholics & Eastern Orthodox Christians as a season of “penance.” The fasting that takes place during Lent is not simply an act of abstaining for spiritual renewal but is an act of penance (done in an effort to earn forgiveness for sin). The “protest” in Protestantism is a spirit of protest towards any tradition, ritual, or ideology that adds to or takes away from the Gospel. This “protest” would naturally include a tradition which seeks to perform penance despite Jesus’ dying words being, “it is finished!” It would also include a tradition which seeks to make one’s efforts at earning God’s forgiveness a public display (ashes on the forehead).

My encouragement to Christians is the following: You can identify with the church’s historic tradition of fasting and reflection without practicing Lent. You do not need ashes on your forehead in order to fast, pray, and have a season of reflection prior to Easter. As Protestants, who protest issues dealing with life and death, it is imperative that we don’t give any impression to others that we approve of contra-gospel traditionalism. I don’t judge any Protestant who participates in Lent as I understand the motives for doing it is to connect with the Church and God on a deeper level in a season prior to Easter. Still, I would encourage Protestant Christians to abstain from Lent and pursue their Spiritual Disciplines with freedom and not traditionalism’s yoke. Do you desire to fast and pray prior to Easter? Would you like to do it for 40 days? My encouragement to you is to do so but do not feel the need to have to do is and call it “Lent”. Rather, consider just calling it prayer and fasting. Those are Bible words.


You can follow me on Twitter @KyleJamesHoward. Also, check out my podcast “Coram Deo Podcast” which focuses on issues concerning Biblical Counseling and Practical Theology. You can search for podcast on any major podcast catcher, listen on the web here, follow updates @CoramDeoPodcast, or just click the artwork below.

About Kyle James Howard

My name is Kyle, I am married to my “high-school sweetheart” and we have 3 children. I have a 7 year-old daughter (Hadassah), a 2 year-old son (Jonah), and 1 year old (Kesed). I am 32 years old and I am currently a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have an Associates degree in Biblical & Theological Studies, A B.S. in Biblical Counseling, and I am finishing up an Advanced M. Div in Historical Theology. Click on the "About Me" link at the top of my home page to read my full testimony.

One Response to “We Shouldn’t Borrow Just Because It’s Lent”

  1. Thank you Kyle, that was a word well-spoken.

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