How did Lenten observances come about? Is it Biblical?

Personal Questions | VBVM Staff | Jan-16-2018

Q: Where or how did the season of Lent come about? Is it in the Bible? 

A: The practice of observing Lent began in the Roman Catholic Church as a period of personal the preparation for the celebration of Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial. The practice was born out of Catholic works-theology, which holds that a person must become personally righteous to earn entry into Heaven, which is heresy. 

Following the Reformation, many Protestant churches elected to continue a Lenten observance believing it promoted piety. Nevertheless, there is no biblical reason to observe a period of self-denial prior to Easter, and promoting a Lenten observance carries significant potential to confuse or mislead Christians concerning the true Gospel. Furthermore, it aligns Christians with Catholics in a way that suggests both groups share a common faith (which is not true). 

Therefore, we discourage an observance of Lent or any 40-day period of self-denial prior to Easter. Instead, we commend fasting and prayer to all believers as a regular practice year-round.

You may find our article "Are Lenten observances Biblical?"


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