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Lent for Baptists

Well said, Mr. Denison.

Why is Lent relevant for Baptists?

Three reasons for observing some form of Lenten practice suggest themselves, in ascending importance.

One: we need to live in community with the larger body of Christ. Since the vast majority of Christians practice some form of Lenten observance, joining them in some way is a good step toward solidarity of faith and ministry. This is also an important witness to others, answering Jesus’ prayer, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me” (John 17:23).

Two: we cannot fully appreciate Jesus’ resurrection unless we have experienced something of his sufferings. A fast of some sort is an appropriate means of spiritual identification with our Lord’s suffering for us.

Three: we need a period each year for intentional spiritual introspection and contemplation. John R. W. Stott said that he required an hour a day, a day a week, and a week a year to be alone with his Lord. We need a time every year for spiritual renewal. Just as students need a Spring Break, so do souls. Lent is a wonderful season for such renewal: as the physical world is renewing itself, so should the spiritual.

Can a spiritual discipline practiced for more than 17 centuries by the vast majority of Christians be irrelevant for Baptist souls today?


2 Comments

  1. Rev. Bryant J. Williams III says:

    Dear Darrell,

    The answer to your question is, “Yes!”

    The first point above is another way of preaching ecumenism. Doctrine does matter.

    Baptists should be meditating on Scripture NOT on RITUALS that make one think that they are doing something spiritual. Taking time for meditating on Scripture is what Baptist are supposed to be doing in the first place. Also, fasting, is not necessarily the best way to experience suffering. I Peter is resplendent in the number of times that suffering for doing good, doing that which is righteous and just, is what suffering is all about. Just look at I Peter 2-4. As it extols the sufferings of Christ as the examplar of Christian life.

    Finally, the practicing “infant baptism” for centuries. Does that mean that Baptists should practice it to be in solidarity with those who practice it. The obvious answer is,”No.” Infant baptism is not “scriptural” nor “biblical.”

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  2. Darrell Pursiful says:

    Dear Bryant,

    It was, in fact, my years of studying and meditating on Holy Scripture that led me to embrace Lent as a spiritual discipline. As a free-church Christian, I consider myself at liberty to do so, and I certainly would not seek to impose it on churches or individuals who feel differently. All I can do is bear witness to how I see matters, for example in this post from a couple of years ago: http://pursiful.com/2010/02/lent-is-for-all-christians/

    Thanks for visiting and God bless!

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