Do you celebrate ASH WEDNESDAY?

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What is Ash Wednesday?
For most of my life, I didn’t ask this question, nor did I care about the answer. I, along, with most evangelical Christians in America, didn’t give Ash Wednesday a thought.
But then, in 2004, Ash Wednesday loomed large in American Protestant consciousness. Why? Because on that day Mel Gibson released what was to become his epic blockbuster, The Passion of the Christ. For the first time in history, the phrase “Ash Wednesday” was on the lips of millions of evangelical Christians, not just Catholics and other “high church” Protestants, as we anticipated the official release of The Passion. Every since 2004, many who never wondered about Ash Wednesday have been asking: What is Ash Wednesday? How do we observe it? Why should we observe it?
I grew up with only a vague notion of Ash Wednesday. To me, it was some Catholic holy day that I, as an evangelical Protestant, didn’t have to worry about, thanks be to God. In my view, all of “that religious stuff” detracted from what really mattered, which was having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In my early evangelical years it never dawned on me that some of “the religious stuff” might actually enrich my faith in Christ.
During the spring of 1976, my first year of college, I was startled to see a woman who worked in my dining hall with a dark cross rubbed on her forehead. At first I wondered if it were a bizarre bruise. Then I noticed other women with similar crosses. It finally dawned on me what I was seeing. Here was my introduction to Ash Wednesday piety. These women, who were all Roman Catholic, had gone to services that morning and had ashes placed on their foreheads. I felt impressed that these women were willing to wear their ashes so publicly, even though it seemed a rather odd thing to do. It never dawned on me that this would be something I might do myself one day.
Fast forward sixteen years, to the spring of 1992. During my first year as Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, I learned that this church had a tradition of celebrating Ash Wednesday with a special worship service. It included the “imposition of ashes” on the foreheads of worshipers. I, as the pastor, was expected to be one of the chief imposers! So I decided it was time to learn about the meaning of Ash Wednesday. I wanted to be sure that the theological underpinnings of such a practice were biblically solid, and that it was something in which I could freely participate.
Here’s some of what I learned . . . .
Ash Wednesday is a Christian holiday (holy day) that is not a biblical requirement (just like Christmas and Easter, which are not commanded in Scripture). Nevertheless, it has been honored by Christians for well over ten centuries, falling at the beginning of Lent, a six-week season of preparation for Easter. In the earliest centuries, Christians who had been stuck in persistent sin had ashes sprinkled on their bodies as a sign of repentance, even as Job repented “in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). Around the tenth century, all believers began to signify their need for repentance by having ashes placed on their foreheads in the shape of a cross. Notice: even this sign of sinfulness hinted at the good news yet to come through its shape. Ash Wednesday is not some dour, depressing holy day because it symbolically anticipates Good Friday and Easter.
How Do We Observe Ash Wednesday?
Today, celebrations of Ash Wednesday vary among churches that recognize this holiday. More and more Protestant and even evangelical churches hold some sort of Ash Wednesday services. At Irvine Presbyterian Church, where I served for sixteen years as pastor, and at St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Boerne, Texas, where I now attend, the distinctive activity of Ash Wednesday services is the “imposition of ashes.” Ashes are placed on the foreheads of worshipers as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness. The person who imposes the ashes quotes something like what God once said to Adam after he had sinned: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19). This is the bad news of our sinfulness that prepares us to receive the good news of forgiveness in Christ.
Why Should We Observe Ash Wednesday?
There is no biblical commandment that requires us to observe Ash Wednesday. Thus, I believe this one of those practices that Christians are free to observe or not to observe. The theological core of Ash Wednesday is, however, shaped by a biblical theology of creation, sin, mortality, death, grace, and salvation. It also enacts biblical injunctions to “weep with those who weep” and to “confess your sins to one another.”
What I value most about Ash Wednesday worship services is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretenses and be truly honest with each other about who we are. We all bear the mark of sin, from the youngest babies to the oldest seniors. We all stand guilty before a holy God. We all are mortal and will someday experience bodily death. Thus we all need a Savior.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of Ash Wednesday is that it begins the season of Lent. This is also a foreign concept for many evangelical Christians. In a couple of days I’ll weigh in on the meaning and benefit of Lent.
How Ash Wednesday Enriches Our Lives and Our Relationship with God
The denial of death . . . it’s all around us. When people die, they are often alone, sequestered in hospitals far away from the sad eyes of friends and family. If someone happens to die at home, the corpse is quickly sent away from the grieving relatives. In polite society, one doesn’t talk much about death. And when it’s necessary to say something that has to do with dying, nifty euphemisms keep us from confronting the brute facts. When I lived in California, people would say, “Uncle Fred passed away.” In Texas, for some reason, people are more succinct, saying, “Uncle Fred passed.”
Of course our own fears concerning our own demise match our cultural squeamishness about death. We don’t want to think about our own mortality, and we do many things to pretend that its not approaching. We dye our graying hair. We cover our age spots with make up. We get cosmetic surgery to preserve the image of youth. Rarely do we seriously think about our own death. As a pastor, I’m amazed at how unusual it is for someone to make plans for his or her own memorial service, or even to leave notes for the family. These are things we’d rather not have to bother with.
I’m reminded about a story told by my friend Tim, who was a restaurant manager. Part of his job was to explain the company’s benefit package to his new employees. One time, Tim hired a young man who didn’t speak English very well because he had recently immigrated to the United States. Tim explained the vacation policy, sick leave, and health insurance, all without incident. Then he came to the life insurance. He said that if the employee died, his family would get $25,000.
At this point the employee had a shocked look on his face, and said, “No, no, Tim!”
Tim wasn’t sure he had been clear, so he explained, once again, “Look, if you die, your family will get $25,000.”
Again, the employee was unhappy. “No, I don’t want it,” he said urgently.
“Why not?” Tim asked. “If you die, this will be good for your family.”
“But Tim,” the employee cried, “I don’t want to die!”
Ash Wednesday is a day to stare death in the face, to acknowledge our mortality. All of us will die. Christians who observe this holiday get ashes “imposed” on their foreheads, while a minister or lay church worker says, “You have come from dust, and to dust you will return.” In other words, “You are going to die. And here are some ashes to remind you, just in case you’ve forgotten.”
For sixteen years of Ash Wednesday services at Irvine Presyyterian Church, I put ashes on the heads of older adults, some of whom had serious cancer and didn’t live much longer. I also put tiny black crosses made of ash on the foreheads of babies far too young to realize what was happening to them. I imposed ashes on teenagers and senior citizens, on men and women, on boys and girls. All of these I reminded of their mortality, and they freely received the reminder. “You are dust,” I said, implying, “You are going to die.”
What gives us such freedom to think about death? Are we Christians morose? Do we have some peculiar fascination with dying? I don’t think so. Rather, what allows us to stare death in the face is the assurance of life, real life, eternal life. When we know our lives are safe in the hands of God, and that this physical life is just the beginning of eternity, then we’re free to be honest about what lies ahead for us. We can face death without fear or pretending, because we know the One who defeated death.
I’ll never forget my last visit with a dear member of my congregation named Helen. She was a tiny woman when healthy, but old age and disease had ravaged her body. I wouldn’t be surprised if she weighed 75 pounds on the day of my last visit.
There was no question that Helen was soon to die. And there was no point for me to pretend as if that weren’t true. So I asked her straightaway: “Helen, it’s obvious that you don’t have too much time left in this body. How are you feeling about dying?”
“Mark,” she said with a weak but confident voice, “I’ve lived a good, long life. I’ve been blessed far beyond what I could have hoped. You’re right, my body is giving out. I don’t have much longer to live. But I want you to know that I am ready. I’m not afraid. I’m eager to see my Lord. I hope I get to soon.”
Talk about staring death in the face! What gave Helen such unusual bluntness and boldness when it came to her own imminent death? Her faith in God. Her confidence that her life was really just beginning. Her assurance that her soul was safe in the hands of a gracious, loving God.
And so it is for Christians on Ash Wednesday. We can face death. We can admit our own mortality. We can talk openly about the limits of this life. Why? Because we know that through Christ we have entered into life eternal, the fullness of life that will not end when our bodies give out.
The emotional result of Ash Wednesday observance isn’t depression or gloom, but gratitude and new energy for living. When we realize how desperately we need God, and how God is faithful far beyond our desperation, we can’t help but offering our lives to him in fresh gratitude. And when we recognize that life doesn’t go on forever, then we find new passion to delight in the gifts of each and every day, and to take none of them for granted.
My and and me, a few years before the Ash Wednesday I mention here.
One year, as I returned to my seat after imposing ashes upon dozens of worshipers, I sat next to my 12-year-old son. I couldn’t help but notice the prominent black cross on his forehead, placed there by another leader. All of a sudden it hit me that my dear boy will die someday. Though I knew this in principle, I had never really thought about it before. My boy won’t live forever. His life, like mine and that of every other human being, will come to an end. At that moment I prayed that God would give Nathan a long and blessed life. And then I hugged him for a good minute, treasuring the life we share together.
How grateful I am for the grace of God that allows us to stare death in the face so we can live with greater passion and delight! And how thankful I am for a day that allows me to think about death so I can cherish life even more!

77 Comments

  • Reply March 1, 2017

    Angel Ruiz

    Where are all our Methodist, Lutheran and Episcopalian brothers at?????

  • Reply March 2, 2017

    Joseph Kidwell

    No.

  • Reply March 2, 2017

    Daniel Blaylock

    I’m a COG pastor (who attended Wesley Biblical Seminary).

  • Reply March 2, 2017

    Frederic Buford

    No. Some churches in our fellowship do, but I’m old-school Pentecostal. We don’t celebrate that.

  • Reply March 2, 2017

    Ed Dowdell George

    Yes

  • Reply March 2, 2017

    Joseph Kidwell

    I’m with you, Frederic Buford.

  • Reply March 2, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Did JESUS ever commanded anyone to place an ash cross on their forehead?

  • Reply March 2, 2017

    Angel Ruiz

    Jesus did not command a lot of the thing we do…

  • Reply March 2, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Brody Pope ppl be paying more attention to ashes and crosses, than entire sanctification and speaking in tongues…

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Sunday night we prayed several folks through to the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. Wednesday I received the imposition of ashes.

      John Wesley, the preacher who revived the doctrine of entire sanctification for the church and from whom we Holiness Pentecostals inherited it, probably participated in Ash Wednesday services. 🙂

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Are you saying that without administering ashes you would have not experienced those “several folks through to the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues” and the second blessing?

  • Reply March 3, 2017

    Daniel Blaylock

    No! I’m saying that observing some rich traditions that help us remember our own mortality and turn our hearts towards the cross are not a hindrance in any way to experiencing Pentecostal services. Your comment seemed to imply they are mutually exclusive. They’re certainly not at our church.

  • Reply March 3, 2017

    Daniel Blaylock

    No, I’m saying that practicing some liturgical elements such as Ash Wednesday is not a hindrance to having Pentecostal services. Tradition is not the same as traditionalism!

  • Reply March 3, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    So why adding a high church liturgy if NOT needed at all for the praxis of our faith?

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Are the second blessing and baptism in the Holy Spirit the only thing needed for the practice of our faith? When did Pentecost get so reductionistic?

  • Reply March 3, 2017

    Joseph Kidwell

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong with observing it. However, I personally find it totally unnecessary & really don’t see it as adding anything to our Pentecostal Faith.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      I notice in your profile pic that you wear a collar clerical and shirt. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. However, I personally find it totally unnecessary & really don’t see it as adding anything to our Pentecostal Faith.”

      Smile ?

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      I imagine it helps you build bridges in your particular ministry context and that’s why you do it. Adding some liturgical elements to our worship service helps me do the same in one of the oldest Catholic cities in America. ?

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Joseph Kidwell

      That is you’re right. However, for me, it has served a number of purposes & I would like to point out that Black Pentecostals have always worn collars, even in you’re denomination, Church of God. How do I know? Because I pastored the Cocoa Florida Office church in Pompano Beach Florida and was State Evangelist for 4 years. In both hospitals and jails it it serves to identify me as a member of the clergy. I have been asked multitudes of times by strangers for prayer in both of those settings as well as on the street. Also, I have been pastoring in inner city settings for decades and I do street evangelism. Once again, it serves to identify me, not as an insurance salesman or a detective, but a minister of the gospel. The clerical collar is not a vestment but a clerical. Learn the difference.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Joseph Kidwell

      I did not say that it was wrong. I simply gave my personal perspective.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      I actually don’t have any problem at all with your collar. I was just pointing out that in my context, it’s the same sort of issue as adding some liturgical elements. It fits both the context of my town and the unique blend of Christians from various backgrounds who found a home over the years at Forest Hill.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Angel Ruiz

      Joseph Kidwell I,agree with you…. And i also agree with you Daniel Blaylock…. I see the richness and some liturgical practices but I as a Hispanic minister, ministering to Hispanic culture most of our congregants have come out of the Catholic faith. So in our congregations anything that associate with the Catholic Church it’s considered a taboo….

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Joseph Kidwell

      Angel Ruiz, I feel you. I came out of the United Methodist Church and associated anything that smacked of what I came out of with cold, dead dry formalism. I have my African-American brethren to thank for showing me that one can preach under the anointing in a pulpit robe.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Angel Ruiz , I’d feel the same way in your context. We have a Hispanic congregation under our covering. They are much less liturgical for that very reason.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Angel Ruiz

      I do have a white color ministers uniform but I still find myself not brave enough to use in my conversation

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Angel Ruiz

      However I did have the opportunity to use the White Color uniform when a friend got ordination…. Assembly of Christian Churches Inc. They are a separation of the Assemblies of God

  • Reply March 3, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Angel This is exactly what I was thinking of posting this morning. Ministerial white clergy colors that are completely unnecessary, uncharacteristic for Pentecostalism and very very Catholic Joseph

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Troy how do you explain that the largest Pentecostal denomination in the US, the Church of God in Christ, uses liturgical garb in more places than not?

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Several older ministers in their movement have been against the trend, too.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Sours for your claim pls !!! Assemblies of God is the U.S.’s largest and fastest-growing Pentecostal denomination. Most clergy attire is purely cultural and has no spiritual significance. Lots of upcoming young ministers also take interest in similar liturgical elements which have nothing to do with true spirituality and do not contribute to it in any way thereof. Pentecostalism is not liturgical

      In all essence, the praxis of liturgical elements withing the worship that have no clear Biblical grounds takes time and attention from the true move of the Spirit within the congregation. And in most cases, as the vail that hung in the temple these extra-biblical liturgical elements simply cover the long lost spirituality i.e. nothing of the Spirit left behind the vail, clergy color, crosses of ashes and dust to dust…

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Troy, if Pentecostalism is truly a return to early church spirituality, it will contain liturgical elements. What makes a church dead and dry is not liturgical elements. I’ve been in many dead Pentecostal churches–and there’s nothing deader!

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Early church – liturgical ? Where are you getting this from?

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      All churches have a liturgy, even low church traditions. Three songs, offering, special music, sermon–that’s a liturgy.

      Even in the New Testament there are liturgical elements–the hymn in text of Philippians 2, the songs of Revelation. They celebrated communion at almost every gathering.

      Perhaps you’re misunderstanding what I mean by liturgical. I’m not talking about a totally scripted service of rote prayer, readings, etc. Our services have liturgical elements (responsive readings, frequent communion, reading psalms together aloud, reciting the Lord’s Prayer together.

      They are also marked by spontaneous messages in tongues with interpretation, services where the Spirit falls and there is no preaching, people saved, healed, delivered, baptized in the Spirit. We’re liturgical Pentecostals, our church is growing, and our tribe is increasing! Don’t tell me we can’t do it; we do it weekly.

      Love you; not going to fight all night about it. Do what you like to stay the course.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Or perhaps you dont know what liturgical really is?

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Troy Day, that’s doubtful. I graduated a Methodist seminary. Perhaps I’m not the one who doesn’t know…

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Daniel Blaylock Most of us here have graduated from seminary and hold at least one doctoral degree. This attitude will not bring your much respect around here. The combination of litos and argos in ancient Greece was a public office performed by a rich Athenians voluntarily. It transferred to some of the early churches as lay-person ministry who had to follow a somewhat written clerical form hense called liturgy / liturgical reading. It had little to do with what you are describing from your tradition and was definitely rejected by early Pentecostal as a man-made creed. Now, per your OP are you aware that early Catholic tradition used the ashes of saints on Ash Wednesday?

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Joseph Kidwell

      Troy Day, you obviously know nothing about the Pentecostal movement among African-Americans. Secondly, I wear a collar that was designed by a protestant as it’s an Episcopal collar. Third, you need to lean the difference between vestments and clericals. Fourth, you can’t get any more Protestant than the Lutherans and most of their clergy wear collars. Fifth, you need to do some research before posting.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Troy Day, I’m not the one who copped an attitude and accused someone of not knowing what liturgical meant. You bit first friend.

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      One thing seem sure: ashes on the face do not produce humbleness of heart…

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Troy Day no one said they did.

  • Reply March 3, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Too bad no one observed Ash Wednesday during the first century

    Matthew 6:16 When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

    Hypocrite is a Greek term for stage actors who darkened their faces with ashes when playing a darker character role or sad emotion. When masks were used, in many cases they were chiseled from the burnt wood used in temple idol worship especially when the theatrical role/character was related to a false Greek god. It was further believed that that deity would embody the actor during his performance.

    https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=252

    • Reply March 3, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      You are assuming that everyone who participates in an Ash Wednesday service does so from motives of pride and intent to be showy.

      Did every person in the Old Testament rent their garments and dressed in sackcloth and ashes have a proud heart?

      There are quite a few things we do today even in Pentecostal churches that they did not do in the first century.

      And I’m aware of the etymology of “hypocrite”; even we humble M. Div. students took that course. ?

  • Reply March 3, 2017

    Daniel Blaylock

    Troy, i’m done for the night. This conversation ceased to be edifying or productive about three posts back. I’m going to help my men prepare for a wild game dinner that our church is hosting. You can let me know if that is Penecostal or not, OK?

  • Reply March 4, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Angel Ruiz I think the discussion was helpful to establish that neither ashes nor colors no other liturgical element has any significance or place in Pentecostal worship As discussed with Walter Polasik and Dan Irving IF the systematic in Pentecostal theology is subjectionable how much more impossible is systematic liturgy and liturgical order in Pentecostal worship

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      But Troy, many of our churches are so scripted and time bound due to the restraints of multiple services, they already have a low church version of liturgy called an order of worship that often stifles what you seem to believe should be the norm for Pentecostal worship. When a clock starts cog bring down from 5:00 minutes on the back wall as the next portion of service begins, we’ve already moved away from that.

      If we fail to acknowledge that, we discount the reality in hundreds of AG, COG, and independent Pentecostal church services. If we fail to acknowledge that thousands of African American Pentecostals do use the clerical attire and colors found in higher church traditions, we discount the lives reality of nearly an entire large denomination of Pentecostal Christians.

      Even our aversion to man made creeds has changed historically. All major Pentecostal denominations have a statement of faith now. We found them just as necessary as our third and fourth century counterparts.

      I guess the question is this:
      Is Pentecostal worship what it was in 1896 or 1906? Is it what our textbooks say it should be? Or is Pentecostal worship the way we do actually engage in our various contexts on Sunday mornings in Pentecostal churches all over the world?

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      I disagree with your statement. I most certainly disagree that we should submit to any such trend and simply become a nominal “ash” church…

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Troy Day no one said we should become nominal. Keep kicking that straw man

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Angel Ruiz

      Troy Day something I love about our Pentecostal heritage is that we can paint the most colorful pictures as we describe the Old Testament ceremonies… Pentecostals are the ones who find the most elaborate ways to preach Christ from the Old Testament ceremonies… I believe that as Pentecostals we have capability and imagination… To use the liturgy as an example of mans way to reach God… A few years ago a preached a sermon about ash Wednesday… Spoke of why, reasoning, the attitude and how they do the 40 day fast… “I said that to those who practice Ash Wednesday it is a reminder a point of contact for there spirituality but for us as Pentecostals who believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit we don’t need the point of contact we are constantly reminded by the Holy Spirit… so we don’t have to practice Ash Wednesday” and all we did was 40 days of 6am prayer at the altar… I certainly agree with you Troy the liturgical elements I have no place in Pentecostal worship but we can really learn from them

  • Reply March 4, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    A church having more people wearing ash cross than speaking in tongues is already a nominal church #noughsaid

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Who said a Pentecostal church that chooses to add some liturgical elements such as this has fewer people speaking in tongues?

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Well lets investigate: How many people in your church got an ash cross this past Wednesday? And how many people in your church speak in tongues? If you dont really know and have to really really think about it … Exactly my point! David Lewayne Porter Angel Ruiz

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Troy, two of us got Ash and about two hundred of us speak with tongues.

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Which means you did not even have Ash Wednesday as you were claiming above OR the 200 speaking in tongues saw no reason to be ash-ed …

      BTW just out of curiosity HOW exactly do you count the speaking in tongues in your congregation? Do you have a special tongue counting person that goes around and listens to everyone? And how exactly that counting person determines if these are real tongues etc. Some establishment you are running there 🙂

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      I never claimed above that my local church had an Ash Wednesday service. It’s one of the many co cousins you’ve jumped to in this conversation.

      I have several COG pastor friends who did. I attend an Ash Wednesday service every year. My church does quite a few liturgical things–Advent wreath, rich biblical liturgy at communion each month, other elements during Lent, Good Friday, and Easter season. We may add Ash Wednesday next year.

      While we’re crunching the numbers…you said the majority of this group attended seminary and had doctorates. I noticed there are over 3,600 members in this group. Could you please list for me the 1,800 who have doctorates?

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Daniel Blaylock

      Troy, I count you as a brother and fellow laborer. Our conversation is once again producing more heat than light. We both have some deeply held beliefs around be this subject.

      I imagine in a face-to-face conversation, we would be able to have a productive discussion about it. However, in this medium, too much gets misread because tone is hard to read in such a “text message” style interchange. And for me, it siphons too much time that rightly belong to others; that’s not your fault, it’s mine.

      God bless you and Angel for all you do for the kingdom. Maybe one day the Lord will grant us a better opportunity to dialogue one day that would better contribute to unity and edification. I apologize if I have offended you.

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Angel Ruiz

      Brother in no way have offended me… You present your point of view and you give your reasons and only that you seek to bring out the Good in what you do… I am only 30 years old and I am learning from you guys…Daniel Blaylock, Troy Day you guys I am proud to call brothers in Christ….

    • Reply March 4, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      I saw a good comment by bro. Robert Borders recently on the difficulty to have informed discussions nowadays. I wish I had saved it to copy here. Nevertheless, Pentecostalism had lots of legalism to deal with in its time and there’s no good reason to return to it or its nominal liturgical praxis. Talking about true Pentecostalism not this wishy-washy bapticostal charismata wanna-be we’ve been served on so often today. Just saying… http://www.theopenscroll.com/ashWednesday.htm

  • Reply March 4, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    ASH What?

    It’s not mentioned in the Bible. None of the apostles observed it. Nowhere are Christians commanded to keep it. It was not even officially practiced until nearly 1000 years after Christ’s resurrection. Like so many other non-biblical “Christian” customs, it has pagan roots. It’s a sad fact that modern Christianity has appropriated so many customs from the practice of the heathens, that one might wonder if it should still be called Christianity.

    Pagan origins of Ash Wednesday

    This ritual “imposition of the ashes” is purportedly in imitation of the repentant act of covering oneself in dust and ashes. Despite Christ’s command to his followers to abstain from the practice of disfiguring their faces during fasting, it has become a regular practice. He also told us to wash our faces during a fast.

    The practice of putting ashes on one’s forehead has been known from ancient times. In the Nordic pagan religion, placing ashes above one’s brow was believed to ensure the protection of the Norse god, Odin. This practice spread to Europe during the Vikings conquests. This laying on of ashes was done on Wednesday, the day named for Odin, Odin’s Day. One of Odin’s names is Ygg. The same is Norse for the word Ash. This name Ygg, closely resembles the Vedic name Agni in pronunciation.

    The Norse practice which has become known as Ash Wednesday was itself, drawn from the Vedic Indian religion. Ashes were believed to be the seed Agni , the Indian fire god. It is from this name that the Latins used for fire, ignis. It is from this root word that the English language got the words, ignite, igneous and ignition. Agni was said to have the authority to forgive sins. Ashes were also believed to be symbolic for the purifying blood of the Vedic god Shiva, which it is said had the power to cleanse sins.

    In Pentecostalism we are given the dunamis / dynamite power of the Holy Ghost – no need for ash to ignite us

  • Reply March 4, 2017

    Thomas Henry Jr.

    The same strawman argument can be made about so many authentic Christian practices that they are all rooted in pagans. e to this place – Where does Ash Wednesday or even Lent nullify the word of God? Guess what it does not. Fasting, sacrifice, penance are all biblical things. Again if you focus on the minors then you will end up in ENDLESS DEBATES like the heathens. Paul took an altar to an unknown God and preach Jesus.

    I can take Ash Wednesday and lent and like Paul preach Jesus. Until you can show me it nullify the word of God and you cannot because it is does not do no such thing.

    I see nothing wrong in its practice.

    Matter of Fact – Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi – How I pray or worship, determines what I believe and how I practice and live out that Faith.

    We have too many shallow Christians as it is. If God under the law was not against feasts and ceremonies why would he be against it under the NEW. God is IMMUTABLE. He does not change.

    Sadly, when I go to some churches they know more about speaking in tongues than they do about the cross of Christ and any other doctrine of the church.

    It is my prayer that the church matures and become more like Paul who learn to used things like an Altar to an UNNAMED GOD to preach Jesus.

  • Reply March 4, 2017

    Thomas Henry Jr.

    Yes the same argument are being made. As a black cleric, I have to deal with Black Hebrews and etc who argue that Christianity was entirely stolen by the “white” man from Egypt. We have for too long misconstrued the words of Christ about tradition and rejected everything.

    You worshiping in a church and preaching from a pulpit is not there.
    Music during worship in not in the New Testament
    Choirs and Worship Team are not there.
    I can go on and on and argue against things we as Pentecostals do that is not anywhere in the Scriptures and verses we twist to support some of our practices that we claim are of the Lord.

  • Reply February 26, 2020

    James P. White

    I do, mainly because Luke 9:23 says to follow Jesus we should deny ourselves, so by fasting during Lent we can deny ourselves. I see Ash Wednesday as a way to kick off lent and a reminder to stay humble.

    • Reply February 26, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      but is it evangelical?

  • Reply February 26, 2020

    Rafy Vazquez

    I agree. But it also says to deny
    ourselves daily, not only on Ash Wednesday.
    Luke 9:23 (KJV) And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

    • Reply February 26, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      so is it just for Catholics then?

    • Reply February 27, 2020

      Rafy Vazquez

      Troy Day What does the passage in Luke say?

  • Reply February 26, 2020

    Eric Gonzalez

    Great read, I always thought Ash Wednesday was a catholic holiday and can see the meaning and message of what this day means

    • Reply February 26, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      indeed it is

  • Reply February 26, 2020

    Jeremiah Würz

    Yes, as the beginning of Lent.

    • Reply February 26, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      so are many other days before Lent

  • Reply February 27, 2020

    Ivory Jones

    No!!!

    • Reply February 28, 2020

      Varnel Watson

      why not?

  • Reply February 27, 2020

    Isara Mo

    Nope. Nope. Nope

  • Reply February 28, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    and why nope?

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