Lent: Debate with a protestant

Im in a debate with a protestant and she is insisting that Lent is not Biblical.

Neither are cars or radio or tv … does that mean that she doesn’t accept them, since they’re not in the Bible? :wink:

(What is Biblical, however, is the notion of penance and repentance and sorrow for sins and fasting / almsgiving / prayer. All of these things can be found throughout the Bible, both in the OT and NT.

Lent is an observance meant to spur us to a growth in our love of God, through prayer and fasting and almsgiving. As such, these actions are explicitly Biblical, and are actions that we see folks being told to do throughout the Scriptures! Just because the word “Lent” doesn’t appear there, or the preparations for Easter aren’t found there, doesn’t mean that they’re not good for us! :wink: )

No periods of repentance in the bible?
No stories of sackcloth and ashes?
Of course we know that, as Catholics, we celebrate the liturgical year to continue to focus on Jesus Christ and His redemptive mission. The lenten season is steeped in invitation to share in the life of Our Savior.

I understand that not all faith communities are compelled to put forth renewed effort during this time. My question is, "Since they refuse to take part in time honored traditions that focus our attention on Jesus, what do they do? If the answer is, “nothing, I just go on with my life.”, then invite them to invest even 1/2 hour of their life walking the stations of the cross with you at church one evening. Leave it at that. Let their continued objections and refusals to walk with Jesus work on them privately and pray for the Holy Spirit’s intervention.

Is she having a fish fry?

This site is protestant?


Instances in the Bible where God made major changes
and transformations after the period of 40

It rained for 40 days and 40 nights when God wanted to cleanse the world and start over.
(Gen 7:12 KJV) And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Noah waited another 40 days after it rained before he opened a window in the Ark.
(Gen 8:6 KJV) And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:

Embalming required 40 days (although this was an Egyptian custom, the Egyptians recognized the period of 40 for the preparation of going into a new life, what they called the afterlife)
(Gen 50:3 KJV) And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.

Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days (TWICE)
(Exo 24:18 KJV) And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
(Exo 34:28-29 KJV) And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
(Deu 10:10 NIV) Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you.

Moses’ face shone after the 40 days on the mountain.
(Exo 34:29 KJV) And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

It took the spies 40 days to search out the promised land and bring back fruit
(Num 13:25 KJV) And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness, one year for each day they explored the Promised Land.
(Exo 16:35 KJV) And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.
(Num 14:33-34 NIV) Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. {34} For forty years–one year for each of the forty days you explored the land-you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.

Goliath came for forty days before being killed by David
(1 Sam 17:16 NLT) For forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, the Philistine giant strutted in front of the Israelite army.

Elijah strengthened by one angelic meal went forty days to Mount Horeb where the Lord passed by and he heard the voice of God
(1 Ki 19:8 KJV) And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

Jonah warned the City of Nineveh they had 40 days until God would overthrow the city. The people repented in those 40 days and God spared the city.
(Jonah 3:4 and 10 KJV) And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness
(Mat 3:17 KJV) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(Mat 4:1-2 KJV) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. {2} And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

Jesus was seen in the earth 40 days after His crucifixion
(Acts 1:3 NIV) After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.


Not to mention that Christ gave his Church the authority to teach, and as an aid in that the Church has full authority to develop a liturgical calendar.

I’ve never meet a Christian who doesn’t think fasting is biblical. That is part of what Lent is about. Maybe she just means Lent is not found in the bible? :confused:

I’m sure others will give you biblical references and roots…but I’d just be tempted to tell her that if we Catholics reach judgement day and God tells us we’re condemned for consciously undertaking actions to prepare ourselves to celebrate His resurrection, to please Him and become closer to Him…then we’re wrong about alot of things (including God) and we’ll be pretty surprised. But look on the bright side…if that’s the case, you will enjoy a catholic-free heaven!

There are people who attack everything Catholics do…from calling our priests ‘father’, to prayers to Mary, you name it. When they do, there’s always some scripture to cut and paste to show us how errant we are.

There are no religious seasons in Scripture other than those of Judaism.

Because the Church is not based upon Sola Scriptura, this does not matter.

Rather than arguing about Lent per se, you should argue against Sola Scriptura. NB: that doctrine itself is not part of the Bible!


As Steve Ray would put it “Where do you find in the Bible, that everything has to be found in the Bible?”

Not biblical? Fasting & prayer …why don’t you provide the Gospel reading for today’s Mass? Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18.

While you’re discussing things that aren’t Biblical, you could suggest this person come back to continue the discussion ONLY when they can locate in the Bible where it says “By accepting Jesus as your PERSONAL Lord and savior, that is the only way you will be saved”. :wink:

You tell her that THE BIBLE SAYS that Jesus fasted and prayed for FORTY DAYS in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Then tell her that THE BIBLE SAYS that we are to be imitators of God and Christ (Ephesians 5:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 2:14, and 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Fasting and prayer over the course of FORTY DAYS before Easter is one of the most Biblical practices we Catholics observe, wouldn’t you say? If she doesn’t think this kind of discipline, prayer, and dedication to Jesus isn’t worth it, or that He wouldn’t appreciate it is her cross to bear, not yours.

If this friend of yours is still not convinced, please tell her about Catholic Answers Forums and where she can find me. I would love to talk to her.

The city of nineveh in the book of Jonah fasted for 40 days and it changed God’s mind. The message of Jonah was “40 days and nineveh will be destroyed” the king declared a fast and at the end they were saved. – The whole book of Jonah 3 the whole chapter

1Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city,a three days’ journey in breadth.b 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

The People of Nineveh Repent

6The word reachedc the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

Christ fasted 40 days in the desert after his baptism. Matthew 4:1

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Christ said we would fast when he went back to his father in Matthew 9:15

And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

A 40 day fast is very biblical…

Use of sackcloth

   Book of Jonah Chapter 3, Verse 5   
    And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least.

There are many things we Catholics refer to that are not in the Bible, The Crucifix wasn’t brought in until several years after Jesus passion, we must remember our Bible was finished shortly after Jesus accession.

300+ years is “shortly”?

This article might the OP respond.
Scriptures About Penance

Sometimes I find a lot of lent in my Bible. God bless: Thumbsup:: Thumbsup:: Thumbsup:

They don’t really have any structure on when and what they preach like we do - not all - so they won’t understand . Only recently in my city have they started having a service on Good Friday -they never did before.I’ll bet lots go to N.O. Collecting bead not understanding it’s the day before lent - even some Catholic don’t know that.

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