Why do Evangelicals practice foreign feast days and festivals?


The Reformation may have brought the freedom of conscience and the right to read the Scriptures in one’s own language, and freed Christians from the tyranny of the Papacy and the Church of Rome, but surely it should have freed Christians from the insidious and diabolical Christianized pagan feast days! Why do Christians continue to celebrate holy days and feast days that have no root in the Scriptures? In fact there is biblical merit to not follow these feast days and festivals. Paul states:

Galatians 4:8-11
8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.

Romans 14:5
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Colossians 2:16
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

What about Lent? What is its origin and why do so many Evangelicals celebrate it? Evangelicals advocate practicing a faith that is biblically rooted and grouned, but why are they so infatuated with Lent?

According to dictionary.com Lent is defined as a Christian annual season of fasting and penitence 40 days before Easter, and begins on Ash Wednesday. It’s origin is said to pre-date 1000 AD. Nothing here that is biblical in any way. Wikipedia explains further that during the Middle Ages when English began to be used in the sermons being preached, the term “lent”, which meant “spring” was adopted for this season of the year. Its etymology is derived from the Germanic root for long because in the spring the days begin to visibly lengthen.

There is no biblical warrant for such a festival, and in fact it has more in common with ancient mystery religions, such as those found in Babylon. These very mystery religions and their religious feast days made their way up through the Greek culture and the Roman Empire which embraced all forms of religion from all the regions they conquered. The importing of these religions caused turmoil and caused resistance associations to arise and oppose them and call for a restoration of “Roman gods.”

Over the centuries of war and strife and conflict over power and religion, the Roman Church, which took over the political vacuum when the Pontifex Maximus (Roman Emperor) lost his power, in particular during the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages, this same Roman church through syncretism attempted the reconciliation or union of different or opposing pagan religious festivals, principles and practices, which had nothing to do with the teaching of Jesus or the apostles. They claimed these feast days for Jesus Christ, and christened them, thereby making them Christian holy days, quite in defiance of the afore mentioned scriptural references.

With the Reformation and the split from Rome, the Reformed and Lutheran, as well as Anabaptist churches retained many of these “Christianized” days, and these were even added to by the English Reformation under the reign of Henry VIII. The greatest advancement and promotion of Easter and Lent has made its way into the English Western world through the publication of the King James Version of the English Bible. King James the bisexual king of England was its promoter and sponsor, and forced the scholars to retain language that was not in the original Greek, such as substituting Easter for Passover in Acts 12:4. Such was the deviousness of the king who wanted to retain all symbolic and implied passages of authority, and a continuation of the connection of the apostolic line of succession for the Church of England. This retained distorted and intentionally mistranslated key words for “church”, “office”, and “authority” as well as feast days like “Easter” instead of Passover.

The idea of a 40 day fast before Easter goes back even further, and is connected to the mystery religions that made their way through the Roman Empire from such regions as Babylon. A curssary reading of Nimrod the king of Babylon (see biblical reference to Nimrod in Genesis 10:8-12), will tell the story of Semeramis, his wife Semeramis, who claimed a supernatural impregnation by the Sun god and the result was the the birth of Tammuz. While on a hunting expedition Tammuz was killed by a wild boar. His mother Semeramis grieved the loss of Tammuz for 40 days, at which time Tammuz was resurrected from the dead. Semeramis then proclaimed herself the Queen of Heaven and founded a celibate priesthood to worship her son and declared its chief priest infallible, and then memorialized her time of grief and mourning into an annual 40 day period of self denial. This is the first counterfeit of the biblical story of the Redeemer which grew into a mother-child cult that was duplicated in many pagan mythologies, and even propagated through the Roman Church and its erroneous teaching on Mary, the Queen of Heaven, co-redemptrix with Jesus, and the celibate priesthood of the church and it’s chief priest, the Pontiff of Rome (stealing the title from the Roman emperors).

The question remains, why do Evangelicals persist in observing such insiduous feast days and holy days? Why have we not distanced ourselves even further from the false religion of Rome? Why does Rome continue to distort the Gospel of the Kingdom, and why do Evangelicals continue to water it down? Is the culture war that big a deal, that the leadership in the Evangelical community must sell their souls through political and religious compromise in order to advance some human moralistic agenda within this transitional age between Modernism and Postmodernism?

I for one do not celebrate these festivals any longer. There is more warrant to o
bserve the Old Covenant festivals as prophetic symbols that were fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on our behalf through His life, ministry, death and resurrection, than there is to observe these “Christianized” pagan festivals such as Lent. There is no need for the yearly observance of Easter, as Christians celebrate the resurrection each Lord’s day when they gather to celebrate and worship God together.

I will grant you, that I have an affection for Christmas, but I do not justify it as a Christian holy day. I celebrate it simply because it is a statutory holiday promoted within Canadian society. I welcome the break from work and labour so that I can enjoy my time with family and friends. It is pagan in origin in every way. Nowhere in the New Testament, and in the records of the Early Church do you find such celebrations and remembrances of the Lord’s birth. It is totally foreign.

I understand why the Puritans banned Christmas due to excess levity and drunkenness. I have been to enough office parties to see what it does to others. I have witnessed the overzealous commercialism, that is make or break it for many retailers. More than this, I am convinced that if Christmas was not a recognized holiday season for gift giving, it would be invented, either by government, or the market place. I don’t need to have “Christ put back into Christmas” for He has never been part of it! Jesus was hijacked by the free market economies in order to boost sales.

I wish that I could be given back the purity of Christ, undiluted and undistorted by the Christianized holy days of Christmas and Easter. The simplicity and glory of the purity of the man from Galilee that released the Kingdom of God, and provided the substitutionary atonement, that gave us the gift of redemption, and reconciliation to God. That is what I yearn for.

But now, at this time of year, I am now subjected to Lent. The ongoing diatribes that are disguised as devotionals and spiritual exercises, are nothing but propaganda for something the Lord does not require of us. Just another link in the chain of bondage, called institutional Christianity. Enough with the chains, we are free in Christ, and are not bound to the letter of the law, but it is fulfilled through Christ, so that I may live by the power of His Spirit, in obedience and submission to His word. What He clearly calls me to do in His word, I will do.

I don’t need to observe Lent in order to fast. If God calls a person to fast, to deny oneself, in order to draw nearer to Him, that is fine and as Jesus advised about fasting, do so without bringing attention to yourself in Matthew 6: 16-18:

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The New Testament also shows that after the Bridegroom has left (Jesus ascension) that will be a time for believers to fast. Jesus even mentions fasting after coming down from the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36), when the man asked Jesus to heal his son. Jesus said that this does not come about without prayer and fasting. There is very much a place for self denial in order to draw near to God, and be renewed and transformed by Him. There is a place for fasting regularly, in order to purify our own bodies and be internally cleansed. There is a place for fasting, in order to see people delivered, healed and restored. But that in no way justifies the current season in the so called “Christian calendar” that is called Lent.

If God is calling you to fast, do so, and you do have my blessing (not that you need it). If you are part of a traditional church that has all these feast days and observances, I can understand your affection for them. If they are a means for you to draw near to God, I can in one way understand and in another way totally reject that mindset. I don’t need to observe these holy days. I will grant you, that I will defend your right to observe such days and practices, just as I hope you will grant me my convictions that I am not compelled by God to do as you do.

I am cognizant of Paul’s words in Romans 14:5

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

My life finds its origin and meaning in God and is sustained by my relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. I yield to His leading and His prompting day by day, and should He prompt me to fast, He will give me a reason to do so, and it won’t be for the sake of a religious observance!

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About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. Once a charismatic, now a cessationist. Once a just war advocate, now a pacifist. A disciple of Christ, 5 point classical Calvinist. There is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ alone.
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