Don’t Give Up On Lent (pt. 2)

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This is the second half of an article I wrote two years ago defending an evangelical practice of Lent. Yesterday I was prompted to post it here when a friend asked me for some feedback on our mutual friend Jesse’s attempt to steer fellow evangelicals away from Lenten observance. I count Jesse as a good friend and one of my favorite dialogue partners, although we don’t get to talk much anymore. This response is offered with the love and respect my brother has earned well over the years. You can catch up on part 1 here.


In this discussion of Lent I have attempted to answer some of the key objections evangelicals have raised as they observe other evangelicals observing Lent in some form or other.

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Don’t Give Up On Lent (pt. 1)

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Yesterday my friend Jesse Johnson wrote an article suggesting that evangelicals stop trying to observe Lent. I, on the other hand, have come to appreciate the potential of Lent, and in 2015 I wrote a short series (for a now-defunct blog) defending an evangelical approach to the practice. We’ve decided to offer it in two parts here on PS23 for your consideration. Note that I wrote it in 2015, and I intentionally wrote it after Lent. Here is part 1:


Every February as Ash Wednesday approaches there is a surge of angst among some evangelicals: should we observe the season of Lent?

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Intellect, Worship, and the Irreducible Complexity of the Christian Life

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(This is an article I wrote a couple years ago in a different context. The specific target audience at that time was Christian scholars, and I’m developing the point that the Christian life must be motivated by adoration of Christ. But the point of the article is that the principle at hand applies to all Christians, not just intellectuals. So I offer it for your edification here on PS23.)

kyrie eleisonWhat does it mean to adore someone? We romanticize adoration: “I just adore her. She’s such a wonderful person!” Or we trivialize it: “What an adorable puppy!” Now these are normal developments in word usage, so I’m not complaining, but it does present the possibility that when we come to the idea of adoring the Son of God our understanding of adoration may be somewhat diluted.… Continue reading

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Singing the Unbearable Weight of Holiness

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I seem to have gotten stuck in a pattern of writing about worship music. Someday I will write about something else. “But,” as Aragorn said, “it is not this day.”

prayer-bowed-headAs I noted recently, worship music helps us meditate on truth, and that is one of the ways we learn through worship singing. But music can also cause us to gloss over the profound without thinking much. This danger is not attached to any particular musical style or form for the simple reason that it’s primarily a problem with the singer not the song. If you’re a lover of traditional hymns (as I am), you’ll have to admit you can sing an entire hymn while admiring the orchestral accompaniment and barely noticing the words.… Continue reading

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Does Worship Music Teach Us?

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singing-churchA while back I wrote a little article on songs that ask the Holy Spirit to fall on us. That gave rise to a few other questions regarding worship music, and I’m going to begin addressing these in a few more articles, starting with this one.

When discussing the choice of music for worship services, we often mention the “teaching function” of music—that is, songs teach us much like a teacher or preacher does, therefore we must choose songs with deep theological lyrics. While firmly agreeing that our worship music must have solid biblical content, I’d like to offer an adjustment to this understanding of the teaching role of worship music.… Continue reading

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