The promotion of the Spiritual Disciplines is a big fad within Evangelicalism today. Many believe that these disciplines or techniques will help to draw them closer to God.
The teaching of the spiritual disciplines is based on the assumption that we are even able to change ourselves spiritually by the devoted application of techniques or practices in our lives. (Which is a topic worthy of discussion by itself.)
Many Contemplative Spirituality groups teach that this change accomplished through forms of meditation, chants, burning of incense, listening to spiritual music, looking at spiritual images or icons, special fasting, creating a place of silence, repeating a bible verse or phrase as one would a mantra, walking a labyrinth, confessing our sins to one another, and many other practices.
While I realize that not every Evangelical church is going to push all these practices, nevertheless there is often an underlying assumption, behind all this. The assumption that a Christian may use techniques that will bring him closer to God.
Some even believe that one is able to access God directly through the use of spiritual disciplines. And that this direct contact is possible even when the word of God is not specifically followed for guidance or when the person using the technique is not even a born-again Christian.
Another idea that often works in tandem with these practices is that self-imposed suffering or self-denial is pleasing to God. And that this denial may help to cleanse a person from sin or make him holier before God.
A perfect example of the combination of these two ideas is seen in the common observance of Lent. Which is a special period of 40 days that precedes Easter. It is commonly observed within Catholicism as well as in most mainline Protestant churches.
The Observance of Lent
Lent involves the practice of giving something up during this period. Which includes abstaining from eating or doing something one enjoys in order to more deeply “feel” or better appreciate the sufferings that Christ endured for us.
That is how Lent is generally observed. At least among many mainline Protestants. For Catholics, the observance usually involves fasting along with additional acts of self denial.
The Feast of Astarte
However, what few realize is that the origin of Lent can be directly traced to the ancient feast of Astarte. And that the term, “Easter” (which actually appears in the KJV) is merely the Anglicized translation of Astarte (from Chaldea) or Ishtar (from Nineveh/Assyria). (Reference: The Two Babylons, by Rev. Alexander Hislop, 1916, pp. 103-113)
Astarte, was the goddess of the Chaldean temple-worship system. She was “the queen of heaven“, whose worship was specifically condemned by God in Jeremiah 7:17-20.
“Fasting” during this period hails back to a period of sacrifice required by this same Babylonian goddess. It was for her that the Israelites offered specially-baked cakes — a practice which God also condemned.
Making the Connection
Of course, it is no great leap to connect this ancient religion to the modern worship of Mary; whom Catholics commonly refer to as, the “Queen of Heaven” and the “Mother of God”. Which should cause the discerning believer to see that Mary, as commonly venerated by Catholics, and Astarte of the ancient pagan religions, are one and the same. Revealing that Catholicism is simply the ancient Chaldean / Babylonian / Roman system of worship cleverly covered in a Christian veneer.
For the Protestant, the significance of Lent is due to the continuing influence that Catholicism has over the mainline Protestant churches. Whose influence continues to turn back the benefits that were gained through the Reformation. By continuing to promote rituals and doctrines that are not only unbiblical, but which also serve another god.
Even the false gods of ancient Babylon and Rome.
To Be Continued . . .
(Image by travelspot from Pixabay)