Unscriptural Holy Days: Ash Wednesday

By Luther W. Martin

The Roman Catholic movement that fell away from the Greek or Eastern Church in the early medieval centuries, practices the observance of ‘Ash Wednesday.’ A number of other religious sects imitate the Roman Church in this observance. Since the Bible is silent as to such a day or observance, we must resort to the unspired writings of men in order to learn of its inception.

“The Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, (That’s not in the Bible, either, LWM), which is the first day of the Lenten fast. (Also not in the Bible. LWM.) The name dies cineram (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal (Rather than the scripture. LWM.) is found in the earliest copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates (Emphasis mine. They’re not even sure. LWM.) from at least the eighth century: On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom (But not faithful according to God’s word. LWM.) are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks upon the forehead-or in the case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure-or each the sign of the cross, saying the words: “Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.” The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. I, page 775.)

It is thus quite obvious that such a celebration as ‘Ash Wednesday’ is of human origin, consequently, it cannot be classed in God’s sight as a `good work.’ “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work” (II Tim. 3:16-17.). “Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. BUT THESE ARE WRITTEN, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and THAT BELIEVING, YOU MAY HAVE LIFE IN HIS NAME.” (John 20:30-31., Emphasis mine, LWM.) “You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest perhaps I have labored in vain among you.” (Galatians 4:10-11).

-The Gospel Guardian, Vol. 8, pg. 557.

Truth Magazine XXII: 1, p. 25
January 5, 1978