Dr. John Hannah on Lent

Well, I enjoyed a relaxing though productive afternoon here at WTS in Dallas preparing for my morning sermon on Mark 11, which preparation I would like to complete soon. Presently I'm preparing to hear Dr. John Hannah lecture on aspects of medieval church history and I will relay summary notes of that lecture here on my blog, primarily for myself, but also for my cyber-groupies and my otherwise vast cyber-audience (joke).

Dr. Hannah argues that in the early church there was a three year period of catechetical instruction before converts could be admitted to the Christian church. In the first year, such a convert, called a Weeper, was not permitted to enter the worship service. In the second year he, now called a Hearer, could hear the preaching of the Word, but had to leave after the sermon. In the third year he, now called a Kneeler, could hear the preaching of the Word and pray with the saints, but then had to leave.

After three years the convert would be examined by his bishop and, upon approval, would undergo a fast prior to Easter. On Easter morning he would be baptized and access the great symbol of conversion---namely, baptism. Lent symbolishes the preparation for baptism, beginning with Ash Wednesday.

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