How the church can serve and worship in the period between Carnival and Easter.
In the majority-Catholic country of Brazil, the biggest cultural festival is Carnival, a spectacle of eye-popping costumes, samba dancing, and raucous parades in the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. Due to its popularity, everyone in the country is aware of when Lent begins.
Established in 325 at the First Council of Nicaea, Lent had long been observed by the time the Portuguese landed on what is now Brazil in 1500. But despite its long history, the recent exponential growth of evangelicals—especially Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals—in Brazil has led to a decline in the observance of Lent. Unlike Easter, Lent receives little attention from many Protestants, either because they assign less importance to liturgical rituals or because they want to distance themselves from Catholic traditions.
CT asked six Brazilian leaders and pastors from different denominations: Should Brazilian evangelicals leave Lent to Catholics? Answers are arranged from those who don’t observe Lent to those who do.
Esequias Soares, pastor of the Assembleia de Deus (Assembly of God) in Jundiaí, São Paulo, and a leader with the Sociedade Bíblica Brasileira (Brazilian Bible Society)
The Brazilian Assemblies of God do not celebrate Lent because they do not follow the Christian liturgical calendar like the Catholic and Reformed traditions. However, we celebrate traditional Christian feasts such as Christmas and Easter, and in some places, we have begun to make room for Pentecost.
Also, the founders of Pentecostalism wanted to draw a clear distinction between Roman Catholicism and the churches that came from the Protestant Reformation. For example, the 1937 general assembly of the Assemblies of God discussed the use of the …