Orange, You Protestant (?)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:3-5 KJV).

Well, today is Saint Patrick’s Day. People of Irish descent celebrate their culture by hosting parades, parties, dances, and the like (resembling raucous Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday!). Green articles, especially clothing and decorations, are prominent. Should we as Bible-believing Christians wear green on this day, March 17?

While I am partly Irish through my mother (and possibly my father), I am predominantly French by blood. I have never actually celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day as an Irishman though. Many years back, I “wore green” as an ignorant Protestant. Then, I did research!

Who is the “Patrick” of Saint Patrick’s Day? One or two figures in church history are known by this name (one man may have been a fictional character). What we can say is that a Protestant missionary named Patrick conducted a ministry in Ireland back in the A.D. 400s. He converted many Irish people from paganism to Bible-believing Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church, claiming that Patrick was not Protestant, seems to have fabricated a “Patrick” to become one of its many “patron saints.”

Where does green come into the picture? Why is it a popular color today? Ireland’s flag, from left to right, consists of three vertical stripes—green, white, and orange. Very few understand that tripartite arrangement. Green represents Ireland’s Roman Catholic history whereas orange signifies its Protestant history. Situated in the middle is the color white, symbolizing the longing for peace and harmony between these two groups that have warred for centuries there.

What we can say as Bible believers is that we should not be aligning with or supporting Roman Catholicism within Ireland (or anywhere else for that matter). Protestantism is the Bible-believing position to take. Wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day is to advertise Bible ignorance—you exhibit yourself as a Roman Catholic or an uninformed Protestant. Instead, wear orange, and use that as an opportunity to educate and give inquirers the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

You may read our archived study: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How should we as Bible believers respond to the coronavirus?