Part 2: Jentezen Franklin and his false teachings, here
It is with heavy heart I write this today. I have been called by our gracious and Holy Spirit to write this. Out of sincere duty to Him who reveals truth and obedience to Him who saves, I must say some things about the Daniel Fast and about Jentezen Franklin of the Fasting books. This is part 1, about fasting and the Daniel Fast
First, a parable. Picture a large house, in which you and I live with a family. We are all busy, doing things, and happily dwelling there. In November I awoke one morning and went into the baby's room, and as I opened the door I saw with horror that there was a wolf curled up with the baby, snarling and drooling. There are two things I could do. I could close the door and go downstairs to make breakfast, not saying anything about the wolf in the house. Or I could flip on the burglar alarm, call 911, and get my shotgun. Of course I opt for the latter. I am going to make a warning that there is a wolf in the house, I am going to make a ruckus about it, because wolves are dangerous and there are babes to protect.
The house is Your Church. The wolf is The Daniel Fast and/or Jentezen Franklin, the promoter of the current fasting fad. We make a ruckus to let everyone know that there is a wolf ready to pounce on the babes of our faith.
There are many churches today participating in the current fad known as The Daniel Fast. This is a man-made so-called spiritual activity that is supposed to automatically draw you closer to God by eating things that are on a list and not eating things that are not on a list. Other benefits touted if you partake of this fast are winning the battle over the flesh (hard to do when we are still flesh when the fast is done), losing weight and healings from diabetes, allergies, arthritis and cancer. Another benefit from doing the fast is said to be putting our spirit in charge of the other two parts of us, the soul and the body. It must be news to the Holy Spirit that we can put Him in charge of things. (source)
Fasting is in the bible, but the way it is being taught in the Daniel Fasting plan and in Franklin's book it is off center. That is the genius of false teaching, take a biblical thing and twist it.
Let me say that I know good pastors have a heart for their people. I can't imagine the stress and difficulty of being a pastor in the last days, and the mourning they do for the sheep who are sleeping and at such risk! I want to shake them myself, out of complacency, laziness, or apathy, and get them to see that every moment for Christ counts. I know they want the best for us. But the Daniel Fast and the Jentezen Franklin books are not the way to wake them up and this isn't the best for the congregants of a church.
About fasting: it is good. I fast. Fasting is biblical. However the only New Testament direction we are given is from Jesus' sermon on the Mount, and in that, the only specifics we are given about fasting is as a voluntary activity prompted by the Holy Spirit TO DO IT IN SECRET. Jentezen Franklin's model calls for the opposite. Otherwise, Jesus said, the temptation to lean toward pride and hypocrisy is too great. We are told in Romans 14 that the kingdom of God is not what we eat or drink, but the Daniel Plan contains a long list of what we may eat or drink.
If a person engages in it for the wrong motivations, such as it being a promoted activity from their church leadership, or as a weight loss plan, or as a healthy lifestyle, then it is a fad of no worth!
"Fasting in and of itself is unknown in Scripture as an end in itself. All of the benefits of fasting in the Scripture are indirect, not direct. Fasting is never isolated to create some virtue in and of itself. You don't just say well, I'm going to be spiritual, I will not eat. You are no more spiritual because you don't eat than because you do eat." (source)
"Fasting is to deny self, but it is not done in a vacuum. You don't just say well, I'm going to deny myself. I'm going to say no to myself and stop eating for no good reason. There is a reason to humble yourself in that manner. There is a reason to deny yourself in that manner. There is a reason to inflict yourself in that manner and the reason is a consuming one. [F]asting never occurs in a vacuum. It never occurs biblically without a corollary. So, fasting is almost not something you choose to do, but something you cannot avoid." (source)
What is the reason people would go on a Daniel Fast, which strictly is not the definition of fasting, because fasting is avoidance of food? Is it just to do it? Because it will make you grow spiritually? It won't, if that is your sole reason. It's not an activity that causes growth, it is an outward expression of an interior spiritual need or circumstance.
Here is an excerpt on the Daniel Fast and fasting in the New Testament from John MacArthur's site, Grace To You:
"What’s sad is the effect these self-appointed authorities have on those who follow them. They bind consciences with false guilt. Setting themselves up as judges of what goes into your mouth, they oppose our Lord Jesus Christ, who declared all foods clean and said that nothing should be rejected if it is received with gratitude (Mark 7:19; 1 Timothy 4:1-5).
"The New Testament leaves the details of fasting to the discretion of the believer and even de-emphasizes fasting in the progress of revelation. When Jesus taught against hypocrisy in Matthew 6:1-18, he taught us to give, pray, and fast privately. If you do, your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
[As opposed to praying, fasting is a] "Different approach altogether. Yes, he tells those who fast to fast in secret (Matthew 6:18). But he does not say, “Fast, then, in this way.” He does not give any instruction on fasting. He does not address frequency. He does not address diet. He does not address drinking liquids while fasting. He most certainly does not address whether the starchy endosperm in semolina vitiates the purpose of the fast!"
"His silence shows that Jesus de-emphasized fasting in comparison to prayer. If you needed such details to live your Christian life, He would have given them (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). His silence shows you shouldn’t preoccupy yourself with the matter. Teachers today should not regulate fasting or elevate it to prominence when Jesus left it in the shadows."
Fasting is a private, Holy Spirit inspired activity usually and traditionally associated with grief, repentance, or for a specific purpose that Jesus Himself relegates to a private matter between a believer and God, vertically. The Daniel Fast promoters and Franklin have made it an activity on some name it-claim it spiritual check-off list, a horizontal display of public piety laden with potentials for hypocrisy and pride, exactly what Jesus said not to do. I'm sorry to be harsh, but someone has to say it.
A short series of essays on the proper approach to fasting can be found on John MacArthur's blog below, and in part 3 he deals with the Daniel Fast specifically. It is not long, each part is only 2 pages. I encourage you to read this four part series from a senior pastor of our faith to get an understanding of the theology behind fasting from which any discerning person can go forward on making good decisions on determining if their urge for fasting is a spiritual need or a church activity, and whether or not to take part in any program or plan set before them.
The Heart of Christian Fasting, Part 1. The Old Testament.
The Heart of Christian Fasting, Part 2: Sermon on the Mount
The Heart of Christian Fasting, Part 3: The New Testament (it is this part he deals with the Daniel Fast)
The Heart of Christian Fasting, Part 4: Fasting Today
If someone wants to listen to or read a good sermon series on fasting, again I direct them to the Grace to You website and the series entitled Fasting Without Hypocrisy, Part 1
I condemn this Daniel Fast as a fad, a gimmick based on flawed teachings, and man-made motivations and well apart from proper biblical moorings.
I exhort with all possible urgency that any church practicing it is dangerously adrift!
Part, 2, Jentezen Franklin next