Monday, December 5, 2011

If you have concerns about The Daniel Fast...

Here are scriptures that address the issue. In my opinion, the verses clearly show that The Daniel Fast cannot be supported by Scripture. Information about the Daniel Fast here & here.

Comparing The Daniel Fast to Scripture:

Matthew 6:16-18
"Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Jesus taught us to go out of our way to conceal the fast. he said to keep it secret. How much clearer can it be?

Colossians 2:23 says:
"These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence."

Mark 7:19 all foods are declared clean.

1 Corinthians 8:8: "Food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat."

Therefore, food is neither spiritually good nor bad. So the more a teacher insists on imposing fasting on me the more concerned I become. Fasting is a private, Holy Spirit inspired activity usually and traditionally associated with grief, repentance, or for a specific purpose that Jesus relegates to a private matter between a believer and God, vertically. A fast is never presented as a spiritual activity in and of itself. There is no scripture in the NT that I have found that supports fasting as a church activity used as a mechanism for growth.

In churches that take up this fad, there is often a public contract to sign to declare one's intention to maintain the fast for the three week period. It is legalistic to me to sign a public contract. To consult a man-made list of foods deemed acceptable or unacceptable is a doctrine of men. The Daniel Fast promoters and Jentezen 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.

1 Cor 8:9-13 goes on to say be careful you do not cause a brother to stumble, (in being careless with the new liberty to eat all foods). I believe the principle is the same in its opposite sense, do not set the new brother up on a legalistic restriction of foods by artificial means because his new conscience can’t take that either.

Verse 9: “And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.”

Eating one kind of food, and abstaining from another, have nothing in them to recommend a person to God. So Paul cautions against putting a stumbling-block in the way of the weak by entangling them in guilt. Presenting a list of approved or non-approved foods that the weaker brethren may partake in is a recipe for causing a brother to stumble when/if he fails this artificial food fasting test. The verse says doing this to the weaker brothers not only causes injury to the brother but is a sin against Jesus. Put simply,

Don't force on a brother what God is not forcing on him by his conscience!

1 Timothy 4:1-5 says in part:
"But the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will [a]fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer."

That verse says clearly that men in the latter times who advocate abstaining from foods are following a doctrine of demons.

Romans 14:17 says:
"The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

Colossians 2:20-22
"Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?”

The Scriptures are clear. So when a leader belabors fasting to me, it’s time to stand up and using the scriptures, say STOP! Shame is on the teacher or pastor who falsely claims any biblical authority whatsoever to restrain my diet. I reject efforts to impose non-biblical standards on my conscience. No man has permission to go beyond what is written in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 4:6). God is specific in His will. We cannot presume that we can take the smallest detail and ignore it. This fasting program ignores the clear scriptures and I reject it for that reason.

FALSE DOCTRINE

Protecting the Gospel from false doctrine is the theme of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus and issues regarding it appears in Jude, Ephesians, Colossians, Acts...suffice it to say the NT is permeated with warnings of false doctrines and instructions on what to do about it throughout much of the NT.

2 Tim. 4:2-3 "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine".

2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires:"

Hebrews 13:9 "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with foods, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."

Therefore, if I interpret rightly, what is my duty to Jesus and His Word if my church promotes this legalistic and worldly fad?

THE DUTY TO POINT OUT FALSITY

The main thing that Paul has in mind in the writing of 1Timothy 1:7-11 is to encourage Timothy to bring the church to a place of sound doctrine and godly living. He is concerned about the impact to the brethren of false teachers, as we all should be.

1 Timothy 5:20: "Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."

Titus 1:13: "This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith."

Titus 2:15: "These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you."

There are many more verses related to the duty of the Christian in pointing out false teaching. Paul rebuked Peter at Antioch. This shows us that anyone can fall under a false teaching, even Peter, and that anyone can and should oppose it to their face, as Paul did. (Gal 2, Acts 15).

In many cases when a false teaching is pointed out, the reaction will be of anger, but always remain calm, and insist that the scriptures be shown that supports their opinion. We are all responsible to Jesus for what we believe and for what we allow to occur in His name. Be strong and kind when pointing out that your understanding of the scriptures does not support the Daniel Fast, but do not hesitate to do so if that is your understanding and if led by the Holy Spirit. Be a Berean!

19 comments:

  1. Are you talking about all fasting? Partial fasting? or a type of fast in particular.

    It is not wrong to fast. It is not wrong to support other believers who do fast. It is not wrong to know that someone fasts.

    Are you suggesting we lie when we are fasting, and someone asks us why we are not eating? We don't have to hide it. We just should not advertise it. Daniel didn't keep his fasting a secret. Everyone knows he fasted.

    But I am just wondering why you are against a persons private decision to do a partial fast?

    Are you just against people making you feel like you need to fast?

    Has someone said that you need to fast to be saved?

    Fasting is a spiritual discipline. It is not wrong. Even Jesus encouraged it. Why are you saying that it is a false teaching?

    Do you not like to fast? I thought I read that you fast yourself.

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    1. The concept of a "daniel fast" has become a teaching that goes beyond a believers desire to seek God. The teaching has made rules that are from man but are taught as the rules of God.

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  2. Anonymous,
    Did you read the post? I do believe that your questions would be answered if you did.

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  3. Hi Anonymous,

    Thank you for your questions. I did not explain what the Daniel Fast was, so thanks for giving me an opportunity to answer your questions.

    "The Daniel Fast" is a particular fast that is sweeping the less discerning churches. It is a call by the pastor or the leadership to do a public, corporate fast. There is no reason for the fast, other than to do a fast to 'get closer to Jesus' at the beginning of the year, or as the Daniel Fast Promoters like Jentezen Franklin say, to get healthy, get a blessing, or other me-me-me reasons. I wrote about that here
    http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2011/11/daniel-fast-and-jentezen-franklin.html

    and Jentezen Franklin here
    http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2011/11/jentezen-franklin-and-his-false.html

    Accompanying this fast is a call to sign a public contract, and handed out is a list of approved and unapproved foods one may eat for the three weeks.

    I do not object to private fasting. It is good to do this when the Spirit calls upon a person to do so.

    I object to the prescribed, faddish, man-made Daniel Fast for the scriptural reasons outlined in the essay.

    Yes, Daniel fasted. He fasted for a particular, personal reason. The only commanded fast was for the Day of Atonement and that was fulfilled at the cross. We have to be careful about taking from the Old Testament things out of context, because in this case (fasting) Jesus taught a new covenant about fasting at the Sermon on the Mount.

    We should not take one particular incident in the OT, spiritualize it, make it a corporate, church-wide activity out of it, in direct violation of what Jesus taught and the rest of the New Testament teaches in the subject.

    Now that you have some background, then I recommend you re-read the essay with that in mimd and look at what the NT teaches about fasting...let me know if you still have questions. Thanks again.

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  4. Okay, thank you. I agree.

    I thought you were talking about the Daniel type fast, also known as partial fasting. Not a particular fast promoted by Jentzen Franklin.

    Jeff, I did read the article. It seemed to me that this blog said that we should not to a Daniel type fast. Sorry to frustrate you : (

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  5. Hi Anonymous,

    Right, I am saying that from what I read of the very clear and plain scriptures quoted at length in the article, the Daniel Fast is the opposite of what the Jesus and the rest of the New Testament teaches on fasting, and therefore should be avoided as a doctrine of demons.

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  6. Great article. I'm going to be addressing this subject with a family member who has been duped into it, and this has helped me a great deal. I find it interesting that idolatry was also most likely a motivation for Daniel to obstain from certain foods. Meat, wine, possibly fruits and other delicacies were offered to demons (idols) there by making the eater a partaker of Satan's table, who ever ate them would then be considered "defiled". I'm sure the Babylonians ate pork and other non-kosher items as well. So wanting to be pure to God, Daniel made his decision in his heart not publically and God honored it by giving him favor with the chief of the eunuchs.

    The NT believer is no longer under dietary restrictions, but we are still under the "don't eat food offered to idols" restriction. Apparently demons don't like veggies! =)Lol!

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  7. I am grateful that there are some who are not falling prey to what I consider a Christian fad. It grieves my heart that so many (my church included) have called for this fast. I may be imagining it, but I feel others would view me unspiritual for not fasting with them. I may be wrong, but isn't this works? Doing to get God to do this or that for us.

    Troubles my soul! I am very lonely, but I'd rather be lonely than fall into falsehood.

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  8. Hi Anonymous,

    I admire you for standing on truth despite the flow toward trends. It IS lonely, though. I understand what you mean.

    Yes, when the fasting program is presented as it is by Mr Franklin, it is works. (Public, to get something, as a binding upon God, legalistic contracts, and approved/non-approved foods). When fasting is a private call felt by the penitent by the prompting of the Holy Spirit or is burden to lament or mourn, or to prepare the body for service or hearing of the Lord after inquiring of Him, then it is not works but is the kind of discipline Jesus recommends in Mt 6.

    What you sense in others who look at your decision negatively is likely very real, not imaginary. This legalistic fast tends to present a stumblingblock to the weaker brethren who fail at it and presents a tendency toward pride in those who successfully complete it. This is exactly what Jesus was railing against in Matthew 6 when he called the Pharisees hypocrites for fasting and praying so publicly in poor motivations. It is a system whereby the church body isn't unified because of the public success/failure rate, and Jesus isn't exalted because this Fast violates scripture. It falls exactly and squarely into the activity that Jesus said of the Pharisees NOT to do as recorded in Matthew 6:16-18.

    As for them thinking you unspiritual, your Father in heaven who sees the heart will reward you in the open while those who fast openly in legalistic, Pharisaic fashion already have their reward now. Be patient. All will come out in the end. Meanswile, pray for them all, ceaselessly!

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  9. Dear Elizabeth, thank you for your encouraging words. They are very appreciated.

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  10. Hi Elizabeth,

    I came across this site in my quest to learn more about fasting. What a great blog, very informative. You speak truth and I appreciate that. I pray that God continues to use you for His Kingdom :-)

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  11. Yes indeed Sis, You deffinately taught me something valueble too. I was talked into fasting by my girlfriend because her congregation decided to do this so called daniel fast but I lasted 14 days and failed. The reason why because my heart was'nt into it. I did not really prepared myself for it. So when I told her that I failed by eating chicken, she rediculed me for it and tried to make me feel bad about it. So I said I would have to do it all over again, because when I start something I like to complete it especially if I prepared myself and being determined to complete it. But this information was very helpful to me as well. I dont have to feel bad like a failure. I thank God for you 100% because this is real when we're dealing with the tradition of man. Keep me in prayer in Jesus name, Amen.

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  12. I am not a supporter of the fast as JF would promote, however, coming together as a corporate identity to fast has some benefits and we see it in the scriptures. I get tired of the constant legalism surrounding this particular fast (and the name it claim it-ism). One thing that bothers me about his fast is that it is essentially a rich person's fast. It is very expensive to follow it to a tee and would keep the poor from participating. What I find most irritating though is the deliberate misunderstanding of the passage. Daniel, at one the points (there were actually two different times he fasted, take that JF) he was just observing passover kosher because it was passover!

    I am thankful, that while my church does the Daniel's fast, it is considered optional and that you may follow the fast however God has spoken to you. I wish I could send more people to this page.

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    1. Great comment, thanks! The irony is that Daniel GAINED weight on his "fast."

      I agree that the false application of the passage, stripping out of its context and imbuing it with a false meaning, is an affront to God. It is the worst!

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  13. There is no such a thing as "Daniel's fast". Even Daniel himself never called the so-called fast a fast. How can someone fast and not even know it?
    When Daniel fasted for real, he called it a fast. See chapter 9 of Daniel.
    Throughout both Testaments, the words translated "to fast" always meant "to abstain from food". The concept of fasting and eating is nonsense, and it has no biblical basis at all. A true fast means you stop eating for a period of time, and devote time to seeking God. Abstaining only from food is little more than a hunger strike. Eating everything except meats and wine is nothing more than vegetarianism.
    We should stop peddling this false and foolish doctrine, and follow the examples of our Lord and other people in scripture.

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  14. Although I disagree with some of your opinions about Jentezen Franklin's motivations behind this fast, I do agree that it is not a fast. Is it forgoing some of life's pleasures to focus more on God? I think so, and I think a true fast is going even further in that direction. But yes, fasting should be private, between you and God, and I think that what JF and Free Chapel are doing is to honor God and does so, but it is not a fast, they are wrong to call it that.

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  15. Fasting should have a purpose behind it. Why am I fasting? What's the purpose? In Daniel 9:3, Daniel fasted in total abstinence.. 'in prayer, supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes'. In chapter 10 of Daniel, he went on a partial fast...'was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread' (KJV). It was during these times of seeking God in fasting and prayer that God revealed to him about the political kingdoms in his time and the future world kingdoms and the Kingdom of God. This was no legalistic exercise, but a definite purpose behind the whole fast. It was the same with Esther, Nehemiah, Jesus and the apostles. They all had a purpose for fasting.

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  16. Why don't we just learn to seek God first so that we may led into a deeper relationship with the father

    ReplyDelete

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