Sunday, January 30, 2011

FASTING by Scot McKnight

Fasting by Scot McKnight is one of eight books in Thomas Nelson’s The Ancient Practices Series, which address the spiritual practices of the first Christians. Produced under the General Editorship of Phyllis Tickle, they cover such topics as communion (The Sacred Meal), praying without ceasing (Constant Prayer), pilgrimage (The Sacred Journey), feasts and festivals (The Liturgical Year), giving (Tithing), a day of rest (Sabbath), spiritual hunger (Fasting), and spiritual disciplines (Finding Our Way Again).

The practice of fasting has ancient roots going back to the very earliest Old Testament Patriarchs. It appears in the New Testament as well, yet remains largely misunderstood and, therefore, ignored by large portions of the modern Church.

Scot McKnight does a superb job of delineating what fasting is — a whole body response that enables us to sanctify an event or a moment; and what it is not — a means of manipulating God.

All too often modern believers end up putting the cart before the horse. The result is people who fast to emphasize their commitment and show God how much they want something. Then, suitably impressed with their sincerity, God in turn will acquiesce.

In one form or another the question is often raised, “Does Jesus really expect us (me) to fast?” McKnight’s answer is an unequivocal “Yes.” Jesus leaves no wiggle room when in Matthew 9:15 he answers a question about fasting by saying, “The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”

In one of the more insightful passages in the book, McKnight addresses the modern body image. Today, rather than having a unified view of ourselves as body and soul, many of us tend to see ourselves as a soul within a body. This is a fatal error. The soul, of course, is immortal while the body is mortal. Thus, because the body will die and corrupt and we (our spirit or soul) will live on for eternity, the body is devalued. By adjusting our thinking, we can experience what McKnight terms whole-body spirituality.

He also deals with the difference between abstinence and true fasting. As well as the health concerns that should be taken into consideration when considering a fasting regimen. The book is full of down-to-earth, practical explanations, examples, and suggestions designed to enhance a person’s spirituality and allow them to tap into the practices and principles of the early church.

I highly recommend it.
— E G Lewis

Product Details:
Trade Paperback: 208 pages
Language: English
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-84994-605-9

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