The How and Why of God's Sanctioned Fasts

Learning about godly, balanced, fasting is exceedingly important as we find ourselves living in the final moments of earth’s history. At crisis moments, personal and otherwise, God’s people have often pursued fasting to obtained needed blessings. As a result of fasting, judgments have been averted, wisdom has been gained, God’s direction has been clarified and the Holy Spirit has come in power to unified and thoroughly converted group of people. Sometimes the result of fasting, however, is not so positive, such as what happened at Oxford Univeristy, when a group of young adults formed a “holiness” club which promoted fasting, abstemiousness and extreme self-denial, and resulted in at least one member dying. Like everything else, Satan has so successfully attacked fasting that it is little practiced. In this seminar many questions on fasting will be answered. Come learn what the Bible teaches about acceptable, unacceptable, partial and other fasts chosen and blessed by God!

Session 1

Is It Time?

When questioned why His disciples were not fasting, Jesus first spoke of the rejoicing that comes when the Bride Groom is present. After the Bridegroom departed, however, he asserted, “They WILL fast! If the latter assertion was true after His departure to heaven, it must be even more true in our day. Sadly little fasting is going on. Could this be a reason for the spiritual weakness that is often exhibited among God’s people? We are going to carefully examine the Bible’s mandate for fasting, particularly in times of crisis and make a case for far more God-sanctioned fasting in our day.

Session 2

Count the Ways

Beginning with Moses’ forty day fast, fasting has a long history that continues in our day. Sometimes the fasting going on was Biblically based and brought great blessings. Other time the fasting going on was not so good. We are going to look at this history, and seeking to understand what is fasting exactly, looking at the practices and the motivations what was going on, and their applicability of the things considered to our day.

Session 3

Zeal, But Not According To Knowledge

Fasting usually includes a component of going without food for a time. This has been an element of fasting from the beginning. However, the practice has sometimes been practiced in a very negative way, as what took place at the Oxford Holiness Club in the 1700s when one of the young adult members died as a result of a zeal that was not according to knowledge. In this segment we are going to consider the physical and other components of fasting to make sure the practice is balanced and safe.

Session 4

Only by Prayer and Fasting

In this segment we will consider some of the strong statements made in the Scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy, in the context of the stories where they appear, to understand which present-day situations might include fasting. For example there are repeated statements regarding the desirability for fasting when encountering the forces of darkness. Do we take these statements seriously or do we go through the motions praying, but not gaining the desired outcome? Illustrations will be provided of individuals who have been doing some of this fasting.

Session 5

The True Spirit of Fasting

In our final segment we will consider the fast called for in the later verses of Isaiah 58 and why the “true spirit” of fasting is promoted in these verses. We will not only speak of this kind of fasting, but also provide illustrations where people lived out these verses.

Daniel Augsburger

So far as my background goes, I have been an SDA all my life and come from a multi-generational Adventist family. My training has been at our denominational schools, the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy and most importantly at the feet of Jesus. I have been a healthcare administrator, pastor and teacher—the latter teaching one course in practical church history over the course of ten years, at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan. I have also done much research in the writings of Ellen White, including doing the research on transformation that was used in the Ellen White Encyclopedia, which necessitated compiling more than 1,500 pages of quotes in a sortable database. A more recently study on the Godhead also led to the collection of more than 1,500 quotes on the subject in her writings, and resulted in a compilation that is in process and the development of a five-part Bible study on the Godhead that is featured on the General Conference website. You will be interested in my website that has more than 700 pages of carefully curated resources on the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy and other SDA writers. I am married to RoseMarie who was a Bible Worker prior to our getting married, and is my best friend and ministry companion—we’ve been having an extended honeymoon for the last ten years:). We live in Berrien Springs, Michigan in sight of Pioneer Memorial Church where I have been an Elder and the leader of Prayer Meetings in the past, but now choose to attend a tiny church in a very poor community 40 minutes away.