The Gospel of Matthew, Part 23
John Wesley, who founded the Methodists, in the 1700’s is quoted as saying “Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scriptures and reason; and others have utterly disregarded it.”
Now we might say that John Wesley sounds pretty reasonable and wise in this statement. It’s not good to overdo something and lose perspective and it’s not good to entirely reject something found in scripture. So would it surprise you that John Wesley would not ordain anyone to the Methodist ministry if they did not fast two days a week? Wednesdays and Fridays? So do Wesley’s demands seem inconsistent to us? Is he exalting fasting beyond all scriptures? Does his statement and practice match up in our minds?
Maybe they don’t match up to us because, as a whole, we are so far from the disciple of fasting that any instruction or direction given in the area of fasting seems extreme and more of a works-based faith then a grace-based faith.
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. –Matthew 6:17
The Gospel of Matthew,
The Sermon on the Mount
Pastor Jeff Hinman