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Customer Reviews for Thomas Nelson Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook

Thomas Nelson Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook

Is the practice of faith centered solely on the spirit? Can the body actually play a role in our pursuit of God? In Fasting, Dr. Scot McKnight reconnects the spiritual and the physical through the discipline of fasting. The act of fasting, he argues, should not be focused on results or used as a manipulative tool. It's a practice to be used in response to sacred moments, just as it has in the lives of God's people throughout history. McKnight gives us Scriptural accounts of fasting, along with practical wisdom on benefits and pitfalls, when we should fast, and what happens to our bodies as a result.
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Customer Reviews for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
Review 1 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Great Book On Fasting

Date:February 5, 2013
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oldmanchubb
Age:25-34
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Scot McKnight has written an excellent treatise on fasting, which is part the “Ancient Practice Series”. I would highly encourage others to pick up anything he’s written and this would certainly be a good intro book as well.
McKnight talks about various components to fasting through these 13 chapters. His big overarching thesis is that we typically approach fasting incorrectly. Most modern folk tend to fast in order to try to receive something from God. McKnight corrects this understanding (by repeatedly pointing to Biblical examples) of how fasting should be done in response to God’s work in serious and grievous moments. That is to say, rather than try to please God with our fasting, it should be done as a physical reaction to what is happening in our world (much like how we kneel and close our eyes when we pray). I liked this distinction and it came up quite a bit throughout the book.
If you are remotely interested in fasting or are planning to teach or preach about this subject, I would certainly recommend this book for you. It’s well-written and has plenty of great Biblical and historical examples to back up what it says. McKnight does a great job in countering problems we bring into fasting and also respectfully explains that there are possible health issues in any type of fast. I also liked that he differentiated between fasting and abstaining from things – I don’t know if I personally agree with that, but I thought it was an important topic to bring to light.
One odd thing about the book was that I found two typos (and there may have been others that I missed). I could understand something like this in a self-published or a smaller company, but Thomas Nelson is pretty huge. So I was a little disappointed in their editorial department over this.
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Review 2 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

nourishment for the soul

Date:June 15, 2011
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markbraye
Location:Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
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"And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:16-18, NRSV
Fasting, by Scott McKnight, is a voulme in the wonderful Ancient Practices Series from Thomas Nelson Publishers and edited by Phyllis Tickle.
it's a great book. it's part theology/Biblical study/spiritual disciplines; part personal stories and reflections.
it's not simply a book about fasting; it's a book about the spiritual life and the idea of "whole-body spirituality."
the book contains Biblical examples and precedents for fasting, tips/ideas on how to fast safely/effectively, and the different types of fasting practiced in the Bible.
we hunger and thirst for God. fasting illustrates this desire for God in a way we can feel in a very real and practical way.
Fasting is an excellent read for devotions and study
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Review 3 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Good book and fringe benefits

Date:May 8, 2011
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SeekingExcellence
Location:Calgary, Alberta
Age:45-54
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The spiritual activity of fasting is important throughout scripture, yet the fact that it is really a simple physical activity has confused me. What is the point of fasting? When should we fast? And what good does it do? I’ve always wondered if it was supposed to accomplish something good in the world, or in me, or both. I’ve fasted in order to hear the Lord speak to my heart, and to build myself up for a spiritual trial, but frankly have never been quite sure I understood fasting.
So when Thomas Nelson offered Fasting as one of its books in the Ancient Practices Series, I jumped at the chance to get some of my questions answered. Thank you, Scot McKnight, for sensing the confusion in the church community and offering us a way out of it.
The author’s position is that “fasting is a person’s whole-body natural response to life’s sacred moments.” By that I assume he means that we lose our appetite because of intensely upsetting events or emotions. I agree that in a severe enough crisis, people are unable to eat, but possibly he means for us sometimes to go a step further than a natural response, to a willful fast.
I appreciate the discussion of how we in the Western world have divided our selves into the spiritual part (mind, emotions) and the non-spiritual part (body). I have noticed in scripture how a person’s devotion and faith were demonstrated physically in those times and places so much more than we do here (North America) and now. In times of grieving or crisis—spiritual or not—we read of some wearing sackcloth, tearing their garments, tithing living animals, and traveling many miles to join in a national religious holy day. In a way I have envied them for their culture which brought a person’s religious faith from the inside to the outside.
In reading this book, I did struggle a bit with the “body” terminology: body turning, body plea, body calendar, body hope. I think the text would have flowed a little more easily if I wasn’t interrupting my train of thought to wrap my head around what those terms really meant, and trying to chase away society’s current connotations of body image and body contact.
The idea of fasting as a response to a situation, versus fasting for a result, appeals to me as a purer motive, yet there seems to be no way of getting around the scriptural and traditional practices of fasting for certain outcome. In fact, one of the latter chapters, “Fasting and its Benefits”, seemed to conflict with the earlier chapters in the book. So I’m still gathering information and wisdom on my personal attempts to understand the practice, and this book is an important launch for that journey.
I would recommend Fasting to all who desire to follow completely the Lord’s multi-faceted plans for transforming us to be more like Him. I enjoyed some of the fringe benefits of reading this work, such as learning more about devoted Christians from the time of Christ to today, and about ancient and modern religious practices. I even learned a bit about myself, some of it disappointing. But I am grateful for the way Scot McKnight’s book very gently and subtly suggests that we take a close look at what makes us grieve, and what we truly yearn for. Any book that does that is of immense value to a believer.
[Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.]
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Review 4 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Very worthwhile read

Date:March 16, 2011
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Charissa
Location:Pittsburgh, PA
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One of the book reviewing sites I'm working with is Booksneeze and today's review is a book I received from them. I was given a copy of the book to review, but am under no obligation to review it favorably.
Fasting by Scott McKnight
This book is a part of the Ancient Practices Series that the Sabbath book I reviewed comes from. I enjoyed and was convicted by that one and with Lent on the way, this was a great one to sign on for. McKnight's book talks about the discipline of fasting, the history of it, the reasons for it and gives examples of different types of fasting. He breaks down how fasting relates to different aspects of our being in a logical and sensible way.
I've read a great deal about spiritual disciplines, but have, for a variety of terrible reasons, avoided delving much into the world of fasting. I've not even read up on it much, to be honest, lest I be convicted to make it fit. I'm not a food addict, but I'm an American. We don't like anything that even looks remotely like inconvenience and fasting looks terribly inconvenient. For about 5 or so years, I was constantly pregnant or nursing, and that was my excuse. Then I started training for marathons, and nutrition is important and that's been my recent excuse. Before that, the most fasting I had done was for the 30 Hour Famine.
McKnight isn't just talking about the giving up of chocolate or facebook or alcohol that so many folks do at Lent. While he doesn't have a problem with discipline abstinence of certain distractions, he is clear that when the Bible talks about fasting, it means not eating and sometimes it even means not drinking. Knowing that there are many folks who tout fasting as the healthy thing to do and others complain that it's not healthy at all, he spends the entire last chapter talking about fasting and the body. He also reiterates time and time again that we must not fast for results, but rather as a response to a sacred moment in life. Fasting is not primarily a way to add power to our prayer. It is an act of reverence.
This book has certainly opened my eyes about the importance of the practice of fasting and has convicted me to make a careful effort to add the practice to my life and to beware that I'm fasting with the right motives. I highly recommend this book to all my Christian friends and family, especially those of you who, like me, haven't really taken fasting seriously in the past. And even if you have, this may give you an interesting new perspective on it.
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Review 5 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Good Book, With Qualifications

Date:March 14, 2011
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JFG101
Location:Washington
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Fasting by Scot McKnight
McKnight addresses the often-misunderstood subject of fasting by insisting that it is “the natural inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life.” Fasting may bring results such as answers to prayers but McKnight labors at length to emphasize that results are not the reason for participating in fasting. In fact, focusing on the results that might be obtained leads to misunderstanding of the real value of fasting.
The book is valuable in challenging readers to understand why fasting is a useful spiritual discipline. One should not fast solely as a matter of obligation. One should not fast simply for the assumed benefits one gets from it. One fasts because it is the natural human response to the spiritual need of growing closer to God.
McKnight’s work is not without significant weaknesses. It contains numerous assertions but lacks supporting evidence for the claims made. Not enough is said about Bible teaching about fasting, which is a major flaw for readers seeking Biblical authority for the way they practice their faith. Understanding that this book is part of the Nelson “Ancient Practices” series, it still seems that too much weight is given to the practices of the post-apostolic church.
If pressed to give a letter grade, this reviewer could award nothing better than a B minus. It is worth reading, but leave an unsatisfying sense that it could have been much better.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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Review 6 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Exactly What You Need to Know About Fasting...

Date:February 26, 2011
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Pam M
Location:NC
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Fasting by Scot McKnight
I was interested in fasting and was glad to see this title available. To start with, let me say that this is an excellent book. You do need to know that the beginning may be a little bit repetitive; however, I believe the author intends to do this in order to stress certain points.
There is an abundance of history of fasting in the first few chapters. Much I did not know about the practice of fasting. At times I felt as though I were simply studying the practice without much of a spiritual context, but this changed later in the book. So I do encourage readers to press on and finish the book. The later chapters covering the problems and benefits of fasting focused on the fact that God is sovereign and not manipulated by fasting and that fasting does not always produce the desired outcome of prayers. I liked the honesty of the author regarding this and the acknowledgement of the Lord’s ways being higher than our ways.
I found the chapter on fasting as body calendar very interesting and applicable.
The author’s main point is that fasting is not a tool; it is a response to a sacred moment in life (defined in a variety of ways). He also makes excellent points regarding hypocrisy in fasting. For example, if fasting leads to anger, bitterness, pride or irritability, then the person fasting should be learning some important things about their spiritual state. Fasting should lead to good and to love, to a deeper relationship with the Lord.
The author also discusses the differences between fasting and abstaining, honesty in fasting, and fasting as body discipline. All in all, I believe this is an excellent resource for anyone desiring to study fasting and to have a well-rounded intellectual understanding of the discipline as well as a spiritual understanding of fasting and its purpose.
There were a few typos in the book, misspelled words, but just a handful. Not enough to make the book difficult to read by any means.
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Review 7 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A definition that makes sense!

Date:February 23, 2011
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Anonymous
Location:Savannah, GA
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5 out of 5
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I've been curious about fasting for some time, knowing it’s a spiritual discipline practiced in the Bible and throughout history, but the reasoning behind it is something I haven’t been able to grasp. It always sounded to me as if people were saying that if I sincerely wanted something from God, fasting was the way to get it. That sounded somewhat selfish or manipulative to me, so, from that point of view, I was hesitant to practice fasting.
In his book, "Fasting," however, Scot McKnight has made things clearer for me. McKnight defines fasting this way:
"Fasting is the natural, inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life."
In other words, when something happens that grieves you and that you know grieves God as well, fasting is the natural response. Some people eat extra when they grieve. Others stop eating altogether. Fasting is much like the latter, only when you fast, you are grieving with God as you plea for Him to make things right and trust His Will, regardless of His response. On p. 168, McKnight says, "Perhaps what we need to become deeper in fasting is bigger and bigger hearts . . . greater sensitivity to the plight of others and the grievousness of life’s sacred moments." He portrays fasting as a compassionate response.
McKnight explains this in depth, showing how fasting is also a prayer of the whole self, involving the physical with the mental and spiritual. He shows how fasting is practiced biblically and how it has been practiced traditionally. He also explores problems, misunderstandings, and dangers associated with fasting to provide the reader with essential wisdom and advice.
This book was truly helpful to me. For a greater understanding of this ancient practice, I recommend this book to you. Thank you, Thomas Nelson, for sending it for my review.
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Review 8 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Fasting is a book you can sink your teeth into

Date:February 21, 2011
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Dave
Location:St. Petersburg
Age:45-54
Gender:male
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is much explored, but seldom practiced in contemporary Western Christianity. But it wasn’t always so.
For the first sixteen centuries of church history, abstaining from food and drink for spiritual reasons was a common practice for believers. But something happened. Scot McKnight explores the traditions of the discipline in his new book Fasting.
Contributing to the disuse of fasting is a body image problem. Rather than embracing a biblical understanding of the human existence, the church today sees the body and spirit as separate entities that are usually at war with one another. That duality often results in a complete abandonment of any physical undertaking to nourish or strengthen the spirit.
What is perhaps most unique about McKnight’s perspective on fasting is what he believes should inspire the Christian to fast: a grievous sacred moment. He suggests that avoiding physical indulgence should be a response to sin, sickness or the absence of God’s presence. This perspective is markedly different from the prevailing opinion that fasting is a means to obtain something you want from the Lord.
Originally published in 2009, this new edition of Fasting includes an added study guide.
Fasting is a thoughtful and valuable addition to well-known books including, including Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard and Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I hope that its effect on my life would be that fasting becomes a living reality for today, not just a dusty ideal embraced by forgotten saints of long ago.
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Review 9 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Body Poverty

Date:February 19, 2011
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Michael
Location:Atlanta, GA
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With Lent just next week, Scot McKnight has brought us a powerful injection of biblical truth on the title subject of fasting, while also sharing a word of caution to those who fast without a deep understanding of how our body works, and he shares the risks that can result from fasting in an excessive fashion! I personally never took the thought of fasting that far, so it was refreshing and insightful to gain that knowledge.
In Fasting, McKnight reveals fasting as a responsive act, a natural response to grief. Body Plea, Body Turning, Body Grief, Body Discipline, all practices of the act of fasting and Scot dives deep into the history of the people of God as they unify themselves as a body of believers in worship.
Fasting is a deep and rich look into the theological aspects of Christianity and its practices, as well as a historical account of Lent and how we as followers of Christ can become actively involved in the practice of fasting as a way of turning our eyes and our body and our lives back to the One who gave His so freely!
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Review 10 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:February 16, 2011
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Sharon
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When most people hear the word “fasting” they start to cringe. One immediately thinks of all the things we would have to forgo while fasting. For me I think that’s incorrect. It’s not about what you can’t do/have; it’s spending time focusing on the Lord.
According to Scott, fasting is the natural, inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life. With that said fasting is not a diet, it’s a choice to withhold food or drink for a specific period of time. He feels that fasting should be a natural and inevitable response to different situations that happen in our lives.
I found this book to be very dry for my liking. I didn’t always agree with some of Scot McKnight’s thoughts and or opinions when it comes to the purposes or references of fasting. When taking references from other documents beyond that of God breathed scripture, I am always leery. He refers to Catholic history, Monks, John Wesley, and several Bible figures throughout the book. Scott McKnight is an Anabaptist Theologian.
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Review 11 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Fasting by Scot McKnight

Date:January 29, 2011
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wood
Location:Dallas, TX
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Fasting - the title of Scot McKnight's offering to "The Ancient Practices Series" leaves no doubt as to the subject matter of the book. McKnight does a fine job of dealing with the concept of fasting and bringing to light a few challenging concepts.
The book opens with McKnight briefly tracing the practice of fasting from the Scriptural accounts all the way to the current generation. The author then lays his cards on the table with his definition of fasting: "Fasting is the natural, inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life" (page xviii). McKnight spends some time in supporting this proposal, laying out a formula for right fasting (A  B  C). A is the sacred moment experienced - be it revelation of God's glory, of our sin, of social injustice or whatever. This experienced sacred moment leads one naturally into "a response (B), in this case fasting." Only after the proper relation of B to A does fasting produce a result, C (xix). All too often, people approach fasting looking only at B and (mostly at) C, without regard to a sacred moment.
Another key element that McKnight brings to this work is the notion that Christians have seemed to draw a distinction between body and spirit. The author makes an attempt to reveal this as untrue and unholy. He shows fasting as a whole-person worship response to God.
McKnight then spends the bulk of the book discussing the various forms of fasting. Drawing from Biblical accounts and using modern parallel illustrations, the author couches each form in terms that shows the bodily response to the spiritual question and sets each within the formula that he laid out in the introduction.
This was a good book for a quick survey of Biblical fasting. It is informative, devotional and convicting.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 12 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Fasting

Date:January 21, 2011
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Reid
Location:California
Age:35-44
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I was so excited to read Scot Mcknight's Fasting: The Ancient Practices Series. I've heard so much about fasting recently and wanted to know more about it. I loved how he says that one doesn't fast to get something, and yet, whenever I speak with friends that are fasting, that is exactly what they want: to get what they want, or a clear vision of something. In the introduction McKnight writes,
"I have come to this conclusion about fasting: when the grievous sacred moment is neglected and instead we focus on the results, fasting becomes a manipulative device instead of a genuine, Christian spiritual discipline. far too much of the conversation today about fasting is about what we can get and not enough about the serious and severe sacred moments that prompt fasting. "
If you wish to know more about yourself and what fasting really means, I recommend this book.
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Review 13 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Fasting: The Ancient Practices Series

Date:January 20, 2011
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GiniB
Location:Dallas, PA
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Fasting from The Ancient Practices Series is another of the books that seeks to encourage the reader to consider a practice that most religious orders practiced regularly in the past. Fasting is one that has all but been forgotten in most Christian circles. The reasons for that are varied according to McKnight but primarily because of loss of the notion that the body and soul is an integrated unit.
He opens with a discussion of body image, one that focuses on the link between the body and the spirit and develops the theme from there. One development from that is the reason an individual fasts at all. It is not as he points out repeatedly to obtain some favor from God. It is he thinks an expression that comes from a significant or as he calls it “grievous” (xviii) sacred moment. His definition works but it will take the reader a while to understand what he means by it.
The book overall is gently written and well thought out. It certainly helped me get a better understanding of fasting. As some have noted the opening is slow. I found myself counting how many different ways he could say the same thing on one page early on in the book. Keep going it does get better and is worth your effort.
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Review 14 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting: The Ancient Practices.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

An Inspiring Book

Date:January 5, 2011
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Jennie
Location:Manila, Philippines
Age:25-34
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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Having a handful of questions about “Fasting,” the book on it by Scot Mcknight was my default pick from the number of books available for review via Thomas Nelson. It is the first book I have read on “fasting” and I appreciate the biblical truths shared within. I have learned a lot of things about this particular spiritual discipline that was practiced way back from the Old Testament.
read more: http://www.marriageandbeyond.com/2011/01/05/the-ancient-practices-series-fasting-by-scot-mcknight/
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Review 15 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A rich book that seeks to understand fasting

Date:January 3, 2011
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Christopher Smith
Location:Indianapolis, IN
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Throughout this book, McKnight’s approach to fasting is to examine it as a historical practice of the Church, and even more as a practice of the people of God that began in the Israelite people before the time of Christ’s earthly ministry. One of the things that I deeply appreciate about McKnight’s historical approach here is that he makes a seamless transition between the history of Israel and church history. In the first chapter, McKnight notes that fasting is a bodily practice and that many of our problems with fasting – both in not doing it and how it is done when we practice it – stem from our misconceptions of the body. Although in Western culture, we are inclined toward a dualism that severs the body and soul (or spirit). McKnight argues convincingly that we are biblically to understand the person as an “organic unity.” He goes on to elaborate some destructive ways that we come to view our bodies as a result of making a sharp body/soul distinction: “a monster to be conquered,” “a celebrity to be glorified,” etc. He concludes this chapter by concisely stating his understanding of fasting:
[A] unified perception of body, soul, spirit, and mind creates a spirituality that includes the body. For this kind of body image, fasting is natural. Fasting is the body talking what the spirit yearns, what the soul longs for, and what the mind knows to be true. It is body talk – not the body simply talking for the spirit, for the mind or for the soul in some symbolic way, but for the person, the whole person, to express himself or herself completely (11).
FASTING is a rich book that seeks to understand the practice of fasting in the contexts of Christian theology and of the history of God’s people. I hope and pray that Englewood and other churches will read this book – perhaps during the season of Lent – and consider how fasting can be a part of their community’s life together. Ultimately, fasting is primarily a practice of the church, and when I or anyone else undertake fasting as an individual practice, we are at a much greater risk of falling into one of the unhealthy patterns of fasting that McKnight names here.
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Review 16 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting: The Ancient Practices.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Refreshing Look At Fasting

Date:December 27, 2010
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Sean
Location:Iowa
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5 out of 5
This book, from The Ancient Practices Series, covers one of the most misunderstood, and possibly most neglected, disciplines in Christianity. The author makes the case that fasting isn’t to be used as an instrument to get something, but that it is a physical response to a sacred moment. The author states, “Fasting is a choice…because some moment is so sacred that partaking in food would…profane the seriousness of the moment.” Mr. McKnight makes a strong case to avoid the dualistic philosophy of most Western thought to see that spirituality is not only a soul issue, it is a body issue as well.
The author does a great job of covering the instances of fasting in the Bible and the history of fasting in the early Church. The book more than just addresses not eating, it literally looks at the heart of the matter and the proper motives for doing something as drastic as fasting. While being intentionally redundant about the purpose for fasting, the book still holds your attention as it covers the different situations in life that may call for a fast; from sin, to death and disaster, to a cry for justice, or even to experience the presence of God. This book was very informative on a topic that I’ve only heard mentioned briefly from the pulpit. I would recommend this book to both new and old Christians alike.
Disclosure Note: Thomas Nelson has been gracious enough to give me a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Review 17 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting: The Ancient Practices.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 22, 2010
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James
Most books I have read on fasting focus on using it as a way to get God to do what we want Him to do. In essence, they distill it into a form of divine manipulationfasting is promoted as the best means to accomplish the ends we desire. In those writings, it is viewed as a kind of super prayer. McKnight has a much different, and far more biblical, approach. Throughout the book, he teaches the idea that, Fasting is not a technique we ply that makes things happen just because we ply it. The heart of the deep Christian tradition about fasting is that a grievous sacred moment prompts the integrated person to fast. Sometimes the resolution comes about, and sometimes it doesnt. While I am uncomfortable with much of the authors underlying ecumenism, his view of fasting is refreshing because it is biblical. Although his argument is not bolstered by detailed scriptural exposition (which would have been helpful), it is informed by an accurately informed biblical worldview. Fasting is not a tool with which to manipulate God. Fasting is a whole-body response by Christians who are experiencing grief over a particular situation. Particularly helpful are the authors treatment of dualism and the potential problems with fasting. This is not a how-to book on fasting and should not be the only book one reads on the subject, but it is a valuable resource to enable readers to have the right focus. While it is not designed to answer the how questions, it does a wonderful job answering the why questions. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is either wholly neglected or widely abused. This book will guard the reader against both unfortunate extremes.
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Review 18 for Fasting: The Ancient Practices - eBook
This review is fromFasting: The Ancient Practices.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:February 9, 2009
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Chris Smith
Just in time for the season of Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday (this year February 25), Thomas Nelson has just released the newest book in its Ancient Practices series: Fasting by Scot McKnight. This volume offers both a deeply rooted theological case for fasting and a firm caution against the dangers that fasting poses to ones health, if done excessively or without an understanding of how the human body works. ...Ive tried fasting on my own a few times, particularly on retreats, but to paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, fasting is a practice that Ive found difficult and therefore one that Ive pretty much left untried. I recognize the biblical and historical significance of fasting, but have never really been part of a church community that valued fasting as a significant practice. It seems to me that at least part of our hesitancy toward fasting here at Englewood Christian Church is the ways that weve seen fasting being done in theologically appalling ways. At the books outset, McKnight names one such erroneous and detrimental way that fasting is practiced, to which he will frequently return over the course of the book: viz., fasting in order to produce results. Such a practice of fasting, which McKnight calls an instrumental view of fasting, is not a healthy spiritual discipline, but rather a manipulative device. McKnight argues instead that fasting is a responsive practice, saying that fasting is a bodys natural response to grief. He does not deny that sometimes results do come from fasting, but he is adamant that for the people of God, the why of fasting should be a response to grief and not a means to an end however good that end might seem. McKnight is also careful to point out that avoiding chocolate, coffee, television or some other enjoyable habit for Lent can be helpful as a sort of abstinence, but should not be called fasting.
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