Fasting before Holy Communion

Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by PDL, May 3, 2020.

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
    “For it is written in the book of Psalms,

    ‘Let his homestead become desolate,
    and let there be no one to live in it’;

    and
    ‘Let another take his position of overseer.’ Acts 1:15-20.

    Let his homestead become desolate . . . comes from Ps. 69:25.

    Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
    according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
    Do not hide your face from your servant,
    for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.
    Draw near to me, redeem me,
    set me free because of my enemies.
    You know the insults I receive,
    and my shame and dishonor;
    my foes are all known to you.
    Insults have broken my heart,
    so that I am in despair.
    I looked for pity, but there was none;
    and for comforters, but I found none.
    They gave me poison for food,
    and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
    Let their table be a trap for them,
    a snare for their allies.
    Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and make their loins tremble continually.
    Pour out your indignation upon them,
    and let your burning anger overtake them.

    May their camp be a desolation;
    let no one live in their tents.

    For they persecute those whom you have struck down,
    and those whom you have wounded, they attack still more.
    Add guilt to their guilt;
    may they have no acquittal from you.
    Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
    let them not be enrolled among the righteous.
    But I am lowly and in pain;
    let your salvation, O God, protect me.
    Ps. 69:16-29.

    Let another take his position as overseer, comes from Ps. 109:8.

    Do not be silent, O God of my praise.
    For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
    speaking against me with lying tongues.
    They beset me with words of hate,
    and attack me without cause.
    In return for my love they accuse me,
    even while I make prayer for them.
    So they reward me evil for good,
    and hatred for my love.
    They say, “Appoint a wicked man against him;
    let an accuser stand on his right.
    When he is tried, let him be found guilty;
    let his prayer be counted as sin.

    May his days be few;
    may another seize his position.

    May his children be orphans,
    and his wife a widow.
    May his children wander about and beg;
    may they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit.
    May the creditor seize all that he has;
    may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil.
    May there be no one to do him a kindness,
    nor anyone to pity his orphaned children.
    May his posterity be cut off;
    may his name be blotted out in the second generation.
    May the iniquity of his father be remembered before the Lord,
    and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out
    . Ps.109:1-14.

    Peter may have been right to replace Judas among the twelve with the lucky winner of a God lottery, but I would challenge most believers to figure out his reasoning concerning the scriptural basis upon which he rested his decision to hold the competition between (Joseph called Barsabbas who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias).

    Peter of course believed the words of verse 25 of Psalm 69 and verse 8 of Psalm 109 were inspired by the Holy Spirit and were also attributed to King David, but Peter had no inspired apostolic spiritual insight into God The Holy Spirit's interpretation of those verses, because at the time Peter and the others were yet to receive the power to make such judgments, the Holy Spirit having not yet come upon them all.

    The other reason I doubt Peter's interpretation of these snippets of verses is the light in which they cast the character of Jesus Christ. The words of both these psalms are very vengeful and vindictive words from an often vengeful and vindictive but otherwise righteous man. (i.e. King David, under attack). I don't think Jesus Christ was ever vengeful and vindictive, even in his death throws, he was just righteous. The words from these two psalms are a stark contrast to Jesus Christ's words from the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". Luke 23:34. If the words Peter thought applied to Judas actually did apply to Judas, then the rest of the words of Psalms 69 and 109 would appear to be Christ's, and I don't think they are or were. They are David's words.

    But we are getting a bit off the subject of Fasting before Communion, I think.
    .
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That's your opinion. My opinion is, the explanation is plausible and quite probable.

    Your opinion is based in a certain skepticism and cynicism regarding the Bible. My opinion is based on confidence in God's ability and desire to keep the various parts of His words in harmony. In other words, you do not have faith that God's hand was upon the writing and preservation of the Bible in as thorough a manner as I believe it was. I doubt that either of us can ever convince the other.

    Earlier today I corresponded with a skeptic who did not believe that the N.T. even rose to the level of 'a reasonably accurate historical document.' In terms of how to regard the Bible, he is further down the continuum. I feel that it is just a few short steps from "small doubts" to the edge of a steep downward slope which tumbles into a chasm of doubt and unbelief. I will stand well back from that slope for safety's sake.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    We are in danger here of derailing the thread title and talking about a different subject entirely, so I will answer your comments in your last post but refrain for further comment on the subject of 'presumed biblical inerrancy' and how certain interpretations of that principle affect and infect the way the scriptures are understood and interpreted.

    You wrote:
    My understanding of the meaning of scripture is influenced by my respect for the truth. I enquire, make search, ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, then I believe it. Deut. 13:14.

    Your opinion is based upon an assumption which manipulates the truth in order to enhance The Authority of the Bible as an infallible 'Book of Rules'.

    In accordance with being 'biblical' in my reasoning and apprehension of truth, I believe "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

    That is as thorough a manner as any Anglican can be expected to go, since nothing contained in scripture requires anything like the manner in which you have decided to believe "God's hand was upon the writing and preservation of the Bible".

    Our lack of agreement on the principles you have decided to adopt, which are themselves extrabiblical, will ultimately be the reason we cannot find agreement in this matter, not because you have a "Right" way of regarding the scriptures and I have a "Wrong" way in understanding the meaning of God's message to mankind.

    That depends on how intransigent you are. ;) :laugh: (Believe me Rexlion, I do not object to your theories regarding biblical inerrancy, only to the errors it causes you to make in biblical, interpretation). However inerrant the bible may or may not be, it is the errors in the interpretation of what it contains which are the real problem.

    I hope you are not classifying me in the same box labeled 'Godless Heretics' as you have him. :( :laugh:

    When very young, did you also convince yourself that swimming is an unnaturally godless act, in order to justify your fear of drowning when you were an inexperienced novice, never having yet entered the water? :no: :thumbsdown:

    Faith in God and the inspiration, effectiveness and truth of the words of His message to mankind does not depend upon a false belief that every word of scripture was physically and literally written by God, or even that they were dictated, edited and collated by God himself. God acts upon and enables human understanding of the truth, as and when they read or hear the message conveyed by God in scripture. It is the reception of the message contained within, and the spirit, not the letter of the law, that brings life to the unregenerate soul, not just the words of the message itself, not the pages, the print and especially not the punctuation or maps at the back, however sincerely you may believe they are all 'somehow special'.
    .
     
  4. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    Which rule/s do you imply I may have been transgressing?
     
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You mentioned the possibility of errors reproduced in the Gospels. At the time I was thinking about this one: "There shall be no derogatory statements about Scripture, such as that it is erroneous..."
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    It depends what you think might constitute 'an error', I suppose.

    In the case of Peter's report to the other disciples concerning the details of the death of Judas, it is not an error in scripture that Peter probably reported an untruthful rumour which was corrected later in one of the Gospels. Judas actually hanged himself and we probably do not know exactly where he did the deed. Nevertheless Peter was reporting truthfully what was common scuttlebutt on the Jerusalem grapevine, so scripture correctly recorded the truth that there was a rumour going round and even tells us truthfully what the rummour was. Scripture also correctly recorded that Judas hanged himself and the priests bought a field with the money Judas threw back into the treasury. Scripture is absolutely faultless here. It is those who want to play around with the truth of it and try to make Judas do both what was incorrectly reported in the Jerusalen scuttlebutt AND also what was truthfully reported in the Gospel which said he just hanged himself, (end of), and the priests bought a field with the blood money. Scripture is meticulously truthful.
    .
     
  7. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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  8. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Of course this issue was one of the reasons that CS Lewis rejected a theology of the inerrancy of every statement in scripture.

    I remember when teaching scripture having dealt with the whole issue of the story of the crucifixion, I asked the class 'How did Jesus die', and one student responded 'Judas stabbed him in the back'. Of course I realise that does not exactly correspond the the recorded accounts in scripture, nor was it the answer I had been expecting, yea even hoping for, however in a real sense the statement did carry some level of truth. I am not wanting the detailed discussion of Pilate's question, however I do believe that it is possible to look at these things and speak truth in different words at different times.

    I am happy to accept that Matthew and Luke are telling the truth, without the need to find some manipulative way to make the accounts converge.

    ἐλάκησεν μέσος καὶἐξεχύθη πάντα τὰσπλάγχνα αὐτοῦ

    having fallen headlong, he burst open and all his guts gushed out.​

    The bowels or intestines were understood culture to be the source of negative passion emotion violence and anger. SPLAGCHNA is a wonderful Greek word which is very hard to enunciate without sounding guttural.

    I see no reason why we can't accept the truth of scripture without the need to suggest that every single accent and mark represents faultless and absolutely historically correct descriptions.

    I am one with CS Lewis on this
     
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  9. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    As discussed at length at the URL above, we need to recognize the twin evils which may obtain in interpreting Scripture.
    -#1. making everything relativized and open for interpretation
    -#2. forgetting the multiple genres in Scripture, and erasing everything that's poetical, metaphorical, and such.

    The easiest shorthand which avoids all of those is to walk with the mind of the Anglican Divines, remembering that the Scripture is the Word of God. That simple formula permits there to be varieties of expression in Scripture while keeping its meaning reliable, objective, and unchanging.
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, the originating posts were on May 9, and PDL didn't ask what I meant until May 26, so I think some of the context may have escaped in the intervening time period. I feel like we chased after a couple of rabbits in the meantime.

    Tiffy, that rabbit is in his hole; let's go home and have tea. ;)
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Case proven, as far as I can see. QED. :laugh:
     
  12. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I did not do that nor was it my intent. My question was how do we satisfy ourselves that the Gospels are an accurate record of things that happened some time in the past. It was asked in the context that it was being suggested that we cannot rely on Tradition. I was referring to the fact that at the time the Gospels were written their content had to have reached the authors in the same way the Faith can be transmitted by Tradition.

    I think it is reasonable to question the accuracy of the texts of the Sacred Scripture. There is a whole scholarly discipline based on doing this. I do not believe that amounts to making derogatory remarks about Holy Writ. Nor does it infer that the Word of God is erroneous per se. The testing of the accuracy of the Scriptures is done by scholars and I do not believe that is negative thing to do.
     
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  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I see. My answer would be, we trust the NT gospels because we have good reason to believe they were written by first-hand eyewitnesses, and these gospels agree in all substantive respect while the differences (which are minor and do not affect any important doctrines) are natural evidence of differing viewpoints and perceptions of four individuals (which helps us see that they are not mere copies from one original). We believe the writings were produced while eyewitnesses to the events still lived, yet there does not appear to have been an outcry of witnesses contradicting the recorded events.

    We also trust them because they are consistent with and supported by other historical and archeaological evidence. Morevoer, we trust them to have been accurately reproduced in all essential respects because we have many extant manuscripts and manuscript fragments to compare with. And we trust them because we have reason to believe that the earliest Christians who had access to them in written form accepted them as trustworthy.

    Most of the same reasons apply to the NT epistles, although in Paul's case he was not so much of an eyewitness; but Peter, James, John, and the others were alive when Paul wrote and they would have had ample opportunity to 'set the record straight' had Paul written fabrications or had he been incorrect on some important details.

    One might ask whether the writers took too long after the events to write things down, and whether erroneous memories were introduced. For that we again would look to the consistency between the witnesses, which remained high. And we are mindful that Jesus said His words would never pass away, and that God says His word do not return void but accomplish the purpose for which they are sent; thus we have faith that God's anointing was upon each of these writers to preserve His message to mankind with the necessary correctness and accuracy.
     
  14. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I myself am convinced on the basis of Scripture, Reason and Tradition that the four Gospels, correctly translated* and correctly interpreted*, are entirely infallible and free from error.

    *A correct translation being found in the Authorized Version, with the accompanying collects in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer being an invaluable guide towards correct interpretation of the appointed epistles and gospel proper to each given day.
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all. Mark 14:30-31

    Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. Matt. 26:43-35

    And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Luke 22:34-35


    Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
    Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
    John13:37 - John 14:1

    According to Mark Jesus said that Peter would deny him three times and a cock would by then have crowed only once.

    According the Matthew Jesus said Peter would deny him three times and then a cock would crow.

    According to Luke Jesus said to Peter that he would deny the Christ three times before sunrise on the day Jesus was making the statement.

    According to John Jesus said to Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before sunrise that same day, agreeing with Luke.

    Cock crow is at dawn in early light. So presumably Peter's denial or denials took place just before dawn.

    But did all three denials take place before sunrise?

    Mark seems to imply that the cock uncharacteristically would cry twice before dawn, and that Peter by that time would have denied Christ three times.

    Matthew seems to imply that the cock uncharacteristically would cry once before dawn, and that Peter by that time would have denied Christ three times.

    Luke seems to imply that the cock behaved normally and would wait until the dawn of the day to crow, by which time Peter would have already denied Christ three times.

    John seems to imply the same, that Peter would have denied Christ three times before cock crow at sunrise.

    It should be clear from this factual, textual evidence that not all Gospel writers are in complete agreement about the details of Peter's experience. They all only had Peter's testimony and their own recollection of Christ's words or in Lukes case the recollection of those who witnessed Christ's words, to go by.

    What we actually have is honest testimony recorded in scripture. Not as some Biblical inerrantists would have us believe, an accurate and detailed historical record of actual events, exactly, incontrovertibly and sequentially as they really happened.
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I have begun a new thread on the subject: https://forums.anglican.net/threads/inerrancy-and-infallibility-of-scripture.3948/

    But let me say that I don't see your exposition here to be contrary to inerrancy. The various accounts from these four witnesses' hands do not strictly contradict one another on any detail of import, but merely show variances in perception, viewpoint, or memory. All of the accounts are true. None of them are misleading, deceitful, or fraudulent. All of them together provide a coherent and cohesive portrayal of actual events. Some of them may not have heard the first crow of the cock, or some of them may not have thought it important to mention that there was more than one crow, but we understand that Peter heard both crows. Does the difference in the accounts mislead us, provide us with an untruth, or cause us to doubt the veracity of the witnesses? No. The differences show a variance in memory or perception on the part of the witnesses (as is normal among humans whose human natures have not been overridden by God) but do not indicate a contradiction of truth or necessarily even of fact. What we see is God inspiring these witnesses to write what they experienced, rather than Him intimately controlling their writing hands.

    I hope we can move this discussion largely to the new thread where it can be more easily found by both present and future readers, as opposed to far-flung bits and pieces in various threads.
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    But I am not trying to prove the 'errancy' of scripture. I don't believe scripture to be 'errant', I believe it to be inspired by God and profitable.

    As to all of these accounts being 'factually true', that depends upon the extent that you want to insist upon them all being completely in agreement on every discernable 'fact' mentioned in each narrative. They are certainly all true if we take each to be an absolutely honest attempt at conveying the truth of what actually took place, given the information each had at their disposal, but they each have nuanced details which might not actually be a blow by blow accurate description of every single historical event that they say took place.

    My point is not that the scriptures are in any way erronious. My point is that, being 'inspired' does not mean that scripture can be made to incontradictably relate every detail of historical happenings, like a recording of reality that we can play back at our leasure, to probe analyse and disect in order to ascertain what actually took place in every detail.

    We only have what God deemed it necessasary and profitable for humankind to know to ensure we have enough information to escape the judgment awaiting all who are heedless of God's compassionate warnings and rejecting of His boundless Grace.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Okay. But you seem to want to prove the errancy of inerrantists; what prompted my previous post was this statement:
    I believe the Bible is an accurate and, in many instances, detailed historical record. A small detail here or a minor question there should not change that. Otherwise we start to tumble down a slippery slope. What is next? Will some people decide that the miracles of Jesus (the healings, the feeding of thousands, the raising of Lazarus) are simply too fantastical to be believed, and since they don't see the Bible as an accurate historical record, will they simply reject the accounts? Will some choose to believe (as do some modern academicians) that Jesus never actually spoke the five "I am"s? Will some decide that Jesus never rose from the dead bodily but only in spirit? Where do we draw the line? If the Bible can't even be trusted as an accurate historical document, it will surely fail as a reliable communication of spiritual truth and as the word of God.
     
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I have copied this response to: Link in the thread inerrancy and infallibility in scripture, in the interests of relevance to the thread title.

    Some inerrantists are in fact errant in their belief. This 'errancy' is not however detrimental to their salvation, only to their understanding of the nature of reality.

    For instance, some are convinced that there are no contradictions anywhere in the Bible. Clearly they feel that if there were any contadictions, just a single one, then that would render their Bible 'defective' and therefore untrustworthy as documents upon which one can rely for information upon which one may rest one's eternal destiny.

    The mistake here is merely that they are mistakenly placing their faith in the perfection of the scriptures rather than placing it solely in the Word of God, (which is actually trusting in God's integrity and character), and therefore in the life, divinity, example and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, rather than the factually literal accuracy of a collection of ancient literature.

    This, I feel is putting the cart before the horse. In order to establish Christ's Divinity they must needs to establish and assert the Bible's inerancy, infallibility and authority first, thus making allegience to Christ and his teaching dependant on their etiological preferences concerning the relationship between the Word of God and the words of the scriptures.

    I don't find the slipery slope argument a convincing one when it comes to the close examination of the actual way in which the inspired scriptures came to us. One either believes the Word and takes it as relevant to us as a matter of life and death or one does not and simply disregards it as irrelevant to our eternal destiny. It needs no effort on our behalf to 'defend' it, insist upon it's authority, perfection or infallibility, any more than God himself needs our support.

    A metaphor for the attitude of Biblical infallibility inerrantists, might be the fear that a lawyer might have for his profession if there were no longer a police force to enforce The Law. The yawning slipery slope that the lawyer would be contemplating would, I feel, be pretty much equivalent to the fear that you express regarding the necessity of having an unquestionably inerrant, authoritative and irrefutably perfect Bible.
    .
     
  20. S. DeVault

    S. DeVault New Member

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    I was instructed to fast before receiving the Eucharist by an Anglican priest. The way I do it, I don't eat anything after waking up Sunday morning, except water and medicine. I do however smoke my pipe sometimes before church on Sundays (bad habit, I know). Is there anything written by the early Church about Eucharistic fasting?