Wow... we're reviving a six-year-old thread? :shrug:
[quote="pqlaowks, post:14, topic:101324"]
The Bible does not require anyone to abstain from meat on any day. In fact, the only passages in the New Testament that talk about it are Acts 15:29 and 1 Timothy 4:3.
That's not true. In Judges 20:26, the entire army fasted and sacrificed to the Lord prior to an attack on the Benjaminites. In 1 Samuel 7, Samuel ordered the "whole house of Israel" to "return to the Lord with your whole heart," and the Israelites fasted for a day. In 1 Samuel 14, Saul commands the army to fast on a day of battle. In 1 Samuel 31 (and 1 Chronicles 10), men fast for a whole week after burying Saul and Jonathan. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehosaphat orders a fast for all of the Kingdom of Judah. In Ezra 8, Ezra assembles everyone who had returned from the exile in Babylon and proclaimed a fast for all the people so that they might have a safe journey.
But, that's just the Old Testament. You might reply that there's nothing in the New Testament that speaks to us of the necessity of fasting. That would be false, too. ;)
In Mt 9:14, Mk 2:18, and Lk 5:33, Jesus tells John's disciples that His disciples are not currently fasting, but that they will fast when He is taken away from them. In Acts 13, the prophets and teachers of the Church in Antioch were fasting and worshipping the Lord, prior to sending off Barnabas and Saul on their ministry.
So, it's clear that there are many Scriptural examples of fasting -- even fasting that was required, and fasting prescribed for all! And, after all, abstinence is a form of fast -- that is, a fast from animal products...!
The passage in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” This says that people who command others (the Catholic church) to abstain from meats are false teachers!! Whether it is talking about people who insist that others practice a vegetarian lifestyle at all times or whether it is talking about abstaining only on certain days (like Fridays) is unclear.
It's not unclear. Paul identifies that the foods from which people abstain are ones that should be "received with thanksgiving." Do Catholics "receive with thanksgiving" all sorts of meat? Of course they do! Therefore, this passage isn't talking about periodic abstinence, but permanent abstinence... which is not part of the Catholic observance of Lent. ;)
The practice of not eating meat on Fridays (all Fridays) dates back to about the fourth century.
I would argue that it's earlier than that: the Didache specifically talks about days of fast. Again, abstinence is a form of fast -- it's fasting from animal products!
the Bible says that requiring people to abstain from meat is itself a sin.
No, it doesn't! You yourself quoted the passage: it doesn't talk about meat at all -- that's a presumption you've inserted into the text! ;)
Anyone who requires it of others is absolutely wrong.
That's not what Jesus says. Remember when he was talking about the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23? He tells the people that "the scribes and Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you." In other words, since they had legitimate authority from God, they could command the people to observe particular religious practices; and, Jesus tells the people that they must obey these leaders when they made these commands. So, if the leaders required a person to fast or abstain... then, according to Jesus, it was completely legitimate and was binding on the people.
By the way... who did Jesus set as the authorities in His Church? Oh, yeah, that's right... Peter and the apostles. So... if their successors -- who now sit upon the seat of Peter -- prescribe a fast or an abstinence, based on their authority... then it would seem that Jesus' own words tell us that we are to listen to what they say and observe the things that that require. ;)