ARPA Canada is respectfully calling our Canadian brothers and sisters in the Lord to a day of sobriety, humility, prayer,
and fasting on Monday, May 30.
Bill C-14, which would legalize and normalize killing the weak and vulnerable, may receive its final vote in our House of Commons as early as May 30, and if passed, will be voted on in the Senate shortly thereafter. Sadly, much of the opposition to C-14 is coming from MPs and Senators who are demanding that it be even more radical, for example, by extending the killing to children. Our repeated calls for Parliament to correct the Supreme Court’s mistake and pass a new law that continues to prohibit euthanasia are largely being ignored by most MPs and Senators. Hearts are being hardened and many are being deceived.
As Reverend William den Hollander explains in the article republished below, our Lord Jesus observed that in the future of his church gathering work, special times of fasting will sometimes be appropriate and also spontaneous.
The sheer amount of news, including depressing accounts of a society that has turned its back on God, can lead us to cynicism, pessimism, and apathy. But these responses undermine God’s sovereignty and good counsel, through which we can trust that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
We respectfully suggest that this is an appropriate time to come before God with humble, prayerful, and repentant hearts, seeking God’s mercy and grace on our land. We can also implore God to work faith, courage, and love in the hearts of His children so that we respond to these challenges with hope-filled action – demonstrating love to our neighbours just as the “Good Samaritan” did to the beat-up and broken traveler.
In a world where Christians also can be numbed by the dizzying effects of busyness, over-stimulation, and instant communication, there are times we need to unplug, pause, read God’s Word, meditate, and pray – uninterrupted.
Some relevant Bible passages to consider during this time include:
- Genesis 9:5-7 – the image of God that is maintained and protected, even after the Fall and flood
- 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 – a reminder that the battle is God’s, not ours
- Ezekiel 33:1-20 – our serious calling as “watchmen”
- Matthew 6 – Jesus’ instruction on prayer, fasting, possessions, and worry
- Hebrews 11:32-12:13 – staying focussed on the race
- Revelation 21:1-4 – our eternal future, where there will be no more death
Thank you for the ongoing prayers you already lift up to our Father for this land. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatian 6:9)
On behalf of the ARPA team,
P.S. For clarification, this is not a call for a day of prayer as per the Church Orders of our respective Reformed denominations.
Clarion, Vol. 63, #11, June 6, 2014 (By Rev. William den Hollander, who currently is on the board of directors of ARPA Canada)
You asked: What role can and should fasting have in a Christian’s life? Are we missing out on something if we do not fast?
“Fasting” had a prominent place in the OT, when the LORD raised His still immature people with various commands and decrees as part of His ceremonial laws (Gal. 4:3). Fasting, then, was commanded especially on the Day of Atonement, when the Israelites had to “deny themselves,” [NIV, literally] by fasting that is (Lev. 16:29). They had to humble themselves with confession of sins, with prayers, and deny themselves whatever was pleasing and enjoyable for their body. Later on the Pharisees increased such fasting as a way of earning the LORD’s favour (as the RCC did in developing a practice of fasting for similar purposes, as merit, or as good works). We confess, however, in BC art 25, “that the ceremonies and symbols of the law have ceased with the coming of Christ…. In the mean time we still use the testimonies taken from the law and the prophets, both to confirm us in the doctrine of the gospel and to order our life in all honesty, according to God’s will and to his glory.”
The Lord Jesus disagreed with the demands of the Pharisees, where He says in Lk. 5:34, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?” Yet, then He does add, “But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” Here the Lord Jesus does not give a new ‘command’ for fasting for the time when He will have ascended into heaven; no, He predicts and prophesies that the NT believers will fastspontaneously . They’re no longer immature children who require commands, but as mature believers they will know how to please the Father and when to do His will and order their life, including a time of fasting.
We see how the Lord Jesus observed that in the future of His church gathering work there would be times again in which fasting will be appropriate. There will be days when the circumstances of war, calamity, famine, deformation, or persecution, will cause sadness and sorrow, which almost “ naturally ” (spiritually speaking) will lead to a time of special prayers and fasting. Again they will deny themselves the joys and pleasures for the body; they won’t have any interest in fun and entertainment, in ‘bread and games.’ In those days the Holy Spirit will lead them by the instructions and truth of the OT practices to a time of sobriety, of humility, and of prayer and fasting.
In the NT dispensation such times are not commanded but believers will be moved by the Spirit spontaneously. The NT church could also proclaim the need for such days, as the church in the 16th and 17th century did during times of persecution following the Great Reformation, or the church of the 19th century under similar circumstances. Calvin, in his Institutes , writes extensively about this [Bk. IV, Ch. XII, par. 19-21]. The Synod of Dort, 1618-1619, acknowledged the need for such special days in its Church Order (cf. our C.O., art. 54), recommending that churches be called to observe such a special day of prayer! At such an occasion it would be highly appropriate again to accompany such special prayer of a time of fasting. At such an occasion we would do well to heed the Lord Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:17, “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face [i.e. act normal!], 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.”