The Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Cyril C. Okorocha PhD, has condemned the prescription of fasting for Christians by some pastors and other leaders in the church.
Bishop Okorocha was reacting to questions put across by a caller in the popular Radio Nigeria Heartland FM programme “Evangelical Hour” where he discussed the topic, “The Benefits of God’s Chosen Fast” (Part 1).
He said that the urge to fast should arise out of one’s volition, not that another person had instructed the one to fast, arguing that the “prescribed” fasting would not be beneficial to the one who fasts.
The Bishop deposed that fasting is not just abstaining from food but denying oneself of something and ensuring that someone else benefits from such denial.
He described fasting as being beneficial, especially if one takes some time off, to listen to God’s word, seeks His face, and asks Him to direct and guide one aright, as God, he said, will not fail to bless that person abundantly.
Bishop Okorocha, who posited that living for others is the highest expression of spirituality for any Christian, also contended that self-imposed fast leads to repentance of sin, allowing the light of Jesus to shine in one’s heart, reconciliation with God and mankind, stressing that the way of the Lord is the way of peace.
In answer to another phone-in question, the Prelate stated that, in times of ignorance, God would forgive, but if, in spite of all warnings, one continues to do the wrong thing, the person would end up grieving the Holy Spirit and which, according to him, is not likely to attract any forgiveness.
Fasting, he further explained, is intended to correct one’s ways, such that if one steals, one should steal no more, a lecturer should desist from sorting and selling of handouts, a civil servant should stop taking or giving bribe before any job is done etc, in order that one does not sell one’s conscience.
In the course of the programme he made reference to many portions of the Bible including Isaiah 5811, Colossians 220, 2nd Tim. 312, Acts 1730.