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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
55- Reply to the objection concerning abstaining from certain foods
The verse in the Holy Bible on which our Protestant brethren depend does not speak about Church discipline, but says: "...some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons... forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving" (ITim.4: 1-3). Probably the people whom St. Paul is referring to are the Manichaeans and the Mandaeans who forbade marriage, meat and wine. The Church excommunicated them and condemned all their heretic publications.
The Church does not forbid the eating of meat and similar foods, but abstains from eating them during fasts as an ascetic practice and not because they are unclean food. This is proved by the fact that people eat these foods when they break their fast.
Daniel ate pulse only and abstained from all other foods, yet he was not condemned according to the aforementioned verses. Likewise, John the Baptist abstained from certain foods and so do all ascetics everywhere and in every age.
Asceticism for a certain time is one thing and forbidding food is another. We have to say an important remaining point.
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