Asceticism: Word Of The Week

The teaching that spirituality is attained through renunciation of physical pleasures and personal desires while concentrating on “spiritual” matters. Jesus Himself advocated certain practices such as fasting (Mt 9:15) or, for some perhaps, celibacy (Mt 19:12) for the sake of the kingdom; yet some Christians have overemphasized the role of ascetic practices. This prompted the Apostle Paul to assert that ascetic practice alone is insufficient as a means of escaping from sin (see Col 2:20-23). Unfortunately, asceticism often proceeds on the assumption that the physical body is evil and is ultimately the cause of sin – a wholly unbiblical concept.