This week Dr. Daniel Amen, one of the co-authors of The Daniel Plan, offered some comments of interest. The Christian Post reports:
Are American churchgoers becoming too fat and unhealthy to practice their faith? One prominent doctor thinks so.
Dr. Daniel G. Amen, M.D., co-author of The Daniel Plan at Saddleback Church and author of the new book Use Your Brain to Change Your Age, told The Christian Post that our brains use 25 percent of the calories we consume.
"If you want your brain to be healthy, your food had [sic] to be. It's your brain that connects with God," he said.
Amen also stressed that a lack of brain function increases your risk of sin. "You have to have good frontal lobe function to inhibit saying hurtful thing [sic] or having the discipline to show up at church or Bible study – optimizing brain function can bring you closer to God and community," he said.
According to a media release, Amen said he had the sobering thought that "churches are sending people to heaven … early" when he saw donuts, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs at his church one Sunday. The church minister also mentioned a recent ice cream social. (Online Source, emphasis mine)According to these remarks made by Amen, man's problem with sin ultimately is due to a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle. Consequently, a man's sin would be something that man could mend on his own by simply taking steps to improve "brain function." Unfortunately for Amen, the Bible would disagree. Man's sin problem is inherent, innate and incurable apart from Jesus Christ.
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good, not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-21)Even the healthiest, most well-rested, adequately exercised, and properly-fed individual is a sinner, and a wretched, wicked one at that. Without repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, the activity of a man's frontal lobe will not save him. Yet churches, in their efforts to reach the felt needs of the congregation, have opted to place their focus on programs that seek to strengthen the body at the expense of the soul.
While Amen and others decry the atrocity of the presence of doughnuts and coffee cake in the church kitchen, there is another abysmal diet being consumed by churchgoers. This is a diet rich in narcissism, self-help and conceit. This same diet is dreadfully lacking in biblical truth, doctrine and theology. As the Daniel Plan slims down bodies, it also starves the soul. In the end, those bodies will still die and decay, and though they will one day be resurrected, what good is a fit and trim body if it is merely housing a soul that has been damned?
The fact that The Daniel Plan originated in Saddleback Church, and has been led by "America's Pastor" Rick Warren makes Amen's statements even more tragic. Ought not a Christian pastor be more concerned with the state of the souls he shepherds? Of course, there is nothing wrong with striving to live a healthy lifestyle, but when dieting and exercise become the focus of a church campaign rather than the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, then clearly it is not just the congregation that is unhealthy, but rather the entire church and all of its components. The aforementioned Christian Post article ended, then, with a most appropriate question asked by Amen:
"Are churches going to be part of the problem or part of the solution?"Sadly, the answer to this seems to be: many churches are the problem.