20 March 2012

Does 'Daniel Plan' Co-Author Care More About Your Scale Than Your Soul?

Rick Warren's The Daniel Plan was big news in 2011. Today, in 2012, it has largely joined the ranks of other church campaigns and fads, such as the Prayer of Jabez, the Purpose-Driven Life, and whatever marketing campaign the latest "Christian" film has implemented. Yet, like so many other trends, every now and then The Daniel Plan shows up in the headlines offering some new, fresh advice or insight.

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.


  1. Bravo...well done, and Amen!

  2. These people are becoming more insane by the day. Maybe this is an example of when God gives people over to a reprobate mind??

    Jesus made it clear in Mat 15:11-- "What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'"

    "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.20These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.'" -Mat 15:17-20

    Sin comes from our hearts not our frontal lobes. If people would read their Bibles and stop believing all these lies...sigh

  3. Generally I like your blog, but I don't think Dr. Amen said what you are attributing to him. There's plenty wrong with program driven churches that could use the light of day, but he really didnt say mans problem with sin was from a poor diet, or that his frontal lobe could save him. I see the same problems with programs that you do, but we need to be careful we don't put words in peoples mouths. It reminds me when the pyros said TGC believed MacDonald was called by god (to do his ER2), and hammered them mercilessly for it, but TGC clearly had said that they believed that MacDonald believed he was called by god to do it. Words matter, and we need to err on the side of impeccable honesty to make a difference. Thank you for your blog. You help to shine light in the dark placed.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Spike. You'll note that I never claimed that Amen stated a man's frontal lobe would save him, it was merely a comment based upon Amen's quote within the CP article, which said, ""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." The broader context of this statement was summarized in the opening sentence to that paragraph, that "a lack of brain function increases a risk to sin." The obvious implication of this is that healthy brain function = less sinning.

  5. I have to agree with Spike on this one. I think you have misstated the doctor.

  6. If someone can indicate where I specifically state, "Dr. Amen said ______," and by doing so erroneously quote him, then I will happily make the correction. Until that time, the post stands. I urge you to read the CP article in its entirety and see if the implication is indeed not present that "healthy brain function" can aid with one's sin problem, whilst the Gospel is hopelessly cast aside and absent.

  7. You have exaggerated Dr. Amen's claims. I enjoy your blog and pretty much always see things your way, but you missed the mark on this one.

  8. So, you have absolutely no concerns over the following statement?

    "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."

  9. "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."

    so basically fat people have the potential to sin more than skinny people?? What a ludicrous, guilt ridden and bias statement. I'd be up in arms if I were fat because it's simply not true. God shows no partiality and Jesus died for ALL our sins at the cross. What blasphemy to single out one group as being more "super christian" and holier if we just lose weight. Besides Christ's righteousness imputed to us is the same righteousness fat or skinny people have if they've been born again by God from above. So I fail to see why Dr Amen would make such a remark except to shill the "Daniel plan".

  10. Not to change the subject, but here's another article pointing out an area of concern [see below]. Have you seen it? Concerning false teachers the author writes, "What we're observing in the 21st century was already prevalent at the inception of the church." This article is so well-written that I would encourage you to go check it out for yourself. The link is:


    ~~and here is the title of the article:

    Evil Men and Imposters
    Grow Worse and Deceive

    by Heidi Swander


    March 21, 2012

    Thank you, EBenz, for helping us keep abreast of all that is going on in these dark days. I appreciate your website and your faithful ministry so much. Sincerely, Ruby

  11. Thanks, Ruby. This link actually does not work, but I believe this one will: http://untiljesuscomes.org/?p=1982#more-1982

    I have not read the article, so I cannot endorse it at this time, but wanted to share an active link for those who do want to read it.

  12. Oh, great.... so if I diet, it will keep me from getting to heaven sooner. Who knew??? I thought that God determined that. Boy, that Saddleback is just a wealth of information.lol.



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