“That's the scary part. I didn't know if I should smile, crack up, scream or run.” The Wizard of Oz
TheThin Blue Line-courtesy of NASA
So, one of our readers, Ted, said that he knew a couple of pastors who were concerned that TWW only seems to go after conservative churches. Therefore, they are a bit suspicious that we are liberals. As always, I was confused by this label and asked him to define what he meant by liberal. He said that Rick Warren and Tony Campolo seemed to fit the bill. The last time I carefully looked at Warren, he was doing the Purpose Driven Life schtick.
I have to admit that I read The Purpose Driven Life and thought that some of Warren’s points made sense. So many people drift aimlessly through life, attend a church or a Bible study or two, and kill time until called home into glory. I did not realize that an entire industry was born and once again we had people making money off of by products such as the Purpose Driven Family, the Purpose Driven Church, and the Purpose Driven Car. Soon, the whole notion of Purpose Driven anything made me want to purposefully pound my head against a wall and scream, “Enough already.” I have not thought much about the goings on at Saddleback for a few years.
I asked Ted if he had any concerns about Warren that he would like us to address. He quickly sent me a link that I found most interesting. It appears that Warren has decided that, he, along with the rest of his church, need to loose a boatload of weight. Sounded like a good idea to this nurse. But, as always, the devil is in the details.
Before I begin, this is a shout out to Ted and his two pastor friends who are a bit concerned about our devotion to orthodox Christian thinking. I expect them to defend our honor after reading the following.
My husband and I are heavily involved in the ministry of Christian Medical and Dental Association. (CMDA). Link At one of their area conferences, we were impressed by a lecture given by a Christian physician, Rita Hancock, who through her work with obese patients, came up with an effective diet plan which she herself used to lose 75 pounds. It is called the Eden Diet. It uses medical knowledge combined with common sense and some Scripture. Link
There are about 16,000 excellent doctors affiliated with this organization who happen to be Christians. Many of them are experts in their fields.This organization is often called to testify before Congress on ethical issues regarding stem cell research, euthanasia, etc.
So did Warren turn to one of these Christian experts to advise his church? Nope. It appears he wanted to go the way of the rich and famous and turned to a TV personality, the famous Dr Mehmert Oz, to introduce the Daniel Diet.
This diet is based on: "Daniel 10:3 ESV : I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. and Daniel 1:8-14 ESV: But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink"
Here is a link that lists the foods allowed on the Daniel diet.
Oh, you say, “I didn’t know Dr Oz was s Christian?” Well, he’s not. So, here’s the skinny. (I couldn’t resist).
According to the Orange Country register here
“The effort is part of Saddleback's Decade of Destiny – a 10-year plan to expand the ministry. The plan includes an element of personal growth meant to equip parishioners to succeed in seven areas: spiritual, physical, financial, relational, vocational, emotional, and mental.
"The Bible says that God wants us to be as healthy physically as you are spiritually," Warren said in a video announcing Saturday's event. "If you don't, you won't have the 'zip-a-dee-doo-dah' to do the rest. The plan will help you feel better, have more energy, get in shape and use your body the way God wants you to. We will be held accountable on how we were stewards of the body he gave us."
We pause for a short station break.
This article goes on to identify all of the chief players. “Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiac surgeon and TV show host, Dr. Mark Hyman, an expert in metabolism, and Dr. Daniel Amen, a bestselling author and clinical professor of psychiatry at UC Irvine, will help Warren kick off "The Daniel Plan" – based on Daniel 1, in which the prophet Daniel opts for vegetables and water”
Who are these gentlemen who will be advising Warren and his followers?
According to Christian News Wire here
"Besides being a television personality, “Dr. Mehmert Oz is a follower of Emmanuel Swedenborg according to The New Church website. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and is Professor of Cardiac Surgery at Columbia University.
He is inspired by Emmanuel Swedenborg, a cult leader who died in 1772 in Sweden. Swedenborgianism has up to 50,000 members worldwide according to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website. They deny the atonement, the trinity, and the deity of the Holy Spirit. They believe all religions lead to God and that Christianity must go through a rebirth. Also, they do not believe in a personal devil. They believe the Bible is not inspired and that when people die, they become an angel or an evil spirit.
Emmanuel Swedenborg had a vision in 1745 where he supposedly saw creatures crawling on the walls. He believed God then appeared to him as a man and told him that he would be the person to promote the new teachings to the world.”
Christian News reports that Dr. Amen teaches “tantric sex, a Hindu mystical approach to sex, and Eastern religion meditation. Dr. Amen has been an advocate of “Sa Ta Na Ma” meditation. He is the founder of Amen Clinics, is the author of over 25 books. He teaches techniques that will improve “brain health,” claiming that poor brain health is associated with a host of problems from overeating to depression.”
According to one source :
“Dr. Amen’s meditation technique of choice is Kriya Kirtan, as we stated above. This is a form of kundalini yoga (see his book,The Brain in Love, p. 146). Those who have studied with discernment the New Age, know that kundalini (or serpent power) is the spiritual “energy” behind meditation. Ray Yungen explains the relationship between kundalini and the chakras:
The chakras act as conduits or conductors for what is called kundalini or serpent energy. They say this force lies coiled but dormant at the base of the spine like a snake. When awakened during meditation, it is supposed to travel up the spine activating each chakra as it surges upward. When the kundalini force hits the crown chakra, the person experiences enlightenment or Self-realization. This mystical current results in the person knowing himself to be God. That is why kundalini is sometimes referred to as the divine energy.”
Addendum 10/1/11 According to Wikipedia here , his studies on the brain lack the typical scientific back-up commonly expected. He has been the subject of QuackWatch.
According to Christian News, Dr. Mark Hyman “promotes mystical meditation based on Buddhist principles.”
According to another source:
“He is the founder and medical director of the Ultra Wellness Center, he advises Dr. Oz’s health core group, and he’s a nominee to President Obama’s advisory group on prevention, health promotion, and integrative and public health.”
He also says here “The way we think about disease really is passé. In fact, recently at a conference…the CEO of a drug company said that in the future there will be no more drugs for blockbuster diseases, only drugs for blockbuster mechanisms. And the reason for this is that disease doesn’t exist…. Diseases all appear real but they are simply the downstream effects from upstream mechanisms and causes….
There is no depression
There is no bipolar disease
There is no autism
There is no ADHD
There is no dementia."
He also pushes his own very expensive vitamin supplements.
The Introductory Meeting at Saddleback:
Here is a partial report of one attendee to the introduction of this program at Saddleback which took place in January 2011.
- “To begin, I’d like to state that Saturday Jan. 15th, 2011 will go down in the history books as the day Saddleback Church was sold a bill of goods.”
- “They used tactics to tug at the heart strings such as videos of sick little girls who suddenly got well from being on “the program” and have been “set free” from relying on medications. Then they flooded the audience with “facts” and “statistics” to scare any grandmother, such as “a tsunami of disease is hitting us,” “life expectancy is going down,” “1 out of 2 people are diabetic or pre-diabetic,” “70% of all agricultural land is taken up by growing animals to feed all the people,” “the bigger your body gets, the more your brain shrinks,” etc.
- “The audience was told they would be champions in health to show the world what “living sustainably” was all about,”
- “Dr. Amen, made reference to the Egyptian pyramids and how they were built upon an “idea,” and if man could build something like that all those thousands of years ago, what could he do today if he put his mind to it?”
- “Dr. Hyman said that he is a Jew, Dr. Amen said he is a Christian, and Dr. Oz said he is a Muslim. And doesn’t that represent the demographic of “most of the population of the world”? But then he said, “we’re all the same underneath.”
- “The tragic thing about this day at Saddleback is, Jesus was never mentioned … and I mean NEVER. There were a few passing references to God; Daniel Amen mentioned that our bodies were “a temple of the Holy Spirit and the brain is the inner sanctum” [Amen means that all humans are the temple of the Holy Spirit], but Jesus never made the cut – ”sustainable lifestyles” and “group living” did.”
- “Dr. Amen mention in his presentation that he did a brain scan on one of his clients who had a habit of cheating on his wife. The brain scan showed that there were “holes in the pre-frontal cortex of his brain” which controls the impulses. In other words, this man wasn’t sinful, he was “mentally ill.” All he needed was to get on the “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” program, and his personal struggles with sin.”
Here are my concerns:
- This program is being promoted, from the pulpit, as a comprehensive health program for the members of the church. Why would Warren not seek the advice of qualified Christian professionals?
- If Warren is giving these professionals access to his pulpit and his congregation, what is he doing to insure that orthodox Christian teaching is not abandoned in favor of other religious or secular practices?
- Has Warren seriously pursued the rather dubious claims of these doctors? Where is the proof that “holes in the brain caused a man to have affairs?”
- Is Warren ensuring that truth be taught or is he merely pursuing the next new alternative health fad?
Finally, this whole program has raised many questions for me about Rick Warren and the emphasis of his ministry. I plan to do more reading on the subject and hope to get back to our readers with a follow-up.
Addendum 10/1/11: Tom Rich, at the well-received FBC Jax Watchdog posted the following comment which I believe will be of interest to our readers.
"This focus on physical health at Saddleback was the first part of Warren’s 7-module “Decade of Destiny”.
Thursday, and again this morning, I’ve posted on the second part of Warren’s “Decade of Destiny”, which is financial health that he unveiling this month.
Last Sunday Warren brought in Robert Morris, and told his congregation that he is an “expert” and “one of the top authorities” in financial planning in America. What did Morris teach the peeps at Saddleback? That the key to financial security and prosperity is to fork over 10% of your income to your church, which is a “good business deal” because you are purchasing God’s protection for your finances. Also, Morris says when you bring the full 10% to church, Jesus is there and he receives it from you, and Jesus himself bless it, thereby empowering the rest of your money to be blessed to multiply. It is just a repackaged form of health and wealth, name it and claim it theology."
And, to bring you back to Oz land, we leave you to contemplate the following.
With a nod to Dr. Oz, I leave you with the following video,
Lydia's Corner: 1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17 Romans 2:1-24 Psalm 10:16-18 Proverbs 19:8-9