RICK WARREN, MICHAEL HORTON, AND DOING THE DANIEL DIET

Apprising Ministries talked some about the Decade of Destiny campaign launched by Southern Baptist megapastor Rick Warren, e.g. in Decade Of Destiny With Rick Warren. There I told you about Dr. Laverne Adams, a WF teacher of little renown whom Warren would contact to do the foreword to her self-published book.

He decided to kick of his DoD on the very day Adams book of mythology entitled Driven by Destiny dropped. It gets even weirder when Warren launched something he called The Daniel Plan, which I covered in pieces like Rick Warren And His Daniel Plan and The Daniel Plan Of Rick Warren Encources “New Age Wacko-ism”.

In that second article I pointed interested readers to my earlier Rick Warren, The Daniel Plan, And Dominionism where I talked about Warren’s February 2011 campaign for TDP, which was the opening program in Saddleback’s Decade of Destiny.TDP features a trio of doctors, Mark Hyman, Mehmet Oz, and Daniel Amen.

Of the three Amen is the only one reputed to be a Christian. You may also remember in Rick Warren Sows Confusion Concerning Meditation I brought you a video of Warren’s then latest teaching concerning the subject of meditation, as well as his interview with Amen below where he also teaches Warren more about meditation.

Amen speaks about a “very simple” mantra “meditation exercise from Harvard,” which he says is “not religious at all.” Now let me draw to your attention a message delivered by Rick Warren January 22-23 2011 at Saddleback callled The Most Important Part Of The Day, which serves as Part 4 in one of Rick Warren’s sermon series.

It was called The Prayer That Changes You: A New You For A New DecadeTherein Rick Warren takes the opportunity to level criticism at what he refers to as some “very, very, confused believers” he’s supposedly read on the Internet; anonymous but of course, who’re supposedly warning people against Biblical meditation.

As I said before, being that I’m among those very confused believers on the Net about whom Warren is speaking, I can tell you plainly that no one I know has ever been arguing against meditating upon the Word of God. Very simply, this is a straw man Rick Warren has dreamed up to make him look good while tearing it down.

You can see from Warren’s own words, in both of those videos, the attack on these nameless people was an ill-advised statement from Rick Warren because I showed you that he’s, at best, playing a shell game with terminology, At worst, being disingenuous on purpose. Well, I’m about to give you further evidence of this.

While doing so, I’ll also show you more of what Warren has exposed his flock to through his open recommendation of the counter-Christian teachings of Daniel Amen. What follows begins at the 31:43 mark:

So, what do you do? First, I read the Bible for a little bit…and I think about what I read. That’s the second thing you do. Now there’s a word for this…it’s called mediation (makes an eerie sound)…this has actually become a controversial word. Some very, very confused believers have actaully been teaching—I’ve seen it on the Internet—that Christians should be afraid of meditation… The Bible talks about meditation, and commands it. The problem is…words can mean different things…when I say meditation, some people think you’re talking about some New Age wacko-ism…

[W]hen the Bible says meditate, it’s not talking about zone out in some psychic New Age trance (makes an eerie sound again)…put your mind in neutral and contemplate the lint in your navel—Ummm. No,…[t]he Bible says meditation is focused attention on the Word of God. That’s actually the more accurate meaning of the term…the synonym for the word meditation is the word rumination… Rumination is to digest something so completely that you strain every ounce of…value,…meditation is thought digestion. It means to think about something so focused—repeatedly…the Bible calls it pondering…

If you take verse of Scripture, and you think about it over and over and over again—truth—that’s called meditation. Ok… It doesn’t mean, “Om”; it doesn’t mean go into a trance, it doesn’t mean hypnosis. It means thinking about the truth of God; in a relaxed, but serious way. That’s all it means. There’s nothing spooky about it, nothing mystical about it.

Well, let’s compare what Rick Warren has just said about meditation, keeping in mind that he’s told us “it doesn’t mean go into a trance, it doesn’t mean hypnosis,” to what TDP guru Daniel Amen teaches concerning meditation, which he says is important for a healthy brain. Space allows but one example here.

So there will be no mistake that Amen is not at all teaching the Biblical meditation Warren described above, I give you the below, which comes from Amen’s own blog. As you can see, he’s taking about mantra meditation in an altered state of consciousness—sweeping away thoughts, which was never taught by Christ or His Apostles1:

In closing this, for now, let me point you to Dare To Do The Daniel Plan by Michael Horton at the White House Inn blog. Dr. Horton begins by reminding us that TDP “launched by Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Community Church has a lot of people talking.” Indeed it did with its pseudo-Christianity.

Horton then tells us that:

About a month ago, a national paper asked me to comment on this latest plan from a passionately creative Christian leader. It was the health editor. Never talked to a health editor before, ever. I rarely talk to a health provider. So besides unwillingness to criticize a brother in public over a totally unimportant issue, about which I knew nothing except for what the editor told me, I declined in short order. (source)

Sincerely, I think we can all understand the wisdom in that decision by Michael Horton. He now continues:

Yet now here TIME magazine spotlights the “Daniel Diet”-and does such a good job with it, I thought, that something larger is worth bringing to the table (no pun intended). In a land where almost anything with the word “diet” in it sells, “spirituality” isn’t far down the list either. (source)

They also released the video interview below. Horton points out that, “What intrigued me about the TIME article was the author’s keen exegetical skills.” But before he explains what he means Horton is dead-on-target when he writes:

the “Daniel Diet” focuses predictably on what obsesses most Americans today: obesity. Understandably. To badly paraphrase Isaiah, I am out of shape and dwell among an out-of-shape people. I have lost a few pounds, am back in the gym, but my wife keeps telling me that it’s not about fad diets but about daily decisions. “Just think about what you’re doing,” she tells me. The point is, I don’t need Daniel-or the Bible-to tell me I need to get fit. And a diet of seeds and water that Daniel and his Jewish compadres endured may not even be healthy.

It all goes back to the human-centered way of reading the Bible, as if God were a supporting actor in our drama, rather our being cast as beneficiaries of his bounty in Christ. We appeal to statistics to convince people that prayer makes us happier, healthier, and more fulfilled than non-prayers. Leviticus is relevant only if we can explain how the dietary laws somehow reveal secret principles of universal health, when that wasn’t the point of these laws at all. (source)

One wonders just how many times it has to be pointed out that Rick Warren’s ministry is man-centered, not God-centered, before people like John Piper—who pronounced Warren doctrinal and sound—will finally see it. Now Michael Horton explains that:

Elizabeth Dias, the author of the TIME article puts his finger on the right issue: “But the historical context of the Book of Daniel suggests that the text in fact has very little to do with diet or health.” (Read more here.)

Appealing to Choon-Leong Seow, an Old Testament professor at Princeton Seminary, Dias notes, that “Daniel is less a story of resisting rich food than a story of resisting a foreign king.” “Daniel and his friends resisted the king’s table, Seow says, as a tangible expression of their reliance on God’s power instead of the king’s.” “If the text were actually about diet, Seow argues, there would be evidence that the king’s table violated Jewish food laws. A Jewish diet would have meant no pork, Seow notes, but most other meats, slaughtered properly, are O.K. Wine too is permissible. Nor does the text give any indication that the king’s food had been offered to idols, which is another thing that would have made it off-limits to the young Jews.”

Dias, who studied with Seow, points out, “It’s no surprise many people don’t realize this, since English translations sometimes miss the original emphasis the Bible places on contrasting what the king could give Daniel (earthly pleasures) and what God could give him (something much greater). ‘The point is not the triumph of vegetarianism or even the triumph of piety or the triumph of wisdom,’ Seow concludes, ‘but the triumph of God.’”

Wow! Talk about getting the point! (source)

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. For more in-depth proof that Daniel Amen is teaching the kind of meditation Rick Warren called “New Age wacko-ism” see THE DANIEL PLAN OF RICK WARREN ENCOURAGES UNBIBLICAL MEDITATION