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The Christian Dieting Cult
by Patricia Backora
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The Christian Dieting Cult

In the beginning the church was a spiritual fellowship of brothers and sisters who were in the world but not of it. After centuries of persecution, Emperor Constantine brought the church into the mainstream of respectability. As the church lost its precious vision of the priesthood of all believers, educated clergy evolved which separated from “the laity”. The church became a scholarly religious organization guided by stern men in black robes. In colonial America, church was the soul of the nation. Church was the conscience of the nation, and the doctor which monitored its moral pulse. As humanistic influences deadened that conscience, the fire went out of preachers’ voices. The nominal church became a religious country club, and attending “the right church” separated “fine” families from the bad. The disillusionment of the 60’s set in. Young people disenchanted with the materialism and hypocrisy of the affluent institutional church got turned off to organized religion. So God reached out to them by sending a mighty Holy Ghost revival in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The Jesus Revolution saw many entering into closer fellowship with Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

At first, bearded and beaded seekers of truth were fed solid meat from God’s Word. But as churchgoers matured out of their idealistic childlike zeal, boredom set in. Little by little the solid Meat of the Word became candy. Churches competed to draw crowds with top Christian lecturers and comedians, bouncy music and revolutionary new ways to feel better about yourself. By now the Jesus People had a mortgage. They realized that they had to keep religion relevant so they could focus on paying it off. So church evolved into a a success seminar attended by go-getters in ties and blue suits. Church, once the arch enemy of mammon, became big business.

American food kept pace with advances in futuristic technology. Americans now had a dozen different flavors of their favorite cookie or baking chip! Overworked (and hardly home) Americans took advantage of convenient fast foods for meals. No time to slave over the stove to prepare “from scratch” healthy meals anymore! Gotta run, run, run! Overstressed and fed up to the eyeballs on burgers and fries, harried Americans suffered from expanding waistlines. Even deeply devout Christians. Worldly solutions to excess weight had failed. Perhaps a RELIGIOUS weight loss guru just might satisfy the Christian’s deep hunger for a solution…

The devil’s mean as a snake, but Old Sluefoot’s no dummy. He knows Christian women can’t focus on a world lost in sin if they’re obsessed with finding that skinny teenager struggling to get out of a forty-year-old body which has had four children. Now, just when you thought you’d seen it all, people are falling for a really weird gospel: Thin is In, on earth as it is in heaven! Big Diet, a multi-billion-dollar a year industry, is eating into God’s territory, the assembly of the saints. One religious sect has this in common with modeling agencies: Members must monitor every bite and report any weight gain to church leadership!

I read material about a big dieting cult which calls itself a church. I’ll call the leader “Sister X”. She insists that your salvation hinges on being thin when you die. Sort of reminds me of the ancient Egyptian belief that only well-preserved mummies made it into paradise. The bare bones nitty-gritty: the more grub you leave on your plate, the holier you are! You can’t eat till your stomach starts growling, and you must quit when your acute sense of hunger dulls (after a few tiny bites). Church members should try to stop after three bites, then wait till their stomach growls again. If they eat past minimum satiety, they’ve sinned and need to repent.

I Tim.4:1: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times (that’s where WE are!) some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
VERSE 2: Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
VERSE 3: Forbidding to marry, AND COMMANDING TO ABSTAIN FROM MEATS, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

I Tim.6:17: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly ALL THINGS to enjoy (not barely touch with fear and trembling).

Funny, I just can’t picture Peter and Paul sipping diet soda and nibbling a toothpick at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

What kind of blessing did the patriarch Isaac bless his son Jacob with?
Gen.27: 28: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and PLENTY of corn and wine.* * *Jacob was promised plenty, not just enough to barely stave off starvation.

Joel 2:26: And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.* * * Sister X makes those who “eat in plenty” feel ashamed for failing to eat a few bites and quit!

What about Abraham, and the dinner he served three angels who came to visit in Genesis chapter 18? Sarah made a big pile of flatbread for them. And Abraham fixed a whole calf for them, along with butter and milk! How many bites did the angels take of that fattened calf before they called it a day? If anyone should set the example for righteousness, it ought to be God’s ambassadors from heaven!

Lev.26:5: …and ye shall eat bread TO THE FULL, and dwell in your land safely.* * *Here God puts having a full stomach on the same level as living in safety!

At this woman’s church, even the children are taught to eat only till they’re barely satisfied. And if they go past that point, they are rebuked for sin. Jesus says in Mark 7:27: Let the children first be FILLED. What damage is being done psychologically and physically to innocent children of people attending this dieting church? Any “Christianity” which makes central doctrines of personal concerns not addressed by early apostles is venturing into deep water. Sister X’s strict legalism downplays the grace of God. A Frankenstein monster mutation gospel spun out of carefully selected and reworked Old Testament passages is a noxious weed which bears terrible fruit. The grace of God is stifled in that cult if not snuffed out entirely.

This phrase is found several times in the Gospels: And they did all eat and were filled (not barely satisfied):Matt.14:20;15:37; Mark 6:42; Luke 9:17* * *Jesus didn’t pass out the loaves and fishes and tell the crowds: Eat only when your stomach growls and then take only three bites! After feeding the multitude, Jesus told His disciples to be sure to collect the leftovers so nothing would go to waste (John 6:12). Sister X believes in wasting food. If you leave a bunch on your plate and it rots, so what? Saving food betrays lack of trust in God to provide future meals. Would Sister X tell a hungry African it’s an abomination in the sight of God to save scarce food for future meals?

Even James, the most legalistic of the apostles, has this to say:

James 2:15: If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
VERSE 16: And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and FILLED (not just get three spoonfuls of nourishment); notwithstanding ye give them not those things WHICH ARE NEEDFUL TO THE BODY; what doth it profit?

The Dieting Gospel would say instead: Count it all joy that you’re thin from lack of food. Or, to a fat individual: What’s the use of giving you money for clothes? Clothing stores don’t even stock your size! You’ve got plenty of lard on your bones. You don’t need to eat! Now’s your chance to get skinny for Jesus!

Did God care whether poor Israelites got enough food, or was He more concerned that they stay skinny? Here are His instructions to Israelite farmers and herdsmen:

Deut.14:28: At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
VERSE 29: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and BE SATISFIED (not leave half hungry); that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

When Jesus met the Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42), He didn’t comment on her love handles, just her lovers.

Jesus was accused by ascetic, proud Pharisees of being a winebibber and a glutton (Matt.11:19; Luke 7:34). This was an exaggeration since Jesus never sinned, but clearly Christ did not establish a reputation for eating like a sparrow!

Scarcity of bread and barely having enough to sustain life is an indication of God’s curse upon a disobedient land, not blessing (Deut.28:38-39). God states that those being punished for disobedience will carry out more seed to the field than they harvest in crops, and the worms would eat their grapes. Sister X said it’s okay if your uneaten food just rots, so it must be okay if worms eat it up. She’s just lucky she didn’t live in Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day, when people died of famine. Or even here in Ireland, in the 1800’s, during the Potato Famine. Only self-obsessed, affluent women of today’s Western nations can afford to be wasteful in the name of vanity!

Leviticus Chapter 26 contains a lengthy warning ofto the terrible punishment which would befall the Israelites if they forsook God for idols. In verse 26 God warns: And I have broken the staff of your bread. Ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.* * *Eating bread by measure and running out before you’re satisfied was a sign of God’s judgment, not His blessing.

The only Scripture where God forbade an individual to eat till they were full was in the case of Ezekiel. In Ezekiel Chapter 4:9-12. Ezekiel was used as a living word picture by God to predict famine for Israel. He was permitted only a few ounces of bread and about 2-1/2 cups of water per day. Limited access to food (eating bread by weight) was a sign of divine judgment, not God’s blessing.

Sister X’s cult frowns on ALL weight gain, even in the case of expectant mothers, who need to nourish their own babies!

Experiments done on lab rats illustrates the power of fear: Every time the rats got hungry and approached food, they received an electrical shock. Eventually the rats died because they began to associate food with pain instead of pleasure. Fear prevented them from eating. Sister X is using fear of hell fire to control the diets of her congregation members. They need HER, not God’s permission, to put something in their mouth to stay alive. This lady’s diet doctrine is fattening her bank account. So who’s the greater glutton here? The world (and carnal Christians) act like money gluttony isn’t as big a deal as eating too much! All that matters is what the eye can see. Even the covetous, sensual, materialistic beauty queen is still beautiful.

The Gospel of Thin. This doctrine of devils was imported from the world into the church. Mandating beauty standards and forbidding God’s people to eat gives rise to condemnation, judgmentalism, envy, pride, and self-obsession. This new gospel is earthly, sensual, devilish (James 3:15). A controlling Jezebel spirit is behind this cult, not the Holy Spirit. Whenever anyone dares to question the Biblical authority of Sister X’s teachings, she and the other leadership rake that individual over the coals for being rebellious and trying to stir up discord. Psychological and spiritual pressures are brought to bear upon those who present scriptural evidence that her doctrine clashes with the grace of God in Christ.

Sister X denies the doctrine of the Trinity, contrary to Matt.28:19 and I John 5:7. She reportedly takes her Scripture references mostly out of the Old Testament. She cherry-picks passages to prop up her weird doctrine of salvation through weight loss. There’s almost no mention of God’s grace in her meetings. Only judgment upon a gluttonous nation disobedient to God.

Sister X plainly states that if her followers are fat when they die, they are failures in the sight of God and will go to hell! The clear implication is that thinness, not
justification through the Cross of Calvary, is the righteousness God demands of believers, and the most important way of salvation for them. How dopey, not to mention dangerous! If this doctrine weren’t being swallowed up by big crowds of professing Christians, and being exported from a major city of the USA, I wouldn’t be so shocked! The clear implication is this: Sister X teaches that thinness is her people’s passport to paradise after death, and heaviness is a ticket to hell. Sister X is teaching a new gospel, one not taught by Paul or any of the apostles!

Is food intake (or lack thereof) a major determinant of a person’s spirituality?
I Cor.8:8: But meat (food) commendeth us not to God: for neither if we eat, are we the better; neither if we eat not, are we the worse.

I can’t put this more delicately: Despite the flowers and the flowery eulogies spoken at funerals, one fate awaits both fat and the skinny bodies after death: dead flesh rots. All bodies, beautiful or ugly, decay and go back to the dust (Gen.3:19).

Phil.3:21: Who (God) shall change our vile (Gk: tapeinosis, lowly, humiliated) body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.* * *Notice, God does not ask His people to change their OWN body to glorious perfection. He’ll do that in the future. Paul identifies himself as being among those with a “vile” body needing to be changed. Tradition says Paul was short, bald, bow-legged and hook-nosed, hardly a Brad Pitt in the pulpit. Paul was probably thin, too, because of his frequent lack of provisions. So skinny Paul also committed some cosmetic sins, according to today’s world view. Before Paul would be allowed to minister in a modern church, he’d have to get a nose job, have physiotherapy to get his leg bones stretched and get a hair transplant.

Many things can reduce people’s mortal bodies to a humiliated (inglorious) state. Some people are scarred severely from accidents or injuries. Some people suffer birth defects or stunted growth. Others have been bullied for being bigger than is acceptable to society. Whatever our glorified bodies are like, they won’t be anything less than glorious!

It is a well-documented fact that many (not all) fat people eat no more (and often less) than thin people. So why should unfashionable body size disqualify people for heaven if other conditions which humiliate the human body don’t?

The fact that a huge proportion of Americans has some degree of weight problem DOES NOT justify tampering with the precious Gospel of Christ! They might be in the minority, but America also has a certain percentage of teenage girls who suffer from anorexia and flirt with death to stay stick thin. Does X think their pitiful, skeletal bodies glorify God? She reportedly said that all concentration camp inmates lost weight simply by eating less. Does the end justify the means?

The world says it’s impossible to get too rich or too thin, and that propaganda has heavily influenced today’s Christians. The church used to be a mighty bulwark against the vanities of this world. Now it’s a sponge soaking them up! The church used to be focused on getting people ready for the world to come. Now the church teaches people how to be rich, glamorous, and successful in this world so they’ll be “good witnesses” (to whom?) “for Jesus”. Big beautiful buildings, bountiful offerings and bony bodies in expensive attire are the carnal church’s top priorities, outstripping the fanaticism of satan’s crowd for material affluence. The church used to be the main provider of charity for the poor. Today’s carnal church is teaching its people how to deny themselves food for vanity’s sake, while sanctioning other forms of gluttony (personal glory, lust for money, etc.). While the church acts like the world, the world is acting like the church and running relief agencies so the poor won’t starve.

For way too long promoters of worldly vanity have set the trends and reaped earthly rewards while the poor, the unpopular, the plain and the fat have been ground underfoot. But God has drawn a line: The devil has his kingdom and God has his, and never the twain shall meet. During his lifetime the Rich Man of Luke 16 “had his good things” and was well-liked and respected by everybody who was somebody. Lazarus, the poor, sick beggar, was forgotten and despised. But in the next life, the tables were turned. Lazarus became rich while the Rich Man lost everything.

Like the Titanic, this present world along with its vain values, is destined for destruction. As this world sinks into the ocean of God’s impending judgment, many Christians are busy salvaging as much of the world’s shiny fixtures as they can, loading them onto God’s lifeboats and causing them to sink!

Sister X has done her worst to impose worldly standards of beauty and acceptance on God’s Kingdom, the one sphere where human pride has no place. She has imposed a regimen of fear upon vulnerable souls who were already insecure when they came to her. She has dared to set herself as lord and judge over God’s people, as an intermediary between God and His people, whereas the Bible clearly states there is only ONE Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (I Tim.2:5).

On earth, the rich, the beautiful and the influential have always ruled the roost while humbler, plainer folks have taken a backseat. But God has promised the day would come when the proud would be humbled and the hungry would be filled with good things (Isaiah 2:11; Luke 1:52-53). Sister X has made her money through teaching weight control, but she wants to control even the spiritual relationship of her people with God. That is an attitude of antichrist.

If it’s okay to teach weight loss as a means to salvation because many are too heavy, then it’s also okay to teach weight gain as still another way of salvation because so many girls are anorexic! The end does not justify the means! Paul said in Galatians 1:8-9: If any man (or woman) teaches any other way of salvation than what Paul taught, then that person is to be accursed (consigned to hell). Instead of making the bathroom scale the sole judge of a person’s character and damning those bigger than herself, Sister X should get the log out of her own eye first and wonder if SHE’S the one going in the wrong direction!

Is being fat a sin? In most cases, no. The sad fact remains that fat, like genetic disorders, is one of the legacies of the Fall of Adam. In the Garden of Eden, there was no danger of famine, for it was a perfect environment. Once Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from Eden, a dangerous element of uncertainty threatened human existence. Crops would be abundant one year and scarce the next, from scanty rainfall. Bad rainfall even affected the diet of non-agricultural hunter-gatherer societies. When it failed to rain, the river dried up. Fish died. Plants shriveled up. Animals died, and what few were left to hunt had no fat on them and little flesh.

In times of scarcity, people with extra meat on their bones are more likely to survive than lean individuals. Far from being afraid of fat, people living under primitive conditions often eat animal fat to ensure an adequate calorie intake. Inuit people (Eskimos) who follow their traditional diet eat mostly raw fish and meat, along with the blubber (fat) of the animal. Sister X states that primitive people in their native habitat are naturally lean. But it takes many extra calories to survive the arctic cold. I read of Arctic explorers who had to eat between 7-8,000 calories per day to resist the cold! The Inuit tend to be broad-chested and round-faced individuals, rather than lean and long-faced like some African tribes, who live in much hotter conditions. Is Sister X going to consign the Inuit to hell for eating thousands of blubber calories to stave off the cold of the Arctic, and for failure to stay skinny for Jesus?

Modern Americans can afford to avoid excess calories beyond what is required for overall health and well-being. Why? Because there’s a food store around every corner, and all except the poorest can just go get more food whenever they run out. But there are pockets of true hunger in America. Homeless people are often priced out of the food market, and even poor families barely hanging onto their homes often skip meals to pay the rent. Such unfortunate individuals will make the most of it when they can buy extra food, or when free food is handed out. Who knows how long it will be before they can fill their stomach again? Is Sister X going to find fault with a poor homeless woman for eating more than three bites of the discarded doughnut she finds outside in the trash can?

My own brother suffered from anorexia. His fixation with the evils of food and the virtues of weight loss was so strong no one could talk him into a more balanced viewpoint. I lived across the country, so I wasn’t there to watch his flesh slowly drop away. When he got sick with cancer, he was already so emaciated he had zero chance of recovery. It is well known that in time of severe illness appetite is affected and people lose a lot of weight. Those with none left to lose die!

Sister X denies that people can suffer a genetic predisposition to obesity. But she’s wrong. When I lived in Arizona, my husband and I visited a tourist area on an Indian reservation. The ancestors of this particular tribe had endured repeated seasons of famine, to the extent that their bodies were conditioned to put on weight effortlessly. I watched an Indian lad and his mother frying flatbread in a big kettle to make tacos to sell to tourists. I found out later there was a preponderance of obesity in their tribe. Not through gluttony, but because their genes were programmed to store fat. Nature itself was more concerned with those Indians’ survival than whether they’d win a beauty contest. Would Sister X condemn those taco fryers to fry eternally in a devil’s hell because their body size isn’t a good testimony for Jesus?

Sister X even reduces the men of her congregation to skin and bones, on pain of eternal hellfire. Any weight gain committed by either men or women must be confessed to the leadership as sin. If one of the members crosses the leadership, they’re liable to have all their formerly “forgiven” sins rehashed repeatedly to humiliate the member back under subjection.

Ah, some of the bizarre baloney that passes itself off as Christianity! The heretical teaching that “leadership” has divine authority to rule “pew saints” through censure and fear, even to the extent of controlling “none of your business” personal areas of believers’ lives is contrary to what Christ Himself taught.

Matt.23:8: But be not ye called Rabbi (master): for One is your Master, even Christ; AND ALL YE ARE BRETHREN (not privileged “leadership”)
VERSE 9: And call NO MAN (or woman) your father upon the earth: for ONE is your Father, Which is in heaven.
VERSE 10: Neither be ye called masters: for ONE is your Master, even Christ.
VERSE 11: For he (or she) that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
VERSE 12: And whosoever shall exalt himself (or herself) shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

What about those intimidated, silent “pew saints”? Is any truly born again individual dead weight in God’s church?

I Pet.2:5: YE (all saved believers) also, as lively (living) stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
VERSE 9: But YE are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar (special) people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him that hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

In this passage Peter does NOT limit God’s Royal Priesthood only to people who are fashionably thin!

So what about leadership? Does God set elders and shepherds into His church? He definitely does, but not to be lords over God’s heritage (I Pet.5:1-4).

Many cite Hebrews 13:17 as proof that church (or cult) leaders have the right to unconditional obedience. What does it really say?

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

The Greek word translated “obey” in this verse is peitho, which means to “be persuaded by”. Whenever a church elder appointed by God breaks the bread of God’s true Word to you or shares a Scriptural word of wisdom with you, it is best to yield to the authority of the Holy Spirit (the Voice of the Good Shepherd) which you discern behind the godly exhortation. But no Christian, whatever his position, has authority from God to teach heresy which contradicts God’s Word. And no religious teacher has authority from God to add to God’s commands (Deut.4:2; 12:32). Any personal area of a believer’s life which does not involve sin, as described under the New Covenant, is a NO GO area for pastoral authority. I qualified that statement because certain Old Testament prohibitions are not sinful for Christians today: making dinner on the Sabbath, eating ham, men shaving their beards, etc.

Let God’s will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Is hunger God’s highest will for His saints? If it is, why won’t people suffer hunger in heaven?
Rev.7:16: They shall HUNGER NO MORE, neither thirst any more* * *Diet books might be hot sellers in hell, but not in heaven. Starving for Jesus is NOT a heavenly doctrine. It was birthed in the bowels of hell to distract God’s people from their task of evangelizing the world and feeding the hungry! The devil designed this dieting cult to make weak neurotics of Christians, so that they fear it is sinful to nourish their own bodies. Satan seeks the weakening of the Body of Christ through loss of health and peace.

Whose word carries more weight? Sister X’s, or the solid meat of Scripture?

* * * * *

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