Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Friday, May 4, 2012

Further Thoughts on I Timothy 4:1-5

-These verses constitute one of the strongest arguments for all foods being open to all men.

-People can fall away from the faith because of the false teaching discussed in this passage.  Paul is not expressing some minor disagreement between friends.

-This false teaching is the teaching of demons and deceitful spirits. These “principalities and powers” will work through insincere liars. These liars are insincere because they give the appearance of rigorous Christian discipline, but are really not Christians at all.  In other words, these teachers are the pipelines through which the demons get their lies into the ears of the people.  This is one of places where the curtain is pulled back and we see who is really pulling the strings of these false teachers.

-These teachers have their consciences seared. Seared here could mean branded, as in marked by the Devil. Or it could mean cauterized, as in unable to discern right from wrong. The latter is the more likely idea. These men’s consciences have been “smothered and eventually silenced.” Their dead consciences keep them from seeing or understanding that they are being influence by demons.

-There are two things expressly forbidden by these false teachers: marriage and food. These are two actions, sex and eating, are at the very center of human existence.  Without either one the human race would perish. They have from the earliest times been subject to man-made regulations. Often celibacy was held up as higher and holier than marriage. And often men severely restricted their diets because they thought certain types of food was evil.

-John Stott notes that there are two ways creation has been sanctified or set apart for man to use. First, all things created by God were good so that we might enjoy them and give thanks to Him. The things created are to be received with thanksgiving. This is stated twice, at the end of verse 3 and the beginning of verse 4. No doubt there is an echo of Genesis 1 here where God declares over and over that “it was good.” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) Second, it is made holy by the Word of God and prayer.  That is when we remember what God’s Word has said and offer thanks for what he has done. The first is objective. God made all things good. The second is subjective. We are to set them apart by recalling the doctrine of a good creation and giving thanks for it.

-Verse 4 is strong. Everything was good. Nothing is to be rejected.  Paul wants to make sure nothing created by God is ever called taboo.

-These verses tie together very strongly redemption and creation.  A failure to appreciate creation could lead men to “fall away from the faith.”  While a proper understanding of creation means we give thanks because we believe and know the truth. And we consecrate all created things by remembering what Scripture says and by giving thanks.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Further Thoughts on Colossians 2:20-23


-This passage could be referring to Jewish OT law, although the phrase “doctrines of men” in verse 22 would seem to contradict this. But even if it is referring to OT law, my point is not weakened, but strengthened. If OT laws are useless in fighting against the flesh, how much more useless are non-biblical food laws?

-Men love to believe that doing hard things to their bodies will make them more holy. It is a constant temptation. The words used in vs. 23 indicate a very hard, severe approach to the body. Again arguing from the greater to the lesser, if whipping oneself and starving oneself will not help with the indulgence of the flesh then how will abstaining from soda or cigarettes?

-We all like to look wise and holy. Food restrictions help us keep up appearances.

-Paul is not saying we cannot abstain from certain foods. He is just saying abstaining will not make you more righteous. Many will agree with this in theory. But in practice almost any food restriction easily becomes a way of looking down on that other person.

-The last phrase of verse 23 is especially strong. These things, despite the appearance of holiness, wisdom, and self-control are actually of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Bible and Food: Part II

This is a two part series. The first six items are here.

7. It is a doctrine of demons to encourage abstaining from foods because you think they are sinful. I Timothy 4:1-5 are very clear on this particular point. Teachers were saying you were unholy if ate certain food and had sex. Paul denounces these men and calls them the voice of demons. This passage is emphatic and strong. Nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving. If someone doesn’t want to eat meat that is fine. But if they don’t eat meat or anything else because they think it is evil they are teaching false doctrine. All things can be eaten, provided they are sanctified by the Word and prayer.  Colossian 2:20-23 and I Timothy 4:1-5 are foundational texts for understanding what use food has in our lives.

8. A lot of Christians use “the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” argument from I Corinthians 6:19 as argument for healthy living. However, we must remember that Paul is talking about having sex with a prostitute. So if you think drinking soda or smoking cigarettes or refusing to exercise is “defiling the temple” then you are saying that these are the equivalent of sleeping with a prostitute. Is that really what you want to say? Is that really biblical? No doubt this is in the top ten of the most misused verses in the whole Bible.

9. To refuse fellowship with another brother or sister over food is a great perversion of the Gospel. To divide over organic vs. inorganic, natural vs. processed, meat vs. veggies, hormone free vs. hormones, exercise vs. non-exercise, white vs. wheat, etc. is to deny Christ who has made us one body in the Spirit. We lean towards self-righteousness, which means we lean towards false lines of holiness where we are on the holy side. Food is one of the ways Satan tempts to look down on other believers. I know food is not usually a barrier between churches, but it is often a barrier between Christians. This isn’t usually explicit. We don’t put in our vision statements: “No short, bald, fat guys allowed.”  But with our attitudes, who we like to hang out with, and our treatment of men and women like this we make it clear that thin, healthy people are preferred.

10. This one will make some people mad, but here goes. Many of the current food fads in Christendom are promoted by women. I know this has not always been the case, but it is now. Most of the best-selling “Christian” exercise books and “Christian” eating books come from women. Pastors and husbands need to teach the women in their flocks and homes a Biblical perspective on food and exercise.  I would encourage beginning with I Timothy 2:11-15.

11. It is easy in our culture to see exercise as a means of holiness. Men and women who exercise should remember I Timothy 4:7-8, which follows very closely on the heels of the I Timothy 4:1-5. Paul says that physical exercise is of little value or possibly it could be translated is only valuable for a short time. Paul is not saying exercise is wicked. But he is saying that we should keep it in perspective. Exercise is of limited value in this life and of no value for the next life.  And let’s be honest in our sports and super model saturated world it is difficult to keep our exercise in perspective. Go without exercise for a week or a month and see what that does for you spiritually. Did you feel guilty? Do you feel less holy? If so, your perspective is off. I am not saying stop exercising. Exercise is good. But keep it in perspective and remember that it does not make you more holy.

12. Remember that our culture is obsessed with physical appearances and living a long life. Our culture spends billions each year on beauty and health, promoting items, such as tanning, implants, hair dyes, gym memberships, organic food, etc.  Remember this any time you are tempted to drink what the world is pouring you. The world believes you will be happier if you are thin. And of course, their pockets will be fatter as well. There is an agenda out there. The world wants to reach a point where they can live forever. But for us death is gain. (Philippians 1:21) The newspapers and magazines and sitcoms are feeding you a line. They are not neutral observers, but preachers for a materialistic, Godless world, where the only thing that matters is living as long as you can and being as beautiful as you can be. But for us pouring out our lives, including our bodies, is what we are here to do. (See Romans 12:1-2 and Matthew 10:38)  As Nate Wilson said, “Self-preservation is not a great virtue in [our] story.”  Do not buy into the false gospel they are preaching. Pour yourself out for those around you with little concern for self-preservation.

13. Last, but certainly not least, your view of the Lord’s Supper says a lot about your view of food. Is the Supper a banquet, where we feed upon the body and blood of Christ? Or is it a place where we do penance, hanging our heads in sorrow?  A low, somber view of the Lord’s Supper can lead to a low view of the created world, including food. This is a huge topic, but a brief word will have to do.  The only place outside the Gospels where the Lord’s Supper is discussed extensively is I Corinthians 11. There the picture is not one of somberness, but of so much food and drink people were getting drunk. Notice Paul does not tell them to tone it down. But rather he tells them to wait on each other. The Lord’s Supper is a feast. (c.f. I Cor. 5:8) Once we see that, then I Timothy 4:1-5 makes perfect sense and the whole world becomes our banqueting table.



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Bible and Food: Part I


Food can be a source of great anxiety for many Christians. Our society bombards with what and how we should eat.  Every week it seems there is new study telling us about the evils this food or that food. How should we think as Christians when it comes to food? Below is my brief attempt at putting up some guardrails on a road where many are currently driving over the cliff. I will post the remaining points tomorrow. A couple of notes before I begin:

First, I know there are Christians who flaunt their freedom and eat like gluttons. I know it is possible for the fat person to look down on the thin. However, in the community I am in and the Christian world at large that is becoming less and less of an issue. The bigger issue is holiness by dieting or exercise. That is what I address primarily in these theses.

Second, I am not saying what we eat does not matter. But I am saying it will not make us more holy.

Third, each person has to make choices about how they want to eat and what they want to eat. I understand this. However, too often our choices become a source of holiness for us and a way of dividing between Christians. So I am not saying we should not think about what we eat. I am saying this has very little bearing on our own righteousness and holiness and should not be a source of division in the Body of Christ.

Fourth, there is a lot more that could be said. I do not address feasting or hospitality or drinking good beer (or bad beer) or even how important the simple act of eating together can be.  Perhaps in the future I will address some of these.

With those qualifications out of the way, here are my points.

Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8