No Sympathy for the Fat Guy

Originally written in January, 2012, these are my thoughts answering skinny, Christian sophisticates who falsely equate eating a lot during the holidays and being overweight with the biblical sin of gluttony.

burrito

Since when has my diet and weight been a matter of sin and judgment?

Or, Can I enjoy watching Man Vs. Food without feeling shame?

Every Christmas the secular media bombards us with guilt inducing special reports gravely warning us to lay off the turkey, ham, and prime rib dinners, along with all that other awesome, high calorie food that makes us happy, or we will die early, pathetic deaths.

Usually the reports are 2 minute “health” segments on channels like CNN narrated by a gorgeous reporterette who could easily have a second job as a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model. She earnestly cites health stats on obesity accompanied by video images of the torsos of large bottomed men and women walking down the street. If we don’t watch what we eat, and start eating healthy foods, like Brussels sprouts, we risk eating ourselves into a heart-attack or death by diabetes; or worse, living a shortened life of crippling scorn and ridicule as an unpopular fat person who sweats a lot and has to wear ill fitting clothes with elastic waste bands like they sell at Wal-Mart.

I guess I expect our worldly society to obsess over our diets. Progressive ideology has permeated our Western culture the last century or so, and has made health and fitness an idol that must be obeyed in order to have a meaningful life.

It’s annoying, however, to see Christians latch onto this health and fitness thinking and assign it some weird, spiritual value. Generally, there are two groups. First are the modern food pharisees, who insist that eating kosher food as outlined in the Bible is the true, spiritual Christianly thing to do. If we would only eat “God’s ordained food” and not those things “processed by man,” all the cancer in the world would dry up and we would live to like 270 or more.

The second group equate the sin of gluttony with eating too much and being overweight. Thus, if you happen to enjoy eating the 2600 calorie “Mega Onion” appetizer from Claim Jumpers or where ever, you’re calling down the wrath of God upon your head.

Two articles I encountered take that second approach regarding the Christian and his food. First is an article by a Baptist missions director, It’s the Most Wonderful Sin of the Year, in which he comes close to likening overeating (a picture of a fat guy scarfing down a bowl of potato chips illustrates the article) to being an unforgivable sin. He also berates preachers for not preaching against overeating enough from the pulpit.

Think about that article’s title a moment. “Sin” implies a violation of God’s law. Is the writer seriously telling me that if I have a hankering to have a piece of pumpkin pie AND a piece of chocolate pie at the same time after my rich, starchy holiday meal, I am sinning against God? Really?

The second article I read is entitled, Jesus Died for Your Food Coma, and that author, like the author of the first article, erroneously equates gluttony with overeating. In fact, a definition of “gluttony” is provided which is defined as “habitual greed or excess in eating.” To really nail it home, Jerry Bridges “Respectable Sins” is cited. Man. mentioning Jerry Bridges makes the bumps stand up on your arm, doesn’t it?

The problem with both those articles, and the recent wave of bloggers who errantly equate gluttony with overeating, is that the Bible doesn’t define gluttony as “overeating;” certainly not “overeating” as in eating heaps of Buca Di Beppo’s “Mama Mia’s Spaghetti and Meatball Family Dinner Platter.”

I left some comments at that second article challenging the definition of gluttony provided. One fellow responded by asking me “how then does the Bible define gluttony?”

beastCertainly, the concept of “gluttony” is not directly defined in Scripture. In fact, as the author of that first article notes, it is rarely mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, around 6 or so times to be exact. In order to get an understanding of “gluttony,” the surrounding context has to be considered where the word is found.

The first mention of “gluttony” is in Deuteronomy 21:20 And they shall say to the elders of his city,`This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.”

There are a few observations to be made from that text.

1). First, note the overall context is parents bringing a son to the city elders in order for them to pass judgment upon him. Their judgment against him could lead to his execution by stoning.

2). Next, gluttony is tied to being a drunkard. He not only is eating a lot, but drinking himself drunk.

3). Third, the parents’ testimony of the son is that he is “stubborn and rebellious,” meaning that he refuses to receive instruction, is obstinate against both parental and civil authority, and it is implied that he is living a life flaunting God’s law and not fearing the Lord at all. Eli’s two good-for-nothing sons, Hophni and Phinehas fit that description (1 Sam. 2:12-17).

There are a couple of Proverbs mentioning “gluttons.” Proverbs 28:7 is the most relevant for our discussion and it reads, Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, But a companion of gluttons shames his father. Notice that a discerning son is said to be one who “keeps the law.” Simply put, he loves and fears the Lord. However, the son who is “a companion of gluttons” is the son who shames his father. It’s implied he doesn’t keep the law, nor does he fear God. The verses following contrast a good son with the ones who extort from the poor, who despises God’s law, and intentionally leads righteous people astray.

In the NT, Jesus is accused of being a “winebibber and a glutton” and eating with sinners (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34). Sinners in this case being defined as tax collectors (those who extort money), and other assorted sinners. When Paul wrote Titus, he mentions how Cretans are “liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons.” liars are in the same category as gluttons, who are described by the adjective, “lazy.” They are described as people who are morally unscrupulous and basically ungodly with their behavior and lifestyle.

Now, when we pull together all the scant discussions of gluttony mentioned in the Bible, do we seriously think it is Bubba the deacon who is in mind? A guy who is an outstanding Christian who teaches Sunday school (and is a Calvinist!), but who happens to be 50 pounds overweight and enjoys eating a big breakfast at Bob Evans every Saturday morning with his family?

Gluttony is certainly a sin, but overeating on Thanksgiving is not gluttony. If it is, how exactly are pastors to confront this sin? What is the “standard” for overeating? Wouldn’t it be different from one person to the next? I had a friend in college who was in tremendous physical shape but ate like a horse. He had a high metabolism. He could easily consume 3 or 4 big macs and they wouldn’t do a thing to his health. The author of the second article above suggests that a person’s high metabolism is not an excuse for “overeating.” But why? One person’s “overeating” may be normal eating for another person as long as there are no dire health consequences.

If overeating is gluttony, and pastors should take up the call to condemn the sin of overeating from the pulpit, are they prepared to exercise church discipline against obese people who eat too much? Seriously. If overeating is “sin” that means those people are violating God’s Word. They need to be called to repentance and if they don’t repent, then the elders move to the steps of Matthew 18.

Again, this means we need to have in place a standard of measurement for obesity and overeating. The Bible is absolutely silent regarding such standards, and knowing that the standards put out by the government are for the most part absurd, how exactly can a pastor honestly condemn overeating from the pulpit?

Look. Is overeating and obesity a serious health problem in our day and age? Yes. But it isn’t the sin of gluttony. We may need to confront overeating and obesity in the local church, but let’s be exegetically precise as to what we are confronting. The overeating those writers are concerned with falls more in the category of personal discipline, like quitting smoking, or exercising more, or being a workaholic. Those areas can be bad habits, but they are not “sinful.”

I am reminded of Deuteronomy 14:26 which reads, And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. Ironically, that is the verse the typical skinny Christian these days use to justify their theological kegger parties and they are typically the ones equating gluttony with overeating. Rather than condemning “overeating” per se, I see God telling me to rejoice in the good things He has provided and lots of it, like coconut fried shrimp from Outback Steakhouse.

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37 thoughts on “No Sympathy for the Fat Guy

  1. I sauntered over to the “Jesus Died for your Food Coma” post and was preparing to post a comment when I realized the comments had been suspended…interesting.Anyway, the post I was going to make follows:Isn’t gluttony gluttony when I place food above God? By that I mean food has become an idol that takes the place of God in my life. In essence, I am worshiping food. If I take Mr. Archer to be correct, I should feel guilty and repent every time I pull into a Micky D’s for a sundae between meals or when I scarf down my Christmas dinner to get to my mom’s wonderful coconut cake. Lastly, was my dearly departed grandmother in violation of Romans 14:21 when she would insist I eat something before I left her home, even if I had just finished eating? Just sayin…

  2. I would also add that a lot of pagan worship was binging food orgies. They would eat, purge, eat, purge. Rather than enjoying a fine steak from Claim Jumpers and relishing each bite, they were insulting God's bounty by wasting it in pagan excess. In the same way, drunkenness is alcohol ("wine or similar drink") being wastefully consumed to extremes. Maybe a good working definition of gluttony is "food drunkenness."

  3. Good post, Fred. This cleared some of the doubts i had. I always loved food and enjoy eating a variety of foods. You have also mentioned YRRs equating over eating with gluttony. I believed it as a lame excuse for their indulgence in drinking.

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I actually was called down by an elder at a church in Brentwood, Tennessee over my "sin" of lacking self control and being overweight. While I agree that being as big as I am is unwise and I'm working to deal with that, it's refreshing to hear someone articulate that people are not in a perpetual state of sin until their BMI is healthy. You have no idea how much of an encouragement this was to me, Fred. Thank you.

  5. After reading the six verses mentioning gluttony and your comments about them, this is what I think.The common thread of all those references seems to be, gluttony is indicative of a person that is unproductive, and destructive to themselves and others. The vehicle to this destination is a profligate indulgence in food, often accompanied by an at least equal profligacy in alcoholic drink.The bottom line seem to be, a glutton is one that dishonors his parents and God by abandoning responsible behavior in order to immerse themselves in the fleshly pleasures of overindulgence.Thanks for the post, Fred.

  6. Hopefully folks understand (I tried to make this clear in the main post) that I am not advocating obesity and eat anything you want and your okay if you maintain a 300 pound weight. Certainly, overeating and our health is a problem in America. I think it is a bit of a hyperbole to call it an "epidemic" equivalent to the "black plague" like that Baptist missions director wrote in his article.

    My challenge is for Christians to think through their terms biblically and this issue biblically. Gluttony, as outlined in the Bible is not the same as overeating during the holidays or occasionally during a family get together. Nor is being overweight a "sin" in the same way as, say, adultery or lying. I'm like Joe. By worldly standards, I would be considered "morbidly obese" because I am probably 40 to 50 pounds over my nationally determined average weight form my height and age. But I am not an "overeater" by any stretch of the imagination. For example, I just finished a typical Saturday morning breakfast with my family which consists of a pancake, a couple of pieces of bacon, milk and coffee. I generally don't each lunch, or if I do, its a piece of fruit or something lite. Last night, we went out and ate at one of our favorite pizza places and I maybe had two slices of pizza and that was it. Yet, due to my metabolism, I retain weight. I practically have to starve myself in order to lose weight. I also exercise regularly by biking to work and walking and swimming, when the weather's favorable.

    My concern is that Christians, like Joe's elder, are acting "worldly" by making what we eat, and how much of it, and our persona physiology a matter of spirituality and being godly. A person is going beyond the testimony of scripture if they do.

  7. Thanks for twittering me this post. A bit confused, though – and I apologize in advance if it was covered in this thread. Is the assertion that gluttony isn’t mere over-eating but is a lifestyle characterized by perpetual over-eating? If so, I would agree (God instituted the concept of feasting, aka pigging out on certain occasions in celebration). If not, could you please define gluttony further? – JD

  8. Certainly. As I noted in my article, the sin of “gluttony” is linked to other significant sins as well. Some of them being rebellion against parents and the civil authorities (the son in Deut.), lying (as in the Cretans), extortion (tax collectors), and most specifically, a life of drunkedness. I pointed out Eli’s two sons as good examples of what it is to be a “glutton,” because those two men were notorious for not just over-eating, but for their womanizing and leading the people in corrupted worship of God.

    As I pointed out, Bubba the deacon who is 50 pounds overweight is a solid Christian man who is not a liar or rebellious. He’s just overweight. Enjoying a pancake breakfast on Saturday is not gluttony in the sense that the Bible labels “gluttony.” Hence, if we are going to demonize overeating as is typical these days from the skinnies among the YRR, we need to be precise with our terminology. Additionally, I would say we need to be prepared to enact church discipline against those overeaters too, seeing that gluttony was one of the sins that got the son in Deut stoned to death.

    Obviously, putting Bubba the deacon out of the church for having a couple of pieces of pie after Thanksgiving dinner is absurd, because what he did is not “sinful” as defined by scripture. It may not be a healthy choice, but it’s not gluttony.

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  10. My wish here is absolutely not to be hurtful or insensitive. Not in the least. I must however make a few observations.
    The sin of gluttony is that of being mastered by food. Plain and simple. If ANY indulgence of the flesh has risen in priority in one’s life so as to supersede other considerations of godliness then it IS a sinful bondage. A man who would eat, drink or smoke (or anything else) himself to a place where inordinate amounts of time, money or other life resources are being spent either on the addiction itself OR the healthcare costs in it’s wake, or both, it IS sin. To deny that it is pure self interested rationalization.

    To knowingly AND out of NO necessity whatsoever, risk the crippling degradation of one’s heath and eventual early death in the name of one’s taste buds is idolatry. If it is NOT sinful to leave one’s family without covenant head and likely with burdensome financial want because of the perpetual overindulgent abuse of the God given blessing of food, then what is?

    Additionally, the physical appearance of obesity screams “NO SELF CONTROL” to those around them. It is NOT possible to see a clearly obese person WITHOUT the immediate, even if subconscious impression that they are not capable of bridling their passions. The witness of the transforming power of the risen Christ is inescapably muffled when preceded by a plainly unrestrained waistline.

    Gluttony is similar to drunkenness in that it is not possible to codify on paper a formula by which it’s presence is to be discerned. (______________ calories or cupcakes is sin for instance) Like drunkenness however, at some point it is obvious. But UNlike drunkenness, and most other sins as well, gluttony is with few exceptions impossible to hide. It is conceivable for their to exist a state of gluttony that does make one obese, but that would be the rare exception.

    In the end ALL sin is the unlawful use of a legitimate God given drive or blessing. Something intended by the Lord for good that we misuse for evil. So it is with gluttony.

    I don’t know you Fred, but you ARE using exegetical/expositional gymnastics to excuse yourself. Gluttony is all about food. The coupling of gluttony with other sins is for the purpose of illustrating it as ALSO indicative of a lack of self control. Not that it isn’t UNLESS so coupled. In fact drunkenness might even be viewed as an excuse for gluttony. Who watches what they eat when they’re drunk? Being a sober glutton removes at least that excuse.

    I am a former obese drunk who once had a massive belly, double chin and who couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. ALL of which was slavery to my flesh. I own that sin and praise my beautiful Jesus for making me free.

    Before anybody starts, NO NO NO, it is not sin to celebrate. Not even with the overindulgence of food and drink. (within sane godly limits). Eating massive quantities of good food and EVEN getting a bit tipsy ON OCCASION is not wrong and can be the joy of the Lord. (but not for me) When however it turns into what I have been presently discussing, the correct path is to confess it as sin and begin the journey to victory. Not cry peace peace to yourself when there is none.

    My motivation in this comment is not to shove a finger of self righteous condemnation into the faces of my brethren who are in this struggle as if I no longer have any myself. No sir. My motivation is to be faithful to God’s word in the hope that somebody may be convicted and encouraged to seek Him with a heart of repentance that His name may be more greatly exalted in their life.

  11. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, the comments on the other blog were closed because that particular post is 2 years old.

  12. Good grief.
    I missed the word “not”. This sentence should read like this:

    It is conceivable for their to exist a state of gluttony that does NOTmake one obese, but that would be the rare exception.
    I apologize.

  13. Tribulus writes,
    The sin of gluttony is that of being mastered by food. Plain and simple.

    I disagree. That is a modern, American definition of gluttony and one that Christians have taken and synchronized with the Bible in order to pull from it life principles similar to what you present here.

    If I have done exegetical gymnastics as you claim, then you have to demonstrate to me how I did. In all of the instances where gluttony is mentioned in Scripture, again, just 6 or so places, it is coupled with lying, breaking God’s law, and spiritual rebellion. It has a moral and ethical quality attached to it.

    Like I stated up in a previous comment to someone else, Bubba the deacon is not a spiritual rebel nor is he breaking God’s law. He happens to be overweight and out of shape. Would he be deserving of a stoning like that gluttonous rebel son in Deuteronomy?

    If what you say is true, that gluttony is being mastered by the flesh, and then by extension, any mastery by something outside yourself is sin, are you prepared to exercise church discipline against an overweight, out of shape person attending your church? Why not? Any sin is a violation of God’s holiness and law and if sin is being openly practiced in a congregation and the person is unrepentant, then that person needs to be dealt with. We would do that with any man mastered by sex, or lying, or stealing, or whatever.

    The problem I have with your complaint here, is that while I certainly believe and understand that overeating, and being overweight has dire health consequences, I do not see such as being “sinful.” It is not breaking God’s law. Certainly a pastor should challenge and exhort an individual in such circumstances. Even coming along side him to encourage him. But calling him a law breaking sinner? Really?

  14. FivePointer says: ” Bubba the deacon is not … breaking God’s law. He happens to be overweight and out of shape. “

    2 quick things to keep us moving along here, but before we do.
    1. Bubba does NOT HAPPEN to be overweight and out of shape. He is fat and dangerously unhealthy because he chooses not to exercise (no pun) the simple, yet sometimes very difficult, non fanatical self discipline necessary to be reasonably lean and reasonably healthy, and thereby honoring God with his body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

    2. Please show me where lusting after a woman in your heart or being angry without cause is a violation of God’s “law”.

  15. Please show me where lusting after a woman in your heart or being angry without cause is a violation of God’s “law”.

    …you’re kidding, right?

    But I note that you didn’t answer Fred’s question: would you initiate church discipline against someone who was overweight? If not, why not?

  16. Curtis Sheidler quotes me as asking:
    Tiribulus asks: “Please show me where lusting after a woman in your heart or being angry without cause is a violation of God’s “law”.

    and then rather sneeringly responds, as if it should be self evident to any 1st year Sunday School attendee, by saying and linking: …you’re kidding, right?
    To which I now respond by saying that the Lord’s words there have nothing to do with THE “law” which was His very point and mine. A point which my new friend Curtis missed entirely, but Fred did not or he would have instantly quoted Matthew 5 at me as you have.

    Curtis Sheidler chides: “But I note that you didn’t answer Fred’s question: would you initiate church discipline against someone who was overweight? If not, why not?”,
    We’ll get there. One thing at a time brother. My motivation is never merely to win a debate. My motivation is to honor God and edify the saints in so doing. Along the way several lessons have been learned about online debating. Among them are: Don’t be impulsive and never underestimate an opponent. With all due respect it appears that you have as of yet learned neither.

  17. Curtis has a rather significant point. Contrary to what you write, I believe the Sermon on the Mount goes to the heart of the law, which was to expose heart issues. To ask, “please show me where lusting after a woman in your heart…is a violation of God’s law” and to discount our Lord’s very words on the matter is rather short-sighted. Not sure where you are going by ignoring those words. Moreover, coveting is forbidden in the 10 commandments itself. Coveting starts with the sinful heart what Jesus addresses in the Sermon on the Mount.

    In another response up above you write, Bubba does NOT HAPPEN to be overweight and out of shape. He is fat and dangerously unhealthy because he chooses not to exercise (no pun) the simple, yet sometimes very difficult, non fanatical self discipline necessary to be reasonably lean and reasonably healthy, and thereby honoring God with his body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

    Two thoughts here. First, Bubba the deacon is not necessarily a pig either. You make it sound as if weight gain or loss is just a matter of dieting a little bit and taking a walk around the neighborhood. But the metabolism of individuals differs between each individual. Additionally, priorities differ from person to person.

    Like I noted previous, according to the typical “health standards” set by the government, I am considered morbidly obese. Though I probably need to lose 30 pounds or more, in reality, I am hardly “obese.” Great heart and blood pressure like a long distant runner. I don’t overeat. I eat healthy items, vegetables, salad, chicken. Maybe have pancakes once a week, if that. My only weakness would be sweets, which we really don’t keep around here at the house.

    Moreover, I try my best to “exercise,” but honestly, with raising five kids, responsibilities at home, and at work, I don’t have the time to carve out to spend a couple of hours in a gym (or the money). I probably represent a large portion of the folks who attend my church. That would mean that a good number of the people there are in danger, according to you and your definitions of “gluttony,” of sinning against God. If overeating, diet, and not exercising are gluttony, then we are sinning against God. Direct, moral violation of His righteousness. Our sin is the same as blasphemy and fornication, and would require us to be disciplined out of our church for unrepentant gluttony.

    Now again, you really haven’t answered my question as Curtis noted. Would such a sin be grounds to bring a person or persons before the elders to be disciplined and removed from church membership? Why or why not?

    Second, 1 Corinthians 19-20 is in the context of addressing sexual immorality. There is absolutely no comparison or principle applied to overeating and being fat. Such an comparison is definitely eisogesis.

  18. …the Lord’s words there have nothing to do with THE “law” which was His very point and mine.

    Actually, I saw the point you were trying to make, and it was an erroneous one. It’s a disastrously bad reading of Jesus to say that His words there “have nothing to do with the law” when he prefaces them by saying “Do not think I have come to abolish the law,” etc. (That’s actually why I deliberately linked you to the passage beginning in 5:17 and not at 5:21.)

    That is, Jesus is saying indisputably that to look upon a woman with lustful intention really and truly *IS* a violation of the law against adultery, and to be angry without cause really and truly *IS* a violation of the law against committing murder.

    So Fred’s question stands: Are you willing to initiate church discipline against an overweight member?

  19. I will not have time until at least tonight and maybe not even then, but I’ll try. I capitalized THE before “law”. I should have maybe added the word “written” between “the” and “law” as well. I am a thoroughgoing Westminster Covenant Calvinist. Of course I know that Jesus wasn’t saying that the law doesn’t count. He was saying that the intent of the law is not limited to the explicit recorded letter. My point as well.

    And Fred, I know the immediate context of 1 Corinthians 19-20 and also, we need to establish sinfulness before discussing discipline.

    I hope everybody is enjoying their holidays. TTYL.

  20. Indeed we do need to establish sinfulness. Sinfulness is a matter of being born in Adam and having a corrupted heart that produces outwardly sinful behavior. Would you agree or no? Hence, because Jesus further said in Matthew 15 that it is what comes out of the heart that corrupts a man (sinful heart) and not what goes into the stomach, the idea that overeating is sinful cuts against the basic biblical definition of sinfulness. I particularly state that in light of what you have been writing regarding eating, not exercising, and so forth.

    As to 1 Cor 6:19,20, if you know the immediate context has everything to do with sexual immorality and nothing at all to do with eating, why did you make the connection?

  21. I was half asleep when I wrote the first version of this last night and despite my best efforts at proof reading still missed some irritating typos. I’m asking kindly Fred if you could please delete the first one and post this one instead. Thanks.
    =========================================================================

    Fivepointer says: Indeed we do need to establish sinfulness. Sinfulness is a matter of being born in Adam and having a corrupted heart that produces outwardly sinful behavior. Would you agree or no?
    Of course. I agree wholeheartedly with WCF VI

    Fivepointer says: “Hence, because Jesus further said in Matthew 15 that it is what comes out of the heart that corrupts a man (sinful heart) and not what goes into the stomach, the idea that overeating is sinful cuts against the basic biblical definition of sinfulness.”
    If defined as you say, that is, that NOTHING going into the stomach can be the instrument of sin, then drunkenness or eating drugs such as heroin (which can be and is eaten sometimes) LSD, mescaline or angel dust is not sinful either. Or the abuse of prescription drugs for that matter. However the point is that the principle being advanced by Jesus is that of defilement. Not excess.

    He is saying in Matt. 15, as in Mark 7, that no certain KINDS of foods, whether eaten with unwashed hands (v. 2 of Matt 15 and Vv.2 and 5 of Mark 7) OR being forbidden in the ceremonial law (Mark 7:19), are able to DEFILE a man. He is specifically addressing the Pharisees attempt to charge some of the disciples with ritual uncleanness because of their unwashed hands. The Mark parallel expands on that by specifying His declaration of all foods being clean with respect to their ability to actually displease God by their mere presence in a man’s belly.

    None of this establishes that a person who willfully abandons themselves to morbid obesity in an orgy of food is honoring God with their body, which IS, unaffected by context, the temple of the Holy Ghost. You feel that a credible witness is being offered and God is honored if a man whose belt is invisible under his hanging belly and chin hides the knot of his tie tells an unbeliever that THAT body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? You are going to tell them that you walk in the fruit of the spirit according to Galatians 5, one of which is ἐγκράτεια, which means exactly “self control”?

    Fivepointer says: “As to 1 Cor 6:19,20, if you know the immediate context has everything to do with sexual immorality and nothing at all to do with eating, why did you make the connection?”
    Please see above. The fact that this particular immediate context is addressing immorality does not preclude the notion of it’s applying in other contexts. Especially since the declaration of “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,” is entirely independent of ANY context.

    Fivepointer says: I don’t have the time to carve out to spend a couple of hours in a gym (or the money).
    You picked the wrong guy for this one brother. I made less than 14 grand last year, I spend 3 hours A WEEK in a gym that my savings on food more than pays for and walking is free. With respect, this is a cheap copout and simply saying “I’m just not willing to do it” is much more credible. I can tell ya how. I have extensive expertise. It’ll save you money, your testimony and maybe your life. It is brain dead simple, but requires commitment and consistency. In other words, self control. God is pleased with prayers for self control. Trust me.

    Fivepointer says: “I probably represent a large portion of the folks who attend my church.”
    Mine too. Nothing could be less relevant. All that matters is what saith the the Lord.

    Fivepointer says: “That would mean that a good number of the people there are in danger, according to you and your definitions of “gluttony,” of sinning against God. If overeating, diet, and not exercising are gluttony, then we are sinning against God. Direct, moral violation of His righteousness.”
    If pursued in a willfully flagrant manner then yes it does mean that. Again, barring legitimate biological challenges? EVERYBODY CAN eat and move in a decently healthy God honoring way. Everybody. Then they can treat themselves to tons of food and drink at the occasional celebration to the glory of the Lord without destructive consequences. And if they can’t? Then that is THE definition of addiction. Are we proposing non sinful earthly addictions now?

    Fivepointer says: “Our sin is the same as blasphemy and fornication, and would require us to be disciplined out of our church for unrepentant gluttony.”
    It IS self indulgent, selfISH idolatry. If it were up to me it would be treated like other circumstantially comparable sins with attitude being key. I would treat it generally like the over consumption of alcohol. If someone recognizes that they are dishonoring God by displaying no self control and unnecessarily destroying His temple, thereby imperiling those whose lives they affect, that’s one thing. If they are seeking help and fighting that battle then I will walk with them while there is breath in my lungs.

    If on the other hand they are stiff necked and persist in their refusal to own that the overservice of their flesh and lack of self control is sin, then forbidding communion and church office to be sure. If they are to the point where the doctors are telling them that they ARE shortening their lives then for their own good, the good of their family and the preservation of the church, yes, excommunication would be a real option. OR we can stand at the judgement and explain to God how we watched someone commit slow motion suicide and overtly justified their doing so. Thereby contributing to their sin and death and also setting that horrific precedent for the rest of the church.

    Just so we’re clear. You are saying that at no point does overeating and slothfulness become SIN?

    I’m tired, that will have to do for now and I’m not going on about this forever. I just know that I WILL NOT have this on my head. I know widows, widowers and orphans whose loved ones died wholly unnecessary self induced premature deaths because of smoking, drunkenness and obesity. Personally. Ultimate selfishness. I do not believe God approves and I believe He wants better for His children.

  22. “If defined as you say, that is, that NOTHING going into the stomach can be the instrument of sin, then drunkenness or eating drugs such as heroin (which can be and is eaten sometimes) LSD, mescaline or angel dust is not sinful either. Or the abuse of prescription drugs for that matter.”

    I’m sorry, but that doesn’t follow at all. For starters, drinking alcohol itself (as you’ve acknowledged in previous posts) isn’t a sin. It’s the state of drunkenness that’s the sin. Likewise, the sin of drugs such as heroin or LSD doesn’t lie in the fact that these things are going into the stomach, but in the fact that such things are illegal and that they induce even in small amounts a state akin to drunkenness. If they weren’t illegal and didn’t affect the mind and body the way they do, those things wouldn’t be sinful either. Likewise, the abuse of prescription drugs is sinful because it’s a violation of authority in that you’re taking medications the government prescribes for specific uses and going beyond the uses prescribed by the government.

    “None of this establishes that a person who willfully abandons themselves to morbid obesity in an orgy of food is honoring God with their body, which IS, unaffected by context, the temple of the Holy Ghost. You feel that a credible witness is being offered and God is honored if a man whose belt is invisible under his hanging belly and chin hides the knot of his tie tells an unbeliever that THAT body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?”

    Here you’re drawing a deplorably bad connection between physical appearance and willful disobedience. A person who eats a single fast food combo meal twice a day during the week and works at a sedentary job is going to be overweight as well–possibly even morbidly obese. But it simply does not follow that his obesity is a function of gluttony: it’s strictly a function of lousy nutrition and lack of exercise habits. Is every instance of such things gluttony? That’s hard to believe, because if so it requires us to assert that there’s a specific calorie threshold that identifies gluttony, because in the example I just gave the person isn’t OVEReating–he’s eating bad food. But it seems to me that on your model we’d nonetheless have to accuse him of gluttony.

    By the way, you should quite frankly be appalled at the way you tie Christian witness to physical appearance. On your model, it’d be awfully difficult for us to tell unbelievers that the body of, say, a person with Down’s Syndrome is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Is that really the precedent you want to set?

    “The fact that this particular immediate context is addressing immorality does not preclude the notion of it’s applying in other contexts.”

    But it ABSOLUTELY precludes you from using it as a proof-text for something the original text isn’t talking about at all. The hermeneutic you’ve constructed here is fundamentally no different from the KJVO advocate who uses Psalm 12:6 as a justification for the ridiculous assertion that the KJV is “the perfect translation.”

    “…the declaration of “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,” is entirely independent of ANY context.”

    Um, no, it’s NOT. Its CONTEXT is 1 Cor 6. That’s what context MEANS.

    “You picked the wrong guy for this one brother. I made less than 14 grand last year, I spend 3 hours A WEEK in a gym that my savings on food more than pays for and walking is free.”

    Respectfully, Tribulus, this is where you show your hand. To explain how, let me offer the following adaptation of a well-known parable:

    “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one an athlete and the other an overweight IT consultant. The athlete, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this fat slob. I exercise 3 hours A WEEK in a gym; I give tithes of all that I save on food and by walking.’ But the overweight IT consultant, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    Here’s the problem, Tribulus: over and over again in your interactions on this thread, you’ve displayed some pretty egregious pride and self-satisfaction. I encourage you in Christ to remind yourself that your acceptance before God is not a function of your abstinence from overeating or from alcohol, nor of your (perfectly commendable) strict exercise routine. You stand in sinful judgment of Fred when you call his argument “a cheap copout,” and you need to repent.

    “If they are to the point where the doctors are telling them that they ARE shortening their lives then for their own good, the good of their family and the preservation of the church, yes, excommunication would be a real option. OR we can stand at the judgement and explain to God how we watched someone commit slow motion suicide and overtly justified their doing so. Thereby contributing to their sin and death and also setting that horrific precedent for the rest of the church.”

    An interesting set of standards you’ve established here. Let’s run with that a bit, shall we?

    The AMA has identified high sodium intake and low potassium intake as enormous contributors to high blood pressure and, ultimately, stroke and various forms of cardiac disease. Should we initiate church discipline against people who eat too much salt and too few bananas as well?

    – Likewise, a higher intake of (fresh) fruits and vegetables greatly reduces one’s chances of cardiac disease or stroke. Should we initiate church discipline against everyone who doesn’t eat the FDA’s recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables as well?

    – The same study identified a *PROTECTIVE* effect of light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, including higher levels of good cholesterol, increased insulin sensitivity, and better glucose metabolism. (Beer is also known to be incredibly high in anti-oxidants.) In light of this, and of the fact that God created alcohol for his glory, should we not also initiate church discipline against anyone without an addictive or biological problem who describes themselves as a teetotaller?

    – The AMA has also long recommended a small daily dose of aspirin for preventative heart care. Are people (especially African-Americans, many of whom are genetically predisposed to a greater likelihood of heart disease) sinning if they ignore this advice? Should we consider discipline and excommunication for them as well?

    – Are women sinning if they fail to examine themselves every month for breast cancer? Are men sinning if they fail to examine themselves every month for testicular cancer?

    – Given that motorcycles are inherently so much more dangerous than cars, is it sinful to ride a motorcycle when you could just as easily walk, use public transportation, or buy a car instead?

    – Is the person who wears a bicycle helmet less sinful than the person who doesn’t?

    Now, obviously, these sound silly. And that’s exactly the point: physical well-being and a healthful appearance aren’t the shibboleths you seem to think they are. It should be instructive to you that many of the grounds for church discipline on this issue that you’ve established aren’t Scriptural at all–they’re concerned with physical appearance and general healthfulness.

    “I know widows, widowers and orphans whose loved ones died wholly unnecessary self induced premature deaths because of smoking, drunkenness and obesity. Personally. Ultimate selfishness.”

    I sympathize with you, Tribulus–I really and truly do. But you’re allowing your personal experience here to dictate how you read Scripture, and that’s turning you into a legalist on these issues. Your obligation under God is to let the Bible inform what gluttony means, not your own experiences and personal judgments about others. I pray you’ll come to a new understanding of what it means that God’s favor comes to you not because of your obedience, but because of His grace.

  23. Tribulus writes,
    If defined as you say, that is, that NOTHING going into the stomach can be the instrument of sin, then drunkenness or eating drugs such as heroin (which can be and is eaten sometimes) LSD, mescaline or angel dust is not sinful either. Or the abuse of prescription drugs for that matter either. However the point is that the principle being advanced by Jesus is that of defilement. Not excess.

    A few things here:
    First, we need to distinguish between abuse and ingesting. I would agree that there is nothing that goes into your stomach that is an instrument of sin. IOW, no physical food (and I would add even drugs) have any intrinsic sin on them that causes a person to sin or brings sin into the person. That is the point of what Jesus states. Like you sort of say, the issue is of defilement. Excess is something else.

    Drunkenness is a condition, not something you take into your body. You probably mean wine or beer.

    If specific kinds of narcotics are intrinsically sinful to take, then that removes any medicinal abilities those drugs may have. I have had to take a heroin based drug before for an asthma attack. So also, what we take in has a context as well.

    Coming back to the main point of my article, gluttony, as defined by Scripture, is not the overeating of bad foods. This has yet to be addressed.

    Continuing,
    None of this establishes that a person who willfully abandons themselves to morbid obesity in an orgy of food is honoring God with their body, which IS, unaffected by context, the temple of the Holy Ghost. You feel that a credible witness is being offered and God is honored if a man whose belt is invisible under his hanging belly and chin hides the knot of his tie tells an unbeliever that THAT body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? You are gong to tell them that you walk in the fruit of the spirit according the Galatians 5, one of which is ἐγκράτεια, which means exactly “self control”?

    I have been fairly consistent throughout my comments that I believe being overweight is not a good thing both healthwise and spiritually. If I were a pastor, I certainly would take a morbidly obese person aside and confront them about their condition and do the best I can to help them. But morbidly obese is not the same as the 40 pounds overweight computer guy.

    The issue at stake is whether that person condition is sinful on the level of sexual immorality and blasphemy, and demands for church discipline to be enacted against the person or persons for being 50 pounds overweight. While I certainly agree with you that it is a bad thing, I don’t agree with assigning sinful qualities to such a person nor do I believe the person must be disciplined out of church. And additionally, this isn’t the biblical definition of gluttony.

    You picked the wrong guy for this one brother. I made less than 14 grand last year, I spend 3 hours A WEEK in a gym that my savings on food more than pays for and walking is free.etc…

    Do you have a family? Do you have five children that you actively homeschool? Do you live in LA? While it may be true that some people are lazy and just don’t want to do it (like reading their Bibles and good books) that is not all of them. That certainly isn’t the case with many of the people I am friends with who may be overweight according to worldly standards. It is a matter of priorities. Educating my children and spending my money on our house and living is a much greater priority for me than spending 2 hours at a gym. BTW, like I have stated before, we walk regularly and I am hardly an overeater.

  24. CPS falsely accuses: “Here’s the problem, Tribulus: over and over again in your interactions on this thread, you’ve displayed some pretty egregious pride and self-satisfaction. I encourage you in Christ to remind yourself that your acceptance before God is not a function of your abstinence from overeating or from alcohol, nor of your (perfectly commendable) strict exercise routine. You stand in sinful judgment of Fred when you call his argument “a cheap copout,” and you need to repent.”
    I only have a minute now, but CPS has falsely accused his brother and there is a God in heaven who knows this to be the be case. I have absolutely zero self satisfaction and would be a dead man right now if not for the faithfulness of my heavenly Father in sovereignly pulling me from the jaws of death when I wasn’t even asking him to (long story). I destroyed my pancreas with alcohol, AFTER I knew His grace (another long story), and will probably die a relatively young man no matter WHAT I do because I need insulin that there is absolutely no way I can afford. (our financial situation is another long story) I accept that. I’m preaching to myself because though I am now in athletic shape I must still be more diligent than I sometimes am in what I eat. I LOVE food too.

    I cannot control your perception of me CPS, but it’s very wrong and you are the one standing in sinful judgement of me. I (still respectfully) stand by my statement of Fred’s copout.

    I’ll get to the rest and Fred’s remarks too when I can and then that will probably be it. I will have said my piece and as I say God does know my heart and I stand fully at peace with that.

  25. Real quick again. Fred, I AM NOT singling you out. I have no idea what you look like. I’m only taking YOUR word that you are morbidly obese. My usage of the pronoun “you” is generically intended for the most part here.
    Consider the words of MacArthur

    Couldn’t help but be thinking about one thing that’s on my mind even today. In the area…just take…this is a little off beat, but think about it, in the area of food, and this is very practical. But Satan has managed to pervert even something good like food. Now you can’t get drunk on food, but you can be a glutton. Satan has managed to bring that about. Look for a minute, with me, at 1 Timothy, chapter 4, verse 3, Satan comes with a doctrine of demons and some of those things that those demons teach are, verse 3, forbidding to marry. But he goes on to say, “Also, one of the things that demons teach is to abstain from foods which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by them who believe and know the truth.”

    What he’s doing here is this. Satan has actually taken the whole idea of diet and perverted it in certain systems of religion ‑to mean that spirituality is based on diet. Spirituality is based on what you eat. I believe that many Jews felt that their spirituality was dependent on what they ate. When the church was established in the New Testament, a lot of the Jewish Christians felt that their spirituality was still based on what they ate, and what they didn’t eat. And that was the problem Paul was writing to in I Corinthians chapter S, “Meats offered to idols,” Romans chapter 14 and 15 where they were hassling about what they ate. And Satan would love people to think that their spirituality is dependent on what they eat. I’m sure there are some people in this world who think that spirituality is dependent on being a vegetarian. And so, Satan has even used that perversion to other extremes.

    The next verse says, “For every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused if it’s received with thanksgiving.” Satan’s pushed that out. Every creature of God is good and not to be refused and some people are eating everything in sight… and saying ‑ Look at the provision of God, give it to me, it looks terrific! See. With whipped cream, please. They’re going the other direction. Instead of abstinence being the sign of spirituality, they’re saying that there’s nothing forbidden to me and Satan pushes you on out. And what do you have? You have gluttony. First Peter chapter 4, verse 3 says: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excesses of wine, revelings.” Revelings and carousings refer to banqueting. And gluttony is inherent in both of those terms. God is very serious about a balance, about being temperate, about being moderate in this area.

    And Piper

    As I say, I’ll get to the specifics when I can.

  26. Tribulus,

    My rebuke to you was not based on imagined perception or judgmentalism, as you seem to believe–it was based on things you have objectively said during the course of this thread.

    – in your first response to me, you accused me of ‘sneeringly’ asking you a question (thereby imagining that you’re in a position to discern my heart or my intentions). you were mistaken.

    – in the same response, you implied that I ‘underestimated’ you and that I had a lot to learn about impulsiveness and (presumably) internet discourse. in doing so, you have quite objectively cast yourself in a role of eminent wisdom with me as the student, and have demonstrated quite overtly that you have a vaunted opinion of your own skill set. (you can’t say that someone else has underestimated you unless you think you’re much smarter, better, or cleverer than they’ve assumed.)

    – with regard to Fred, just because you say “with all due respect” (or something similar), you can’t just say whatever you want to someone. really respecting fred means not accusing him of being lazy or copping out, and it means not rebuking him for not adopting practices that you say are “brain dead simple”…see, the implication there is that if fred isn’t doing what you say, then he’s therefore brain dead.

    brother, no one here has sinfully judged you–we’ve been responding to specific things that you have actually said and for which you are actually accountable. I say again: you are objectively demonstrating considerable pride and arrogance in how you conduct yourself on this thread, and I encourage you to see that your legalism in this area is a function of pride rather than of biblical fidelity.

  27. I AM open to correction and that from any quarter. It is however not possible at this time to both address the topic at hand AND what Curtis has said. I MIGHT get to some of the more glaring (probably honest) errors if at all possible. To imply that I was calling Fred braindead almost lies beyond response. I doubt that even HE took it that way. Maybe one day we’ll get along better Brother.

  28. I must say I agree with Tiribulus, though I am a fan and frequent reader of Hip and Thigh. While I sympathize with my overweight Christian brothers (my best friend is about 100 lbs overweight), and obivously understand that a case-by-case is necessary, I think ‘the body as temple of the Holy Spirit’ must be the prevailing text here. Think from the lesser to the greater… If Antiochus Epiphanes’ defilement of the transitory temple was a great evil, how much more the defilement of the eternal temple of the elect man?

    Let’s be clear, though: a Big Mac for one man might be sinful, for another celebration. It hinges on whether he violates his consience. I have quit caffeine for the fifth time in my life, and for good, because it mastered me. Mastery is the submitting of the temple to a harmful, controlling substance, and this is defilement. Some of my friends have no problem drinking caffeine sporadically; I am genuinely in bondage under its influence. No more. Other Christian friends are in bondage as well.

    I’ll wrap by saying that I have tried and failed to apply texts like Peter’s vision and Jesus’ teaching on defilement to a purely libertarian position (I am not suggesting Mr. Butler holds this position). I’m starting the New Year in bed with a fever. As I teach children I probably have some kind of virus running through me at all times. The other night I decided to have a beer despite not feeling all that great. For some, a bit of alcohol seems to strengthen their constitution. For me, it wiped out my energy, enflamed my persistent heartburn, left me with a headache, and likely inhibited my immune system. All for what? The exercise of our on-paper liberty in Christ?

    Certain foods leave me listless, acidic, sickly, etc. For me, they are sin. Some foods lead most people into sin, the bad stewardship of the temple. For most, they are sin and should be a part of church discipline, if necessary. (All while skirting that line of legalism, of course. It is not a core issue in most cases.)

    Grace to you, brothers. Please let me know where I’ve erred.

  29. Tribulus,

    I ABSOLUTELY believe that you’re open to correction–that’s why I’ve bothered to respond at all. I try to pay as little attention to trolls as I can, so when I see a true brother in Christ erring in his obviously sincere and passionate striving for faithfulness, I engage.

    And I wasn’t trying to say that you were deliberately calling Fred ‘brain dead’; quite the opposite! This is part and parcel of the deceitfulness of sin, and in particular of pride: it masks itself so well we’re often completely oblivious to it. (C.S. Lewis famously identified pride as the sin we’re most aware of in others, and most blind to in ourselves.) In this case, I think the logic of your language most definitely condemns Fred, even though that’s not what you intended to do. This is true, by the way, of the other examples I cited as well–I don’t think you were DELIBERATELY being prideful by saying that I underestimated you, for example; I think your pride manifested itself in ways you simply didn’t see. How prone we all are to this error!!!

    But, please: forgive me for not being clearer about this earlier; indeed, as I review my last post, it occurs to me that I could very easily have been understood to be accusing you of deliberate pride, and such was not my intention at all! (See what I mean? We’re all susceptible to this!)

    So it’s not an issue (at least on my part!) of whether or not we get along: I find your passion and zeal commendable, even though I think you ultimately err. I value you, Tribulus, and am praying for your health and wellness!

  30. Certain foods leave me listless, acidic, sickly, etc. For me, they are sin.

    *sigh.*

    NO, they AREN’T. At least, not because of this. At *NO POINT* does *ANYTHING* in the Bible equate listlessness, heartburn, indigestion, or the like with SIN. This is pure and unfettered legalism. The *ONLY* thing the New Testament equates to temple defilement with respect to the human body is sexual immorality. To apply that elsewhere is altogether illegitimate.

    Tribulus: I *BEG* of you, brother, to see in Brady’s comments the absolute DAMAGE your line of reasoning is doing to a brother in Christ. Brady, operating on your logic, is apparently under the impression that an undiagnosed case of lactose intolerance is somehow SINFUL. It’s NOT. Tribulus, neither Fred nor I could have asked for a more clear-cut example of how wickedly destructive your legalism in this area is.

    Brady: God’s approval of you has nothing to do with what you eat. If you don’t like certain foods because they make you listless, fine: avoid them! But to eat such foods is not sinful, and to avoid them is not righteousness.

  31. Curtis says:”Tribulus,

    I ABSOLUTELY believe that you’re open to correction–that’s why I’ve bothered to respond at all. I try to pay as little attention to trolls as I can, so when I see a true brother in Christ erring in his obviously sincere and passionate striving for faithfulness, I engage.
    I have yet to concede to being in error, but do not dismiss out of hand the possibility of my being so. I would be interested to see if Fred perceives me as talking down to him as you persist in alleging. I’m not saying he doesn’t, but he certainly hasn’t availed himself of ample opportunity to concur if he in fact does.

    Curtis says: “And I wasn’t trying to say that you were deliberately calling Fred ‘brain dead’; quite the opposite! This is part and parcel of the deceitfulness of sin, and in particular of pride: it masks itself so well we’re often completely oblivious to it.
    My point was, as it always is when nutrition and health is the topic, that a multi billion dollar ripoff industry has intentionally obscured the VERY simple, practical, non time consuming, LESS expensive and wholly attainable principles involved in keeping one’s temple to the glory of God. See, unlike your accusation, I was recognizing of our brother a rather high level of capability in light of what I’ve read of him. That being the case, along with the truly trivial intellectual prowess required to live in a God honoring, reasonably healthy way, my words were meant for encouragement.

    YES YOU CAN DO IT!

    and no excuse you can attempt to give actually is one. He can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think he understood that. OR, we’d have heard about it by now.

    Curtis says: “I think the logic of your language most definitely condemns Fred, even though that’s not what you intended to do.
    Simply untrue. I have condemned no one. Intentionally or otherwise.
    Curtis says: “This is true, by the way, of the other examples I cited as well”
    Brother, you used a condescending sarcastic phrase (are you kidding?) to portray me as a biblically illiterate simpleton, unaware of some of the most well known sayings of Jesus Christ. And this BEFORE Fred, who I had actually addressed the question to, had had the opportunity to answer himself. That was both impulsive and a hastily assumed underestimation of my grasp of the scriptures. I stand by both of my assertions.

    Curtis says: “–I don’t think you were DELIBERATELY being prideful by saying that I underestimated you, for example; I think your pride manifested itself in ways you simply didn’t see.”
    This is not impossible, but until convinced I stand where I am. Again, if Fred remains silent on this matter, I must assume that he has received my remarks in the spirit in which they were sent.

    Curtis says: “But, please: forgive me for not being clearer about this earlier; indeed, as I review my last post, it occurs to me that I could very easily have been understood to be accusing you of deliberate pride, and such was not my intention at all! (See what I mean? We’re all susceptible to this!)
    Fair enough and consider this part of the conversation forgotten.

    Curtis says: “So it’s not an issue (at least on my part!) of whether or not we get along: I find your passion and zeal commendable, even though I think you ultimately err. I value you, Tribulus, and am praying for your health and wellness!
    I’ll take that handshake and I of course return the godly good will. And feel free to call me Greg btw :)

    Unless Fred says more, this will be the last time I address my attitude. I wanted to be able to get to some more of the points you guys have made above. Those who know me well will tell you that I have NO problem admitting when I am wrong and will in fact be grateful to the faithful servant of God for bringing me into more truth than I had before. Being proven wrong is a GOOD thing as I will walk from the correction a better man in Christ than I was. I must be honest in saying though that this debate is not moving in that direction according to what has been said thus far. I will answer some more when possible.

  32. Curtis says: “Tribulus: I *BEG* of you, brother, to see in Brady’s comments the absolute DAMAGE your line of reasoning is doing to a brother in Christ.”
    If it were MY line of reasoning I would do so, but since it is not, neither will I.
    Curtis says: “Brady, [is] operating on your logic,
    No he is not and I will again dare to speak for Fred in declaring that I really doubt he will think it is either.
    Dr. Curtis says: ” [Brady] is apparently under the impression that an undiagnosed case of lactose intolerance is somehow SINFUL.
    There goes that impulsive assumption again. On the information we have, you have NO idea what his situation is and neither do I. Even if you ARE a doctor, which I doubt because the one’s I’ve met online are almost impossible to wrench internet diagnoses from because of possible legal ramifications.

    I agree that it appears this fella has himself off God’s track and is likely binding his own conscience in a manner that God has not. This however has literally no even accidental resemblance to either my principles or the points I’ve drawn from them.

    Curtis says: “… Tribulus, neither Fred nor I could have asked for a more clear-cut example of how wickedly destructive your legalism in this area is.”
    What is your interest in this Curtis? Are your overweight and unhealthy? I AM NOT trying to come down on you if you are, but you sure do seem to have a personal investment here. It has yet to be proven that I have said anything wicked or legalistic and one thing is absolutely certain. One or both of us is reading Fred wrong, but we both can’t be right. (You’ll break my heart if you try to say we are Fred.)

    Curtis says: “Brady: God’s approval of you has nothing to do with what you eat. If you don’t like certain foods because they make you listless, fine: avoid them! But to eat such foods is not sinful, and to avoid them is not righteousness.”
    I actually wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Curtis here brother Brady. Which Fivepointer Fred probably saw comin. Didn’t ya Fred? :D

  33. My Dear Brother Greg,

    I was unable to contribute to this thread yesterday and will be insanely busy over the next several more, and since this thread is already becoming surprisingly cumbersome, this will be my last entry here.

    1. Sarcasm does not equate to condescension, nor does it necessarily have to display contempt toward another. Hence, your suppositions that my initial response to you was “sneeringly” submitted, and that I was accusing you of being a simpleton, are simply untrue. However, I really am sorry that what I said evoked that reaction from you, and I apologize wholeheartedly for injecting an unnecessary dimension of emotionality to this discussion. Had my initial response been more carefully expressed, this conversation would have proceeded a great deal differently, and that’s my fault. Apologies again.

    2. My weight and health are immaterial to this discussion, since I reject the direct connection you make between weight, physical health, and gluttony. However, for you to bring them up here is a pretty classic example of an ad hominem argument. The reason I have so much invested in this discussion is that I despise legalism and see in Brady’s comments the place that your line of reasoning really DOES inevitably lead when followed to its natural conclusions, Greg.

    3. On a related note, it’s simply false that because you don’t endorse Brady’s arguments he’s therefore not following your line of reasoning. You have argued very specifically that being physically unhealthy is sinful and ought therefore to be grounds for church discipline. So when Brady says that he agrees with you and then concludes that any food that makes him listless, acidic, etc., are for that reason sinful, he really and truly *IS* following your line of reasoning, whether you endorse those conclusions or not. In all actuality, he’s actually being MORE consistent with your own line of reasoning than you are. In the same way that a man like Michael Brown cannot deny the connection between his theological reasoning and the extremes of the Charismatic Movement simply because he doesn’t endorse those extremes, YOU cannot deny the extremes of YOUR OWN position as Brady has expressed them. Like it or not, brother, he IS using your line of reasoning.

    4. Finally, in hopes of getting this thread back on track (if Fred’s even still interested in the discussion, that is), I feel it necessary to point out that your chief error here, Greg, is in attempting to provide an ironclad, concrete definition of a sin where Scripture offers none. Scripture can condemn drunkenness without establishing a hard-and-fast maximum number of drinks, but that’s because the effects of drunkenness are readily discernible to all. However, since a person can be gluttonous without being overweight (as in the case of bulimia), and since a person can be overweight without being gluttonous (by a moderate diet of non-nutritious food combined with lack of exercise, or by genetic predisposition, etc.), we are therefore unwise to tie a direct connection between being overweight and the sin of gluttony.

    5. NONE of this is to say, of course, that gluttony isn’t a real sin. However, since Scripture (A) doesn’t give us a clear definition of what it is, nor any guidelines on how to properly detect it; and (B) it’s not outwardly visible like drunkenness or adultery or something like that, we are required to exercise careful discernment in this area. A spiritual diagnosis of gluttony is similar to a spiritual diagnosis of idolatry in the heart of a believer–it canonly be made between two people who know each other well and who are in close conversation with one another. If your overweight brother turns to food because he’s stressed out or depressed or angry, he needn’t be a glutton–he may be a weak brother who simply needs encouragement in the gospel. If he’s overweight because he’s older and doesn’t eat terribly healthfully and doesn’t exercise, then by all means encourage him to exercise more and to eat better; but realize that his acceptance before Christ is *NOT* conditioned upon him taking your advice or following a specific exercise or diet regimen!

    5. This is the ultimate disaster of your argument here, Greg: whether you’d accept it being characerized this way or not, the simple fact is that by (A) tying gluttony directly to being overweight; and (B) asserting that it is therefore grounds for excommunication; you are effectively arguing that a person’s acceptance before Christ can be function of calories in/calories out. This is legalism, and as we’ve seen in Brady’s comments, it’s destructive. That’s why I object so strenuously to your argument. I pray you come to see it for what it is, and to repent.

    Yours in Christ,
    Curtis Sheidler

  34. I said above “Gluttony is similar to drunkenness in that it is not possible to codify on paper a formula by which it’s presence is to be discerned.
    And then added:
    ( ______________ calories or cupcakes is sin for instance) Like drunkenness however, at some point it is obvious. “
    Fred remembered that, as he was reading your latest comment. Didn’t ya Fred? Because he and I are communicating. For reasons I have no way of being certain of, you and I are not.
    In the interests of clarity for your sake Curtis, (but not Fred’s because he has previously quite rightly deduced this from what I’ve already said), I offer the following further points.

    The lack of self control is the heart sin of gluttony which manifests itself in the unhealthy over consumption of food, which then causes a lack of proper exercise of the temple and so on. Obesity and poor health are the entirely avoidable consequences and symptoms.

    There is also no codifiable slide rule method by which one’s bodyfat, level of exercise or overall health is to be interpreted as evincing “gluttony”. It IS</strong however at some point OBVIOUS.

    If there is an involuntary medical challenge that renders the person actually UNABLE to keep reasonable body composition and health, (These are EXTREMELY rare btw. Another long story) then this changes the situation, but I already said that, which Fred also remembers. I’m also not going to close the door on other possibilities I may not have thought of, but NONE of this is what we’re talkin about. Is it Fred?

    We are talking about being enslaved by food which in the vast majority of cases (but not necessarily) manifests itself in morbid obesity and it’s nearly inevitable self induced destruction of the temple of the Holy Ghost along with all that that means to one’s family, the church and the gospel.

    I will also throw in that one CAN be gluttonous in areas other than food, but to deny that food IS primarily included is not a position drawn from the scriptures as understood by most of historic reformed orthodoxy, OR by Fred’s boss who happens to agree with me as I quoted above. (MacArthur has more btw. As do a parade of others I was saving.)

    Yet again. My motivation is to see my glorious master more perfectly portrayed to a hostile world AND liberal church that takes great glee in pointing out how we jist LOVE to wink at sins like gluttony while beating down the homosexuals. (Don’t they Fred?) I’ve seen em do it.

    “Look man. Don’t come preachin to me about how I need to exercise self control over my sex drive when you jigglin across the room like a giant water balloon with a face about to drop dead of a heart attack”
    (paraphrase)

    WHAT IF, as far as it depends on us, we simply took that weapon away from them? My very undeniably accurate assertion is that this is within the reach of practically everybody. Oh yes it is. It IS brain dead simple, costs less money than you’re spending now for food (and other stuff associated with obesity and poor health like larger clothes, medical bills etc), and requires faaaaaaaaar less time than you are likely spending eating in front of the television. I’ll go so far as to say that if you have a TV that is EVER turned on… EVER, then you DO have the time to take care of yourself. (Fred will get that. Curtis won’t)

    PLEASE Guys!!! DO NOT take me as being hurtful and insensitive and not knowing how personally and intimately this kind of conversation affects someone inside who struggles with this. PLEASE Lord let these people hear me aright. You simply MUST believe that I only want His glory and your good.

  35. Pingback: Perry Noble the Latest Mega Church Pastor to Scold Christians re: Gay Marriage - Entreating Favor

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