Rick Warren to Lose 90 Pounds in Saddleback Fitness Plan

January 15, 2011 — 2 Comments

Warren’s new “Daniel Diet” is a gross misreading of Daniel 1. The “diet” described there has nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with faithfulness and obedience to God in a time of exile. I am offended as both a Christian and a vegetarian.

As a vegetarian, I have chosen not to eat meat because much of that which is commercially available to me and my family comes as a result of the mistreatment of God’s creatures. Instead of being cared for with the dignity inherent in anything God creates, these animals are treated as product from conception to slaughter. The goal of the mass meat machine is to grow the consumable parts of animals as quickly as possible so they can be brought to market as soon as possible. Volume and profit drive practice.

The meats that are available that honor the created nature of the animal are often so expensive (and in most cases the extra expense is justified) that their cost makes their purchase prohibitive for my family and me. As a result of conscience and stewardship (both fiscal and ethical) my family and I have chosen to be vegetarians.

As a Christian, I choose to keep physically fit because, as Warren is quoted in the article, “God wants you to be as healthy physically as you are spiritually.” Yet I do not presume that the Bible contains some fad diet plan in it–10 Days to the New You–rather it gives sound principles of moderation, humility and thanksgiving, by which our lives are to be governed.

Daniel 1 would better serve the church if “royal food” was understood as imperialistic opulence. In a day of great abundance and excess which has come to be seen as the “God-given right” of good, Christian Americans, what might a diet of “vegetables and water” really look like? How might our dependence on God for sustenance drive our choices? What ought we turn down so that we may show our captors of the faithfulness of our God?

Anderson Campbell


  • Rodger McEachern

    Eddie – it is to Warren’s credit that he desires to lose weight, and though I am not offended as you are [and I see why you would be], I do agree with your criticism of Warren’s using Daniel 1 to rationalise his decision. Why couldn’t he say, “I’m overwieight, I have overindulged, and its time to lose weight.’ What it is about the evangelical mindset that has to have biblical warrant for such things? Is it to justify such actions are okay with God, or merely an attempt to communicate to the faithful that “I’m not worldly”? Or an attempt to substantiate one’s belief regarding scripture – it’s God’s word…and here to prove it…this diet is from God and its work! [of course it works if you reduce your daily calorie intake as you would by eating only vegetables!] I agree with your last paragraph…it seems to me that Warren’s diet is a sign of captivity to the ‘royal powers’…one does not have to question the affluence and opulence of our culture since the problem is personal overindulgence that can be taken care of by a little self discipline and going on a diet.

  • Jason Clark

    Eddie and Rodger: seems to be the biggest issues, the ‘proof texting’ of a diet using Daniel, instead of confidence in attending to losing weight. Now living as Daniel would mean to be in exile, and avoid the riches of privilege, as you point out Eddie.