Rick Warren, Hinduism, Diets and Doctrinal Famine

Last week I have a response to the blog we had done in October of 2007, My Yoga is Easy: Hinduization of Christianity. The initial comment, (dated January 16, 2011) wondered why we, if we have Christ, we would be so afraid. I was able to respond *the following response) that fear had nothing to do with it but safety warnings are important. While this was transpiring I received the news that Rick Warren had started a new program, the Daniel Plan, with Swedenborgian Dr. Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen and others. According to Rick Warren Loses 8 Pounds in Saddleback’s Health Plan in the Christian Post, Dr. Amen claims to be a Christian. The Christian Post also incorrectly states that Dr. Oz is a Muslim. He may have been born to a Muslim family but it is clear that he has embraced and follows the late cult leader, Emanuel Swedenborg and according to his wife’s bio she is a Reiki Master. As it turns out, although Dr. Amen may be a Christian, I am not certain, he is also the poster boy for my 2007 blog, My Yoga is Easy: Hinduization of Christianity. Dr. Amen promotes the Buddhist practice of Tantric Sex with T.J. Bartel in Create More Passion Tonight: Uniting Ancient Wisdom and Modern Brain Science as well as other Tantric teachers. Dr. Amen also recommends a form of Hindu meditation Kirtan Kriya which can be observed online. Rick Warren and his “Daniel Plan” is a perfect example of what I was addressing three years ago in that post. Was or is my writing on this a demonstration that I lack Christ or am fearful? No, as I responded the query last week:

That is a good question and there is a twofold response. First, biblically we are commended by none other than Jesus Christ Himself to “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing…” (Matthew 7:15). There are other passages as well which teach us to expose false teachers and false teachings. Second, since spiritual teaching is equated to being spiritual food, what you are saying is to eat anything which comes in to your path. Being concerned about or even warning others about foods which are poisonous and deadly. To warn others or try to protect your children just shows fear. Would you really give your children toxic waste for dinner and tell them to expand their view of the world?

Rick Warren’s lack of biblical thinking, sound teaching and its resultant doctrinal famine explains why he can place weight loss above biblical teaching and aligning himself with false teachers. The Apostle Paul took quite a different view:

for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

Physical health is important but pales in significance to sound teaching and godly living which impact this and the future life.

It isn’t that Hindus, Buddhists or others in various other religions are any more or less evil than Christians. It is that the worldview and belief systems they embrace lead one away from the one true God to an eternity without Him. I often hear the claim that most religions have similarities. The suggestion is made from this that they are simply different roads to the same ultimate destination. We addressed this idea at some length in Different Spokes for Different Folks. In truth, most of the world’s religions are similar. They are based on the word “do.” Each one must perfect themselves earn their way to whatever eternal promise the religion du jour advertises, and it is different for each one. The one worldview that is different is Christianity. It is summed up in one word, done! Jesus lived a life we could not live and died a death in our place which we deserved and by grace alone through faith alone in Him alone we are redeemed. We can do nothing nor add anything to our redemption.

Is that narrow minded? Certainly, but then truth is often that way. 1+1=2 is narrow, after all it isn’t 12, 15 or some other number, but is none-the-less true. It isn’t mean or intolerant, it is simply true. But then, it seems that Rick Warren has abandoned sound thinking in favor of other things long ago. His introducing his congregation and indeed the broader Evangelical church to someone who is involved with and promotes Hindu and Buddhist practice is a case in point. Some have tried to argue that there are many similarities between Jesus and Buddha. But the differences are more important. For example, Jesus claimed that He is the way, the truth and the light and that no man get to the Father except through Him. Buddha on the other hand said he didn’t know the way.

Swedenborg, whom Dr. Oz follows, denied the doctrine of the trinity and embrace mysticism and false teachings of a wide variety. Oz may be a great medical doctor and even a nice guy but it is profoundly anti-biblical for Warren to bring him in to teach Christians in areas of faith and since the “Daniel Plan” is supposedly a faith based approach to health. But then, I suppose I should be little surprised. Warren abandoned sound biblical thinking long ago as he gained in notoriety and financial prosperity. Perhaps he just needs to change the name of his church. Maybe, Saddle Back Religious Center and Diet Clinic.


Rick Warren, Hinduism, Diets and Doctrinal Famine — 3 Comments

  1. I don’t think an example of the perversion of some Christian faith by a hodge podge of philosophically dubious Eastern ideas is the same as a man of faith examining other faiths for his own enrichment. Perhaps you’re more comfortable with blacks and whites when the world is awash in grey? That said, I subsequently posted a more clear perspective on why yoga is not faith.

    I can respect another’s adherence to a particular believe system, even admire it. I can’t argue with anyone else’s faith because it is just that: faith.

    You say there is one truth. Others say that is not the truth and I say you have no way of knowing. In this way, there may be one truth but no living human has the answer to what it is. Therefore, I respect your truth and expect you to respect mine, even if you view it as tenuous. I also expect you to respect others’ truths because of the free society in which we live.

    As long as those things hold and you let live and offer respect as others do towards you, we will live in a peaceful society. When the religious use violence to impose their truth on others, or worse, when the power hungry exploit the religious to use violence on others, we have war and persecution; we have evil (in a sense that is bad for humanity). How about we all strive to stay away from that?

    On a much less grand scale, the biggest, possibly the only, complaint that my non-Christian friends and I have about Christians is your seemingly insatiable need to tell others how to live and in what to believe. I posted my own thoughts on your website in the hopes that I might prevent yet another thing from falling on the Christian “unapproved” list (at least for some readers) but if you, or the readers, decide to disapprove, it’s clearly your prerogative, and in my opinion, your loss.

  2. Arpad,

    I appeciate your intelligent responses and respect for others. To accept your view would be to ignore the law of non-contradiction which states essentially that no two statements that are opposites can both be true in the same manner, time and space. An example would be that I cannot be both a plant and a human being at the same time. The essential charactaristics, DNA and anatomy of a human body are vastly different from a plant and therefore render such a statement false.

    This demonstrates that we can indeed know truth…and its absolute nature. Gravity is an absolute truth that we can know. We can’t see it, but we can see and measure its effect on everything. Those who deny it would get a rude awakening in the event their feet would leave their home’s roof in an effort to defy it.

    Having said that, absolute truth can in fact be known. In fact, our entire judicial system is based on the assumption of absolute truth. We take a pledge at the stand to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God’. WOW!! Nothing but the truth…that sounds rather intolerant, doesn’t it? Yet we are quite intolerant when someone steals from us or rapes our child or vandalizes our home. We reflexively base our judgements on the absolute truths we have come to know which are strongly reflected in our society’s laws. The policeman doesn’t ask you if you thought you were speeding…he asks you, ‘Did you KNOW how fast you were going?’ He’s implying an absolute truth…and it’s on his RADAR!!

    So to say truth cannot be known is a false statement to say the least. Our society would be in anarchy if such a belief was embraced without exception. At this point if we are truthful, we are ready to accept that there is absolute truth and we CAN know it. Now the question is, ‘Do we want to know or do we want to remain unaccountable for this TRUTH!’ The mere definition of God is absolute truth; absolute law giver. The existence of God or an absolute law giver would be entirely necessary to justify the existence of this absolute truth which would otherwise remain unexplained. Someone or something has to be the definitive source behind the existence of these absolute truths.

    And (to cut to the chase) having revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus who told us definitively that ‘no one comes to the Father except through me’, He would naturally be entitled as the creator of all things through His Son to make the rules…and He did!!

    We as Christ-followers feel compelled, not to rain on everyone elses parade or add to the unapproved list every week or run scared from everything that doesn’t agree with our faith, but to share the ‘cure for spiritual cancer’ because time is of the essence. Every day, more of the Book of Revelation is being fulfilled and out of love for our Savior and Lord and love for the lost, we go out into the world daily to tell others about God’s incredible offer. Sadly enough, even a cure for the sin problem is turned away for a lack of vision…something Jesus warned us would happen. He said, even if someone (Jesus) woule rise from the dead they will not believe.

    Praying for you.

  3. I do apologize for the delay in responding. Often my schedule is not my own and as a result, on occasion it takes me a bit longer to get into these discussions.

    You are, of course, correct that giving:

    “an example of the perversion of some Christian faith by a hodge podge of philosophically dubious Eastern ideas is the same as a man of faith examining other faiths for his own enrichment”

    The former is, according to biblical teaching, exposing false teachers operating in the church. In the Old and New Testaments, there is more teaching on false teachers, false prophets, evil and abusive leaders then on adultery, fornication, lying and homosexuality combined. Public teachers who refuse correction are to be publically exposed in order to warn the flock (believers who are looking to them for guidance) and to make other false teachers fearful (1 Timothy 5). Jesus warned to “Beware of false prophets…” (Matthew 7:15).

    The latter, if pursued honestly, is a pursuit of truth. Even so, in order to be sure of gaining truth, hearing arguments in opposition to the truth claims is helpful for a better examination. In this, there isn’t necessarily a dichotomy between “black and white” and “gray” as seems to be indicated in your statement. Some truths are black and white. 1+1=2 is black and white. It is true in all times, at all points in the universe for all beings. As I type this, I am wearing a blue shirt. That too is black and white and is also true in all times, past, present and future, at all points in the universe for, all beings that at this moment in time in this location I am wearing a blue shirt. There are other things that are less clear and preferential. You may not like blue; I may prefer a striped shirt. This also plays out in areas of faith. Within Christianity, specifically the Bible, as Dr. Norman Geisler says, “The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” In other words, some things are essential and are black and white truths such as the resurrection of Jesus, His claims to be God, the reliability of Scripture, etc. (orthodoxy) Other things are less clear or “gray.” What form should baptism take? Sprinkling, immersion, pouring? Can Christian partake of alcohol? How often should communion be practiced. (orthopraxy) These things are important but less clear.

    We could try to examine every world religion and/or their offshoots and never come to embrace anyone as true because we won’t live long enough to look extensively into all of them. It is easier to examine the basic worldview they fall into and determine if they falsify themselves or stand the test. There are really only 7 worldviews to choose from and six self destruct. A good readable book on this is I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.
    I do realize that you have put forth the idea that yoga isn’t faith. I never said it was but it is rooted in and is a practice emanating from religious teaching, namely, Hinduism. Vishal Mangalwadi is one of the better known apologists for Hinduism and devotes a fair amount of time in his teachings to the Yoga’s 7 Paths of Salvation in Hinduism. Historically, Yoga originated in Hinduism and is a spiritual practice of Hinduism. One may attempt to eliminate the spiritual aspect of Yoga and its Hindu connections but that is difficult to do, and I think a little dishonest. That would be like saying, “I am a Muslim but I don’t believe Muhammad was a prophet.”

    I too can admire a person’s devotion to a faith system but that in no way means I have to affirm the validity of the system. Everyone is entitled to believe what they want but it doesn’t follow that what they believe is true. Someone may believe they are a poached egg. They are entitled to believe that but that doesn’t mean they really are a poached egg.

    I was interested in your statement about truth that you “say you have no way of knowing.” That is essential Hinduism. The view about Brahman (god), which would be the ultimate truth:

    “Him [Brahman] the eye does not see, nor the tongue express, nor the mind grasp. Him we neither know nor are able to teach. Different is he from the known, and…from the unknown.
    He truly knows Brahman who knows him as beyond knowledge; he who thinks he knows, knows not. The ignorant think that Brahman is known, but the wise know him to be beyond knowledge.”

    That is obviously different than the claims of Jesus Christ Who said He is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to God except through Him. If we cannot know the truth, as you and Hinduism claim, than it is really pointless to even search. On the other hand, the statement is self contradictory. The claim that we cannot know the truth is itself a claim to have knowledge about truth, i.e., the knowledge that we cannot know. If we know that we cannot know then we know something which falsifies the statement. Since it is false we can indeed search with the knowledge that finding truth is attainable.
    As far as “is your seemingly insatiable need to tell others how to live and in what to believe” That stems from and is core to biblical teaching. For example, Jesus said:

    Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:19-20)

    It is not up to us to judge those outside the church (1 Corinthians 5:12-13) but we are to proclaim the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins by calling on His name. So, the problem of what we do is more of a problem with Jesus than with us, we are simply living out our faith. I thought that is something you earlier said you admired in people of faith.

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