Every so often we have a dialogue at our Church about how "visible" we are as a Church in our community; how we are disconnected with the 'post-moderns' or other denominations; how relevant are we? Would we be missed if we were raptured
tomorrow? (I'm joking of course-- Adventists don't subscribe to the idea of a pre-Advent 'rapture').
We put a lot of stock into our "Health Message" as a means of reaching people in the community. At our Church we run a twice-yearly series of "Vegan Cooking Schools" on 3 or 4 Sunday afternoons. They are well-attended, and although they are a lot of work to prepare-- especially for our leader-- they are fun to contribute to, and judging from feedback, fun to attend. We make an effort to make the "Health Message" relevant to our community, which just happens to be quite health conscious, and significantly given to vegetarian lifestyles. We purposely have avoided proselytizing.
I was a little shocked this week to open an e-mail from one of my favorite "Christian" web presences, Rev. Jim Lyn of "God's Healing Word". Jim and I have both embraced a recognition of the way in which alternative/complementary medicine often conforms to Biblical directives for healing in a way that 'orthodox' 'Western' 'allopathic' medicine and pharmacology do not. Here is what Jim said in his email:
If you are wondering why you haven't heard from God's Healing Word much of late, here's the reason: We're busy creating a Bible Class curriculum called...
Good Health is a Choice: Learn How to Choose it.The objective of the cirriculum is to introduce Christians to God's food laws and natural health.
We are excited because the course is Bible-based and God centered.
We believe this course is just begging to be taught. No one is teaching it (so far as we know), and it certainly needs to be taught. Our people are
hungry for the truth of God's Word as it relates to their health. Consider:
Based on health, most non-believers would be hard pressed to single out a Christian in a crowd based on health. Why? Christians eat the same junk foods, drink the same soft drinks, get just as obese, come down with the same diseases and are treated by doctors trained in the same medicine, take the same drugs and often die from complications following the same medications and treatment.
Does that sound like a people empowered by Jehovah-rapha, the God of healing to you?
It doesn't to us, either. It's time someone speaks out, and we intend to do just that. God's pefect will is not that He heal you, it's that you never get sick!
Our target date to conduct the first class is January 2008, less than 2 months
away. The cirriculum will offer an abundance of downloadable material, including a
course handbook and weekly notes.
Classes will be conducted by telephone and similcast over the Internet, and held
weekly for 12 weeks. There will be a small charge to cover our time and expense.
You will be hearing more about this class in the weeks to come, but I wanted you to
know now what it is we're doing and why.
The class will delve into many subjects related to food, including the dangers
of routinely eating processed foods. We'll release more detailed information
concerning the course content in the near future.
To help you understand some of what we'll be discussing in class, here is an excerpt
from the course handbook. Keep in mind it is only an excerpt. The subject will be
covered in detail during class.
Why Commercially Processed Food is Not Food
All commercially processed food contains "food products," food which is heavily processed. For the most part, food products are foods that are far removed from their natural state. To be accurate, the more a food is processed, the more
it is NOT food. Your body was designed to eat natural foods as they are found in nature, not artificial substances that are created in a lab.
The McDonald's French Fry Experiment
Try this experiment at home. Buy an order of McDonald's French Fries. Next, peel and cut a potato into fries and fry them as you normally would. Third, place the McDonald's fries into a sealed glass container. Do the same with the
home-made fries, dumping them into in a separate container. Mark the date on each container and set the containers on the counter out of the way. Keep the glass containers side by side exposed to daylight for 8 weeks, and watch the changes.
At the end of eight weeks, the McDonald fries will look the same as the day you put them into the container. The home-made fries will be blackened and covered with a fuzzy mold. Why is this?
While food in its natural state decomposes, processed food does not. So what does this experiment teach you? If the McDonald's fries do not decompose, of what value are they to eat? Your body CANNOT assimilate heavily processed foods - food that is not natural. Consuming processed food is one big reason why so many Americans are chronically ill.
End of excerpt.
As you can see, we will really get into the foods we eat and discuss ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank. We'll look at God's food laws and how those laws apply to Christians today.
If you know someone you believe would be interested in taking this class with you,
invite them to subscribe to God's Healing Word newsletter at:
It is primarily through our newsletter that the course will be promoted. Of course the time and particulars will all follow.
Classes will be recorded and made available to those who are registered to take the class.
God's Healing Word
So, I freaked out a little and replied with an email that said:
I'm Seventh-day Adventist Christian and we like to think that we teach "the Health Message" from the Bible. It's incorporated into many of our Bible Studies
(ex., Pr. Doug Batchelor's Bible Answers Radio Program), and the basis for
our many health and cooking seminars. I'm not sure if you are aware of the
Adventist Coronary Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)? You can find out about it
We also have a number of Christian health centers and spas across the world that are Bible-based in their quest for promoting good health and practicing Bible-based "alternative" wellness techniques. Ex., The Weimar Institute of Health & Education.
Here is what the National Geographic has to say about Adventists.
I'm just a little shocked that you think this is not being done within the Christian
community-- unless you don't believe that Adventists are Christians?
In Health, through Jesus,
Jim very graciously and quickly responded thus:
Thanks so much for your feedback.
Yes, I am well aware of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I certainly count you as
my sister in the Lord.
When I spoke of no one teaching this subject, I meant across the board. I should have clarified my thoughts better. Sorry about that.
The few churches I know of that offer "health" classes do so, without a focus on living a life of health for God. In other words, being healthy for the sake of health as opposed to offering our body as a living sacrifice.
Hope this helps. Thanks again.
I'm a little confused about his response, but don't feel that it would serve to go in for further clarification without some feedback from my readership... people who have a vested interest in how we as Adventists are percieved regarding our take on "health awareness" and, as Jim says, "being healthy for the sake of health as opposed to offering our body as a living sacrifice." I would be really appreciative of your feedback! (Please click where it says "COMMENTS" below so that others can be part of your dialogue... thank you!)
Cam Johnston, Stress Buster, with a Green Smoothie