Post-modern Pietism and the Bible

woman eating healthyI came across the term “post-modern pietism” in a twitter exchange regarding this article from Stephen Altrogge, God doesn’t care what you eat. The thrust of the article is how we can create spiritual elitism out of food preferences, most notably the Daniel Diet. Altrogge states,

Jesus’ point is that food in and of itself is not spiritual. It goes in the mouth and comes out the other end. Eating a particular food does not make us more or less spiritual. Vegetables are not more godly than meat. Organic is not more godly than processed. Oreos and Cheez-Whiz are just as holy as homegrown basil. An Eden diet is not more pleasing to God than a Paleo diet or South Beach diet. All foods are clean and can be eaten and enjoyed.

Why does this even matter? Do I care if you are on The Eden Diet or The Daniel Diet or The Maker’s Diet? Nope, not one bit. If a particular diet helps you lose weight, great! But, we Christians have a tendency to moralize our preferences and create artificial spirituality. If we say that God wants us to eat a particular food group we are on the verge of creating spiritual cliques in the church. The most godly people follow a particular diet, the less godly people eat processed food. A diet can become a stumbling block to the gospel and a source of spiritual elitism.

He strikes to the heart of something that has bothered me about how we treat the Bible, especially the Old Testament, as a prescription for life principles today. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe that the Old Testament instructs us in the right character that we should have. But it does something so much more. When Jesus indicated that all Scripture is about him (Luke 24:27), he was pointing out that everything that occurred prior to the Incarnation was about him. As Paul notes in Col. 1:16, all things were created through him for him. Continue reading

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