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What Does the Bible Say About Eating Disorders?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
July 1, 2021 6:30 am

What Does the Bible Say About Eating Disorders?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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July 1, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 740 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

1. I heard your question about if a protestant should marry a Catholic, but I’m going to a Nazarene church and am wondering about my relationship with a woman who is a Seventh-Day Adventist. Is this wise or unwise?

2. In Colossians 2:15, it says Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to shame. I was wondering, who are these authorities?

3. I am a Catholic and I know that my Protestant friends disagree with us on Holy Communion, so what is the Protestant view on communion exactly?

4. I’ve been struggling with anorexia for 3 years and was wondering if the Bible ever speaks about eating disorders. Additionally, what is a Biblical response or course of action to take in order to combat them?

5. I am wondering if it is sinful to want to be done with this life and go away and be in heaven?

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Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800-273-8255

UNDERSTANDING THE MOTIVES OF AN EATING DISORDER

HOW CAN CHRISTIANITY BE TRUE IF GOD ALLOWS EVIL AND SUFFERING?

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Does the Bible say anything about eating disorders? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. As always, you can post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts.

You can watch us right now on YouTube and send us a message that way. And of course, you can email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Charles, who's calling in from Kansas. Charles, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Good afternoon. Thank you for taking my call.

Really appreciate that. My question is regarding the relationship between two different religions. I really don't take care about religions, but I think it's very important, you know, when you're involved in a relationship or going to marry somebody who has some differences with you. The person that I'm talking with, she's like a seven-day Adventist, and I am going to the Nazarene church, and that is pretty much a Pentecostal, like the baptism, and that's the way we function. So this is my question.

How can you help me navigate this, concerning this relationship between the two of us? Okay. Yeah, Charles, a really good question. I imagine that you're following up from, you know, we got a call yesterday about should Protestants marry Catholics.

Is that okay? And so, you know, there are a lot of other options, too, out there, right? You're saying that you're part of a Nazarene church or a Pentecostal Nazarene church, and this person that you're talking to is in a seventh-day Adventist church, and I know that even within those particular traditions, there's a spectrum of belief that not all seventh-day Adventists are on the same page about everything in their theology, and it's probably the same in Nazarene churches. A lot of times you have these movements or these denominations that are created, and they have a really well-defined sort of set of beliefs, what characterizes them, and that begins to change over time, and so it's hard to know. I would say, look, the main thing is, and this is what we oftentimes talk about here at Core Christianity, is what are the core doctrines of the Christian faith, those truths that we can't do without? Well, they're summarized in places like the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, where we're getting at who is God and what has he done for us? God, the Holy Trinity, and how he accomplished redemption for us in his son Jesus, and we get to be a part of the church that was birthed through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The focus, I think, has to be on those questions in your relationship. Do we share a common bond there in terms of like-mindedness related to the Gospel and who God is? The other stuff is, I think there's wisdom here, and obviously I think with the person that you're going to end up with or pursue, I think you want to be like-minded as much as is possible theologically, because if you intend to start a family and to worship together, you want to be able to do so with a clear conscience and with joy and to encourage one another, and there are significant theological differences even between traditions like the charismatic Pentecostal church or the Nazarene church or the Seventh-day Adventist church. I know that there was a time, I'm not sure if they still do, there are some Seventh-day Adventist view worshiping on Sunday as the mark of the beast.

Well, that's a pretty significant thing. It doesn't seem to me like if somebody held that view that they would be okay with marrying someone who or being with someone who thought worshiping on Sunday was totally okay, like I do, and frankly encouraged also by the New Testament. The early church was focused on a handful of things, and this is what our churches today should be focused on. Acts 2, beginning in verse 42, they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of the bread and the prayers.

The breaking of the bread there is probably a reference to the ordinance or the sacrament that Jesus left his church, Holy Communion. This is what the church ought to focus on. Sound doctrine, the teaching of the apostles, fellowship with the body of Christ, those ordinances that Jesus gave to us that is worshiping God as we're called to in his word in a way that's honoring to him, pleasing to him with reverence and awe, as Hebrews chapter 12 says. Praying, this is what needs to be the focus, and so I think we should be in churches that are committed to that, committed to the word of God, and that fix our eyes on Jesus and his gospel.

I couldn't worship somewhere where that wasn't happening, and I don't know what it's like in your particular church or in the church that your friend or your partner is a part of, but that has to be key. Am I hearing the law of God faithfully preached? Am I hearing the gospel preached?

Am I being reminded of what God has done for me and called to live in line with that reality, with my new identity? I would say maybe it's an opportunity, Charles, for you as you have more conversations with this woman to really dig into what it is that your particular churches believe, the history behind them. I have some differences with the Nazarene church and also certainly the Seventh-day Adventist church. A lot of times I think people are brought up in these traditions, and they never really take the time to sit down and examine on the basis of scripture what their particular church tradition believes, and I think that's a good thing for all of us to do. Maybe that's something that you and your friend can do, is begin to sit down and have that discussion and dig into the Word of God, and I think if you do that, hopefully what you can do is find some commonality.

Maybe that means you guys find a different place to worship together where you feel like you can encourage one another and continue to be encouraged by the church. Thank you for giving us a call, and may the Lord bless you as you press into his Word. Thanks so much, Charles, for being a listener of Core Christianity. By the way, we can send Charles a copy of our book, Core Christianity, by Dr. Michael Horton. It'll help him understand some of the real core tenets that Adria was just talking about that are really the non-negotiables of the Christian faith.

By the way, if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, we would love to hear from you. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Our phone lines will be open for the next 15, 20 minutes or so, so give us a call.

Right now, here's a voicemail we received from one of our listeners named Maddie. I have a question about Colossians 2, verse 15, where it says that he disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him. I was wondering, who are these rulers and authorities?

Thank you. Yeah, that's, in the New Testament, sometimes a way of just referring to the angelic hosts, in particular those ones that were against God and his rule, so the demons. One parallel passage that you can kind of look at where this similar language is used is in the book of Ephesians, in Ephesians chapter 6. Paul begins in verse 10, finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Then verse 12, here's your answer, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Really, something I think important for all of us to be reminded of, we're in this spiritual war.

There's no such thing as just sort of cruising through or coasting through the Christian life. This is a battle, Paul says. We have to take up the armor of God. Now, the good news is, in this battle that we're in, Christ has already gained the victory. In Colossians 2.15, he disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him. On the cross, Jesus conquered the evil one through his death and resurrection. We ought to have a great confidence when we think about the Christian life and this battle that we're in because Jesus is with us. And as John says, he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

And so there's the answer to your question. I would say look at Ephesians 6 beginning in verse 10 and what follows and appreciate your call. This is Core Christianity. Let's go to Mike calling in from Kansas City, Missouri. Mike, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Yeah, I'm calling in. I do feel that I'm a born and grown Christian. I've accepted Jesus as my Savior and I do read the Bible and believe, you know, the Bible in many ways, but I'm a lifelong Catholic. I've been a Catholic all my life and, you know, all we've ever been told is the Eucharist is the truly, the true presence of Jesus and, you know, in the body blood of Jesus. And my Protestant friends do not believe that.

They, you know, they hold some reverence for the Holy Communion, but explain to me the differences. I'm just trying to deal with this and ask questions. A lot of my friends probably would never even ask these questions, but I want to know. I want to know what other people say. Yeah.

Hey, Mike, thank you so much for your question. Oh, there are differences and I think, I mean, that's just a sad reality, you know, would that we all sort of agreed and we're on the same page on these kinds of things. And especially when we're talking about the Lord's Supper, this ordinance that Jesus gave to the church, a sacrament, this great mystery that Jesus gave to the church through which we have communion with him and which is also a sign of the unity we have as a church. This is a symbol of the oneness of the church, if you will, one body that was broken, one body of Christ, and yet it's on this very issue, this very topic that there has been so much division in the history of the church, even up until the time of the Reformation and then there was more splintering after that.

And, you know, among Protestants, what you will find is there is a diversity of opinion. There are some evangelicals who just say, oh, it's just, you know, purely a memorial that is, you know, it's this symbolic ritual that we go through. And every time we take communion, we're trying our best to remember what Jesus Christ did for us and the fact that he died for our sins. And in that sense, it's special and we make it special by our remembering. And then, of course, there are other traditions like it sounds like the one that you're a part of, Mike, that teach that the signs of bread and wine through the words of institution are transformed into the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ. Now, you said something a little bit earlier. You said, you know, you've always been taught that in communion, it's the true presence of Christ that is with us.

Let me just say I agree with that. I do think that we have communion with the real and true body and blood of Jesus, that there's something unique about the Lord's Supper. It's more than just a sort of bare memorial, a time for me to remember what Jesus has done for me.

Frankly, we can do that at any time of the day. We ought to do that at all times of the day, remembering what Christ has done for us, reminding ourselves of the truth of the gospel. But the Lord's Supper is more than that. I think, and historically, Christians have always believed that we have a special communion with Christ himself in this meal. The question is, how do we experience or receive the body and blood of Jesus in the Lord's Supper? And that's where, you know, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that, well, it happens through this transformation of the elements of bread and wine.

Now, that's not my position. My position is that through these signs that God has given to us, these signs and seals of bread and wine, by faith, we have somehow mysteriously, by the power of the Holy Spirit, communion with Jesus himself. And again, at the end of the day, we just want to make sure that we're relying on scripture for whatever it is that we believe. But the apostle Paul seems to say very clearly in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 that there is this special participation, communion that we have with the body of blood and Jesus in this meal.

Listen to what he said. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

That word participation is the Greek word koinonia. There's a special fellowship we have with the body and blood of Jesus through these signs of bread and wine. It's not my position that the bread and the wine are transformed into something new.

Rather, by faith, we the worshipers are transformed through these gifts that God gives to us. And this is why the Lord's Supper is so important. In fact, something that we ought to take very seriously as we approach the table of the Lord. Paul says in the very next chapter of 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 27, whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Now again there, what does Paul say? Look, we're eating bread and wine. That's what it is.

It's not changed into something else. And yet it's so tied to the reality that it signifies that to eat wrongly is to be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. And so there's this call here as we approach the Lord's table to come with humility, to come with faith, to come in repentance. Now of course that doesn't mean that we have to have lived a perfect week that week if we're going to take communion. There were even periods, Mike, in the history of the church where people, the laity, didn't even want to go to the table. They just wouldn't go to communion because they felt like they were so unworthy.

And there was even a period in church history where church leaders said, look, you have to come at least once a year because nobody was coming to the table because there was this sort of somber sense that surrounded a feeling of like I'm just so unworthy and that's not what this is. It's a gift. It's a gift. It's the gift of the kingdom. It's the gift of salvation. It's the gift of the body and blood of Jesus Christ for broken sinners, for people who desperately need to be nourished by the life of Jesus Christ. Isn't that a wonderful thing that that's what's put before us every time we take communion as a church. And so that's my view and there's so much more that can be said. I appreciate the fact that we refer to these things sometimes as sacraments. This is a Latin word from the Greek word for mystery, masturion, and that's really what these things are.

These mysteries through which the Spirit of God is powerfully at work in our midst and the promises of God are communicated to us through these tangible physical signs of things like bread and wine or water in baptism. And so I appreciate your question, Mike, and you listening to the program. May the Lord bless you. Great explanation of that complicated issue, Adriel. Thanks so much.

Appreciate that. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Summertime is here. Kids are out of school. And if you're a parent or a grandparent, we want to tell you about a wonderful book that will answer some of the difficult questions that your kids or your grandkids may have about the Christian faith.

Yeah, especially this summer. We've really tried to focus on families. It's so important that we as families are growing together in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not just the job of the church to teach our children and our grandchildren about the things of the Lord, about the faith, about even how to defend their faith. We all play a very important role in the lives of our children, and there are resources that will help us with that.

And that's what this book is. It's How Do We Know That Christianity Is Really True? It's written by Chris Morphew, a great resource for you, written for ages 9 through 13. So if you have kids that age or grandkids around that age, get a hold of this resource, How Do We Know Christianity Is Really True? And as a parent of teenagers, I can tell you that's a real critical time in a child's life to help them really solidify their faith before they go into high school.

So they're really prepared when they get peppered with questions, as our kids often do. So again, the book is called How Do We Know Christianity Is Really True? And we'd love to give that to you for a donation of any amount. Just go to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. That's corechristianity.com forward slash offers. You can also call us for that or any one of our resources at 833-843-2673.

That number is 833, the core. Well, let's go to an email we received from one of our listeners named Kirsten. She says, hi, I've been struggling with anorexia for three years, and I was wondering if the Bible ever speaks about eating disorders.

Additionally, what is a biblical response or course of action for me to take in order to combat them? Let's say a prayer right now for Kirsten. Father, we lift this sister up to you. We ask for your grace to be poured out in her life, and not just for her, Lord, but all those who are listening right now who are battling with some eating disorder. Would you cause the light of your love, the light of your countenance to shine upon them? Would you work in them by the power of your Holy Spirit to bring healing and restoration and good relationships with food and with those things that you give to us, Lord, for our nourishment, for our benefit, and for your glory? Would you be with our sister, we pray in Jesus' name.

Amen. The Bible does talk about these sort of disordered relationships to food. You think of gluttony, for example. That would be one kind of eating disorder. Binge eating is among the various kinds of eating disorders.

There are others. Obviously, there's binging and purging. There's starving yourself.

There are just different ways in which we can have these disordered relationships with food and even with our own bodies. Recently, over at corechristianity.com, we put an article out there. It's called Understanding the Motives of an Eating Disorder, written by David and Christa Dunham.

I want to just plug that really quickly because I thought it was a really well-done article, helpful information. They actually just recently wrote a book on this called A Table for Two, Biblical Council for Eating Disorders. Let me just say one of the things that I appreciated about their approach, in particular, is they talk about the sort of relationship between suffering and sin. Sometimes these kinds of disorders can be brought about by some kind of trauma in an individual's life. Maybe this sense of I have to be in control now and an intense desire to be in control. One of the ways that manifests itself can be oftentimes in how we eat and our sort of eating habits. It can be a very unhealthy thing, the way in which we respond to traumatic events in our lives. We can even respond in ways that are sinful. They talk about having this misunderstanding of ourselves, a lack of trust in God, an over-obsession with being in control and having control, those kinds of things, and then also just the mercy of God for people who struggle with this and the fact that there is hope. I think, one, we can say, look, as human beings, we're both sinners and we're also sufferers. We suffer in ways that oftentimes can and do lead to more sin.

So we have to navigate all of these things. I think sometimes, sister, not just looking to the scriptures and seeing, okay, where is it that I need to repent maybe about my own view of myself, about the way in which I'm using food in a way that's unhealthy and not pleasing to God, but are there other things sort of in my history that might have contributed to this? And that's where maybe seeing a good counselor or a therapist can also help. But the Bible is very clear about the fact that there are disordered relationships that we can have to food that need to be confessed. And there's forgiveness for people who struggle with these things. We take these things to the Lord and we rest in the promise that He gives us, that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And then we use the means that God has put around us, friends, family, the local church, for accountability and then even other resources that are out there.

Right, Bill? Yes, definitely. I'm so glad you talked about the fact that sometimes we can be sinned against and that can affect us and then lead to things like temptation or some of the problems we're talking about. And I would encourage Kirsten to, as you said, maybe do a little bit of examination.

Look back at her past, look back at her relationship with her parents, and maybe some of the things that might have contributed to this eating disorder. I think that's so critical in finding a good Christian counselor is probably the first step. So thanks for that, Adriel.

This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Tim in Nashville, Tennessee. Tim, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, can you hear me?

Hey, I can hear you, Tim. Okay, I have a question. Is it a sin to pray to die, to like want to go to Heaven now? Because I have a family, I just don't have a family of my own, I don't have kids, I don't have a wife, and I'm just kind of ready to be with the Lord in His presence. So I pray a lot to just, you know, kind of go to the, I want to go be with Him because I really don't have anything here that really makes me that happy.

And I just want to know, is that a sin or not? Hey, Tim. Well, look, there are a couple of ways of looking at this. The first thing I would say is when the Bible describes the new creation to us, it's this wonderful sight, right? And I think with living in this world and the struggles that we experience, the struggles with our own sin, the struggles with broken relationships, there is a longing that each and every one of us should have for Heaven, for the new creation. The whole creation groans, Paul says in the book of Romans chapter 8, for the revealing of the sons of God. And so it's not a sin to have that longing, to have that groaning. In fact, the apostle Paul himself, when he was writing to the Philippians about his life and his ministry and his service, he says in Philippians chapter 1 verse 23, I desire to be with Christ, to depart and be with Christ.

I know that that's far better, but to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith. And, brother, God has a purpose for you, a plan for you. And I would say continue to pursue him for what that plan is for your life, because that's exactly what Paul says. Look, it's great to be with Christ, but I know that God has a purpose for me here, for those who need me. And with that, brother, I would just say look at those texts of scripture that focus on Christ and the hope of heaven and rest in him. Please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-25 10:01:41 / 2023-09-25 10:11:49 / 10

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