Weighing in at 111 pounds, ravaged by Crohn's disease and countless other ailments, Jordan S. Rubin vowed that if God healed him he would devote his life to helping Christians get healthy.
In his recent book, The Maker's Diet (Siloam), Rubin tells how--less than a decade ago--he stood at death's door. Based largely on Old Testament dietary principles, coupled with a daily prayer and hygiene regimen, the book chronicles Rubin's journey to wholeness and offers a biblical plan for reclaiming total health: body, mind and spirit.
"We believe that God owns our spirits, but we can put whatever we want into our bodies," Rubin told Ministries Today in a recent interview. "The prayer list is getting longer and longer for health needs. This is a spiritual attack--but we're opening the door for it."
Interestingly, Christians were not the first people to embrace Rubin's biblically based diet. "I argued with God, 'I'm not supposed to be working with these health nuts and New Age people,' " he recalls. " 'I'm supposed to be helping God's people get healthy.' "
Recently, though, The Maker's Diet has been accepted by pastors and leaders hoping to improve their health. Not the least of these is pastor and author Charles Stanley, who, after following the diet, said he "noticed an immediate improvement in [his] health."
Rubin believes that pastors don't spend enough time discipling people on how to take care of their souls and their bodies. "We can't continue to break God's principles of diet and think that He is miraculously going to save us from illness," he says.
That the diet is based largely upon Old Testament dietary principles poses a problem for some Christians, who argue that the program smacks of legalism. Rubin argues that God's purpose behind those dietary laws was for the overall health of His people, and that this has never changed.
"It's not an Old Testament diet, it's the diet they ate in the New Testament--what Jesus ate," he contends. "Jesus came to free us from the law of sin and death and to free us from bondage. Freedom from bondage is being healthy. I don't care what you want to call it, the consumption of food that God said not to eat causes ill health, scientifically and scripturally."
But, he adds: "Forgetting all that, I don't care if you don't believe spiritually. ... Do it for the scientific reasons. Do it for the fact that it [eating these forbidden foods] is not going to help you be healthy."
The diet is divided into three, two-week phases that are "designed to attack 'the three "I"s'--insulin, infection and inflammation."
By addressing these, Rubin says one can improve appearance, enhance energy and reverse the process of accelerated aging. Additionally, each phase includes a hygiene regimen designed to stave off illness.
Rubin is so committed to spreading the message of biblical health that he and the company he founded--Garden of Life--have offered their services to pastors who want to give their staffs and congregations an opportunity to shape up.
For more information on Jordan Rubin, visit www.gardenoflifeusa.com. To order a copy of The Maker's Diet, visit www.siloam.com, or call 1-800-599-5750.
By Robert Andrescik
Wired for Ministry: How the Internet, Visual Media, and Other New Technologies Can Serve Your Church
By John P. Jewell (Brazos)
Five years ago, only 5 percent of all Protestant churches used graphics presentations at least once a month. According to Facts and Trends, today, 36 percent use PowerPoint, audio or movie clips or video shorts of well-known speakers during worship services. Jewell's new book will help pastors explore the potential and limitations of the emerging digital culture and its implications for developing community in the context of ministry. Wired is a scholarly investigation of how modern technology intersects church ministry. Jewell encourages readers to "think theologically" about the Internet, visual media and other new technologies that can be harnessed in building the church.
The Illustrated Guide to World Religions
By Dean Halverson, general editor (Bethany House)
How does karma work? What is yin and yang? Who are jinn? An increasingly pluralistic society requires that Christian leaders be conversant in the world religions at the church's doorstep. Halverson's easy-to-use guide provides in-depth information on Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, secularism, the New Age and other lesser-known religions. Especially useful are glossaries, points of similarity and differences with Christianity and answers to objections raised by adherents to other religions. With contributions from prominent evangelical apologists such as David Clark and Norman Geisler, this guide is an economic resource for leadership and laity alike.
It's Not About Me: Rescue From the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy
By Max Lucado (Integrity)
The master storyteller takes a break from weaving tales in his most recent book. It's Not About Me is a welcome message to the burned-out leader who's grown too self-sufficient in his or her ministry and needs to be reminded of the source of effective service. Lucado calls for a "Copernican shift" in which God is once again recognized as the ultimate source and recipient of ministry. Especially helpful is the chapter "My Message Is About Him," in which Lucado gently chides readers: "God doesn't need you and me to do his work. We are expedient messengers, ambassadors by his kindness, not by our cleverness." Look for Lucado's pastoral insights wrapped in his trademark prose--great for devotional material or as a gift to staff members.
Simply Strategic Stuff: Help for Leaders Drowning in the Details of Running a Church
By Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan (Group)
"Put a couch in the women's restroom," "Give your staff cool gifts," and "Put your money where your crowd is." In a direct and humorous way, Stevens and Morgan offer these and 96 more tips that help make church leadership a joy--and keep God and people at the center of ministry. Staff pastors at Granger Community Church, in Granger, Indiana, the authors have compiled a gold mine of management principles so simple yet profound that they will resonate instantly with most readers. Simply Strategic Stuff is especially relevant to those who find themselves leading a growing church, and desire to maintain growth and cultivate organization and healthy management.
The Way of the Master: How to Share Your Faith Simply, Effectively, Biblically ... the Way Jesus Did
By Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron (Tyndale)
Ray Comfort has a knack for shocking us. "In 1996, a survey conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Institute found that '18 percent of abortion patients describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians,'" he writes. "That is, of all those who murdered their own children, nearly one in five professed faith in Jesus Christ." In his new book co-authored with Growing Pains alum Kirk Cameron, Comfort contends that something is wrong with the way the church is leading people to Christ--and the proof is in the so-called converts. In a humorous yet incisive style, Comfort and Cameron lay out a model for biblical soul-winning--Jesus' style.
The Gospel of John (DVD)
Visual Bible International
Like an audio Bible--with video subtitles--The Gospel of John is a word-for-word dramatization of the fourth Gospel based on the Good News Bible. Directed by Philip Saville and featuring narration by Christopher Plummer (of The Sound of Music fame), John will fill in the gaps for those who enjoyed the historical accuracy of The Passion of the Christ but hoped to see more of the ministry and teachings of Jesus. The filmmakers consulted scholars--both Jewish and Christian--and have given us a historically accurate portrayal of first century life. While the crucifixion is given cursory attention (as it is in John's Gospel), viewers will revel in the powerful treatment of the teaching in chapters 13 through 17, and the touching portrayal of the miracles and post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.
Three authors challenge Dan Brown's historically-tenuous
The Da Vinci Code.
The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, suggests that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children with her.
But several Christian authors refuse to take the popularity of Brown's novel lying down and believe that the book's popularity does not reflect its historical veracity.
Darrell L. Bock, professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary, admits that Code is a "highly entertaining novel" but questions if it is anything more than pulp fiction for religious skeptics. In his new book Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking (Nelson), Bock examines the claims of Brown's novel.
"It is my view that novelists do not necessarily make good historians," he writes. "And that matters when a topic like this one is portrayed in such an entertaining way as quasi nonfiction."
Bock explores several critical topics, providing sound historical and biblical evidence for those who know what they believe but are looking for solid responses to critics who ask questions such as, "Who was Mary Magdalene?," "Was Jesus married?" and "What about the claims of the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary and others?"
Those who suggest that Code might just be another passing fad may want to think again. The ABC network aired an hour-long special in November 2003 called Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci, and entertainment publisher Variety recently announced that the Oscar-winning duo of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) will produce a movie version of The Da Vinci Code.
"We realized [Brown's book] raised many questions that the average Christian did not know how to answer," said Terry Glaspey, director of acquisitions and development for Harvest House, which recently released a book The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code: A Challenging Response to the Best-Selling Novel, by Richard Abanes.
Similarly, officials at Cook Communications became alarmed when they discovered many Christians accepting Brown's heresies as fact. "We felt compelled to respond with the truth and get it out as quickly as possible," said spokesperson Michele Tennesen. Cook recently released Cracking Da Vinci's Code: You've Read the Fiction, Now Read the Facts, co-authored by James L. Garlow and Peter Jones.
In their book, Garlow and Jones contend that Brown's theories are not new, but that the pseudo-fictional packaging poses a unique threat to faith.
"There are many readers of Brown's book who are confused about just who Jesus is," they write. "These readers are turning away from what they thought to be true to grasp a mangled mass of bizarre claims cleverly portrayed as a work of history in a work of fiction."
By Matthew Green