Health for Godly Generations by Renee DeGroot

Health for Godly Generations by Renee DeGroot

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” – 1st Corinthians 6:19-20

One of the ways we believe the LORD is calling us to embody His kingdom more and more is in the realm of bodily health and in turn what we eat- which we have recently talked about. But after growing up all my life in the Church I have noticed in American Christian culture a strangely un-biblical disdain for the human body. Maybe it’s our mis- understanding of the word ‘flesh’ in the book of Romans in the New Testament, maybe it’s ancient Greek philosophies embedded in Church belief; maybe it’s a combination of things – but we somehow have viewed our bodies as being “unspiritual”, even sinful or something to escape from and our health as a “worldly” pursuit.

It is time to begin thinking deeply about the relationship between our health and our eating habits – what we eat, when we eat it, and where it came from, etc…not as a form of legalism but as a means to explore how these issues are related to Christian faithfulness.

In her book Health for Godly Generations, the author Renee DeGroot has compiled a deeply thoughtful and provoking conversation on this exact element of our faith that we have been exploring: food and health. I appreciate her broad examination of such an overwhelming topic and her ability to place eating, agriculture, and health in a Christian context. One part theology and philosophy, another part cultural critique and practical advice, early on in the book she says:

“People see no contradiction between saying Jesus is their Creator and LORD and then going on to fill their bodies with artificial junk…Jesus is LORD of our physical bodies and our diets just as He is LORD spiritually over our souls and, broadly, over the whole universe…My purpose is to show the unity between Christian obedience to GOD and health in our lives coram deo – under the face of GOD…Jesus, the incarnate Word from GOD, informs our human view of creation, teaching us how to respond to our physical environment. The Holy Spirit renews and transforms our hearts and lives to honor GOD. As we are renewed, our earthly activities are also directed toward the end of honoring GOD” (p.2 and 3)

“In the new heavens and new earth, we will be given new bodies , but GOD still cares about our activities on this earth, and the righteousness of these activities…In Creation Regained, Albert Wolters explains the future restoration of creation – which he calls a “drama”. This teaching of historic reformed theology gives much meaning to the purpose of mankind on earth and for eternity:

‘GOD does not make junk, and we dishonor the Creator if we take a negative view of the work of his hands when he himself takes such a positive view. In fact, so positive a
view did he take of what he had created that he refused to scrap it when mankind spoiled it, but determined instead, at the cost of his Son’s life, to make it new and good
again.

…The scope of redemption is as great as that of the fall; it embraces creation as a whole. The root cause of all evil on earth – namely, the sin of the human race- is atoned for and overcome in Christ’s death and resurrection, and therefore in principle his redemption also removes all of sin’s effects. Wherever there is disruption in the good creation – and that disruption, as we saw, is unrestricted in it’s scope – there Christ provides the possibility of restoration. If the whole creation is affected by the fall, then the whole creation is also reclaimed in Christ” (p.10)

Later on in the chapter titled ‘Meals for Family Culture’ the author laments the rootlessness of modern food consumption and points us in the right direction:

“Most people, including Christians, have not studied their history to see how far we have left the traditions and practices of our great-grandparents. The more removed we get from the source of food, and from the kitchen and the dining table, the less we will notice the unfortunate changes that are happening.

The kitchen used to be the center of the home – the place of fellowship and nourishment. While the kitchen is often still called the center of the home, it often is not. The microwave, refrigerator, and trashcan, in many American homes, have replaced the cook stove, the pantry, and the dining table. As Sally Fallon Morell has said in Nourishing Traditions, the whole family “needs to get back into the kitchen” where food is ” prepared with wisdom and love”…I encourage you to have Nourishing Traditions in your kitchen and to study the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, Dr. Mary Enig, and Sally Fallon Morell. This tome is a foundational resource in what is known as traditional and nutritional eating. In their volume, they boldly call modern food conventions what they are and call us back to walk in life-giving old paths- though not from a distinctly Christian perspective” (p.85)

Christians with a more Reformed theological bent will especially appreciate the context from which the author writes but I consider this book to be a solid entry into a broad and growing Christian conversation on health, food and the multi-faceted issues that surround this element of our lives. There are many highlights in the book for me but I will end with the titles of the chapters because they give the best overview of the content within this 244 page book- well worth checking out:

  • God Created All Things
  • God Restores the World
  • Wise Physical Stewardship
  • Laws for the Israelites
  • For Pleasure and Sustenance
  • God’s Sovereignty Over Health
  • Humanism Addressed
  • Biblical Principles Applied
  • A Culture of Endurance
  • Toward Multiple Generations
  • Meals for Family Culture
  • Some European Trends
  • Our Natural Environment
  • Surrounded by Pollution
  • The Plague of Regulations
  • Buying What We Believe
  • Definitions for Agriculture
  • Categories of American Diet
  • Macro and Micro-nutrients
  • Battle for the Balance
  • Charts for Comparison
  • Health-Conscious Shopping
  • Actions Beyond Food
  • Putting It Into Practice
  • Questions to Ponder
  • Resources for Further Study

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Big thanks to Renee for passing her book our way!

(Editor’s Note- Disclosure: Sustainable Traditions receives free books including the book excerpted above. SustainableTraditions.com is an independent website free to express opinions, reviews and excerpts unhindered by any contractual requirements to any individuals, publishers or organizations.)

J. Fowler

J. Fowler is the website editor and co-founder, along with his wife Pamela, of the Sustainable Traditions project. The Fowlers live with their seven children on a farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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