Looks like LifeChurch TV is going to partake in a 21-day "Daniel Fast," by giving up meat, dairy and sugar, among other foods. They're doing this for health reasons and also "to experience His presence on a whole new level."
The Oklahoma-based mega-church, headed by Craig Groeschel, encouraged its members to visit the website of the Daniel Fast, a 21-day partial fast based upon Daniel's own experiences as recorded in the Bible. The Christian Post writes about it today in an article titled, LifeChurch.tv Joins 21-Day 'Daniel Fast' to Mark New Year.
LifeChurch isn't the only Christian group to do this, of course. Rick Warren's Saddleback Church has it's version of the Daniel Plan, because Warren felt his church members were getting a little too heavy.
Here is the passage in the Bible that is inspiring pastors to jump on the Daniel food plan:
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
That's from Daniel 1:8. Apparently Daniel and his friends were a little chubby, and didn't want all that unhealthy stuff when he could eat a healthy diet of veggies. And wasn't there some sort of bet with the king, to see whose diet was healthier and who could loose the most weight? Those in seekermergent churches who haven't read their Bibles IN CONTEXT might think so. But hopefully, the megachurches would make it clear that Daniel had his reasons for taking on an all-powerful king who had the captives' lives in his hands.
Back to LifeChurchTv. Apparently they have given this a lot of thought. Foods they allow members to eat on their Daniel Fast include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils. Foods to be avoided include dairy, meat, sugar, all forms of sweeteners, yeast, refined and processed foods, deep-fried foods, and solid fats.
That doesn't sound much like abstaining from food, does it?
Just a side note. Secularists like the Daniel Diet too. You can find cookbooks, diet gurus and online recipes for your Daniel fast. Even sites like e-How are weighing in on the health benefits: "The strictest form of the Daniel Fast is that in which participants only eat vegetables and drink only water. More lenient forms allow fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The benefits of a Daniel Fast include renewed spiritual sensitivity and bodily cleansing from the effects of processed and sweet foods."
The intention of today's Daniel Fast is not to duplicate exactly what Daniel did but the spirit in which he did it. ...Daniel's passion for the Lord caused him to hunger and thirst for spiritual food rather than physical food, which should be the desire for anyone doing the Daniel Fast.
Well, not quite. Actually, Daniel's group refused to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Daniel was submissive to every other requirement laid on the young captives, but he drew the line at eating the king's food and drinking the king's wine. Why? Because it was contrary to Scripture, and expressly forbidden.
So here is the question the fasters might want to ask: Will these churches truly experience His presence on a whole new level their eating healthy foods, and if Scripture is twisted?