SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
See Opportunities to Serve with SermonIndex
Discussion Forum : General Topics : Obese Christians?

Print Thread (PDF)

Goto page ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 Next Page )

Joined: 2005/7/20
Posts: 671
Los Angeles, California

 Obese Christians?

First of all I want to set a few things straight. By obese I mean someone who is 30 pounds plus over weight (the medical definition), not some one who has a few pounds to lose. I myself could stand to lose a few more pounds and I have a large frame body type. I am 6’ 2” 255, I work out 4 days a week, watch what I eat, fast at least once a week, and ride a bike 20 to 40 mile a week. If I were to stop doing this I would be over 300 pounds in no time flat. That is just the type of body the Lord gave me. I am not one of those people who can eat anything, never exercise and never gain a pound.

With that being said - I would like to pose the following questions:

Isn’t it a sin to be obese?

We know the heath problems of obesity are staggering. A literal health epidemic in America. I have even heard it said that being obese is more harmful to your health than smoking. I can’t imagine that harming our bodies in such a way would be anything but sin in the eyes of God. Aren’t our bodies to be offered as a sacrifice holy and acceptable to God? Aren’t our bodies the temple of the Holy Ghost? Won’t we stand naked before God on the day of judgment?

Yet I go to numerous different churches and see obese people worshiping and dancing as if they are doing nothing wrong and not living a continual lifestyle of sin. As many as 3 out of every 10 people fit this category. (30+ pounds over weight) How can this be? Are pastors too cowardly to confront the obese members of their congregation with their lifestyle of sin. Would pastors allow openly homosexuals to worship and dance week after week along with the rest of their congregation and pretend they are Christian while they live a continual lifestyle of sin? Then why are pastors allowing obese people to dance and worship dance week after week along with the rest of their congregation and pretend they are Christian while they live a continual lifestyle of sin?

Can anyone give me a link to a sermon where the speaker has firmly denounced obesity and calls it sin?

:-o [b]I honestly don't mean to offend any one, but I feel it is a legitamate question. And I feel calling sin - sin is more important then the chance we may offend.[/b]

Patrick Ersig

 2005/8/6 22:23Profile

 Re: Obese Christians?

Well, I'm not over-weight, to put it more kindly, but I'd rather have a bunch of fat "Loving" folks in my Church, then well, how would ya say it ... I guess, it's a question of casting the first stone or something.

Ha, I'm sorry for that answer ... I'm sure you didn't need to hear from the peanut-head-gallery today. :-?

Maybe I'm just in my silly-mode again. (no doubt)

Hope someone can give you a better answer.

Love to you.


 2005/8/6 22:36

Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632

 Re: obesity

Hi Patrick,

Yes, we have actually discussed this a few times on SI before. I think it was not long ago that Dann posted a wonderful post about gluttony, the overlooked sin- about his own weight loss and how he has been riding his bike also.

this is the thread, hope it's not backwards :)
[url=]Gluttony- the overlooked Sin[/url]

As a former personal fitness trainer, but also a person in bondage to eating disorders, it is a subject that is near to my heart. All things should be done for the glory of God and we should have self control in all areas as well. Self control is a fruit of the spirit.

When i went through a program called the Lord's Table, we learned that the reason we wanted to get our eating on track, was not because of our looks or for our happiness, but to please God, to bring him glory in our lives.

For some, food is an addiction, a source of comfort, a form of denial. Food can be an idol. Just like anything else can be an idol.

This is not to say that gluttony is any worse or better than other sins.

Well, I could go on and on about this, so I'll just stop here. :)

But i will leave you these verses:

Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride,
fullness of food, and abundance of idleness...
Ezekiel 16:49

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17

For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
Proverbs 23:21

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I preach to others,
I myself should become disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:27 not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body.
Is not life more important than food and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:25

Hope this helped to answer some of your questions :)

In Him, Chanin


 2005/8/6 22:51Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4547

 Re: Obese Christians?

Hi Christisking...!

Perhaps you should make a distinction between [i]obesity[/i] and [i]gluttony[/i]. It is [u]not[/u] a sin to be obese. There are people that I know who eat far less than I do, yet are plagued with obesity. Often, this has less to do with [i]how much[/i] they eat, as with [u][i]what[/i][/u] they eat. Such a lifestyle can be a terrible price to pay for later in life. I am thin (but somewhat athletic), yet I often feel convicted because of the foods that I eat.

The Bible is clear that our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we should not take things into our body that might be harmful to us. But who is to judge what those things might be? A half of a twinkie might be worse than a large bag of potato chips. And remember, each person reacts differently to particular foods. My mother's nutritionist urges her to stay away from many green vegetables (containing Vitamin K) because of excess clotting agents in her blood. On the other hand, most people are urged to eat their vegetables.

The important thing is that we should urge one another to take care of the "temple" that God has given us. We should not be lazy. We should always eat in moderation. And we should always be aware of what things we are placing in our body. But we should not be judgmental of those who are "obese." Calling someone that is obese "sinful" is like calling someone that is thin an "athlete."

I agree that it is good for ministers to implore their congregations to take care of themselves -- physically, mentally and spiritually. However, if pastors were called to confront those in worship about [i]eating too much[/i], should they not also confront all sorts of other sins? There is a whole list of such [i]sins[/i] that a pastor could mention in front of congregations.

It is well within the call of a pastor to denounce and preach against sin -- including those which are wrongly considered "minor" in modern churches. But remember, not everything is always what it appears to be. And everything that we do should be motivated by pure love. Remember that Jesus did not [i]cast out[/i] the prostitutes and tax collectors. He ate and sat with them. Why? Jesus wanted to bring them to the Kingdom.

Scriptures about gluttony:
I Timothy 4:8
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Philippians 4:5
Daniel 1:12-17
James 4:7
Romans 8:1-4
I John 2:15
Galatians 5:13
I Corinthians 3:16



 2005/8/6 23:27Profile


I meant no disrespect by my first post ... but having worked in the Medical field, I know that many have thyroid issues or are on steroids for many diseases, and just these two alone, will blow you up like a toad.

If it's a medical condition, which oft times it can be, and a Pastor preaches on obesity, well, to tell you the truth, I've seen this happen and the people who "couldn't help it" were very-very hurt.

Many years ago, a certain 'christian' college, wouldn't let "obese" people apply for admission.

And things I've read about Moody's "big belly" and Spurgeon's cigar ... I just want to see what is in the inner man, to be a tad bit more important.
Though things like adultry and a lot of others, like abortion, are big enough to merit reproofs/corrections, etc..

There's a verse, that says, "if you find yourself given to gluttony, put a knife to your throat" ... now what do we do with that ?

Or pluck out your eye, or cut off your hand ?

I only see Jesus really rebuking the self-righteous, [u]when He was here, in the flesh.[/u]

And if we really focus on the First Commandment, to 1st Love God, with All our hearts, souls, minds, and strength and others as ourselves, the rest falls into place. Right ?

Such a subject, that I guess, knowing so many beautiful on the inside folks who struggle with hormones, metabolism, etc. etc., I guess I just didn't see this on my burger-biggie list.
No pun intended.

Sorry for my flippant answers.

Chanin, maybe I'm just tired ? Probably.

 2005/8/7 0:27

Joined: 2005/7/20
Posts: 671
Los Angeles, California



You said:
"However, if pastors were called to confront those in worship about eating too much, should they not also confront all sorts of other sins? There is a whole list of such sins that a pastor could mention in front of congregations."

My answer is yes, yes, yes a thousand times yes. This is just one on a very, very, very long list that happens to be on mind lately and that I've noticed particularly in the past couple of weeks. I would be happy to discuss other sins pastors shy away from confronting and would be interested in knowing what other sins others have noticed as well.

You also said:
"Remember that Jesus did not cast out the prostitutes and tax collectors. He ate and sat with them. Why? Jesus wanted to bring them to the Kingdom."

This is also true, but we must remember that He also gave the stern and unwavering command to - go an sin no more.

Granny Annie also brings ups a good point:

"If it's a medical condition, which oft times it can be, and a Pastor preaches on obesity, well, to tell you the truth, I've seen this happen and the people who "couldn't help it" were very-very hurt."

I think it would be a shame if a pastor did not verbally excuse such rare conditions and unavoidable circumstances when giving such a message or rebuke. If a pastor was not to do this, he in my opinion would be in error. A certain amount of tact and respect, as in all cases, must be observed. If one was to say "you now who you are, and God knows who you are, and the Holy Spirit knows who you are and if this does not apply to you based on some rare medical condition please bear with us for the sake of the edification and repentance of your fellow brothers and sisters."

I have know of a few people who have such medical conditions and they are almost always very outspoken about the medication they take or thyroid problem they may have. I'm not sure this a reason to just be silent. But it is absolutely a reason to clearly state an exception to these people. And to clearly state an intention not to offend but to bring to repentance.

Patrick Ersig

 2005/8/7 1:17Profile


I think you all brought out good points. Very good.

One other thought I had, and I'm not trying to get in my silly-mode again, but down in the Bible Belt here, we have a Restaurant, that's an "All-You-Can-Eat" Buffet style place.

Well, every Wednesday, if you have any form of Credentials, that you are a licensed Minister, you can eat for free.

I don't think you could count the "skinny" Pastors on one hand, even though the joint is packed.

Maybe that's another reason why it's not or can't be preached :-? .

ChristisKing (that's for sure)

You make a lot of good points too.

How could we make a "list" of sins though ?

The definition of "sin" is "to miss the mark", and that "mark" is the exact 'Image of the Son'.
Rom 8:29 and others.

That would be an infinite list, that's fer shur.

I can't even list my own without feeling despair beyond being able to hold my head up, when I look at me, compared to "Him".

But that's our goal though, like Paul said. Right ?

 2005/8/7 1:34

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4547


Hi Christisking...!

As mentioned in my earlier post, it is definitely a good thing for a man of God to denounce and preach against sin. This should always be done with the greatest compassion and with a broken heart. The man of God should [i]hurt[/i] when he does this -- and never with a self-righteous attitude. As many preachers have often pointed out, Jesus "[i]wept before he whipped[/i]." Jesus literally [i]wept[/i] as he arrived to Jerusalem, longing to hold the people of Jerusalem in his arms. He did this just a short while before he pulled out the whip at the Temple (Luke 19:41-46). Leonard Ravenhill once said, "A preacher has no business using the whip unless he has wept uncontrollably for those to whom he preaches."

You make a valid point about how many preachers fail to preach against certain sins for fear of upsetting or embarrassing a particular member (or group of members) of the congregation. I know of a church that suffers terribly from rampant gossip -- and the pastor privately admitted that he doesn't know what to do. If he confronts it, he feels that he will offend many away from the church. If he lets it go on, many people will continue to be hurt. So he is stuck in a dilemma...and he unfortunately does nothing.

However, in your post, you state that [i]obesity[/i] is a sin. It is not. Obesity is just a physical condition. And yes, that condition often comes as a result of a sin -- called [i]gluttony[/i]. But obesity can also be the result of a bad selection of foods (such as junk food). Some metabolisms break down fatty foods rather quickly, while others may have slower metabolisms. Therefore, it is difficult to judge which person is obese because of diet or health, and which person is obese due to the sin of gluttony.

In the same way, every person who suffers from AIDS cannot be judged as having contracted the disease via sinful actions. While in the United States, most people who suffer from AIDS contract the disease via sinful practices (sexual immorality, drugs, etc...) -- there are still many others who contracted that disease from other means (such as from a cheating spouse, hospital drug transfusion, a cop who poked his fingers on an infected needle, rape victims, etc...). In many third world nations, AIDS is often contracted through unclean needles at hospitals (in the US and Canada, a used needle is thrown away, but in Africa, the needles are often reused). Thus, it is impossible to make a "blanket statement" that all AIDS victims have contracted the disease because of their own sinfulness.

So, should a person suffering from AIDS, or obesity, or lust, or a person that is pregnant with an illegitimate child, etc... be allowed to publicly worship? Of course they should! Why? Because only God knows the heart of a person! Who knows if that person is in the condition that they are in because of undisclosed sin? And who knows if that person [i]has[/i] or [i]has not[/i] repented? To view people in any other way can be damaging and lead to a prideful, judgmental or self-righteous attitude (Luke 18:10-14).

If a pastor were to spend his time publicly and individually exposing [i]every[/i] sin of [i]every[/i] person in a congregation -- he would not have time to preach the Word! Instead, the pastor should publicly preach against sin as it is written in the Word. He should boldly and openly preach against sins of lust, gossip, gluttony, abortion, sexual immorality, spiritual indifference, etc... Yet he should do this with the greatest of love, so that like Jesus, he would want none to fall away. He should only expose people individually that are blatantly unrepentant -- or leading others astray (as in I Corinthians 5). Remember, there is a powerful yet subtle difference between conviction and condemnation. The Lord came to [i]convict[/i] us of sin -- not [i]condemn[/i] us in our sin (John 3:17).

May God help us to have the same compassion and mercy for others as we need and desire for ourselves! Yes, we should love them enough to tell them the truth. But as Paul states, may God help us to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). When spoken with such [i]agape[/i] love, it is difficult to misunderstand our motives.



 2005/8/7 2:29Profile

Joined: 2005/8/7
Posts: 1

 Re: Obese Christians?

Of course it is not a sin to be obese.

If it is, would that imply that being fabulously fit and trim equates to being righteous? What if I am fabulously fit and trim because I throw all my energy into exercise and am obsessed with my body image?

You need to look behind the body shape to what is inside the person's heart. What is first in their life? Are they looking to food or exercise to replace a God-shaped hole in their heart? ... and if they are, does that mean we throw them out of fellowship?

Not having managed to get through a single day of my life without sin, I'm not going to cast the first stone.


 2005/8/7 2:35Profile

Joined: 2003/12/3
Posts: 7


well..I am a nutrition major here so I may have a bit of a wud like to point out some things...

for one..obesity (not being overweight) is not necessarily genetic. You can have a predisposition to gain weight easily, but it will never take u to the lengths of obesity. In the same light...there are very thin people who are that way genetically, but never to the point of being unhealthy. I have noticed oainfully thin people who claim to have a "good metabolism" when in reality that is only partially true. These people also only eat as an average person, when their body is made to eat more than that. On the same token, obese people tend to eat more than the average person (I am speaking abt calories here not quantity or bulk of food. Both are unhealthy and are only made as such by lack of effort on the part of the person.

However, it is true that obese people are certainly more susceptible to gaining weight. This is why taking an active role in taking care of the body is very important. It may not seem fair, but those are the casualties of life. there are certain things that different people have to deal with and they simply deal with them...that said.. There is simply no excuse for obesity...I do not mean to sound harsh at all..(and i hope that i do not)

I think that you have brought to light, perhaps, some biases within the Christian community. We say that smoking is wrong because it is harmful to the body and addictive..and yet so is food...and so is not taking care of the body we have been given.


 2005/8/7 2:41Profile

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Affiliate Disclosure | Privacy Policy