Dare to Be on the Daniel Plan?

Dare to Be a Daniel” is one reason to adopt Mr Murray’s view that, in public worship, we should sing only God’s Word (I reached the same conclusion in RRC). Not only is the song itself tacky but its way of interpreting the Bible (hermeneutics) is unhelpful to say the least. Did God the Spirit inspire the writers of Scripture and reveal the stories of David (and Goliath) and Daniel to inspire us to conquer the “Goliaths” in our lives or to “Dare to Be a Daniel”? No. According to the testimony of God’s Word, those stories were given (Luke 24) to point us to Christ (Acts 2). David’s bones are still in the ground. Jesus, the true Messiah, has been raised from the dead, has ascended to the right hand of the Father, and is ruling not just national Israel, but all the nations with a rod of iron (Rev 12:5).

If it is inappropriate to sing “Dare to Be a Daniel,” thus allegorizing a biblical figure, taking him out of context, and abusing the text of holy Scripture, how much worse is it to try to derive a diet plan from the life of Daniel? Yet, this is what Rick Warren has done. He has initiated the “Daniel Plan” to lose 90 pounds in 90 days. Now, there’s no question that America has become a sedentary, flabby country. There’s no question that we could close buffets all over this country to the benefit of everyone present in them but did God the Spirit reveal to us, in Holy Scripture, that “Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food” (Dan 1:8) in order to set an example for us overweight Americans how ought to diet? No.

The very idea of using God’s Word this way is so far beyond the pale that it hardly bears analyzing and yet it’s become so commonplace that this one might have slipped under the radar. After all, there is supposed to be “Christian aerobics” and the list could go on.

Once more the existence and apparent popularity of the “Daniel Plan” suggests that American Christians, led by America’s Pastor, Rick Warren, do not see the Bible primarily as the story of creation, fall, salvation, and glorification, centered on the incarnation of God the Son and the great acts of redemption as much as they see it as a handbook for personal fulfillment. This is Christless Christianity.

For my transformationalist Reformed friends, should not this episode also give us pause? How different is the way Warren is using Scripture in the “Daniel Plan” from the way some Reformed folk use Scripture regularly? If some of us are using the same hermeneutic (way of interpreting Scripture) as Warren, how long will it be before we start reaching the same results? Our theology, our conscience, and our confession may retard the Saddlebacking of the Reformed churches for a time, but for how long? We’ve been singing “Dare to Be a Daniel” out of the Trinity Hymnal since at least 1946. The Christian Reformed Church, in principle, gave up the teaching of Heidelberg Catechism 96 in 1934. Today, even in the “conservative” United Reformed Churches, 77 years after we gave up historic, confessional Reformed, the idea that we should sing only God’s Word or even only psalms is considered “radical” and controversial. Since 1934, it is not the Reformed who have transformed hymnody but hymnody that has transformed us.

Reformed Christians cannot appropriate just a bit of contemporary evangelicalism without, ultimately, being thoroughly imbued with it. Reformed Christianity, as we confess it anyway, is one thing and American evangelical theology, piety, (Dare to Be a Daniel) and practice is another.

What hath Saddleback to do with Geneva?

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