About the Event
You do it three times a day, seven days a week and fifty-two weeks a year. If you live to be 85 years of age, you will experience it more than 90,000 times. It is called food, and it was designed by God as the fuel of life. But to describe food merely as fuel falls short of the depth and breadth of the biblical message. Frankly, there are few subjects which are addressed as often in the Bible as food. Hundreds, if not thousands of Scripture verses, incorporate various types of food, directions about food and spiritual lessons in which food is an element.
In food we see the love of Jesus Christ for His Church, the wisdom of God as Creator, the mercy of the Lord on the sons of men, and a vehicle for structuring and organizing the life and dominion labors of mankind. In the Bible we see food for fellowship; food as a spiritual picture; food as blessing; food for feasting, health, and even discipleship. And that is just the start. It is even possible to look at biblical history through the grid of man’s relationship to food—food and famine, food and judgment, food and blessing, food and prosperity, and the list goes on. Certainly many of the greatest victories, crimes, celebrations, ceremonies, revelations, and judgments took place around events that involved food.
One things is abundantly clear—the Bible speaks to food and its relationship to the blessing and prosperity of the Christian family. And yet despite this fact, the subject of food and the family is such a hot button that it tends to be either ignored altogether or reduced to faddish theories and trends.
Not on the table is whether spiritual defilement is connected to adherence or lack thereof to the ceremonial dietary laws of Moses (or to the consumption of any type of food). Those issues were settled forever in passages like Matthew 15:11. But to say that food does not spiritually defile a man is not to say that our approach to food does not matter. At stake are issues of dominion, stewardship, and more.
When was the last time you heard a message on the meaning of the sin of gluttony? Or how about the doctrine of feasting? And how does the biblical doctrine of dominion apply to our cultivation and stewardship of food resources, as well as our duty to research the effect of various foods on the human body?
One thing seems clear: When it comes to diet, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to good health. Every body is unique, with unique needs and unique dietary considerations. Given this fact, how do we rely on sound theory and good information as we encourage one another in the Lord to be good stewards of our bodies for the glory of God? How do we avoid the silliness of faddish trends and contentious disputes over food theories, on the one hand, while rejecting the irresponsibility of the “it really does not matter what we eat” school of thought?
But right around the corner are even more troubling subjects.
In 2008 some innovative documentarians investigated the dark side of America’s corporate controlled food industry. Their film, titled Food, Inc., revealed the mistreatment of animals for profits through factory farming, the bizarre genetic manipulation of food supplies, and the assault on local, private farming by mega-corporations, and more. But despite a revealing look at the crisis, many of the recommendations made by Food, Inc. involved statist intervention.
This raises a new set of questions: Is big government and Marxist policy the answer to our impending food crisis? More importantly, does the Bible provide us with hopeful and practical solutions? How should informed Christians wisely prepare to provide healthy sustenance for their families in a world of big government-regulated, genetically-altered, lowest common denominator, marketing-driven food supplies?
And that is only the beginning of the questions; there is also the key issue of the amazingly resilient creation called the human body. God has designed our bodies to withstand much. It is the very husk which holds the soul of man and the only creation made in the image of God. Notwithstanding constant abuse and unwise eating habits, we live, survive and even physically prosper. But is the durability, flexibility and wisdom of the human body an excuse for uninformed or foolish practices? How do our food choices effect our lives, our effectiveness, and even the very cost of living? Is health primarily a factor of genetics, or are the recent studies that indicate that we really are what we eat rooted in good science and sound theory?
Perhaps the darkest and most challenging subject has to do with the laboratory-based, genetic manipulation of creation. The study of genetics has opened the door for uprecedented blessing and opportunity, but with this opportunity comes responsibility. How do biblical ethics inform our approach to scientific research? What is the dividing line between using genetics to legitimately overcome and limit the effects of “the curse” vs. seeing science as a tool for man to be as God, rejecting the God-ordained structures and “kinds” of life to fashion a world after his own appetites.
On a practical level, our fast-paced, frenzied generation may be the first in the history of Western Civilization to have abandoned family meal time. This represents a fundamental shift in human living patterns. Culturally, our appetites have changed. Not only have we exchanged a passion for substantial, home-made meals for processed, fast food, but we have retrained our mental appetites to crave food merely for fuel, rather than as a foundation for family fellowship.
The fact is that despite its centrality to the culture of Christian and the timeliness of this subject to 21st century households, there is little clear, systematic, biblical and practical teaching guiding us to a reformation of our view of food and the family.
And that is exactly the reason why Vision Forum Ministries is sponsoring one of our most innovative and visionary conferences to date: The Reformation of Food and the Family Conference, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, at the Gonzalez Convention Center on July 12-14, 2012.
Join us and several thousand like-minded Christians for a “first-step”—a biblical inquiry into some of the most exciting, challenging, encouraging, troubling, inspiring and practical issues concerning food and the Christian family in the 21st century. Join a growing list of dynamic speakers like agrarian reformer, Joel Salatin; French reformer and professional chef, Francis Foucachon; and numerous authors and thinkers for a “tasty conference for the hungry” as we chart a course for the reformation of food and the family.