Rationale for the inclusion of gluttons for convention service…

In case you missed it, I have submitted a resolution on gluttony for consideration at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. I believe the resolution provides ample evidence, both scriptural and practical, to justify its serious consideration by the messengers. There are, however, a few reasons to oppose this measure. I list five:

1. What was meant in the biblical times by the word “glutton” is not analogous to what is considered “gluttonous” today. Careful exegesis may demonstrate that the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the average Israelite was a substantially less percentage than today’s average Southern Baptist BMI. If we want to make a resolution about gluttony today, we need to determine whether or not the percentage of body fat acceptable to ancient peoples is the same percentage we observe today. What was considered fat in the New Testament times might not be considered fat today, and vice versa. Until exegetically-sound biblical scholars reach persuasive conclusions about this matter, we should refrain from making such comprehensive resolutions.

2. There are clear biblical passages that celebrate fatness as a blessing from God, whereas leanness is considered a curse. (Gen 27:28; Gen 41:1-4; Psalm 36:8; Psalm 63:5; Psalm 106:15; Isaiah 10:16; Isaiah 17:4; Isaiah 55:2)

3. Images of salvation and heaven, as well as the whole Jewish calendar, are clearly associated with banquet feasts, which implies God’s acceptance and blessing of hearty eaters. (e.g., Purim, Passover, Tabernacles, Pentecost, Trumpets, as well as Canticles 2:4; Luke 14:15-23; Rev. 19:7-10)

4. Both Jesus and his disciples were regarded as a gluttons by those who doubted or despised their ministry. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us. (Matthew 9:14; 11:19)

5. And now for the hermeneutically suspicious but emotionally charged argument. It goes something like this: God creates some people with a predisposition to obesity. Some people are born thin, while others are born fat. Obese persons struggle to deal with their natural proclivity to overeat, and the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention should not condemn or ostracize people because of the way God made them. Obesity is merely an alternate lifestyle for many of God’s fat and overweight children, and it should be celebrated as the diversity with which God has created us all in his image. Until, that is, we can find and supply a prenatal cure for the fat gene and thereby substantially reduce the frequency of gluttonous behavior.


If the president and trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary think that IMB guidelines excluding persons from missionary appointment on the basis of their private prayers is both legitimate and paradigmatic — so much so that they would have adopted a similar guideline to govern faculty appointments — does anyone else think the following question is relevant and/or appropriate:

The International Mission Board monitors the body mass index (BMI) of missionary candidates, excluding obese and inordinately overweight persons from missionary appointment until such time as their BMI falls within clearly prescribed guidelines. Why has Southwestern Seminary not adopted a similarly restrictive policy to govern faculty appointments?

Or better yet, let me ask this:

Can you find any administrators, faculty, or staff who might not qualify for missionary appointment with the International Mission Board for failure to meet the BMI guideline?

We at Baptist Blogger spy at least five by starting at Pecan Manor and working our way down. How many can you find?