Monday, March 17, 2014

Eat Like Jesus by Andrew L. Hoy (book review)

I was asked to review "Eat Like Jesus" by Andrew L. Hoy and thought it was an interesting premise: basically, should Christians still keep a kosher diet? I'm not a theologian nor have I been a Christian for a very long time (about 10 years), so please keep this in mind. I have not studied the Bible in Greek or Hebrew so I cannot talk to Bible translations but I believe those who do translate the Bible do so out of a love for our Savior and they spend pain-staking hours upon this job, doing the best they can.

I started out very interested in this book, got confused a few chapters in, and ended the book a little disgruntled. Hoy uses some words that even I, a word nerd, didn't know and a lot of jargon that I couldn't follow.

He seems to tear apart the NIV translation of the Bible (which I read sometimes but the Bible I mainly use is NLT) except when it works to his advantage. He digs deeper into translations, going back to Greek and Hebrew, in order to prove points. Hoy said that "Eve was tricked into eating the forbidden fruit of Genesis chapters 2 and 3 - by half-truths and out-of-context citations," and I just felt the whole time that this was the premise of the book - half-truths and out-of-context, confusing citations. He did have a few translations of his own included in the book and they fit his premise well. However, who is to say his translations are correct and all other English translations are wrong? I'm not.

Hoy also used books that are not in my Bible like Enoch and Jasher (who??), so that made his points seem less reliable to me (he talked more about Cain and Abel's diet than are depicted in my Bible). Are his points valid? I'm not sure. I actually asked a pastor at our church to read through this because he is more knowledgeable about translations, which this book relies on heavily.

But it seems to be a story of he-said, he-said. How do I know which "teacher" to trust? Toward the end of the book, the author talked about the forbidden fruit of Eden and how "a healthy-looking apple can serve as food and lodging for a worm or other parasite. Such is the case with dispensational [traditional] teaching. After all, much dispensational teaching looks great on the surface, but in the end, the flesh of such fruit is unclean and worm-infested to the very core." Unfortunately, this could be the very case of this book - a nice idea but leading me (us) astray from the gospel. Not that Hoy ever said you had to eat kosher to end up in heaven; I believe he believes that Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins is what will save our souls. But I just have to ask - what laws do you follow then? You don't get to pick and choose! Either Christ broke us free from this burden as I believe is suggested (but deeply refuted by the author in this book) in the New Testament or you follow all laws, even about stoning children who disrespect their parents and women being unclean during their menses.

So at the end, I am still not sure if we should be eating a kosher diet (which the only thing I really know anything about kosher is that you don't eat pig meat of any kind, even bacon, which really would be healthier because pork is so fatty).

There were some diatribes in this (rants, if you will) about some things that seem to be far out - how horrible it is that depictions of Noah's Ark only show sets of two animals when, in fact, there were some animals that came by "sevensies" (to quote What's in the Bible?). He seems to think that most people don't know this, which is probably true, but there is a verse that says they came two by two into the ark, so most people probably get their "bad" theology from this verse rather than depictions of this. This sentence really was unnecessary and not humorous because it comes out as bitter, not witty:
"Green eggs are fine to eat, but green ham must be rejected as a work of fiction - not even remotely suitable for a child's entertainment."
Don't mess with Dr. Seuss.

Not to say this book is not without merit. We should question things like keeping kosher because just because the world doesn't follow this diet, doesn't mean we shouldn't. But we should search Scripture for ourselves to find the answers instead of looking for symbols and signs that aren't there. That's where I begin and end my search, in Scripture.

Disclaimer: I received two copies of this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own, even though others may or may not agree.

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