The Weigh Down Diet is a popular weight loss system. Its developer, Gwen Shamblin, has grown her diet system into a multi-million dollar corporation with sales of her book, The Weigh Down Diet, in excess of one million. In addition, there are more than 30,000 workshops meeting all over the world. Thousands of these meet in churches.
Shamblin does not stress cutting out "bad" foods. She doesn't make you feel guilty for eating ice cream or some other sweet snack that most all other diets avoid. She says you can eat whatever you like. The goal is to take the focus off of food and put it on God, realize personal responsibility, and know that the body is the temple of God. Her website is full of Biblical references and mentions church quite often. On her website she states:
Since 1980, she has focused her consulting practice in the area of weight control, utilizing both her formal training in Dietetics together with a strong Christ-centered orientation in her counseling. These efforts led her to be the Founder and Director of The Weigh Down Workshop. [Emphasis original]
There is nothing wrong with trying to lose weight for health benefits. All people should be encouraged to do this, so they can live happy and more productive lives. There is also nothing wrong with having opinions on God, salvation, church, etc. But the problem with this diet is not in the diet itself but in the association with the false doctrine taught by Gwen Shamblin. She denies the Trinity doctrine.
In her article, "Teaching the Trinity," which has since been removed from her site and consolidated under her FAQ, she encourages people to dig deeper into the Bible which, she states, she believes is infallible. But she also says the following:
- "No matter what form you imagine God the Father, Jesus the Son, and His Spirit--whether separate beings or if the three exist as on one throne--remember that we are commanded not to argue about words. What is important is that you obey His words!"
- The Bible teaches us that the Son doesn't even know the day or the hour but only the Father. "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:32). How could the same "being" keep a secret from part of the Godhead if indeed there is one Head and not two separate beings?
- The Trinity tradition is based on human teachings which were formed between A.D. 325 and 415. These man-made teachings have been debated since its inception. I should not be looked down upon because I continue the debate. Paul warns us in Colossians, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition" (2:8).
- I believe that Jesus and God are two separate beings. I believe that Jesus is our Lord (referenced hundreds of times) and our God (referenced approximately three times), but I believe that the God of Jesus is God the Father. Jesus is not God the Father.
- Teachers of the Trinity teach that Jesus is Jehovah; they have no scriptures to back this up, and why don't they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that Jehovah is Jehovah?
From her Frequently Asked Questions section, she states the following:
- "The Bible does not use the word "trinity," and our feeling is that the word "trinity" implies equality in leadership, or shared Lordship. It is clear that the scriptures teach that Jesus is the Son of God and that God sends the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not send God anywhere. God is clearly the Head."
- "If God had wanted us to refer to Himself, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as the "trinity," He would not have left this word completely out of the Bible."
Ms. Shamblin denies the Trinity, the true deity of Christ, and the personhood and true deity of the Holy Spirit. She is teaching false doctrine about God. This is such an important issue that Thomas Nelson Publishers have canceled the next weight-loss book by Shamblin. She has been removed from the Women of Faith website.
Is her false teaching on the Trinity important? Yes, it is. Many of the people on weight-loss diets have battled their weight for years, undergone severe depression, suffered ill health, mockery, teasing, and poor self-image. So, for those who have found that the Weigh Down Diet helps them beat their weight problem, it is a great relief. With this, I am happy. But people have a tendency to devote themselves and follow leaders who provide solutions to their problems. These same people might then be vulnerable to suggestion. For those who have "converted" over to this system and have embraced it whole-heartedly, they might be influenced in a negative way theologically by the leader of this program . . . and that is the danger for the Christian as well as the non-Christian. For this reason, I believe extreme caution should be exercised when considering this diet.
Her view is very close to the Jehovah's Witness' teaching about God. The JW's are a non-Christian cult. So, it is quite possible that those who follow her and are influenced by her erring doctrinal teaching might very well be easy prey for the Jehovah's Witnesses.
This is a serious issue, and it is unfortunate that Ms. Shamblin has adopted a false view of God.1