Saddleback’s Health and Fitness Seminar: An Eyewitness Account

A few days ago, I posted an article by Jan Markell (Olive Tree Ministries) concerning Rick Warren’s newest initiative—a health and fitness seminar featuring three doctors representing three very different worldviews – Dr. Oz (a Muslim), Dr. Hymen (a Jew) and Dr. Amen (a Christian).

As a follow-up, I am posting this article by Jennifer Pekich (Ponderings from Patmos blog), who personally attended the event on January 15, 2011. This is a well-written, well-researched and very important article that has been picked up and re-posted on  many discernment and apologetics blogs across the internet.

I want to extend my personal thanks to Jennifer for her excellent work on this and for her permission to post her article here.


Saddleback Health & Fitness Seminar – Infomercial for Sustainable Development

by Jennifer Pekich (Ponderings from Patmos) (click here for original post)

Today on Patmos we will discuss my experience at the Saddleback Health and Fitness Seminar this past weekend.  I first arrived to Saddleback’s campus only to be told that “all parking lots were full.”  I drove across the street to see if there were any spots available in the business lots and they were full too.  I ended up parking in a housing tract and walked a mile or two back to Saddleback’s campus.  As I arrived, I overheard a parking lot attendant say they estimated about 6,000 people had come to the seminar.

I was a little late, so I was grateful to my nephew who went online and began to relay what was being said in the opening comments, as I didn’t want to miss what was to be the foundation of the talks that day.  I was a little taken aback when my nephew told me the first speaker, Dr. Amen, made reference to the Egyptian pyramids and how they were built upon an “idea,” and if man could build something like that all those thousands of years ago, what could he do today if he put his mind to it?  I found that to be somewhat disturbing, as the pyramids, no matter how impressive they were, represent the ancient pagan religions which got their start in Babylon when Nimrod gathered men (the community) together to commit idolatry by building a tower to honor themselves as gods (Gen. Ch. 11). [1]  And yet here it was, the analogy that was chosen to illustrate this new “idea” Saddleback would launch their 52 week program with.  No matter what Dr. Amen’s intent was, I believe the analogy was appropriate, and the subtle message is telling…”MAN CAN DO ANYTHING HE PUTS HIS MIND TO.”  Sound familiar? (Read Gen. 3:4-5). [2]

As I began to head up the hill toward the main sanctuary, a Saddleback tram pulled up and the driver asked if I wanted a lift and I said I preferred to walk, but thanks.  The driver yelled, “Let’s all give her a hand folks, she’s started the Daniel Plan already!”  And the people on the tram cheered.  Nevermind the fact that I have been walking my entire life because I enjoy doing so, not because of some health and fitness campaign.  I sensed I was entering a nightmare.

The main sanctuary was full & it was standing room only.  They told me the overflow areas were full too.  So I found a spot on the patio outside the main sanctuary looking in.  I had a good view and could see the stage perfectly.  Their outdoor sound system made it so I could roam around, observe the audience, continue to listen to the guest speakers, and take notes.

To begin, I’d like to state that Saturday Jan. 15th, 2011 will go down in the history books as the day Saddleback Church was sold a bill of goods.  The masses had come out in droves for answers to their weight loss difficulties & health problems, but unbeknownst to them, they were being given a prescription for restructuring society & population control.

The prescription goes by the name Agenda 21, a.k.a. “Sustainable Development” or “Smart Growth.”  Agenda 21 is a published document put out by the United Nations with the intent to put limits on population and to restructure nation-states into a global society. [3] Rick Warren’s “new friends” had dubbed it, “The Daniel Plan – God’s Prescription For Your Health.”  A more appropriate title would’ve been, “Sustainable Living – Destroying Inalienable Rights, One Community at a Time.”

By the time I settled into listening more intently, the second speaker, Mark Hyman, began.  It didn’t take too long to figure out what the basis of his message was.  We “need to heal with community” (he termed this “accompaniment”), “we’re here for the sake of each other,” this plan “is our way out,” this plan “saved me,” and in fact will “change the world.”   Saddleback was being told they were a “test community” to show the world how to live “healthy and sustainably.”  When I heard these words, my heart sank.  It was as I’d feared.  I knew which buzzwords to listen for, and he was hitting them all.  The audience was told they would be champions in health to show the world what “living sustainably” was all about, but Dr. Hyman is a leftist who is more than a champion in health, he’s a change agent for the global elite, as is Dr. Oz & Dr. Amen.  Dr. Hyman is the founder and medical director of the Ultra Wellness Center, he advises Dr. Oz’s healthcore group, and he’s a nominee to President Obama’s advisory group on prevention, health promotion, and integrative and public health. [4]  Hmmmmmm.  I smell an agenda.

Dr. Hyman practices what’s known as “functional medicine,” which means he uses a “whole systems” approach to medicine, in other words, he practices medicine “wholistically.” This is also known as “Mind Body” medicine.  At Saddleback’s seminar, “mind body” or “functional” medicine was presented as if it’s completely scientific.  Any scientist worth his salt will tell you that yes, the body can be measured scientifically, but the mind falls into an entirely different category which can never be measured by science.  As stated by Dave Hunt in his book Occult Invasion – The Subtle Seduction of the World and Church, “Physical science, by very definition, can make no judgements concerning a nonphysical realm” as is the mind & the soul. [5] In other words, the mind and the soul are scientifically immeasurable.

It’s the same with the religions of “Mind Science.”  Calling a religion “Mind Science” or “Scientology,” when there’s nothing scientific about it, is the same as calling a cereal “Grapenuts” when it contains no grapes or nuts.  But we live in an era when the masses have been sufficiently dumbed down and all it takes to impress is clever packaging and branding.  If “they” say it’s science, then dog-gone-it, it’s science!  After all, “these doctors are on television.”

As I sat through all 3 presentations by Dr.’s Hyman, Amen, & Oz, what came to mind were the traveling snake oil salesmen of the 1800’s.  They talk fast, so fast that the message that’s really being given, goes right over people’s heads.  They used tactics to tug at the heart strings such as videos of sick little girls who suddenly got well from being on “the program” and have been “set free” from relying on medications.  Then they flooded the audience with “facts” and “statistics” to scare any grandmother, such as “a tsunami of disease is hitting us,” “life expectancy is going down,” “1 out of 2 people are diabetic or pre-diabetic,” “70% of all agricultural land is taken up by growing animals to feed all the people,” “the bigger your body gets, the more your brain shrinks,” etc.

I about fell off my chair when Dr. Hyman stated, “The key to the success of the “Daniel Plan” is “group living”…”individuals” will not succeed, our only hope lies in “community.”  And with that, it was announced that the “Saddleback community” would be an example of “sustainable living” and would set the course to “change this world”…and the crowd went wild!  I have to admit that visions of the masses being manipulated by Adolf Hitler’s oratory skills came to my mind, only this particular crowd had just been manipulated by a really bad infomercial.

Dr. Hyman said that he is a Jew, Dr. Amen is a Christian, and Dr. Oz is a Muslim.  And doesn’t that represent the demographic of “most of the population of the world?”  But then he said, “We’re all the same underneath.”  True to his snake oil salesman fashion, Dr. Hyman didn’t define his terms.  What in the world does he mean “we’re all the same underneath”?  That can mean a number of things.  Since he was speaking to a religious crowd, I’d venture to say some of the folks present took that to mean we’re all children of God (Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.), which is patently false according to the Bible.  The Bible says there are only two groups, children of wrath and children of God.  You’re either one or the other, a believer in Christ Jesus, or a non-believer. We aren’t “all the same underneath.” (Ephesians Ch. 2). [6]

The only way in which we’re “all the same underneath” is we’re all sinners in need of a savior, and the savior isn’t “sustainable living.”  The Savior is Jesus Christ and He is the only way unto salvation. (John 14:6). [7]  And to become a child of God, Jesus said, “You must be born again.” (John Ch. 3). [8]  The tragic thing about the talks given at Saddleback is, Jesus was never mentioned…and I mean NEVER.  There was a reference to Jesus in the opening worship song along with a few passing references to God by Rick Warren.  Daniel Amen mentioned that our bodies were “a temple of the Holy Spirit and the brain is the innersanctum,” but in the lessons being taught that day, Jesus didn’t make the cut, “sustainable lifestyles” & “group living” did.

Following Dr. Hyman’s talk, my best friend arrived to observe the day with me, only to hear Dr. Amen mention in his presentation that he did a brain scan on one of his clients who had a habit of cheating on his wife.  The brain scan showed that there were “holes in the pre-frontal cortex of his brain” which controls the impulses.  In other words, this man wasn’t sinful, he was “mentally ill.”  All he needed was to get on the “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” program, and his personal struggles with sin were remedied.  Once again, Jesus was removed from the equation.  My friend and I were dumbfounded when we listened to the Saddleback crowd cheer.  My best friend couldn’t contain it any longer and let out a, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  My thoughts exactly!

Dr. Hyman recommended yoga and meditation to the crowd.  Dr. Amen gave a diplomatic denunciation of yoga (which is contradictory since he has recommended it himself), but about five sentences later mentioned a study done by a friend of his named Andy Newberg who did brain scans on Tibetan nuns and Franciscan priests while in “prayer and contemplation” and the study showed that “spiritual connection” is healthy.  Dr. Amen has been an advocate of “Sa Ta Na Ma” meditation. [9]

If by chance any attendees of the Saddleback “Health and Fitness Seminar” read this blog post, I encourage you to educate yourself about what globalism truly is.  You also need to research Agenda 21.  As stated earlier, the purpose of Agenda 21 is to restructure society.  Sounds conspiratorial, I know.  But it isn’t a conspiracy, it’s a published document of the United Nations that’s in full swing.  Anywhere you hear the terms, “Sustainable Development,” “sustainable living,” “smart growth,” “going green,” etc., rest assured you’ve just been exposed to the U.N.’s Agenda 21. [10]

It shouldn’t surprise us that Pastor Rick Warren would allow a seminar of this nature at Saddleback, after all, he himself has “GONE GREEN.” [11]  He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. [12]  This illustrates the natural progression of one being unequally yoked with non-believers & buying into heresies such as “Kingdom Now,” “Dominionism,” or “Restoration Theology.”  Where these heresies reign, as they do at Saddleback, you will find that the focus subtly shifts from salvation in Christ alone, through faith alone, to misguided efforts to restore mankind & the earth through “community” works, sustainable living, and social justice.  How convenient that these just happen to be the vehicles which the United Nations is using to further it’s own agenda to restructure society & unite the world under its governing body of global elites.

2 Timothy 4:3-4
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

(I found it to be slightly humorous that, on page 9 of the booklet which Saddleback passed out to attendees, the symptom of “itchy ears” was listed in the “Medical Symptom/Toxicity Questionnaire”…oh, the irony!)

1. Genesis 11:4 – “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.'”

2. Genesis 3:4-5 – “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

3. Agenda 21 –

4. Mark Hyman’s presentation at “Authors @ Google” titled, The UltraMind Solution: Healthy Body, Powerful Mind.

5. Occult Invasion – The Subtle Seduction of the World and the Church, Dave Hunt, Harvest House Publishers 1998, pg. 61

6. Ephesians Ch. 2:1-5 – “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”

7. John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

8. John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

9. Dr. Amen recommends “Sa Ta Na Ma” meditation a form of Kirtin Kriya yoga.

10. Agenda 21 – The U.N. Plan for Your Sustainable Community

11. A Greener Spirit: Evangelicals Embrace “Creation Care”

12. Council on Foreign Relations Membership Roster

  1. David,
    The people will perish because they will be unable to discern good from evil. WHY? They don’t study the WORD, they don’t obey the Holy Spirit within or they are not truly born-again Christians. Very solid aricle! Thanks for sharing. R. Kiovsky

  2. Dave, what an informative article on how the world is trying to replace Jesus Christ in the church. We will are be held responsible for knowing the Truth when we stand before God. “Jesus said to him,”I am the way and the truth and the and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”” Thanks for sharing this article.

  3. Ah, the world is getting so terrifying these days! I feel sorry for the generations after us.

  4. Thank you for sharing this, David. The slippery slope that Rick Warren has been on has apparently now reached the murky, miry pit of full blown error. “May God grant him repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
    that he (and they) may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

  5. Paul said, I am afraid that as Eve was deceived by Satan, so are you from the simplicity that is in Jesus Christ. We have moved far away from God and simple relationship and expression of that relationship.

  6. The sad part about this article is that one day very soon, those who say they are Christian will turn against those who truly are. Those who are Bible Believing, Born Again Christians will be persecuted for living by God’s Word, and not that of the world. With news reports showing Pastors and Ministers who don’t believe in the Bible, but stay because of the pay or the prestige is evident we are at the end. I have already been unfriended by a friend who says they’re a Christian, but endorse homosexuality. I told them that God’s Word says that homosexuality is an abomination. Wasn’t received well. Church is being deceived, and so called Christians are worshiping the god of their imagination. Hope Jesus comes soon.

    • Cherie,

      You might be interested in a couple of ABI blog articles that address the topic of homosexuality. You can find them in the archives.


  7. Why not post the website that will allow people to watch the seminar so people can form their own opinion?? It is posted on Saddlebacks website….

    I was there and there is a lot of stuff in this article is stretching the truth and taking things out of context, which I am not surprised you are an unknown writer that is trying to make it big and by causing this turbulence your name will get known, the said part is you had an agenda walking into Sadlleback and you were able to write to back up your agenda! Sad and bad, bad journalism….but not surprising!

  8. The surface level of the analysis here is astonishing. So we can’t use the pyramids as an example of human ingenuity or hard work because of the Tower of Babel? And we can’t talk about wholistic medicine because the mind can’t be studied scientifically?

    It may be the case that what Warren is doing here is misguided or plain wrong. But the writer would have served her readers better if she had reported the facts and then made some thoughtful observations rather than launching off in almost hysterical denunciations at every turn. She was clearly looking for problems, and she found them whether they were really there or not.

    • Interesting. Her reporting and analysis didn’t strike me that way. And given how widely she was quoted on other blogs, some which I would consider responsible, and given the broad response in the comments to those blogs, it would seem that it didn’t strike many others that way either.

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