Hypocrisy in the Pulpit - One Man's Battle with the Lust of the Flesh (Book Review)

By Tercius

Genesis 35:2-"So Jacob told everyone in his household, "Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing."

Pastor Steve Reynolds has probably spoke those same words many times in his Virginia church, continualy urging those in the pews to lay aside their idols and truly lose themselves in Christ.

Years later Reynolds has admited the hypocracy behind his words.

"The truth was that I was a hypocrite. I had no problem standing in the pulpit preaching to the congregation on every sin known to man while I trashed my body with food and avoided exercise," said Reynolds.

At 340 lbs, he confessed "My belly was my god and the food I put into it was my idol."

Reynolds' confession led first to the founding of a "Lose- to-Live"movement to bring health and fitness into the church and then to his most recent book Get Off the Couch: A Man's A.C.T.I.O.N. Plan.

A follow up to Reynolds' first book Bod4God, this book focuses solely on men.

Now a 120 pounds lighter, the self-described "anti-fat pastor" wants men to shake off their insecurities and embrace a gospel-centered view of their physical health .

"You are on God's Team, and He created you to honor and glorify Him with your life and your body," Reynolds wrote in the book.

One of the pluses of Get Off the Couch is that the book does not waste time trying to explain the pyschological reasons the reader gained weight.

Another is while the risk factors of obesity are sprinkled throughout, the book also does not weight readers down with a lot scientific information either.

Rather the book relies on the sports analogies, Scriptures - referring to the Bible as "the best health book"- and personal accounts from Reynolds and Lose-to Live participants to motivate readers to commit to better eating and exercise habits.

Reynolds stretches the Bible a bit to come up with a biblical prescription for healthy living. He points to God's description of the promise land in Deuteronomy 8:7,8 to depict a healthy diet. He also points to Daniel's obedience in Daniel 1 to explain goal-setting: "Just as Daniel set a goal and determined to keep it, I knew that if I was going manage my habits, I would have to set goals and keep them. For me, my first goal was to lose 100 pounds."

The sports references are likely a byproduct of Reynold's Liberty University football past. However there a lot of them, and the book jumps from football to baseball to track to mixed martial arts.

The real gem of this book is the collection of real success stories, each featuring before and after pictures.

Overall the book is good mix of practical advise and spiritual encouragement.

Click here to read excerpts of Get Off the Coach.