On February 15, 2019, Adventist News Service published an article titled Life Health Foods Teams Up with Former Olympian. This article proudly tells of a new business partnership between Life Health Foods (a Seventh-day Adventist company in Australia) and former Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice. On the surface, everything might seem like white one would expect in terms of a food company advertising its product, but, within a religious context, we must consider why it would be that Seventh-day Adventists would seek to put a worldly face—or any face at all, for that matter—on our health message. Surely the Seventh-day Adventist church hasn’t begun to sanction competitive sports, even the Olympic games of the ancient Greek pagans . . . or has it?
The ANN article does not indicate whether Ms. Rice is a Seventh-day Adventist, but the fact that the photo embedded in the article shows her wearing pants as well as a necklace and earrings would strongly suggest that she is not. Why, then, should there be any connection at all between Life Health Foods and Ms. Rice? To know the answer, it would be necessary to perform a bit of research into what sorts of things Stephanie Rice stands for. A quick Google search led the author to an article explaining that her plant-based diet is not strict enough for her to be
comfortable calling herself a vegan. “While she doesn’t eat meat or dairy, Rice says she allows herself a little one per cent buffer to give her life some flexibility and normality - a small slice of her brother’s homemade 14th birthday cake, or a piece of fish when options are few at a fancy restaurant or glamorous event.” In other words, she does eat meat and dairy. This is curiously reminiscent of SDA world church president Ted N.C. Wilson’s recent statement on getting the church off of flesh foods, as reported by ANN: “’I’m not saying, ‘Be fanatical,’’ he said. ‘I’m just giving you a thought. Why not lead the way? We have to move into this in a careful balanced way, helping people see the big picture.’”
As Seventh-day Adventists, do we need to be “fanatical” about our lifestyle reforms? The simple answer is yes, if by “fanatical” it means that we would rather die than dishonor God. “When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, strait-laced extremists. ‘We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.’” We wouldn’t eat a soup that contained a mere one per cent buffer of deadly poison, would we? or would we allow room for a one per cent buffer of pet sins in our lives while expecting to be transfigured and translated into the heavenly kingdom?
In another recent (2018) article titled Olympic Gold Medallist Stephanie Rice: How Becoming a Vegan Has Transformed Her Body and Mind, we see several images of a scantily-clad Stephanie Rice, and learn how she rests on Sundays. Yes, you read that right: the article deals with Sunday rest, just as her own post from her Instagram account, shown to the left, does. In response to the questions “How do you practice self-care? What is your idea of relaxing on a Sunday?” Ms. Rice says “I’m quite introverted and I get my energy from being quiet. […] I’m also quite a spiritual person so I might take 20 minutes out to do an angel card reading, a meditation, or visualising goals.”
Angel card readings, to put it bluntly, involve communication with demonic spirits, and the kind of meditation referred to here is not to be confused with meditating on the word of God. So, at what cost has Life Health Foods embarked on a partnership with a worldly ex-athlete? at the expense of souls? Anyone buying their plant-based food products might be attracted to the “healthy and wholesome” lifestyle practices of their poster child, and after a simple Google search, they’d find that this physically attractive celebrity advocates the practices of spiritualism, and they may be easily swayed to follow her tips to transform their body and mind as she has done!
Even if Stephanie Rice were not a spiritualist, it would still be grossly wrong for any Seventh-day Adventist operation to enter into a business relationship with her or any other person for the purpose of marketing its products through an association with that person’s name or character, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
4. White, Ellen G. 1923. Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 289. Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing Association