u GO TO CHURCH FOR YOUR HEALTH. The long hours you spent on a hard seat in church may pay a fleshly dividend. A new study by Duke University researchers on aging finds this surprising fact: (as reported in World11/15/97) “People over 65 who go to church or synagogue at least once a week are healthier in body and mind than those who don’t.” Church-goers were twice as likely to have strong, stable immune systems as the stay at home seniors. The Duke study is part of the largest national survey on aging ever conducted. The results were published in the October International Journal of Psychiatry

Blood samples also showed that the undesirable immune system protein Interleukin-6 were lower. “This is the first study I know that tried to look at the pathways to translate religiosity to medical outcome,” said Marcia Ory, chief of social science and research at the National Institute on Aging. These finding on immunity and health support the link between active faith and longer life which Duke’s Dr. Harold Koenig uncovered in his study last year of 4,000 elderly people

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…”(Hebrews 10:25). Now we know that besides the more important spiritual reasons, church attendance also promotes stronger health and longer life.

u DIE IN CHURCH. Then there was 76-year-old Harry Watts of Ozark, Missouri who fulfilled his long-held wish to die in church during Sunday services. He did. His wife, Oneda, said, “The service started at 11, and he was gone by 11:30” (USNews & WR, 7/14/97). Over the years I witnessed too many happy souls expire after about 30 minutes of my preaching, only to revive in time for the closing hymn.

u MANDELA LOVES GADHAFI. The new democrat from South Africa shows his true colors by kissing-up to his old totalitarian buddies Castro and Gadhafi. A few week ago in Libya Mandela presented to Moammar Gadhafi South Africa’s highest award for a foreigner, and calling him “my dear brother leader.” Was the award for the terrorists Gadhafi trains and sends out to blow up airplanes, take hostages, and wage war against America? Was it for the tens of thousands of his own people he has murdered, for the Stalin-like gulag he rules? Was it in honor of his non-stop war against Israel? Or perhaps it recognizes the slave trade he runs; or his persecution, enslavement and murder of Christians 

After hugs and kisses he gave Gadhafi the platform to heap scorn upon the United States. How is it that this Mandela is a grand hero to American liberals? These liberal elite with their media allies unceasingly pressured the U.S. and other western nations to force the former pro-American South African government to yield power to his ilk. Cuba, the old USSR, and Libya were among the other backers of Mandela’s communist African National Congress.

The cover justification for liberals joining such criminal governments was the great evils of apartheid. It was, and is an evil. But in African perspective, SA was the most safe, free and civilized government on the continent. More people have been tortured and slaughtered by any number of black African dictatorships in a given week than during the entire reign of apartheid. Over a million blacks slaughtered in just the past few years. Today’s paper tells of 300 minority Tutsis butchered by majority Hutus who also burned down the court house. So much for the sacrosanct concept of majority rule.

u DEMAGOGUE & DEMOCRAT. Let’s face it: democracy doesn’t work unless the subject citizens are already civilized. Human history indicates that the only truly effective civilizing force is submission to the Judeo-Christian ethic. The degree of such submission by a people determines the level of civility they may enjoy. It might be also said that democracy is best suited to a people who are in little need of it

The verbal link between demagogue (demos=the people; agogus=leader; orig, a leader of the people) and democrat (small letter d; a person who believes in and upholds government by the people, the majority) is rarely noted today, although it was once well understood, and feared. Tom Bethell in an article in the American Spectator (“Two Jeers for Democracy,” 9/97) warns us that democracy is rule by publicity. Now that the universal franchise and majority rule are taken as givens for democracy (which wasn’t always the case), “a cadre of opinion shapers [are permitted to] impose its will on the nation by manipulating an uninformed mass electorate….People will think precisely what they are told to think.”

Aristotle wrote in The Politics: “The demagogues of our day, zealous to please the peoples of the states, cause a large amount of property to be confiscated to public use by means of the law courts.” Bethell notes that little has changed and Aristotle “identified democracy as a perversion of constitutional government.”

“Democracy is procedural, not substantive; a means, not an end,” cautions Bethell. It is not a cure-all to what ails the world. As I noted above, the substance that makes for safe, free, civil life are the good morals and enlightened beliefs of the people/demos.

“Abroad, democracy is thought of as a magic tent that can be set down on the rough terrain of tyranny. If, with the first political winds, the tent is blown away, a new one will be recommended by our Departments of Poli-Sci.” Bethell cynicism is warranted. Democracy has become the only “belief” worthy of missionaries. It is regarded as the world’s best and last hope. I hear the Church of Democracy singing its chants and its political preachers making endless alter calls. Only the choir listens.

u COMMUNISM’S BLACK BOOK. A new book by that title is at the top of France’s best- seller list. It is the result of three years of work by six scholars accumulating the evidence from 80 years of communism. Recently available records from the old USSR have finally settled arguments on the extent of crimes by the evil communist empires. How many civiliannon-war deaths can be directly laid at the feet of communist regimes? The French scholars say that between 85,000,000 to 100,000,000 people were killed by Russian, Chinese, and lesser communist governments in 80 years. That is an average of 25,000 per week for 80 years. Can we comprehend such figures? The vilest murderers of the 20th Century, in number of victims, were communists, not Nazis. The media rightly reminds us of Nazi atrocities with weekly regularity. Why are they relatively silent about communist evils? How many Hollywood productions have you seen on the evils of communism? Can you think of one? Why is that? Is the left-leaning media still covering for their illicit socialist sympathies?

Democracy isn’t the cure for the human condition—Christianity is. Communism is plainly the poisonous pit of the devil’s hell.

u “NOTHING SACRED” IN HOLLYWEIRD The tasteless sitcom “Nothing Sacred” exploits a “conflicted priest” who illustrates the ridiculous impracticality of traditional Christian (Catholic) dogma. Father Ray (Kevin Anderson), the “conflicted young priest” doesn’t really struggle to balance his faith with his temptations. “Anytime his faith teaches something he doesn’t like, out it goes. In the premiere episode, he not only wishes that he ‘didn’t hate God so much,’ but he also begins a homily by holding up a New Testament and declaring that contraception, homosexuality, promiscuity, and abortion ‘ain’t in’ the Gospel” (from a review in World, 11/1/97).

The show is a handy vehicle to make sport of the seriously religious and illustrate once again why Christianity has no place among the cool and enlightened. The show’s ratings are in the toilet, nevertheless critical acclaim from media elites is glowing. So much for “we just give the people what they want.” The public doesn’t want this tripe, the anti-Christian custodians of the new morality do.These people don’t mind losing advertisers and ratings—and money!—if the cause demands it.

u DUTCH TREAT. The following piece appeared in the Human Life News, the official publication of Human Life of Washington (October, 1997). The authors are Michael R. Jackson, MD, and Kenneth A. Feucht, MD, PhD.

———

The following is a true story. Dutch physician Karel Gunning reports: “My friend an internist [Zbigniew Zylicz, MD] was asked to see a lady with terminal lung cancer, who had a short time to live and was very short of breath. After the examination, he asked the patient to come to the hospital on Saturday for a few days so that he could alleviate her distress. She refused, being afraid of be euthanized there. My friend assured his patient that he would be on duty and that no such thing would happen. So the lady came. On Sunday night she was breathing normally and feeling much better. The doctor went home.

When he came back on Monday afternoon, the patient was dead. The responsible doctor told him, “What is the sense of having that woman here: It makes no difference whether she dies today or after two weeks. We needed the bed for another case.”

Tragically, there are many such stories coming from this real world euthanasia laboratory whose deadly data had arrested the attention of a growing number of doctors around the world.

Consider these facts:

  • According to Dutch physician Richard Fenigsen, in Holland in 1995 of a total 115,000 deaths, 57,800 or 50.2% resulted from euthanasia, assisted suicide, lethal overdose of morphine or withdrawal or withholding of non-futile life-support.
  • In Holland in 1995 more than 50% of all patients that died while under medical care were hastened to their death by their doctor.
  • In The Netherlands during 1995, 62% of patients that were hastened to their deaths by their doctors never gave their consent.
  • Today in Holland the elderly fearfully avoid hospitals with good reason.

In The Netherlands they even have phrases euphemizing euthanasia, they call it the ‘termination of the patient without explicit request,” or the “life terminating treatment.” Most doctors in The Netherlands now accept this and think it good that the family doctor bring up the lethal alternative as a “therapeutic option”….

———

The authors further claim euthanasia in the flatland has gone out of control, with safeguarding rules disregarded at will, and reporting laws ignored. Now Holland has come a lot closer to me as citizens in Oregon just passed another ballet measure insuring physician assisted suicide. The very young aborted and the very old snuffed out—the most vulnerable—by the selfish whims of a godless culture. What ugliness.

u FIREWALKING . It’s been around for centuries, but as practiced in this country, it’s the sizzle for a brand of self-improvement seminars. The student is told he needs the special techniques taught in the seminar in order to walk on hot coals without getting burned. Further, the lessons learned through the extraordinary experience can enable one to solve other challenges/problems of ordinary life. The man who has probably put more people through fire—for a price—is Tony Robbins.

His popular seminars teach that a key to success is overcoming fears which keeps us from succeeding in life. The enemies are defeatist attitudes and negative thinking. All good stuff I’m sure. And here is where firewalking comes in: an object lesson for overcoming fears.

After hours of preaching and coaching the students are ready for the test. Amid rhythmic clapping and chants of “Yes, yes, yes,” participants take their turn walking the burning coals spread out before them as a thin bed 8 to 10 feet long. The fires are hot, 1,500 to 1,800 degrees F. Upon completing the 1 to 2 second walk seemingly frenzied students shake their fists and shout into the night sky, “Yey!” or “Yahoo!” “I did it!”

I guess I would too. Apparently the experience coupled with the positive teaching produce a temporary increase in confidence and self-esteem for participants. But was any of the program really necessary to be able to take the walk on coals without getting burned? The answer is no.

This phenomena has been scientifically examined by several researchers over the years. A summary of reference papers is available from the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP, P.O. Box 703, Amherst, NY 14226). Firewalking appears to be a strange almost impossible phenomena, but is actually quite easy to do once the trick is discovered.

The secret to the firewalking stunt, write Bernard J. Leikind and William J. McCarthy, “lies in the distinction between temperature and heat (or internal energy. This distinction is not a part of our commonsense notions, although all of us are actually familiar with it as part of our daily lives. For example, when we are baking a cake, the air in the oven, the cake, and the cake pan are all at about the same temperature. None of us would think for a moment before putting our hands into the hot oven air, but we know that we cannot touch the cake pan for more than an instant without being burned. Why is this? They really are at the same temperature. Why would the pan burn us and not the equally hot oven air?

“The answer is that different materials at the same temperature contain different amounts of thermal or heat energy and also have different abilities to carry the energy from one place to another. The embers are light, fluffy carbon compounds. Thus, so long as we do not spend too much time on the embers our feet will probably not get hot enough to burn. In fact, because the capacity of the embers is low and that of our feet relatively high, the embers cool off when we step on them. Color and intensity of the light from the embers tells us their temperature” (The Outer Edge: Classic Investigations of the Paranormal, A CSICOP Publication, p. 105, 1996). The darkened footprints of the walkers can be clearly seen in the seconds following before the embers’ temperature and glow is restored.

It is a matter of low heat capacity and poor thermal conductivity. There are, of course, many variables. The Leidenfrost effect is one: sweaty or damp feet provide a thin thermally insulating layer between feet and embers. Speed is important too. The average walker spends between 1.5 seconds and 1.9 seconds on the coals. Even at that some walkers do get a blister or two. Slow down, and you will get burned for sure.

People who did not take the training proved just as able to walk the coals as those paying customers all hyped up with chants, sermons on neurolinguistic programming, visualization drills, and intense thought conditioning. Which gets to the core of the issue: if the seminar leaders mislead us about the keystone of their program—that their training makes it possible for us to walk on coals—can the rest of their package be trusted.

u WATERWALKING Now if you really want to draw a crowd, teach a seminar that will enable participants to gather at the beach afterward to walk on water. I know of only one example in history of humans walking on water—Peter and Christ. Has it been done since?

There is one cute little critter God made that can run, not walk, on water. His name is the basilisk lizard. Science has just recently figured out how he does it. The seemingly miraculous flight is just a matter of physics, beginning with a slap of the foot. The strike on the water creates upward force (23 percent of the support needed), then comes the stroke a split second later creating a pothole of air.

James W. Glasheen and Thomas A. McMahon describe what happens next.”The lizard obtains support from forces created by the difference in pressure between the air cavity above the foot and the hydrostatic pressure below [a lift support now of 111 percent]. All these gains would be lost, however, if the lizard did not pull its foot out of the hole before the water closed in around it By slanting its long-toed foot backwards and by slipping it out while it is surrounded only by air, the creature avoids the drag that would result from pulling its foot through water. A tiny fringe that surrounds the basilisk’s five toes my facilitate this motion. Like a parachute, the fringe flares out as the foot is slapped down, thus creating more surface—all the better to hit the water with. Then, as the foot is pulled up, the fringe collapses, and the long toes are withdrawn just before the hole closes” (“Running on Water,” Scientific American, 9/97).

Ah, the marvels of evolution. For that seminar on waterwalking you are thinking about, note this: The basilisk lizard needs to take about 20 steps a second to “waterwalk.” A 175 pound man would have to be able to run 65 miles an hour and expend 15 times more sustained muscular energy than a human being has the capacity to expend in order to do the lizard thing. Good luck on your seminar.

u NEW BIBLE TRANSLATION. Dr. James D. Tabor is the editor and prime translator of the Original Bible Project. Tabor proposes a fresh, non-ecclesiastical, literal translation of Scripture. Special sensitivity is given the Bible’s Hebraic context and roots. The finished product will be rich with notes and appendices. A sample of selected translations is available to interested students of Scripture The completed OT/NT work is still a few years out. Dr. Tabor is a biblical scholar and professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Robert Kuhn is the project’s Chairman of the Board, with Bob Ellsworth serving as business and promotion manager. (All, by the way, graduates of Ambassador College/Univ.). For more information write to The Original Bible Project, 408 South Pasadena Ave., Suite 1, Pasadena, CA 91105. 

 u MARRIAGE COURSE REQUIRED before a License? Sure. Why not? At least that’s what 64% of Americans thought when asked in a recent TIME/CNN poll (34% said no to a required course; TIME, 8/18/97). That question was one of many addressing the problem of divorce and what can be done about it. “Everyone is against divorce in the abstract,” notes Walter Kirn of TIME, “but in the concrete, they understand why particular people they know had to have a divorce.” And those who had to have one found it easy to get one. Now after a generation of no-fault divorce laws and sky-rocketing divorce rates, a mountain of evidence has accumulated. All of it bad. Broken families are now understood to be “Public Enemy No. 1” to civil society. The data is proving divorce to be terribly corrosive to children and to society in general, and a number of prominent family scholars are changing their minds.

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead dropped a bombshell last year with her book The Divorce Culture, which I heartily recommend. In it she argued “Dan Quayle Was Right” and showed how our high-divorce society is creating a low-commitment culture that easily breaks sacred bonds. In the past three decades we have created a culture which kills the unborn and connives to terminate the “useless” elderly. Sacred institutions such as marriage are devalued, attacked, called obsolete, and then reinvented to include homosexuals. The price for this insanity is paid in broken lives, financial hardships—especially among women—and by an army of unhappy, scared, abandoned children. The solution? Tougher divorce laws would certainly help. Perhaps requiring attendance at a course on marriage before issuance of a marriage license would cause the parties to take their vows more seriously. However, my faith in the government getting the content of such a course correct—especially after all the “rights” groups have had their say—is no where near a mustard seed.

The only “course” that will work toward insuring lasting marriages is one taught at the family level by parents who believe in the institution and the values required to preserve it. That institution must also be supported throughout the community, and its first importance institutionalized by government through law. At one time in America we had such a Marriage Culture and were better off for it. The values of marriage—its sacred design and purpose, its partnership of equals in covenant with God—must be shared with each new generation…or else. When the sixties generation rebelled against marriage we had no idea what we were in for.

u THE PERSECUTED CHURCH November 16 was Persecution Sunday in many churches in memory of Christians who are now being imprisoned, beaten, raped, enslaved and even martyred for practicing their faith. It closed two weeks of commemoration and prayer to “shatter the silence” surrounding this evil. A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times writes, “The shocking untold story of our times is that more Christians have died this century simply for being Christians than in the first nineteen centuries after the birth of Christ.”

Of the eleven countries currently persecuting Christians, China is one of the worst. Its leader, Premier Jiang Zemin, just completed his USA tour with few protests. One hopes that privately he got the message to leave Christians alone. But I fear economic considerations muted the moral ones.

We Christians should pressure our governments to use their influence upon offending regimes to stop the persecution. More importantly, we should pray daily for our fellow Christians facing danger in China, Sudan, Mauritania, Pakistan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Egypt, Nigeria, Cuba, Laos and Uzbekistan. They desperately need God’s strengthening, protection and deliverance. Are they on your list?

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth….God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

There is no one like the God of Israel, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. (Ps 121:l-2; 46:1; Dt 33:26)

u MARS ROCKS IN THE HEAD Huge disappointments all around as Scientists now conclude the “evidence of life on Mars” deduced from rocks having “bacteria worm holes” was full of holes. The wormlike structures are now found to be just fractures in the rock. A simple case of seeing what you want to see. For scientists whose faith is in evolution it’s just too tempting to see worms for cracks. I thought scientists weren’t subjective. Did they think discovering life on Mars drives a wooden stake into Christianity? It wouldn’t—the Bible just doesn’t discuss it. It does tell us the Creator of life is Yahweh—and the only example given of his life-making handiwork began with the third day of creation.