Insight on the News
Malpractice Insurance for Clergy
● Many clergymen in the United States are now carrying malpractice insurance to protect them from lawsuits for bad advice. “In the past, the thought of suing a pastor was probably repugnant to most people,” said an insurance broker. “But today, stories of recent suits have sent a shock wave throughout the profession.” Among others, one in four Methodist and Lutheran churches are said to have malpractice coverage now, as do four out of five Episcopal churches.
The trend reportedly started when a clergyman advised a woman with marital problems to get a trial separation from her husband. The spouse became so angry that he shot her. But later they became reconciled and together sued the pastor for giving bad advice.
Such problems arise for clergymen because they often are inclined to offer psychological advice based on “human wisdom” rather than “spiritual words” from the Bible. (1 Cor. 2:13) As a wise counselor, the apostle Paul said to “preach the word” of God. Counsel from this source offers no basis for a lawsuit.—2 Tim. 4:2.
Sex After Death?
● Swiss-born psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross became famous for her pioneering research and best-selling book on the subject of death and dying. She also became convinced that many experiences related by persons who were revived after being clinically dead prove that “when people die, they very simply shed their body, much as a butterfly comes out of its cocoon.” According to “Time” magazine, she has now become an associate of spiritualist Jay Barham, who “conducts seances that include sexual intercourse between participants and ‘entities’ from the spirit world.” Barham claims that the “entities” clone themselves, using cells from his body to materialize.
“The entities are unusually interested in sex,” notes “Time.” But whether or not Barham’s sensuous “entities” are real or a hoax, the Bible reveals that any “spirits” contacted through séances are not dead persons. They are shown to be the same sex-centered “supernatural beings” who developed a lust for human girls in Noah’s day and materialized to take “the ones they liked” as wives.—Gen. 6:1, 2, “Good News Bible.”
Restrained by God from taking human form again after the Flood, these wicked “spirits in prison,” or demons, have since used human intermediaries to carry out their depraved designs. Hence, the warning from God: “There should not be found in you anyone who . . . consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead.”—1 Pet. 3:19, 20; Deut. 18:10-12; see also 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.
● A teacher in England recently won $1.6 million and laid plans to retire and “spend, spend, spend,” according to a United Press International report. In the meantime, he continued to teach. But six weeks after his windfall, the teacher died of a heart attack, before he had a chance to spend anything.
This illustrates the truth of Jesus’ parable about the rich man who laid plans for enjoying his future. “Take your ease,” he said to himself, “eat, drink, enjoy yourself.” But the rich man in the parable had not taken into account a more important form of wealth. As a result, “God said to him, ‘Unreasonable one, this night they are demanding your soul from you. Who, then, is to have the things you stored up?’ So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Even when persons live to spend their money, experience has repeatedly shown that those who receive windfalls often have problems and frustrations, rather than the life of ease and freedom from anxiety that they had imagined. Also, it is only being “rich toward God” that brings confidence in the future that is not dimmed by the prospect of death, because, as Jesus said, “even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.”—Luke 12:15-21.