Insight on the News
Recipe for Disaster
“During the early days of television, violence was depicted less frequently and less realistically than it is today,” notes Dr. Paul Wilson of the Australian Institute of Criminology. However, in describing what he considers to be the recipe for social disaster and anarchy, Wilson adds: “Now, blood gushes from body gashes and the death agony is captured in its lingering harshness. . . . Teenagers are axed to death and choke slowly from slashed necks and their death gurgles are lovingly captured by the camera.”
In his article appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald, Dr. Wilson commented on the difficulty news reporters experienced in capturing Australian public interest over the recent bloodless coup d’etat in nearby Fiji. The reason? “Violence is the benchmark of modern entertainment,” says Wilson. The news coverage by TV and press was accurate, carefully analyzed, and factual, but there were no “pulsating television images of violence and newspaper paragraphs describing riots,” he explained.
How well this escalating lust to be entertained by violence fits the Bible’s description of those living in “the last days” of the present system of things! In this critical final generation, men are described as being “without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness.”—2 Timothy 3:1, 3.
Monogamy or Polygamy?
Should the church accept members who have more than one marriage mate? To resolve this question, the Anglican Church in Uganda has appointed a group to study “polygamy and the Christian family.” The Ecumenical Press Service reports that, according to one study-group member, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, having more mates is not only acceptable but also beneficial. Why does he feel that way? Polygamous marriages, he claims, can help to curb the spread of the disease AIDS. On top of that, he asserts that polygamy is optional for Christians, saying that Christ will “transform our stale and tasteless marriages into sweet wine, be they monogamous or polygamous.”
Yet, the Bible clearly shows that Jehovah God, the Originator of monogamous marriage, disagrees. He inspired the apostle Paul to write: “Let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2) Significantly, Paul later wrote regarding the qualifications of those who shepherd the flock: “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife.”—1 Timothy 3:2, King James Version.
Hence, true Christians in Africa, as elsewhere, view polygamy for what it is—a violation of God’s law.
Preaching for a Price
Priests of the Lutheran Church of Sweden have been unhappy with their paychecks because, as reported, their salaries are “low in comparison with those paid to other professions with much shorter studies or training behind them.” However, according to the news service of the World Council of Churches, things are now looking up. After “a long and partly bitter campaign,” the priests have recently gained a 40-hour workweek. But what if the Swedes need priestly help after working hours? The new labor agreement also guarantees overtime payment for each extra hour of pastoral care. Such overtime wages are expected to increase their yearly salaries by 10 to 12 percent.
In contrast with the concern among Swedish priests for better wages for their services, when Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, he told them: “You received free, give free. Do not procure gold or silver or copper for your girdle purses.” (Matthew 10:8, 9) What did he mean? The Kingdom good news was not to be commercialized, nor was it to be used for selfish personal advantage. The disciples adhered to Jesus’ direction, and their ministry was accomplished. Why? Because God sustained them in the ministry.