Insight on the News
Many people have long held the view that the principles of good living outlined in the Bible are outdated and unworkable. However, recent studies have caused some medical authorities to rethink the value of the Bible’s advice on doing good to others.
According to American Health, two doctors claim that “doing good may be good for your heart, your immune system—and your overall vitality.” In Michigan another medical team conducted a survey spanning a ten-year period to determine to what extent social relationships affected health. The surprising find was that volunteer work in the community dramatically increased life expectancy and also vitality. The survey revealed that men were particularly affected. Those who did no volunteer work were said to be two and a half times more likely to die during the survey period than men who did some kind of volunteer work at least once a week.
A doctor in California reports that his arranging for two patients who disliked each other to do each other’s laundry had the effect of reducing their cholesterol levels and chest pains.
Centuries ago the apostle Paul told Timothy to “give orders to those who are rich in the present system of things not to be high-minded, and to rest their hope, not on uncertain riches,” but “to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share.” He also reminded the Hebrew Christians not to forget “the doing of good and the sharing of things with others.” The reason? “Glory and honor and peace for everyone who works what is good.” True Christians have long known that heeding this up-to-date counsel brings benefits both physically and spiritually.—1 Timothy 6:17, 18; Hebrews 13:16; Romans 2:10.
A “Heavier Judgment”
Members of the General Synod of the Anglican Church recently found themselves in an awkward predicament. They had spoken out unanimously in favor of “traditional teaching on chastity and fidelity in personal relationships.” However, when parish priest Tony Higton presented a motion asking the synod to declare that clergy are to be “exemplary in all spheres of morality, including sexual morality, as a condition of being appointed to or remaining in office,” it was rejected. The reason? The Ecumenical Press Service reports that the synod members found the proposal “a bit too strong,” adding that “Michael Baughen, bishop of Chester, suggested it would require the immediate resignation of all the church’s bishops and other clergy.”
Instead, Higton’s motion was modified to call on all Christians, “particularly . . . Christian leaders,” to be examples “in all spheres of morality, including sexual morality.” The Press Service also noted that the synod defeated a call for “appropriate discipline” among the clergy in cases of sexual immorality.
While such disciplinary measures may be “too strong” for many of today’s clergymen, God’s Word is clear: “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 5:13) God directs that firm action be taken against all who unrepentantly practice what is bad to protect the moral and spiritual cleanness of the Christian congregation. Indeed, discipline is even more appropriate for Christian leaders, for the disciple James wrote: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.”—James 3:1.
“The quality of an athlete’s performance can reveal the quality of his love for God.” Is this claim of Wes Neal, president of IAP (Institute for Athletic Perfection), as reported in Christianity Today, true? IAP, an agency used by evangelicals to “sanctify competitive sport,” has promoted the idea that athletes on the playing field should emulate the same intensity that Jesus showed toward “accomplishing his Father’s purpose.” Such reasoning has become a popular doctrine of the evangelicals’ “locker-room religion,” notes Christianity Today. In fact, the article cites the example of one professional football player who “painted crosses on his shoes and wristbands as a reminder that he was playing to glorify Christ.”
However, can it be said that participation in a highly competitive or violent sport is glorifying God? Hardly! As Psychology Today notes: “The very nature of competition requires that self-interest be temporarily adopted while the athlete strives to win.” Yet the Bible says that Christians should be “keeping an eye, not in personal interest upon just [their] own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others.” (Philippians 2:3, 4) True Christians glorify God by doing his will, not their own.—Compare Isaiah 58:13, 14.