Insight on the News
A House Divided
Jesus said that “if a house becomes divided against itself,” it cannot stand. (Mark 3:25) This is how the United Church of Canada, that nation’s largest Protestant church, finds itself over the issue of homosexuality and ordination of gay men and women.
A resolution adopted by the 32nd General Council of the United Church of Canada permits practicing homosexuals to function as clergymen. According to The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, the resolution states that regardless of their sexual orientation, any “who profess faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to Him are welcome to be or become full members of the Church,” and “all members of the Church are eligible to be considered for ordered ministry.” A 125-page United Church report says: “There are a variety of sexual orientations: homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual. These ought to be seen as natural and as a gift from God.”
Commenting on the church’s decision to accept homosexuals as clergymen, the Globe explains that “the overriding issue was the church’s survival.” Since 1972, reports reveal, the church has been steadily losing membership and is in financial trouble. The reason? Clergyman John Tweedie cites “an ongoing exodus from the church as people see it drifting away from its Christian roots.” “Hence,” reports The Post of Canada, “their acceptance of such things as homosexuality, sex outside the marriage bond, abortion on demand, and dissoluble marriages is an overture to a younger generation.”
However, does obedience to Christ allow for a compromise of Bible principles? On the contrary, God’s Word is clear: “Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral . . . homosexual perverts . . . none of these will possess God’s Kingdom.”—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, Today’s English Version.
Using the Rod
“Spare the Rod, but Note the Consequences” was the title of an article appearing in The Natal Mercury, a South African newspaper, lamenting the modern trend of holding back physical punishment from children at home and in school. Who is responsible for this changed attitude toward spanking? Professor Smythe, a pediatrician at the University of Natal, South Africa, places the blame squarely on child psychologists. “Usually on delving into the roots of an emotional issue,” Smythe explains, “one finds the change in attitude starting with psychological dogma. At first violently opposed to any form of physical punishment, then appalled by the consequences of the indiscipline resulting from a creed of no frustrations and no inhibitions.”
Smythe advocates a balance. “Extremes of permissiveness are as bad as extremes of punishment,” he notes, “but the fact that remediation is easier with the overdisciplined than the underdisciplined child favors leaning on the side of discipline when in doubt.” The professor emphasizes that the motive for giving physical punishment should be loving concern for the child’s present and future welfare.
Such advice is not new but a return to the infallible Biblical guidance: “The one holding back his rod is hating his son, but the one loving him is he that does look for him with discipline.”—Proverbs 13:24; see also Proverbs 23:13, 14.
Gambling Not Sinful?
A Roman Catholic parish recently became the first religious institution in Wisconsin, U.S.A., to apply for a permit to sell lottery tickets, reports The Sheboygan Press. While the sales are described as an effort to “augment” weekly collections, the Press notes that the main reason behind the proposed selling of lottery tickets “is to increase attendance at its bingo games.” The church is reported already to be operating bingo games with profits that “range from $800 to $1,000” nightly.
When asked if gambling is really sinful, parish priest Robert Fleishman replied: “I don’t know.” While conceding that the church’s promotion of bingo or the sale of lottery tickets “is perhaps a little out of context with our overall spiritual calling,” he added that “if they don’t come here, they’ll go elsewhere” to spend their money.
Should a religious leader who claims to be a follower of Christ promote gambling? Hardly! Gambling in any form appeals to one of the worst qualities in humans—greed. Those who promote it encourage people to believe that it is right to profit from the losses of others. Yet, God’s inspired Word flatly states that greedy persons will not inherit God’s Kingdom.—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Ephesians 4:19; 5:3.