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Biblical Reflections on Modern Medicine

Vol. 5, No. 5 (29) 

Contents:


Whom Will You Call Brother or Sister in Christ?
or
What Is Orthodoxy?

I sometimes wonder about God's methods in history and His renewing of Christians' minds (i.e., Romans 12:2). To a large extent, each of us has a narrow focus because of our time in history and the culture in which we reside. For my own part, I am more narrowly focused in the realm of health, medicine, and medical ethics.

Thus, I observe that Christians today are an extremely diverse group of people. Perhaps, this diversity has always been, but it seems more so today. There are literally hundreds of denominations, and churches that don't even call themselves denominations. Churches split over minute points of belief. Individual Christians fight and contend with each other (often vehemently) over similar minutia.

On health matters, various Christians espouse a myriad of health schemes and "remedies" ranging from those whose approach is totally spiritual to dozens of alternative methods (chiropractic, homeopathy, vegetarian diets, colonic irrigation, etc., etc.) to mainstream Western medicine. Many claim a Biblical basis for their method.

Many will not fellowship with other Christians who don't believe as they do on some health/medical matter. Recently, I resigned from an editorial board because they would not let me try to bring balance to the beliefs of their writers on health/medical issues. These are testy waters indeed!

Yes, in all this, I wonder at God's plan and the Spirit's mind-renewal process. In the final analysis, I must bow my knee and my mind to His Sovereign control and plan for individuals and history. Otherwise, I have begun to base truth on empirical observation rather than presuppositional belief in Biblical truth.

Some Reflections

Still, I want to offer some reflections on this morass. First, the cause is the sin of arrogance. It is the original sin, the desire to be "like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). It is the willingness to isolate one's thinking from a sound Biblical understanding and orthodox faith. If you don't think that you commit this sin, let me ask you these questions.

Have you studied church history, especially the beliefs of the fathers of the faith who have hammered out an orthodox faith? Do you understand the root causes of the Reformation in its break with Roman Catholicism? Are you familiar with the writings of Calvin, Luther, and other Reformed thinkers upon whose teachings evangelicalism has been built?

Do you know the difference between evangelical and evangelism? Do you know the philosophical difference between presuppositional and evidential beliefs? Do you have some hermeneutic which guides your study of the Bible?

Now, if you answered "No" to one or more of these questions, it is not entirely your fault. In spite of a exponential growth of available data in our time, we are perhaps the most ignorant generation of history relative to systematic thinking. And, most Christians are guilty.

Examine Christian schools. Is church history and the major theologies of the church taught? Is a hermeneutic taught? Are the major philosophers studied? Is systematic theology taught? I envision Christians in high school debating and devastating students in public schools with presuppositional and evidential arguments. But, I know of nowhere where this debate is taking place.

No Creed But Christ

I hear, "No creed but Christ." "We don't need a theology. We have the Bible." Even worse, "God guides my thinking and tells me what is right and wrong."

You might ask at this point, "What is orthodox belief?" Notice first that it is not spelled with a capital letter. It is not Orthodox, that is, the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy are those teachings without which Christianity is no longer Christianity. First, and foremost, is the Bible as inerrant and infallible revelation from God. Second are basic teachings about the Trinity: Three Persons, fully God yet distinct; about Christ's life, substitutionary death, and second coming; and about salvation and all men and women being saved or damned in eternity.

An orthodox belief can be traced throughout the history of the church. For example, there is the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. In the Reformation, there was the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism. In 1978, there was the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy.

A Call for Brotherhood

Into this morass, I strive to develop and promote a medical ethic. Medical ethics are at least one step removed from basic orthodox beliefs. Yet, any ethic is always closely tied to a theological belief. For example, abortion is tied to the belief that individual human life does not begin at conception. When life begins, however, is not a core belief to orthodoxy. A person does not have to believe that human life begins at conception to join an orthodox church.

Thus, historically and spiritually, health, medicine, and medical ethics are secondary. Any separation among Christians based upon medical issues is anathema to God's plan for His church (Ephesians 4:1-6). From this basic tenet of the Christian faith, I offer three points for reflection.

First, you should know what an orthodox faith is and therefore join yourself to Christians of the past, present, and future. Otherwise, you have the modern attitude that nobody really knew or understood anything of importance until the latter 20th century. You must know those tenets on which you cannot compromise without giving away your faith. (P.S. There aren't that many -- perhaps a dozen at most.)

Second, let us all learn some humility in our secondary beliefs. James warns that not many should be teachers (3:1). Compromise or tolerance of these secondary matters is not a compromise of faith. I am not saying that opinions should not be argued. I do so regularly on these pages. However, let's realize that they are secondary. And, let us be cautious where we have not fully thought through an issue (as I had not on anarchy and totalitarianism - see Letters).

Third, let us never argue secondary issues as a basis for fellowship. Where we agree on orthodox beliefs, we are brother and sister in Christ. If you believe in vegetarianism, that's OK. Just don't be contentious about it. If you believe in colonic irrigation, that's OK (I guess). Just don't ask me to participate! If you believe in homeopathy, that's OK. Just realize that it's one alternative among many.

If you believe in mainstream medicine, realize that it is a secondary spiritual issue. Those who believe otherwise are not "kooks." There is enough glass in your house to be careful about the bricks that you throw. The Bible describes "us" against "them" -- the world vs. Christians.

That conflict is becoming more definitive and violent. We must be certain about an orthodox faith to stand firm in this battle. We must be cautious and humble about secondary issues. Separation and isolation on these secondary issues is first and foremost a sin. Beyond that, we weaken our fight about "principalities and powers."

I speak to you and to myself. Let us be clear on what we believe with solid investigation and study. Let us discern orthodoxy from secondary issues. And, let us not separate ourselves on these secondary issues.

Bob's Banter

The Fourth Little Pig

All of us have grown up with the story of the three little pigs. Today, a fourth little pig is added to the story.

Little pigs one, two, and three built their houses as we have all heard. "The fourth pig, however, was more broad minded. 'There is truth in all building traditions,' he chided his brothers. 'How intolerant to suggest that there is only one way to construct a house.'

"So, he used a little of each brother's material: bricks for his roof, straw for his walls, and sticks for his windows and doors. The resulting house was a bit shaky, without much of a view, but pig number four was proud of his inclusiveness."

Thus, the wolf comes to the houses of little pigs one, two, and three. His hyperventilation at house number three caused him to pass out. "He awoke hungrier than ever. Then, he saw what the fourth pig had built, and he smiled.

"'Little pig, little pig, let me come in,' said the wolf. 'Why certainly,' said the fourth pig. 'Do you wish to enter into a dialogue about the universals in our two value systems, and how we might together forge a philosophy that encompasses all possible modes of construction?'

"'Right,' said the wolf, licking his lips. The fourth little pig opened the door, and that was when his house (universe) fell in on him.

"'Mmm, pork chops,' said the wolf. And he hadn't had to huff and puff at all!"

Adapted from Power for Living, June 12, 1994, p. 8.

Hilton's High Points

by Hilton Terrell, Ph.D., M.D.

On Straining at Gnats and Missing Redwood Trees

There is not even a "strong suggestion" that power lines cause cancer, yet we, the feds, and others are stalking the situation for possible regula- tions.

By contrast, 6,538 Americans developed AIDS from blood transfusions that they received before blood screening regulations were instituted in March 1985. As early as January 1983, however, "internal documents show that Red Cross officials acknowledged that the disease could be transmitted through blood." (The State [Columbia, South Carolina], May 15, 1994, A3)

The American Red Cross was a powerful group which was watching out for its own interests when the hazard began to be known. If twenty fully loaded U.S. commercial passenger airliners were to crash, the death toll would be about the same as the 6,567 (minus 29) that they write about here and would rivet the front pages of our newspapers for days. Yet, this story on the irresponsibility of blood banks merits page 3.

If an airline marketing director was discovered to have written before many of the crashes had occurred that "the available evidence strongly suggests that the airplanes aren't safe," he would be arrested and tried for criminal negligence.

It seems to me that the Red Cross has had a near lock on blood for years. For years blood banks resisted autologous transfusions, requiring calamity to make such transfusions routine for elective surgery.

To me, this is not so much about AIDS as it is about reasons to mistrust regulators, bureaucrats, and monopolists of all sorts.

The Soviets for years had an ironic saying, "Ve vill not believe until has been officially denied." Perhaps we need a U.S. Version, "Ve vill not mistrust until has been official reassurance."

On Comparison of Pink Elephants and "Higher Powers"

I attended a three-day seminar last year on alcoholism, at which the disease model was unquestioned and the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) approach was strongly commended. One of the seminar leaders is a professing Christian who apparently was unaware of any conflicts between Biblical Christianity and the doctrines of AA. In this conference, I noted the following religious features of AA: A dogma (chief feature being that the problem is a disease), rituals, an appeal to a generic deity, an epiphany (for some), a conversion-equivalent, an "answer" for guilt, a confessional (which is repeated), and evangelism.

In stating these religious features, I found surprisingly little objection to the comparison. The rub comes when a person believes that this AA religion is the wrong generic religion and/or wishes to be more specific. That it must remain generic is defended on the basis that it "works" better that way, or that being specific is somehow in itself wrong. Both of these objections are themselves dependent upon their own religious presuppositions. The first objection -- that it works -- presupposes ethics by pragmatism. Beyond AA, per se alcoholism-as-disease is presented by true believers in a dogmatic fashion (non-pejorative definition here of "dogmatic"). The second objection -- that specific doctrine is wrong -- is refuted by every specific Scripture as well as by self-annihilation, since it specifies specificity as wrong.

"Wisdom is justified by her children."

On Drowning in One's Own Constructions - A Fable

The drought had lasted for years. The expedition leader leads his group up a rocky, hot dry stream bed. The situation is desperate. Several have already died and been buried in rock cairns. The briefing by the experts said that there was a spring at the head of the ravine. The stronger are carrying the dehydrated. With skill, exhortation, and enthusiasm the leader keeps his gaggle of gasping people moving.

They pass a crank, living in a hut by the side of the ravine. He tells them that they should turn around, that the water is in the other direction, and that it is dangerous farther up. He is obviously an idiot who has never been schooled by the experts. They press on upward. Sure enough, they finally reach a gurgling spring emanating from near the base of an odd-shaped flat hillside that crosses the ravine they have been following. They fall on their faces and slake their thirst in the spring, which seems to be weakening by the minute. But, there is enough for now. They lie exhausted among the rocks and against the grassy slope, looking up at the steep ravine walls above them.

They return for a second drink. Now, there isn't enough. They dig into the cavity from which the spring seeps, removing rocks, roots, and clay. The flow is restored and grows stronger by the second. Too much water! Abruptly the dam into which they have been digging breaks, drowning them all, sweeping downstream, drowning the hermit, too, and finally flooding the village at the mouth of the canyon.

Lake Behavior-as-Disease is finally dry.

Letters-to-Ed

A Breath of Fresh Air

Dear Brethren in Jesus Christ,

I am not a medical doctor. I am a minister emeritus now in the Orthodox Christian Reformed Church. Your publication is a breath of fresh air in the midst of an unbelieving world of medical immorality. (I hope that you can read this note, since weakness and unsteadiness make writing increasingly difficult.)

Keep up your good work, (Romans 14:7, 8).

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Douglas L. Neff
Lynden, WA

Ed's Note

I try to make this newsletter understandable to lay Christians, while having enough "meat" for medical people. Such notes are encouraging that I may be at least partially achieving that balance.

Further, Rev. Neff may be concerned about his handwriting being legible, but it was quite legible -- especially compared to physicians' penmanship (including my own).

The Christian Medical Student and the State

Dear Dr. Payne:

I am a subscriber to your newsletter and a great fan of yours. Your books and newsletters have helped me to grow in my understanding of God's will in medical ethics.

I am writing to seek your counsel on my career goals, especially the financing. I understand that medicine should be returned to the free market and private charity, and that government takeover of medicine has really messed things up and violates the Biblical model. Given this, should I accept any government programs to fund my medical education? If not, how do I afford the high cost of medical school? Do you know of any private scholarships or loan repayment programs for Christian physicians? Should I even accept admission to a state school? I have heard of a rural medicine program that pays for medical school plus a stipend. The community (meaning the local government, I think) to which the physician goes sponsors the education in most cases. What do you think of this?

Sincerely,

Michael H. Warren, Jr.
410 17th Street, Apartment 408B
Knoxville, TN 37916

Ed's Note

I know of no monies available for Christian physicians. If any readers do, please write to Mr. Warren at the address above.

I see no reason not to accept admission to a state school. One may be trained by the Philistines with the intent to defeat them later.

I would caution about stipends from rural communities. Some students discover (i.e., fed propaganda) during medical school that they do not want to practice rural medicine. A Christian would be bound by his word to carry out the contract.

Whether one should accept government loans for medical education requires even more caution. "The borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7). While the state is increasingly making the practice of medicine morally difficult for Christians (and practically difficult for all), being in debt to it increases expectation by signed contract. One could find himself in legal jeopardy if the state required that borrower to practice immorality.

Christians as Non-compliant Patients!

Dear Ed,

After reading Dr. Terrell's article, "A Lament over the Medical History'" from the May issue, I could only agree with the deplorable state of our patients' history-giving abilities. The best example that I can recall of a complaint, in this case expressed by an electrical engineer, regarding physicians' history-taking abilities, was his remark about how dumb doctors were because we had to ask our patients what their symptoms were in the first place!

He thought that we should be able to tell what was wrong just by looking at them! Our patients do have a lot of expectations of our abilities, both in diagnosis and in treatment, and that's good. Compliance would be so much worse than it presently is if they had no faith in us. After all, we are the ones who have trained ourselves to care for the health of our fellow human beings.

I, too, attempt to teach my patients to be responsible for providing me with accurate and honest information about symptoms, signs, remedies, and compliance. I try to provide them with information about their illnesses, and some simple means by which to treat them. But in this, the era of entitlements, we are placed in a position, as Dr. Terrell states, of being responsible to a large extent for the medical review: for its content, completeness, and accuracy. The lawyers are watching us.

As I was pondering this, however, God brought to my attention that HE has placed Himself in an analogous position in our lives voluntarily. And not just in the lives of those who ride the fence in their Christian walk. Yes, even to those who ignore Him completely, turn their back on Him, and deride Him. In other words, all of us are woefully non-compliant. We should be able to remember all of our spiritual history and to recite it all to God in complete honesty.

We should remember all the treatments, cleansings, and healings he has already given us and repeat their use whenever we turn up with a similar ailment. We need to recognize that God may tell us that nothing further can be done for a specific problem - possibly because we have yet to do whatever it was that He previously told us or possibly because what we want to do will prove worse than useless.

Then, there are the times when we don't even call the office to ask for help when we are really sick. It's called denial. God has chosen to be the ultimate physician and to put up with our less-than-sterling compliance and communication.

I have struggled with my call now for a number of years. I gave Jesus my life after I had already become a doctor. I realized that God had called me for a purpose, but I was uncertain exactly what it was. As the years have gone by, it has become clearer. God has called us to show His love to all His people, regardless of color, or age, or gender, or intelligence, or wealth; regardless of whether or not they have given their lives to Him.

God has the capability to heal everyone, but our unbelief holds back His hand much of the time (Matthew 17:19-21). But, in spite of our feeble faith, His love was so great for us that He gave us the understanding and abilities to treat ourselves, to help our fellow man in his suffering condition.

How like man to trust ourselves as much as we do, ignoring or forgetting the God who created our world and all of us, and Who loved us enough to give His Son to redeem us from our sins.

God has called us to care for His sheep. As doctors, we are trained to care for the physical (and much of the time, emotional) needs of his flock. His Word states that we are to show His love to those around us (1 John 4:7- 12). We may get frustrated or even angry with some of these sheep, but we must love them. We must show them God's love, because it's not our nature to love them.

When I come out of an exam room following an interview such as Dr. Terrell described, I feel frustrated and angry too. It's even worse when you begin to enter a room, look at the name on a chart, and already know that that's how the interview is going to go. But, I've found that by taking the whole armor of God on a daily basis, I can manage to love even the unlovable, the uncooperative, the ignorant, and the lost in a way that must be God's doing.

I'm doing it through Him. It sometimes takes longer to take a history, and of course you can't always tell how accurate it is, but if God's love shines through us and can touch the heart of one who is lost or suffering, then in eternity isn't that more valuable that just knowing whether the dose was 40mg or 80 mg of LasixTM (a diuretic or "water pill")? Of course, it would be better to accomplish both, but I'm afraid that, more often that we like to admit, we get more information and show less of God's love.

In the hurried and complicated world of modern medicine, it gets all to easy to fall into the rushed and bothered routine and forget that we were called to minister to God's sheep. Let us remember that the Good Shepherd calls us all sheep. We should educate and train our patients to take more responsibility for their own health, teach them to be more observant and to communicate better, and to be compliant. But if they aren't, we are still called to love them. Our commission is to try, by our testimony of God's love in our lives, to lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

I appreciate the Reflections. It is excellent food for thought. Keep up the good work. I agree with much of what you print each month, and it's good to realize that there are others out there who are doing what I've been doing. That's especially so here in a rural area. May God continue to bless you and lead you.

Sincerely yours in Jesus,

William C. Wright, M.D.
Globe, AZ

Ed's Note

I mostly focus on principles here. Dr. Wright's letter is medicine for the personal/spiritual dimension of ourselves as health professionals and as patients of the Great Physician.

Totalitarianism vs. Anarchy Challenged!

Dear Ed,

My skin crawls every time I think of your underlined statement, "Totalitarian government is better than anarchy." (Reflections, May 1993). This conclusion from the same man who has written that Christianity is not about choosing the lesser of two evils! Hitler's totalitarian regime lowered the official crime rate, but would you really favor that over anarchy.

Was Stalin's totalitarian murder of millions any better than the Rwandan massacres? Was the Khmer Rouge totalitarian murder of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians any better than the Rwandan massacres? Don't fall for the false dichotomy. You know the only legitimate alternative to totalitarianism or anarchy -- Godliness! You haven't abandoned your pursuit of Godliness in medicine, don't abandon it in the arena of civil government.

We've come a long way down the wrong path when Christians abandon Patrick Henry's view of "Give me Liberty or give me death" and rather imply, "Give me liberty, or at least totalitarianism - anything but anarchy!" The times are concerning but don't succumb to your fears this way. Organize locally in neighborhoods, cities and states to keep order when the federal government fails. I do find some survivalism silly as you do -- too individualistic and romanticized, but I never see totalitarianism as a viable alternative.

I can't believe you really do either. Tell me it was just rhetoric.

Enclosed is a newsletter which touches on some of these points. I usually am spurred to write letters to editors only when riled. When I agree I usually just read and renew. I generally find your newsletter encouraging and enlightening, but "Totalitarian government is better than anarchy" makes me retch to hear you say it.

Yours in Christ,

Tom Farmer, M.D.
Pisgah Forest, NC

Ed's Note

I had intended to print this letter in the July newsletter, but overlooked it. I ask Dr. Farmer's forgiveness.

Dr. Farmer raises an excellent point. "Totalitarianism is better than anarchy" had been a truism to me, frequently hearing it within the Christian community. (In fact, I heard it quoted on the radio by Haddon Robinson today, 8/26/94.)

It had been a truism, that is, until Dr. Farmer confronted me as forcefully as I have ever been confronted! Now, I'm not sure. Of course Godliness is the best alternative, but that has rarely existed as a cultural norm.

Totalitarianism, as Dr. Farmer points out, can be murderous on a larger scale than anarchy. Further, in most totalitarian states, justice is not possible either, because of the hierarchy of thugs that extend down from the top.

The quote may be false because "anarchy" is wrongly used in the quote. Anarchy never really exists (except possibly in Hell). The lowest denominator of society is the family. Even in anarchy, families provide and protect their own. Even individuals form bands or gangs. Then, as Dr. Farmer has pointed out, some sort of localism usually evolves. Families and individuals with something(s) in common band together. Sooner or later, these smaller groups form communities or small towns, and the movement continues towards a larger and larger coalition.

Anyway, Dr. Farmer has caused me to re-think the whole issue. I would be interested in other readers' thoughts who may have considered this dichotomy more thoroughly. Listen for this truism (you will hear it) -- and confront the speaker as to whether he has really thought the issue through.

The Book Corner

Putting the Soul Back in Medicine: Reflections on Compassion and Ethics, David Schiedermayer, M.D., Baker Book House, 1994, 192 pp. Reviewed by Ed Payne, M.D.

This book on medical ethics is typical of most Christians who write on medical ethics today. In general, it is an eclectic blend of pagan medical ethics, touchy-feely stories, and a few Bible verses to make it "Christian."

For example, Dr. Schiedermayer states that "the unborn baby has dignity" (p. 13) and "respect" (p. 43). "Dignity" is a word coined by pagans to give some sort of status to humans. What's wrong with "created in the image of God" (Genesis 1:26-27) and "a little lower than the angels" (Psalm 8:5)? Why not the protection of human life by the execution of the one who would wrongly take human life (Genesis 9:6)?

Dr. Schiedermayer states that "The concept of informed consent at its deepest level -- mutual love and respect -- is in line with Jesus' teachings." This sentence reveals his philosophical approach to ethics: eclecticism. That is, we search medical writings to find that which is "in line with Jesus' teachings" (crumbs from their table) rather than having the Bible as the "only rule of faith and practice" as God's revelation to man.

Dr. Schiedermayer's goal is noble -- to further a compassionate approach in medical practice. There is little question that more compassion is needed. However, he and too many other Christians do not grasp that Biblical compassion has a responsible side, as well. Paul said, "If anyone will not work, neither let him eat" (II Thessalonians 3:10).

There is too much of the liberal approach (social do-goodism) in these Christians. They do not grasp that the most good is accomplished for the many by a comprehensive Biblical approach to any area of life, including medicine.

Dr. Schiedermayer's book does not advance either Christian ethics or compassion. Only a vigorous and balanced Biblical approach will make those advances. One such book is Evangelical Ethics by Dr. John Jefferson Davis (Presbyterian and Reformed). Buy it instead.

AIDS: Issues and Answers

Vol. 8, No. 5 (54) September 1994

What Is One to Believe About AIDS?

Christians and conservatives believe one or more of the following theories.

The Doomsday Theory. Liberals in general and homosexual advocates in particular have pushed the idea that "everyone is at risk for AIDS." Dr. William Campbell Douglass, Gene Antonio, Don McAlvany, Dr. Shepherd Smith (Americans for a Sound AIDS Policy), and others have believed that threat and proclaimed it in their writings.

The Strecker Hypothesis. Using a computer model, Dr. Theodore Strecker has theorized that the HIV (AIDS virus) was made from two other viruses in U. S. Army labs at Fort Detrich, Maryland. This virus was intentionally injected into humans in Africa, Haiti, Brazil, the United States, and Southern Japan, as part a World Health Organization plot in a virocidal attack upon the non-Communist world.

The Duesberg Theory. Dr. Peter Duesberg and Brian Ellison (see book review following), have argued that HIV (the AIDS virus) is not the cause of AIDS. Instead, there are multiple other causes, primarily legal and illegal toxic drugs.

The Fumento Non-heterosexual Epidemic. Michael Fumento has argued with statistics that the prophesied HIV/AIDS epidemic among heterosexuals in the United States will not occur. That is, HIV/AIDS will not be rampant among people who limit themselves to heterosexual activity. HIV/AIDS will stay primarily in homosexuals, IV-drug abusers, and their heterosexual consorts.

The Payne-ful Truth. While I have believed that HIV/AIDS would continue to spread, it would not be the huge numbers of the "doomsdayers." I reject Strecker's hypothesis entirely. Duesberg and Ellison make some good points, but I hold reservations (again, see following). While I have not read Fumento's book in detail, what I have read, I agree with.

What You Need to See

What I would like you most to see here are the contradictions in these theories. More than one person must be wrong, yet conservatives and Christians advocate one or more positions. Worse, they allow no room for debate. It's their theory or none. When these positions are argued so strongly, we are majoring on minors. (See front page.)

I realize the difficulty of the average layman who doesn't have access to the scientific literature or understand scientific limitations. However, many of their leaders do. The HIV/AIDS situation is only one of many controversies among Christians. However, it offers a concrete example of conflicting facts. As we seek God's truth on these situations, let us do so hand-in-hand and with some humility that we are at least wrong on some issues and severely wrong on some.

Why We Will Never Win the War on AIDS

A Brief Book Review

This book is written by Bryan J. Ellison and Dr. Peter Duesberg (published by Inside Story Communications, 190 El Cerrito Plaza, Ste. 201, El Cerrito, CA 94530 - $21.95 including shipping/handling). While I do not agree with some of their positions, this book is a must read.

Its strength is an inside look at the personal and political maneuvering that goes on behind the facade of modern "science." For anyone who reads this book, it should put to rest forever the idea of "pure" science. It is science by vote of committees, the strong personality of one man or woman, or a political or social agenda, rather than the general medical needs of the general
populace or prevalent diseases.

While I am not convinced that AIDS is caused by something other than HIV, the authors do offer sufficient evidence to convince me to add my name as a signatory to the following statement:

"It is widely believed by the general public that a retrovirus called HIV causes the group of diseases called AIDS. Many biomedical scientists now question this hypothesis. We propose that a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against this hypothesis be conducted by a suitable independent group. We further propose that critical epidemiological studies be devised and undertaken."

One example is revealing. In the early 1960s, an epidemic broke out in Japan that came to be labeled SMON (Subacute Myelo-Optic Neuropathy). After an early study suggested that the disease might be caused by a virus, virtually any other etiology was ignored. However, virtually nothing consistent could be found to substantiate this theory.

One researcher, however, followed a theory that the epidemic was caused by a drug, clioquinol. Even when he had overwhelming evidence, the scientific establishment persisted in their viral beliefs. However, the news was broadcast to the public in 1970 and physicians stopped prescribing the drug. The epidemic virtually disappeared over a 3-year period.

Is AIDS also a mis-diagnosis? I don't think so. However, there are several troubling observations about HIV as a cause for AIDS. For example, even in advanced AIDS, HIV exists in relatively minute quantities for the degree of immunosuppression. While the body makes antibodies against HIV that ought to suppress or kill it, the HIV continues to grow and cause disease. The spectrum of disease (Kaposi's sarcoma, Pneumocystis carinii, yeast infections, etc.) differs considerably in different populations (homosexuals, IV-drug abusers, hemophiliacs, Third World victims, etc.).

Serious inquiries into doubts raised by this book ought to be investigated. Politics and social engineers have governed this epidemic more than good science. (There is such a thing!) This book is an important entry into this debate.

Briefs with Commentary

Cost of Psychological Treatment in Health-Care Plan

"Because of lenient regulations regarding state and federal Medic-
aid in Texas, hundreds of children were put into psychiatric hospitals
during 1992 and 1993. The following figures (from the Texas Department
of Health) reveal the sudden increase in the Medicaid-private psychiat-
ric youth-care program and abrupt change as soon as the state "tightened
its regulations."

From 4/92 - 8/92 342 patients $6,149,181
From 9/92 - 8/93 933,339 patients $69,460,334
During 9/93 1 patient $1,467

(Psychoheresy Newsletter, May-June 1994, p. 3. Original source: Houston
Chronicle
, November 21, 1993, pp. 1A, 18A.)

Commentary: From these numbers (in one state for children only!) imagine the cost of "psychological" treatment under the Clintons' health-care plan (or any health-care plan) that attempts comprehensive treatment of such problems! Many insurance programs are already in trouble because of their attempts to cover such treatment.

Modern Medicine and the Culture

"Some may say that modern medicinal techniques have made the quality of life so much better, even if the span of life is not much longer. I suppose that depends on one's definition of quality. Bill Bennett quantified the decline in American culture over the last 30 years. He discovered that "there has been a 560 percent increase in violent crimes; a 410 percent increase in illegitimate births; a quadrupling of divorce rates; a tripling of the percentage of children living in single-parent homes; more than a 200 percent increase in the teenage suicide rate; and a drop of almost 80 points in SAT scores." This is improvement?

"Something is wrong here. We have been deceived. Plastic surgery, steroids, psychotropic drugs, health foods, fitness clubs, and assorted other techniques have not made us healthier. They have only made us poorer. We have forgotten that God's wisdom outshines that of man." (Randy Crenshaw, M.D., Tabletalk, Sept. 1994, pp. 12-13)

Commentary: I say again, as I have said many times. A great hurdle for most Christians is their idolatry of medicine. It is largely an unrecognized idolatry. It is manifested in their willingness to spend great sums for treatments that promise little hope of success, to want minimal deductibles in their medical insurance policies, and to believe that psychiatry and psychology (even as practiced by most professionals who are Christians) are not contrary to the Word of God.

The Pensacola Murders: Where...
... Do You Stand?

On July 29, 1994, a former minister, Paul Hill, shot an abortion doctor and his bodyguard in the head with a shotgun at close range. Pro-life leaders rushed to condemn the murders and distance themselves from Mr. Hill. The federal government rushed to send federal marshals to Pensacola and other "threatened" abortion clinics around the country.

Where do you stand? I am not yet sure where I stand.

The Bible never condones vigilantism, i.e., anyone or group other than established government carrying out justice. John Calvin condemned vigilantism, arguing instead that it was the duty of the lower magistrates to challenge, even to overthrow higher magistrates who were morally wrong.

However, what is the death count? There are two abortionists and one bodyguard dead. One abortionist wounded. By contrast, there are more than 30 million murdered unborn babies since 1973 in the United States. Many conservative Christians have advocated taking the lives of others for self-defense, just wars, and capital punishment. If trespassing laws can be broken, as Operation Rescue has done, where on the illegal spectrum does one stop before breaking the law against murder?

We have to be careful here. Peter said, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). But, we are also to be "in subjection to the governing authorities" (Romans 13:1). And, don't forget that in light of these contrasting Scriptures, our forefathers believe that they acted Biblically in the American Revolution.

There is also the question of expediency. I have no doubt that Paul Hill's actions have hurt the anti-abortion cause. Has he sacrificed a short-term "fix" for a long-term solution?

What is needed is a comprehensive treatise on this subject. Such would be timely, as abortion is only one of many issues for Christians as our governments become increasingly murderous and immoral. I am not going to address that issue now. Perhaps, we can start a dialogue with some letters.

Let me hear from you. Does anyone out there condone what Paul Hill did? Do you condemn what he did? Do you have a position somewhere in between or even somewhere entirely different?


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