Biblical Reflections on Modern Medicine
Vol. 9, No. 2 (50)
"How is it then that a people desperately concerned with maintaining optimal health, on the one hand, and with paying the costs of poor health, on the other, has increasingly ignored the institution which holds the greatest promise for doing both simultaneously? Not the hospital, not the HMO, not the government, but the family can best ensure good health and good health care."
Thus writes Bryce Christensen, Ph.D., of The Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society* (a recent extension of The Rockford Institute) in their publication, The Family in America. In this report, he cites study after study that shows that families -- husbands, wives, and children -- have longer lives, better health, and less disease than divorcees, widows, never-married, and children of single parents.
Dr. Christensen quotes Harold Morowitz of Yale, "Being divorced and a nonsmoker is slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack or more a day and staying married."
Smoking only slightly more dangerous than being divorced? We don't hear this statistic quoted by the American Heart Association or the American Medical Association, other medical organizations, or physicians. No, the current fad in medicine is
lipid-lowering agents which will have little or no impact on coronary artery disease.
Also quoted is Norval Glenn, a "prominent sociologist," who "indicts the authors of college family-sociology textbooks for having largely ignored "'the substantial research literature on the
relationship between marital status and physical health and psychological well-being.'" Robert Coombs of UCLA Medical School widens the indictment, "'(that) married individuals experience less physical and emotional pathology (remains) relatively unrecognized (among) the media, and some helping professionals."
These quotes and cited studies fill the eight-page report. And, you have heard such information in
Reflections before. However, the health benefits of the family have taken on a new focus for me. In the past, I have focused more on the fact that marital fidelity will prevent all sexually transmitted disease (with minor exceptions). However, the weight of evidence of health benefits for the family is overwhelming beyond this one fact.
Christenson's Center has published The Family in America New Research monthly for twelve years, each issue containing 6-8 brief reports of studies that demonstrate the health and social benefits of the family -- that's 1000 or more studies!
Yet, no medical organization endorses the traditional (Biblical) family. Even my own organization, the American Academy of Family Physicians, for whom the family is its
raison d'etre, fails to make this endorsement. In fact, the traditional family is ridiculed with such references that "Ozzie and Harriet" families of the past no longer fit today's enlightened society. Thus, in fact,
the American medical establishment is against the family and therefore against the number one protector of health for all
There are two points that I want readers to grasp. First, that there is indeed overwhelming evidence that the family is healthy for all its members. Second,
the modern medicine establishment is not concerned with health but with an ethical agenda -- an anti-God, secular humanist, enlightenment
agenda. As such, it is an agenda of disease and death, not health and life.
Yet, we Americans worship this beast. We will spend over one trillion dollars feeding it this year -- about 14 percent of the GDP or far more than a tithe. We will give up precious freedoms and rights with anti-smoking legislation, HMOs, licensure, Medicaid, Medicare, etc., for its illusions of benefits.
For the most part, the Church of Jesus Christ is as guilty as the rest of society. We have virtually isolated abortion and euthanasia from the mainstream of modern medicine and continue to swim in it. Too many Christians seek the latest and best techniques from the Mayo Clinic, M.D. Anderson, and other medical meccas for essentially incurable disease. Churches and individuals face financial hardship and even bankruptcy trying to cover every little ache and pain (and "psychological" disturbance) with insurance payments.
Modern medicine may not be The Beast, but it is a beast. It is perhaps the major bulldozer for reform towards a godless society. It can be turned into a prince, but not until it is recognized as a beast. God's primary institution for life and health on earth is the family. It is not even the church which is to supplement where families fail (e.g., I Timothy 5:3-16). Disease and death will continue to be rampant until this truth is recognized and acted upon by Christians and
* The address for the Center is 934 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103-7061. Subscriptions $24.00/year. Call (800) 877-5603.
On Chronic Fatigue, Sleep, and Optimal Rest
I'm writing mainly regarding the lecture on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) by Dr. Robert Smith (a tape distributed by Covenant
Enterprises). CFS is obviously a waste-basket diagnosis, which includes symptoms derived from many possible causes -- some somatic, some
psychological, some spiritual. I agree with him that no matter what the cause is, the behavior and attitude of the affected individual still must be in accordance with biblical principles and should not be used as an excuse for ungodly behavior.
What I missed in the lecture was a compassion for the lost or for the spiritually suffering, whichever the situation may be. In order to make my reaction understandable, I would like to share my own case. My schedule has been very heavy all my adult life. As years passed, I developed a progressively increasing fatigue. I did meet all my responsibilities, but the effort that it took to carry them out was greater and greater, even though I tried to get a reasonable amount of rest. I did not seek medical attention beyond making sure that my basic chemical profile was normal. I never stopped fulfilling all my responsibilities out of a strong sense of duty and love for my Lord, but life became so difficult that it required a conscious effort even to move. I clung to Romans 8:28, but I eventually became so tired, that I felt that I would not be able to go on much longer.
Then, three years ago, my mother-in-law (who knew nothing about my problem) heard on TV that some women have extreme tiredness due to their husband's snoring. I shared that with my husband (who has sleep-apnea with the typical loud snoring and snorting). In spite of the great sacrifice that it meant to him, he moved out of our bedroom to test that possibility in our case. The very first day made a slight, but definite difference. Within a few weeks, I regained much of my strength, which was miraculous after 22 years of progressive decline. I thank God for His mercy for renewing my strength, and I am grateful for a considerate and loving husband. I am also thankful that no one added to my, at times almost unbearable, burden by suggesting a spiritual or psychological cause for my problem.
I know that I belong to the minority of CFS sufferers in that I did not seek medical or other help (as I knew it could not be pinpointed and helped medically). But, I surely learned many spiritual lessons from it (fulfillment of Romans 2:28). One result was that I have
greater empathy for those who have decreased strength from no matter what cause. Now, I give them my medical and spiritual advise girded with prayerful sympathy and compassion. It is God's grace that any of us are not suffering from one thing or another. It is also God's grace if we are able to stand firm spiritually. We must never lose this from our sight.
I thank you for your faithful work even in our modern medical atmosphere. May God's grace and blessing be upon you.
Katalin Korossy, M.D.
Dr. Korossy's letter illustrates the subtlety of etiology relative to chronic fatigue. As medical students (and thereafter), we are taught to "run tests," looking for abnormal chemistries and such. As a young physician, it took only a few weeks in practice for me to realize that more than 90 percent of those "tests" were normal, yet I was left with a suffering patient. I was not trained to handle that situation!
Her letter also illustrates the necessity of sound sleep. For almost 20 years, I have suspected that many Christians lack the energy for greater tasks and clearer thinking because of disorder in their lives. Their schedules vary from day to day. They stay up late. They go to bed and get up at different times.
They abuse the Sabbath, Sunday, the day of rest designated by a Commandment! Sufficient rest was so important that God modeled it in the Creation.
Violation of the Seventh Commandment (fornication) brings sexually transmitted diseases and destroyed lives. Is it not logical that
violation of the Fourth Commandment is harmful as well? Is it not logical that failure to follow God's model for rest is also harmful?
Now, Dr. Korossy's fatigue was not a violation of the Commandment for rest, but her rest was subtly interfered with by her husband's snoring. Studies have shown that he is likely not getting good rest either.
I have also wondered about the effects of night shifts. Many industries produce around the clock, requiring workers for these early morning hours. What effect on health have these people experienced?
As physicians, we are too much oriented to abnormal lab tests. As Christian physicians, we ought to be more oriented to disordered lives and inadequate rest. For physician readers, you now have one cause of chronic fatigue to search for with patients. There are likely others, even in the most dedicated Christians who get inadequate rest and have disordered lives.
Hilton P. Terrell, Ph.D., M.D.*
Even Though Carl Sagan Is Dead, Millions and Millions Live On
One of my environmental medicine newsletters came today. I know the editors. They are good people who are not alarmists and who tend to have a moderate view of environmental matters. Nonetheless, they chose to include an item citing the U.S. Public Interest Research Group that purported to show that our state (SC) had the highest percentage
increase of any state over the past five years for the generation of toxic waste. We are compared to New Jersey and found wanting. In one recent year, our state's industries supposedly generated 567.2 million pounds of toxic waste.
Well, now, something is amiss here. That would come out to about 29 pounds per acre in one year. It doesn't even count hazardous waste which would be another 54 million pounds, adding another three pounds of crud to each acre.
Allow me to pick this type of report apart, beginning with the feathers and moving toward the gizzard.
(1) The choice of pounds of waste rather than tons or cubic meters surely was not accidental. To serve one's agenda, one wishes to have the startle-power of large numbers.
If the raw numbers aren't sufficiently awesome, use rates of change.
(2) The choices of the interval of measurement (five years) and a comparison site (New Jersey) are flexible. What would one year or ten years have shown? Was New Jersey chosen because of its East coast reputation as a chemical wasteland? Why not Warsaw, Poland, or Bismarck, North Dakota?
(3) What is toxic? Since concern over greenhouse gases is now the fashion, am I contributing to toxic waste when I exhale carbon dioxide?
(4) How can it be that the various industries of the state can meaningfully have their wastes lumped together? Is a gram of mercury comparable in toxicity to a pound of chlorofluorocarbons or a hundred millicuries of radioactive strontium?
(5) What is measured, the actual toxin or the diluent in which it is carried? If the smokestack is belching forth ten tons of material daily and three grams of it is mercury or dioxin or some other fearful substance, which is counted -- the ten tons or the three grams?
(6) The last question needs a bit of elaboration. Why are only human wastes counted, particularly those produced by the industry of our species? A pristine system of estuarine tidal marshes and maritime forests in our state was recently the site of a skirmish. The antagonists were the people who live nearby, who did not want further public access to the area and the boaters who wanted improved access. Boaters would leave some trash in the water, said the locals.
Come, now, and let us reason together. I know the area well. I dislike trash in the marsh at least as much as the next fellow. Yet, I am also aware of the hundreds of porpoises and hundreds of alligators who dwell there all the time. These animals are as large as I am and do not visit a sanitary sewer system when the need arises. Conjoin to them millions of birds, billions of crustaceans, and uncountable insects which poop in the water, leave offal from half-eaten meals, and whose carcasses are left unburied to rot on the sea bottom or in the sun.
When the alligator, porpoise, pelican, deer, crab, or fish populations rise, it is cause for rejoicing. It is assumed that the system is magically self-balancing. You never hear a word of concern for the prey of these animals nor for the increased wastes which will accompany their increased number. Fashionable economists deride the invisible hand of
laissez-faire economics. Conversely, career environmentalists clearly believe that nature has an inerrant invisible hand that recycles and cleans up all the waste that it generates.
I don't buy it. I have stood on the beaches of those uninhabited islands amid a stench dead horseshoe crabs, with millions of flies breeding and feeding on them. I have watched bluefish slash into schools of shad, killing many more of the small fish than they eat. I have lamented the incredible destruction of millions of trees in that forest, snapped off a few yards above ground-level by a hurricane. The forest will not recover those giants in my children's lifetime. The great trees rotted on the ground. If I killed those horseshoe crabs or cut down even a few of those trees, I would be arrested. But if nature does it, it is not an offense.
Career environmentalists are forever rhapsodizing about how humans are indissolubly linked with the rest of nature, but they don't really mean it. Some act as though they love all of nature except the part that is man. They recognize that man is part of nature, but refuse to see that he has been appointed its steward by the Triune God (Genesis 1:26-30, Psalm 8:6-8). Blinded by evolutionary dogma (2 Peter 3:4-7), they perceive only our kinship with nature, not our position over
creation, under God.
In error, they assert absolute equity, a man is a horse is a dog is a boy, but are inconsistent with their own wrong faith when they do not equate the wastes and other environmental alterations wrought by these different species. Roosting bats may leave a cavern with several feet of guano on the floor, and it is natural. Let cave explorers add a minuscule amount, and it is pollution to be weighed and arrayed against human industry. The latent hatred of mankind peeps through. A man is not a bat. He is
less than a bat.
Even if there are 11 pounds of new toxic waste on the one-third acre of city land to which I hold title, I believe that the dead birds, squirrels, insects, toads, worms, moles, caterpillars, and all the excreta added much more during the same year. The eight squirrels that we average in our yard add more than 11 pounds of waste per year. Why is this environmental burden not reported as a Claim to Shame? When we see only our interrelatedness and dependency upon the physical world, and not our relatedness to and dependency upon its Creator, we behave as pantheists or animists. We tend the sparrows, yes, but we are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31).
These matters are not mere abstract curiosities unrelated to medicine if we pause to consider that part of the motive behind abortion and euthanasia is to limit humankind on earth so that more birds and beasts may dwell here. Further, since
agriculture and industry have netted far more health and longevity for mankind than
medicine, it is unwise to cripple those activities without very careful analysis. Millions and millions of pounds of toxic waste more than New Jersey does not qualify as careful analysis. It is propaganda.
Stop our mouths, Father, from witlessly parroting the environmental idolaters among whom we live. Let us rather bear witness to them of Your Overlordship.
The number of abortions in the United States appears to have decreased slightly in recent years. ("Abortion Surveillance: Preliminary Analysis - United States, 1995,"
Journal of the American Medical Association, January 7, 1998, pp. 12-13). The CDC editorialized on a 4.5% drop from 1994 to 1995 that is possibly due to reduced access to
abortion, reduced number of unintended pregnancies, and changed attitudes about abortion. While one hopes that it is for all of these reasons, there is another reason that unhappily may be playing a part.
Abortions accomplished in abortuaries result in the statistics compiled. Those that occur through the use of commonly available drugs generally are not reported as abortions. Misoprostol, methotrexate, and deliberate abortifacient use of birth control pills and shots are among the ways that abortions may now be done "off the books," as far as statistics are concerned. RU-486 is likely to become a mostly symbolic matter. Are those opposed to abortion being falsely encouraged through deceptive numbers?
While the restraint of killing through the power of the civil ruler is a just and needed part of reducing abortions, the more primary control is through hearts changed by the gospel. Sanctification is what leads to avoidance pregnancy through fornication, abhorrence of abortion in marriage, and selection of rulers who will support God's law.
The Trans-Earth Emergency Trauma Help network (TEETH) recently reported results of a global survey of animal bites ("Incidence of Dog Bite Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments,"
The Journal of the American Medical Association, January 7, 1998, pp. 51-53). The incidence of animal bites is much greater than we expected," stated Dr. Eura Zimpel-Marks, Project Director. Reading from the report at a gathering of the Perpetual Alarmist Association in Boca Raton, Florida, she said, "We found a rate of 13 bites per 10,000 population. This was only for mammal and reptile bites. If we had included bites from other phyla, such as
arthropoda, the rates would have been much higher - right at 100% according to some pilot studies in the Everglades. We believe that this is a grossly neglected public health issue. Congress has no
funding whatsoever directed at this important public health threat."
The report detailed that young males are more likely to be bitten, and that household pets are the most likely biters. Contained in the report was a proposal for genetic engineering to control this threat.
Using interspecies gene transfer methodology, it may be possible to exchange the sharp canine teeth of dogs to have more of the rounded shape and consistency of cooked corn kernels. "We thought the Silver Queen variety of corn would do best, since it is early-maturing and would give the pet a sweet mouth," Dr. Marks explained.
Also subject to re-engineering are the young human males
themselves."Going after both ends of the biter-bitee equation avoids species-ism," research assistant Dora Knocker added. "The overly inquisitive and aggressive nature of the young humans probably could be attenuated by a locus we have found on a chromosome from
Prunus passiva, a plum cultivar from Shangri-La."
Editorial commentary on the above report: Though they are not, reports of this ilk should be published in the
Journal of Professional Derision. The common erroneous thread in them is the unquenchable thirst for complete control of everything. Surveillance systems are now able to capture events of a low frequency analogous to the capacity of radioimmunoassays to detect infinitesimal concentrations of "pollutants." Dander from a rodent which one crawled the rafters of XYZ food processor in Iowa are detected by RIA in a concentration of 3 parts per trillion and a million canned hams are destroyed. Further, no contextualization is provided. In the above example, there is no counter balancing consideration of the benefits of household pets, let alone benefits of freedom. The self-serving motives of researchers for money and power are suspect. Lastly, broad means are used against these very constricted ends. There is inadequate attention to sizing means in proportion to the ends. Burdensome reporting requirements on practitioners, vast immunization requirements, unproven educational campaigns, and unethical biotechnology are some of the means being used.
Somewhere between these errors and smashing all technology is the way of Godly stewardship. When hazards fall into the range of the general background hazards of life, we should become alert to the probability that we are vainly attempting to usurp sovereignty we cannot attain.
Women who have premature rupture of membranes during labor have an increased risk of infection of the placenta or uterus related to the number of vaginal examinations done on the woman during labor. This was the chief finding of a recent study ("International Multicentre Term Prelabor Rupture of Membranes Study...,"
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, November 1997, pp. 1024-1029).
The increased risk is not necessarily caused by the examinations, since women who have prolonged labor or other problems during labor are
for those reasons more likely to have vaginal examinations. The controls for that distinction were statistical, not experimental. Being people of action, we physicians have a hard time keeping our hands off of things and refraining from doing something. The burden of proof should lie on those who maintain that interventions are helpful. It should not await someone to show that it may be harmful. Ignacz Semmelweis, who first noted a relationship between physician examination of women at childbirth and later childbed fever some 150 years ago, may have twitched in his grave at this new finding.
Early batches of poliovirus vaccine used in the U.S. from the
mid-1950s through 1963 were contaminated with a monkey virus known to cause tumors in rats. DNA from this virus has been detected in some rare human malignancies of bone, brain, and lung. This connection spurred a study of the frequency of these rare tumors among Americans who received contaminated poliovirus vaccine when they were children ("Contamination of Poliovirus Vaccines With Simian Virus 40 (1955-1963) and Subsequent Cancer Rates,"
The Journal of the American Medical Association, January 28, 1998, pp. 292-295").
Comparison was made to those children who did not receive the vaccine. No association was found between the contaminated vaccine and these tumors, though the latency of onset of the tumors could exceed the 30 years since the vaccination.
Rather than finding this kind of study reassuring, I find it of concern. First, it reminds us that vaccines can be contaminated with foreign material. It is bootless to say that the vaccines are now checked carefully for other virus DNA. It is what you don't know to check for that is the problem, as HIV-tainted blood should remind us. What other toxin or prion or whatever could be in the material? Second, what other diseases than malignancies could be related to these contaminants? To clear four rare cancers from a cloud of concern is not at all to establish that other diseases, from dread to trivial, could not be increased by vaccination. In the net, and I am speaking as one who received this contaminated vaccine, I believe that an offer of poliovirus vaccination was defensible with the knowledge available at that time.
What I believe is indefensible is mandatory vaccination. Since the risks cannot be certain, who is the state to require foreign materials to be injected into the populace? Let people make their own decisions. They are sure to be fallible, but so also are the government and scientific establishment.
In a small but reasonably well-controlled study, psychiatrists recently used magnets to relieve depression ("Mood Improvement Following Daily Left Prefrontal Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in
Patients with Depression: A Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial," American Journal of
Psychiatry, December 1997, pp. 1752-1756). Small powerful electromagnets were placed over the scalp and pulsed for 20 minutes 5 days a week for 2 weeks. Compared to sham treatments, there were beneficial effects on a rating scale for depression, described as robust effects in some cases.
Though this study represents a merely suggestive stage of
development, there are some positive aspects even beyond the possible benefits for patients. Along with phototherapy and some other physical modalities, it may help challenge the grip the pharmaceutical industry has held on depression. It also may challenge the grip of government regulators on curative actions, since magnets are more difficult to track and control. Purveyors of alternative therapies could take heart at such developments, although the details of the present study will likely be ignored.
In New Jersey, the state's medical society is suing the state's medical board to stop illegal searches
(American Medical News, January 26, 1998, p. 9). It seems that a physician gave to a patient a sample medication which was past its expiration date. On that basis, the state board sent investigators to demand access to patient records, office personnel records, and billing records. They wanted also to photocopy and videotape anything on the office premises. There was no search warrant and apparently no other reason given for such an extensive search over such a minor matter.
Did a visitor to your property thoughtlessly pick up a gingko leaf and chew on it? You have dispensed medicine without a license. Obviously, that is reason for the Food and Drug Administration to investigate your household from top to bottom. This business sounds like the old NKVD response to Stalin when he wanted someone arrested. "You show us the man you want. We will find the offense."
* Dr. Terrell has a Ph.D. in psychology, an M.D., and residency training in Family Medicine. He and I met in 1978 and have been "as iron
sharpening iron" since that time. He currently teaches Family Medicine at McLeod Regional Hospital in Florence, SC.
The Double Standard of Addiction
"Addiction is treatable" read the headline in The Augusta Chronicle (January 19, 1998, p. 6A) for a local psychiatric unit. Now, I thought that cigarette smoking was so addicting that users* were not responsible. Thus, states are allowed to collect hundreds of millions from tobacco companies. Yet, here this program (and others) say that addiction is "treatable."
You know what is going on. It is all about money. Money for tobacco being uncontrollably addicting and also "treatable." Hundreds of millions of dollars going to both sides. In most cases, such activities would be called a scam and criminal. However, under the name of health care and liberal courts, everything becomes legitimate (but not moral).
More Deception in Medical Research
Obviously, if a patient does not take a drug, its effect cannot be measured. Thus, drug researchers are using "run-in periods" to find "adherers," that is, those who will take medications according to their schedule design. These run-ins decrease the cost of drug research by lowering a sample size needed for "statistical significance" and optimizes treatment effects.
While the studies themselves are valid, they are removed from the everyday experience of practicing physicians where there are both adherers and non-adherers. Thus, the same results will not occur in "real life" as in run-in designs. Further, several studies have shown that as a group, adherers have better outcomes, even when taking placebos.
(The Journal of the American Medical Association, January 21, 1998, pp.
Commentary: The up side of the medical literature is its forthrightness. This article exposes the weaknesses of run-in periods and calls for researchers to "indicate how this aspect of their design affects the application of the results to clinical practice."
The downside of the medical literature is not so much within as without. While this honesty may be uncommon and less than prominent, it is nevertheless there. Most physicians are either too busy, untrained, or unwilling to benefit patients from this honesty.
I can virtually destroy (and have on these pages) the net efficacy of modern medicine from Biblical values alone. I can do the same (and have on these pages)
with its own science and literature. (For an example, see the following Brief Report.)
I challenge alternative medicine advocates for the same complete reporting and honesty about their methods.
For Screening, Let the Patient Decide
This editorial asks the question, "Prostate Cancer Screening -- What's a Physician to Do?" The author reviews the literature and quotes from "experts" on the pros and cons. He then concludes, "We should inform the patients and their wives about the uncertain benefits and potential harms of screening and let them decide for themselves."
(American Family Physician, October 15, 1997, pp. 1563-1568)
Commentary: The medical literature does not support screening for prostate cancer, as far as preventing morbidity and mortality from the disease. As indicated in this article, the American Cancer Society, other groups, and many individual physicians still advocate such
screening. Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer that rarely kills its victim before something else (heart attack, stroke, etc.) does. There has never been any good evidence for this screening.
The author's advice should actually be the advice given to every patient in every situation.
It is the patient's choice. Unfortunately, the physician's own bias and ignorance often does not allow the patient an informed choice. At least on this one subject, this medical magazine got it right!
Seven Deadly Myths About Costs in the Elderly
"Myth 1. It is common for older people to receive heroic, high-tech treatments at the end of life.
"Fact: Only a fraction of people over age 65 receive aggressive care at the end of life. The older people are, the less likely they are to receive aggressive care when dying."
"Myth 6. The growing number older people has been the primary factor driving the rise in America's health care expenditures over the past few decades.
"Fact: Population aging does not so far appear to be the principal determination of rising health care costs."
The other "facts" to correct myths are (abbreviated): the majority of older Americans do not die in hospitals, aggressive medical care for older people is not futile, advance directives have little relevance to end-of-life decision-making, acute care at the end of life is only a very small portion of the nation's total health care bill, and an aging population need not impose a severe economic burden. ("Seven Deadly Myths: Uncovering the Facts About the High Cost of the Last Year of Life." This pamphlet is available without cost from the Alliance for Aging Research, 2021 K Street, N.W., Suite 305,
Washington, DC 20006.)
Commentary: This 20-page booklet cites specific reference to back their "facts" about medical care in the elderly. While you know that I do not believe that Medicare is moral, these facts are important for individuals and families to plan for their future medical care costs. I urge you to send for and read this valuable resource.
Lack of Discernment in CMDS
I recently received an appeal for funds for Global Health Outreach, a program of the Christian Medical and Dental Society (CMDS) to provide medical care and evangelism to needy areas around the world. My eye wandered to the Board of Reference on the letter. Of 11 listed there, 4 stood out.
Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr., Ph.D., who wrote three years ago that after 25 years of writing, speaking, and practicing "Christian" counseling that "I haven't a clue what I am doing."
C. Everett Koop, M.D., sat next to Hiliary Rodham Clinton at Bill Clinton's Presidential address at which he announced her Gestapo-type national health-care proposal. He continues to support such programs.
Duane Litfin, Ph.D., is President of Wheaton College, where all sorts of unbiblical ideas are assimilated and presented. One person has called Wheaton the "Third World of Christianity."
Joni Eareckson Tada campaigned and lobbied before Congress for the Americans with Disabilities Act, another Gestapo-type law that has closed many businesses and brought endless litigation against others.
Of the seven others, there are two that I don't know. The other five have not made such mistakes.
The Apostle Paul wrote, "Do not be conformed to the world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (Romans 12:2). The great problem with the Church of Jesus Christ in the United States is the lack of a renewed mind. That Koop, Tada, and Wheaton are comfortable in the world ought to speak volumes against their testimony. Crabb hasn't a clue, yet God has provided His Revelation for 2,000 years?
And this Board of Reference is only the tip of the iceberg of CMDS' Biblical inconsistencies.
The Freedom to Practice Medicine Is About Over
Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia recently reported that its "extensive databases house information on a network of 16,000 physicians providing care to 1.5 million Georgians."
Commentary: That's another tip of the iceberg. BC/BS is only one of many insurance, HMO, PPO, and other third-party providers in Georgia. Then, there are federal databases on Medicare and Medicaid. And others.
Already, physicians are getting letters, sometimes suggesting and
sometimes mandating, to physicians what treatments are acceptable for patients. It will not be long until they are only mandating to physicians what they can and cannot practice for patients with specific diagnoses.
There is a positive side to such decrees. Most physicians are notorious for their lack of conformity to any notion of scientific support for what they practice, as you have seen on the pages of
Reflections. Within these payment systems, more conformity will be good for many patients.
However, the freedoms of patients and physicians that will be squashed is a far greater loss than any gain in reasonable medical care. Physicians already know this restraint is coming. By the time patients realize it, they will either have to accept the status quo or opt out of their payment plan -- a frightful and dangerous step. Big Brother is here!
Vol. 12, No. 2 (75)* March 1998
"At least 12,000 participants are expected to attend the 12th World AIDS Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, June 28 through July 3, 1998.... This conference will be the first international conference to implement the 'Geneva Principle' of partnership between community and science. The Geneva Principle ensures that ... both scientific and HIV community representatives have equal say in the format and content of the conference program."
(HIV/AIDS Prevention, March 1998, p. 10)
Commentary: There is a dark irony that this AIDS conference is being held where John Calvin's major works, both theological and practical, were written and implemented. A centerpiece of the town is a sculpture of four central figures of the Reformation: Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, and Farel (one of these may be incorrect, as I am recalling from memory of 26 years ago). From these men, a light penetrated the world that was previously
unknown. Perhaps the brightest beacon was the spread of Reformed theology to Scotland and then to the United States, where our form of representative government is based upon the structure of the presbyterian church.
That light has dimmed considerably in the United States and the world. AIDS is one tragedy of this darkening. There will be much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth at this AIDS conference, but they will not hear from those whose sculptures appear there. They will not hear the wisdom of God, but the wisdom of man. "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Thus, the disease and death of HIV/AIDS will continue.
Good News, Bad News, and A New Typology of Sex
Kim Miller, a Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) researcher, "concludes that the traditional method of classifying teenagers as 'sexually active' versus 'not sexually active' obscures important behavioral intentions and sexual practices." Her new categories are: delayers who had never engaged in P-V (penile-vaginal) intercourse and felt that it was not likely in the next year, anticipators who had never had intercourse, but felt that their first time was likely in the next year, one timers who had only one act of intercourse, steadies who had had repeated intercourse with one partner, and multiples who had had several partners.
Ms. Miller conducted a survey of 907 public high school students with this typology. She found 37% were delayers, 22% were anticipators, 5% were one timers, 8% were steadies, and 28% were multiples.
(HIV/AIDS Prevention, March 1998, p. 13)
Commentary: It would seem that anticipators were more likely delayers, else their category would not be so large. If so, 57% were abstinent (my typology). One timers could be typed "unintentional," as they did not intend to make intercourse a regular habit. Thus, a total of 62% of these teenagers were not "sexually active." Also, it would have been helpful to separate men and women, as all studies have shown that men are more "sexually active" than women.
The good news is that abstinence is still present in the majority of teens, in spite of a culturally sex-crazed society whose "officials" often want them to engage in sexual activity. The bad news is the large number who are sexually active. This new typology is more specific and helpful relative to the risk of sexually transmitted disease, but is only another sterile description of behavior that does not have a moral (Biblical) compass.
Mothers' Concerns Shown to be Valid
"Young women whose first male sex partner is 3 or more years older engaged in more HIV risk behaviors than young women whose first male sex partner is roughly their age (same age or less than 2 years younger or older).... Adolescents with an older partner ... were younger at the first time of intercourse (13.8 years vs. 14.6)... were less likely to (use condoms)... were more likely to have ever been pregnant (38% vs. 12%).
(HIV/AIDS Prevention, March 1998, p. 12)
Commentary: Mothers (and often fathers, as well) get nervous when their daughter starts dating boys older than herself. This study verifies that concern. Of course, this study does not address the issue whether dating itself is valid. Neither does any "official" literature, and rarely do
Christian parents challenge it. However, anyone who does a Biblical study of dating will find severe warnings about men and women alone together outside of marriage, regardless of age. Coupled with descriptions of the follies of youth, dating is a powder keg for destroying lives, physically and
* Ed's Note: The ages of my four children are now 22-28. The greatest pressures that we had from them during their teen years were activities that our local church sponsored and what other parents in the church were letting their children do. And, we were in a "good church"!
* The January-February issue of Reflections was erroneously numbered as 75. The current numbering is correct.