Creeping Compromise

{commedia}Joe Crews|Creeping Compromise|mediafiles/audio/crews/creeping09.mp3{/audio}

For well over a hundred years Seventh-day Adventists have enjoyed the tremendous advantage, health wise, of having special divine counsel on the subject of nutrition and diet. The beneficial results have been documented by scores of researchers and writers. We have a life span five years longer than non-Adventists in the state of California.

Almost every category, of degenerative disease is less prevalent among our people than among the general population. This is in spite of the fact that the majority of our membership only gives lip service to the wealth of inspired information on this subject. I've tried to imagine what a testimony this church could bear if every Adventist was a true health reformer.

One of the strongest and most unique contributions of the Spirit of Prophecy writings has been in the area of diet and disease. Over a period of years, in which almost nothing was being said on the subject of nutrition, Mrs. White insisted that meat eating was a basic cause of disease, including cancer. She wrote: "People are continually eating flesh that is filled with tuberculosis and cancerous gems. Tuberculosis, cancer, and other fatal diseases are thus communicated." The Ministry of Healing, p. 313.

"If meat eating was ever healthful, it is not safe now. Cancers, tumours, and pulmonary diseases are largely caused by meat eating." Counsels on Health, p. 133.

During her own lifetime Mrs. White had scant opportunity to see her inspired positions vindicated. Her contention that cancer was caused by a germ, or virus, was completely contrary to all accepted medical opinion. Since her death in 1915, intensive medical research has confirmed, one after another, the principles she introduced. Men like Dr. Clive McKay, world-renowned nutritionist at Cornell University, affirmed that she was years ahead of her time in understanding the subject of diet. She often described health dangers, such as cholesterol, long before the discovery had been made in the laboratories of science.

One of the most recent developments which gives support to our historic position, comes from the National Cancer Institute. Under the prodding of the Senate nutrition subcommittee the NCI released a statement that promises a complete new direction in their basic research. Here is the way Science News of October 13,1979, reported the release:

"The NCI's recommendations are based on increasing research Findings that diet can be an influence for or against cancer. For instance, cancers of the oesophagus and larynx have been linked with alcohol abuse combined with smoking. A high-fat diet has been linked with cancers of the breast, ovaries, prostate, intestines and rectum. A diet rich in unsaturated fats is even more co-carcinogenic, at least in rats, than is a saturated fat diet. In contrast, Seventh-day Adventists, who eat a low-fat diet, have only 70 percent of the risk of others of developing various kinds of cancers. Dietary fibre has been linked with low levels of colon-cancer. Vegetarian diets have been associated with resistance to breast cancer." How unfortunate it is that many Adventists wait until the worldly researchers announce the scientific evidence before they will believe what has been given by revelation. As a result, our health record is not as impressive as it should be. As the evidence piles up indicating meat as a factor in cancer and disease, more and more non-Adventists are turning to a vegetarian diet.

Incredibly, the large block of meat-eating Seventh-day Adventists seems the hardest to impress. In the face of pages and books of divine warnings, admonitions and pleas, thousands of laymen and ministers continue to eat the flesh of animals.

Is there anything ambiguous about the counsel of God on the matter? None whatsoever. It almost appears that those who fly in the face of the counsel have come to a serious credibility crisis concerning the Spirit of Prophecy. If there is doubt in some theological areas which are probed in the red books, there is absolutely none in dealing with the subject of meat eating. Consider statements like these which are representative of hundreds more:

"The liability to take disease is increased tenfold by meat eating. The intellectual, the moral, and the physical powers are depreciated by the habitual use of flesh meats. Meat eating deranges the system, beclouds the intellect, and blunts the moral sensibilities." Counsels on Health, p. 70.

"Not an ounce of flesh meat should enter our stomachs. The eating of flesh is unnatural. We are to return to God's original purpose in the creation of man." Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 380.

"Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people, to walk no more with them .... Far better give up the name of Christian than make a profession and at the same time indulge appetites which strengthen unholy passions .... [God] calls for decided reformation." Counsels on Health,pp. 575-579.

"Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design---that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavour to work steadily toward it." Ibid., p. 450.

"Those who are in a position where it is possible to secure a vegetarian diet, but who choose to follow their own preferences in this matter, eating and drinking as they please, will gradually grow careless of the instruction the Lord has given regarding other phases of the present truth and will lose their perception of what is truth." Testimonies, Vol. 9, pp. 156, 157.

"I have the subject presented to me in different aspects. The mortality caused by meat eating is not discerned; if it were, we would hear no more arguments and excuses in favour of the indulgence of the appetite for dead flesh." Medical Ministry, p. 278.

One amazing fact about this counsel is the way it is rejected by ministers and leaders in the church. With the time of trouble at hand and the flock starving for spiritual direction, pastors are still feasting on the flesh pots of Egypt and causing the people to err by their own perverted examples. Although meat eating per se has never been designated as a sin by this church, what about preachers who do not respond to specific counsel like the following?

"Let not any of our ministers set an evil example in the eating of flesh meat. Let them and their families live up to the light of health reform." Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 399.

"Can we possibly have confidence in ministers who at tables where flesh is served join with others in eating it?" Ibid., p. 402.

"Will any who are ministers of the gospel, proclaiming the most solemn truth ever given to mortals, set an example in returning to the fleshpots of Egypt? Will those who are supported by the tithe from God's storehouse permit themselves by self-indulgence to poison the life-giving current flowing through their veins? Will they disregard the light and warnings that God has given them?" Ibid., p. 404, 405.

The position of flesh-eating Seventh-day Adventists becomes more untenable when we consider the massive physical evidence pointing to contaminated, diseased meat sources. It is more than stomach-turning to read recent reports of packing-house inspections which have uncovered the grossest violations of minimum sanitary standards. The Consumers Union tested hundreds of hamburger samples from a cross-section of retail suppliers. The test specifically identified fecal contamination, often indicating a disease-causing organism. The startling result of this research was published in the Consumer Reports magazine of August, 1971. The objective conclusion of this test indicated that 73 percent of the samples had a coliform count high enough to cause mild illness. In view of the fact that hamburgers constitute more than half of America's beef consumption, we have to believe that a vast health danger is involved, even if we consider only the external handling of meat. Consumers Union estimated that almost a quarter of the ready-ground samples had begun to putrefy at the retail outlet.

An independent check of 68 poultry processing plants by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) in 1971 found sanitation conditions "unacceptable" in most of them. Products in over half of them were contaminated with fecal matter, digestive tract contents, bile and feathers.

But what about the internal condition of the various meat sources? Millions of diseased carcasses are processed through packing houses, and sold to American consumers. At least 80 diseases are common to animals, which can be transmitted to other animals, and very likely to human beings as well. Even proper meat inspection does not mitigate the disease hazard, because microscopic examinations are not possible in the inspection procedures. Open cancerous sores are often cut out of the carcass and the rest of the animal is sold for food. Obviously, the cancer virus is spread throughout the body of the animal.

In poultry alone 26 diseases have been identified which are common to both man and animal. Virtually all chickens carry leucosis viruses, and chicken farmers run six times more risk of dying from leukaemia than do non-farmers.

Meat is the perfect medium for growing bacteria. Putrefaction begins almost immediately in a slaughtered animal and progresses rapidly. There is no way to prevent the deterioration. When the effects of spoilage become obvious through colour, smell and taste, large amounts of chemicals are pumped into the decaying flesh to restore appearances. Picture if you can the combined effects of the animal's own waste materials, trapped in the flesh, plus the chemical additives of the animal's fast-grow food supply, plus the external filth factor of the packing house, plus the various injections of cosmetic preservatives. What do you have? A wholly unfit source of protein.

But what can be said to impress Seventh-day Adventists who have not been impressed by the clear statements of inspiration? Those who are ruled by appetite rather than principle will be no more moved by scientific fact than by divine counsel. In the light of indisputable evidence some still feed on hot dogs that contain a mishmash of animal ears, feet, snouts, udders, brains, bladders, eyes, tongues, and blood.

Finally, what are we going to do about the New Testament law concerning the eating of blood? The inspired leaders of that early church spent long hours in discussing the basic requirements for Gentile membership. Their conclusion is recorded in Acts 15:19, 20, where James speaks for the entire Council: "Wherefore my sentence is ... that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood."

How can anyone abstain from eating blood when he feeds on the marketplace variety of slaughtered animals? The flesh is gorged with blood sometimes artificially injected to give a healthy colour to rotting meat. To follow the prescribed biblical laws of draining all blood from the animal would render the flesh almost tasteless. Few are willing to deny their craving for animal blood in order to meet the requirements of the Word of God. Various semantical manipulations have been devised to justify eating the blood, but most carnivorous Christians uncomfortably skim past Acts 15. They assume that the New Testament law must refer to drinking blood, instead of eating it in the animal. But that is not the basis for proscribing blood in the Old Testament. Why should it be different in Acts? It is surely something for Seventh-day Adventists to weigh carefully, especially in the light of additional counsel.

I sincerely hope that no Seventh-day Adventist reading this book will presume to scoff at the position here taken.

Some ministers have told me about being ridiculed and shunned by their fellow ministers because they would not eat meat with them. It is serious enough to disobey the counsel of God, but to mock at the divine message and seek to make others disobey must approach open blasphemy. The light we have on the subject is far beyond that which was revealed to the historic church of the past.

To reject that light is to reject the work of the Holy Spirit, who inspired the writings. And though we cannot measure degrees of guilt in those who had no light on this subject, we cannot be guiltless if we flaunt the very message which is sent from God to make us a holy and healthy people. Pastors, church officers, and members should repent before God for ignoring His revealed will. Sin is the deliberate violation of known truth, and this makes Seventh-day Adventists, with their advanced light, more accountable before God. By living and sharing that light we not only reap the physical and spiritual benefits ourselves, but become a savour of life unto others also.

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