Because Christians enjoy the
indwelling Spirit of God, they have a power to overcome addictions they should
be utilizing for health.
Now two Christian doctors
say that Christians’ failure to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit to
overcome addictions of gluttony and sloth are killing the church. Their concern
reached such a level that for the past two years they have been devising a
health plan that is now available without cost.
Baptist doctors Ted Chandler
and Ray Morrow, and Morrow’s father, Phil Morrow, a retired Baptist pastor and
administrator at Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, have launched the
web site www.christianhealthforums.com.
There churches can find
tools and steps to improve the physical health of their members, which the
founders say will also improve their spiritual health.
Four principles are at the
base of improving health says the trio. Phil Morrow, a member of Victory
Baptist Church in Thomasville, lost 40 pounds, avoided insulin for his diabetes
and came off other medicines based on the plan. He is both testimony and
Those who would “dare to be
a healthy Christian” will not smoke; will maintain a Body Mass Index (BMI) of
30 or less; will exercise 150 minutes per week and will eat five servings of
fruits or vegetables daily.
“If the Apostle Paul
was preaching today his message would not be about America’s sexual sin as much
as our obesity,” said Ray Morrow, a member of First Baptist Church, Hildebran.
The obesity epidemic in
children parallels that in adults, with the percentage of children who are
obese rising from 4 percent in 1974 to 30 percent today.
“As Christians we are called
to serve,” Ray Morrow said.
“We can’t serve if our knees
give out, we can’t drive to preach, etc. How do you serve in this world?
“We serve not through mental
telepathy but with our physical bodies. When we’re called, are we going to be
physically able to go?”
While the visible
manifestation of discipline is physical, the Morrows and Chandler emphasize the
spiritual nature of the battle.
The Holy Spirit helps people
overcome all kinds of addictions, they say, and the addiction to food and
laziness should be no different.
It is not uncommon for
Christians to be urged to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit to break
addictions such as alcohol or drugs, but the same power is not considered for
strength to put down the donuts or refuse the fries.
As doctors, Chandler and Ray
Morrow were constantly approached by people for help in changing habits they
ultimately were unwilling to change. Chandler, a member of Rich Fork Baptist
Church in Thomasville, introduced The Reduce Diet, as an initial step and it
worked well with Christians.
When Morrow introduced it in
his clinic, it “failed miserably,” he said because the spiritual element was
About the time the doctors
were wrestling with persistent health problems of patients, studies came out
showing Americans’ poor health habits and that churchmen — particularly
Baptists — were the worst offenders.
“This really touched
us,” Ray Morrow said, “that this is something going on that is killing America
and the church is leading the way.”
Over the past two
years, a dozen studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of following the
four principles for health. In the same time, it seems the church has become a
marketing haven for alternative medicines, magic diets and supplements that
have no value.
It is a spiritual problem,
they say, a problem of lust for food.
It’s a problem too great to
overcome “without the power of Christ.”
“Of all people in America
the Church has the power to overcome the self destructive nature of our
nation,” said Ray Morrow, 42.
The web site includes
positive and encouraging sermons by Phil Morrow, age 73, access to books and
eating plans by Chandler.
It also includes a form that
churches can use to survey their health habits. Chandler said those surveys
will be evaluated to help a church see where its members stand and to make
Diabetes often is twice as
high in church members as in the general public, a finding Chandler said is
Also scary is that people
under age 50 are generally in worse shape than those over 50.
Chandler, who practiced in
Hickory for 20 years before joining the faculty at Bowman Gray Baptist Medical
Center, said younger people believe a pill will fix any health problem they
Chandler and the Morrows
have presented this issue in person to 10-12 churches and would be glad to
But they designed the web
site to multiply their effect because the need is so great and immediate.
Chandler, who was one of Ray
Morrow’s medical school professors, calls it a “modern plague.”
But the cure, he said, is
free and simple: it is the rules of healthy living.
Ray Morrow is not advocating
that churches become health clubs. He said the work of the church is to do the
work of Jesus.
But he was finding that
“people spent more time in the doctor’s office than on the mission field; and
spent more money on medicine than on missions.”
“If you are doing
things that are killing you, what does that say about your perspective of the
resurrected Jesus?” Ray Morrow asked.
“We cannot eat and live
lives that are destructive to ourselves and others around us and really take in
the power of the resurrected Jesus.”
According to surveys, only
four percent of church members observe the four health principles. If that
number could be raised to 50 percent Ray Morrow said, “The improvement in
health by the entire nation would be so dramatic — the benefits would be
overwhelming — there would no longer be a health care crisis in our nation. And
through that the church would become the health leader in the nation, leading
the nation down this path as it has led in so many other areas.”
Cookbook promotes health,
Growing up at Mills Home in
Thomasville 1934-45, the original Baptist Children’s Homes campus, Ted Chandler
remembers hours in the kitchen as wonderful times.
To encourage both healthy
eating and family communications Chandler wrote a family cookbook called
Resurrection Kitchen. While the 66 recipes have a weight loss component, a
significant feature is that they can all be prepared in 30 minutes, and the
book is designed to involve both a child and an adult in the preparation.
“A child can call out to mom
what the next step is,” Chandler said.
He wants Resurrection
Kitchen to open the dialog about food within a family, and to create
togetherness in the kitchen.
“It was at the table,
breaking bread, that the disciples recognized the resurrected Christ,” (Luke
24:30-31) said Chandler, emphasizing the central role of food and community
Chandler wrote about his
years in “the orphanage” in Tough Mercy, available through BCH.