"My Meat"

This article concerns itself with the effects of flesh eating on the minister's physical, moral, and mental health. To eat or not to eat, that is the question.

Associate Secretary, General Conference Ministerial Association

THE question of health is of primary concern to every Christian minister; and Adventism has been the chief exponent of the concept that the physical, spiritual, and mental powers of man are inseparably interrelated.  Fresh air, sunshine, rest, exercise, mental culture, spiritual progress, and diet all have their bearing on a minister's health and hence on his power for good. To neglect any one of these vital factors is to deprive oneself of the physical stamina so necessary to continued effective spiritual ministry.

All phases of the health question cannot be considered in this article, nor can this treatment of only one phase be exhausted. This article concerns itself with the effects of flesh eating on the minister's physical, moral, and mental health. To eat or not to eat, that is the question.

Too Much

In this, as in all other questions of fact, some proponents claim too much. The extravagances of their claims have resulted in their being called fanatics. The truth is that not all who claim "too much" are fanatics. Some are conscien­tiously mistaken. Others have a zeal that is not according to knowledge. The overzealous have done much to hinder the acceptance of this counsel to the church.

The Bible reveals vegetarianism as the origi­nal diet of man. Furthermore, the health coun­sel of the church relative to diet is based on the fact that a balanced vegetable diet is the most healthful and hence best for man. However, those who claim that the eating of clean meats is a sin claim too much. The apostle Paul warned against this very thing in 1 Timothy 4: 1, 3. Moreover, the Bible is replete with biog­raphies of the most God-fearing men to whom meat was permitted as an article of diet. Indeed, the Master Himself served fish to thousands of His listeners, and was Himself served fish by those who knew Him best. There is no Biblical hint that eating clean flesh was, is, or ever will be a sin.

Let the reader remember that in the counsels to the church on this matter mention is made that the flesh diet would be a continuing neces­sity for some. Those exceptions are (1) certain sick persons, (2) those living in areas where a balanced vegetable diet is not available, and (3) those who are uneducated in the matter of preparing balanced vegetarian meals. All others are urged to give this matter their prayerful attention. We all will agree that vegetarianism cannot assume the force of commandment. It must be taught, urged, and promoted, but never made a test of spirituality. Right and wrong are constant. They do not fluctuate from age to age. If eating clean flesh is a sin now, it always was and always will be. The fact is that it is no sin now, never was, and never will be.

Too Little

From the foregoing it is clear that the eating of Biblically permitted flesh is lawful. How­ever, 1 Corinthians 6:12 indicates that all things lawful are not expedient or profitable. Indeed, there is evidence in abundance that as the end approaches, many things that are not in them­selves sinful will, because of sin, become inex­pedient for us. This is true of the practice of flesh eating. Flesh eating has from its inception served to shorten man's life. But in later years diseases in animals have made flesh eating haz­ardous.

There are but few animals that are free from dis­ease. . . . Many poor animals are left to breathe the poison of filth which is left in barns and stables. . . . Disease is conveyed to the liver, and the entire system of the animal is diseased. They are killed, and prepared for the market, and people eat freely of this poisonous animal food. Much disease is caused in this manner. But people cannot be made to believe that it is the meat they have eaten, which has poisoned their blood, and caused their suffer­ings. Many die of disease caused wholly by meat-eating, yet the world does not seem to be the wiser. —Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 418.

Those who are inclined to trust in modern sanitation and improved methods of processing meat need only consult the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin on diseases in animals, or read some of the current magazine exposures on the subject to know that this condition among animals has become more aggravated. But the hazards of flesh eating are not purely physical.

By the use of flesh meat the animal nature is strengthened and the spiritual nature weakened.— Evangelism, p. 663.

In this era of moral apostasy the man of God can ill afford to increase the odds against his survival. Though vegetarianism does not guar­antee chastity nor flesh eating destroy it, the lat­ter does place undue strain upon it. Hence it is a weight. Says the Scriptures, "Let us lay aside every weight" (Heb. 12:1). On this subject the Advent ministry has access to great light. It is their privilege to become teaching examples o£ healthful living. It is true that the kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink. But who can deny that meat and drink have been stumbling blocks to the kingdom in many instances? Possessors of great light are strongly urged to prac­tice healthful living.

If, in the face of the light God has given concern­ing the effect of meat eating on the system, you will still continue to eat meat, you must bear the conse­quences.—Ibid., p. 664.

Physical health is not the only part of man's life affected by flesh eating.

Would God for thirty years give His people the message that if they desire to have pure blood and clear minds, they must give up the use of flesh meat, if He did not want them to heed this message?— Ibid., p. 663.

This statement cannot mean that vegetarians have clear minds and flesh eaters do not. The reader is probably familiar with some abstainers who live in perpetual mental fog and meat eat­ers who are noted for their sharp, analytical minds. It is, rather, a challenge to the individ­ual to attain to his own full potential, casting off all hindrances.

Finally, there is the question of ministerial in­fluence. Does not this striking statement of the apostle apply here? "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend" (1 Cor. 8:13).

Brethren, the laymen are reading the books published by the church. The writings of El­len G. White are accepted by them as of divine origin. It does little to strengthen the confidence of laymen in these teachings when they see Heaven's counsel lightly regarded.

Be careful what attitude you assume, lest you be found causing division. ... Do not harm others by opposing the light God has given on this subject. . . . Do not take a position before the people that will permit them to think that it is not necessary to call for a reform in regard to meat eating, because the Lord is calling for reform. ... In counterwork­ing the efforts of your fellow laborers who are teach­ing health reform, you are out of order, working on the wrong side.—Ibid., pp. 664, 665.

Too Late

Fanatical groups within the church are creat­ing havoc with this phase of the Lord's program. Is it not time that the ministry seize the initia­tive, organize classes, and teach total health re­form to God's people? If not now, when?

It will go forward, for it is the Lord's means of lessening the suffering in our world and of purifying His people.—Ibid., p. 664.

The advent ministry is debtor to the world. Millions are being spent in experimentation to learn what God through His messenger has long ago revealed to His church. "My meat," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (John 4:34).

 


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

Associate Secretary, General Conference Ministerial Association

December 1960

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Pointers for Preachers

Power in the word, The people's choice, Clean-out touch-up day

Taking the Sacred Vows

The conclusion of an 8-part story of a young minister's wife.

Bible Work Well on the March

God is helping our missionaries teach our doctrines to the people for whom they labor, and then to select for the Bible work those who indicate special ability.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Uniqueness of Christianity

SOME time ago a rather astonished church member handed me a little book the avowed message of which was to prove by reference to the Dead Sea scrolls that Jesus Christ was not the divine Son of God! This book was sup­posed to demonstrate scholarship, and its author undoubtedly produced what to many would seem a rather plausible case. But in reality how sound is the claim, even from the purely critical standpoint?

The babe that changed the world

Christmas is more than a date on a calendar; it is a spirit. Once a year we are reminded anew that God so loved that He gave. And only as we give can we be like Him. Let us encourage the spirit of good will in our communities.

A Beloved Dominie and His Hymns

More than two hundred years have passed since Dr. Philip Doddridge was a preacher in the Calvinist church at Northampton, Eng­land. His hearers were composed mostly of hum­ble shoemakers in the town's mills, and not many could read or write. But they listened attentively to their beloved dominie, and after the sermon he would repeat, line by line, a hymn he had just written, which they would sing with devout fervor.

North American Regional Department

The following historical outline of the development of our North American Re­gional Department was used by F. L. Peter­son in a report at the General Conference worship, and was of such interest that we requested him to share it with our workers in the field.

The Investigative or Pre-Advent Judgment: Does the Bible Reveal the Time for This Phase of the Judgment to Begin?

An Answer to Walter Martin's Criticism of Seventh-day Adventism. If the Holy Scriptures declare that such a judgment is to take place, could we not expect that God would also reveal the time for this phase of the judgment to begin?

How to handle hostility

A minister's professional success will be determined to an extent by his abil­ity to deal wisely with hostility. Most vet­eran ministers would admit that the maxi­mum or the minimum of a minister's use­fulness is related to this problem.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - NAD Stewardship (160x600)