Christians have Holy Spirit to aid health
    February 25 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    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

    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 advocate.

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    Dr. Ray Morrow, an internist at Baptist Medical Center, along with his father Phil Morrow, and Dr. Ted Chandler, have created a web site to promote a healthy lifestyle among Christians. See video.

    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?”  

    Spiritual strength
    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 missing.

    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 specific recommendations.

    Diabetes often is twice as high in church members as in the general public, a finding Chandler said is “shocking.”

    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 encounter. Chandler and the Morrows have presented this issue in person to 10-12 churches and would be glad to address more.

    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, family time
    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 meals.

    Chandler wrote about his years in “the orphanage” in Tough Mercy, available through BCH.

    2/25/2010 3:57:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 4 comments

Dianna Cagle
I have to apologize for the link in the story. I have repaired the link now and it should work properly.
Let me know if you need any further help.
2/26/2010 5:53:37 PM

Carol, The website works for me. Or try the direct Resurrection Kitchen address at
2/25/2010 10:25:53 PM

Gene Scarborough
What has always amazed me is the preachers coming to the microphone to be most critical of our Baptist Colleges and Institutions are usually as broad as they are tall!

Any corrolations between meaness and obesity???
2/25/2010 8:40:43 PM

Douglas Ngatunyi
Well said, if we give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in our lives, many of the problems and failures we have will be a thing of the past. Our churches will be effective, lively, and powerful witnesses of the resurrected Savior..
2/25/2010 3:54:18 PM

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