The stock of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) fell sharply on Friday in response to a Reuters report that the company had known for decades that its talc contained trace amounts of asbestos. A CNBC article noted that its stock fell 10 percent for the day, for the worst daily decline since 2002. J&J stated that the Reuters article was "one-sided, false and inflammatory."
CNBC reported that J&J currently faces 11,700 plaintiffs arguing that their talc caused their cancers. J&J liability was broadened when a St. Louis jury awarded 22 plaintiffs $4.6 billion for the ovarian cancer the talc allegedly caused. J&J will appeal.
From tobacco companies arguing their product was safe to Ford arguing their Pinto model was not prone to fires, too many companies have a sad history of not warning users of potential dangers. Sometimes companies were warned but chose to ignore the warning until people were hurt or the company experienced significant costs.
Forbes identified a number of times companies were warned by the employees before disaster. Equifax was warned of vulnerabilities for large-scale attack months before the sensitive records of 145 million individuals were compromised. An employee warned of ethical issues nine years before Wells Fargo's fraudulent accounts becomes public in 2016. General Motors recalled more than 3 million cars for ignition problems but were notified of the problem nine years earlier by an employee. Before the Galaxy Note 7 mobile phone started exploding and burning, shortly after its release, employees had warned of risks. Takata employees noted airbag defects and requested a safety audit before more than 100 injuries and a huge recall. Companies and individuals have a responsibility to remedy and/or warn users of potential dangers.
Consumer warnings are not always clear or consistent. Americans are warned of the dangers of not eating sufficient fruit and vegetables. Correctly or incorrectly the culture also warns of the dangers of eating meat, processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, undercooked foods, overcooked foods, fast foods, carbohydrates and foods from certain countries of origin. We are also told to get exercise but warned of the dangers of over-exercise. Many encourage people to get immunizations; others warn of their dangers.
Americans were once told that eggs should be avoided, but then were encouraged to eat eggs in moderation. Avocados once had too much fat, but now we have learned that it is "good" fat. Recommendations have gone from no alcohol, to some wine for its cardiovascular benefits, to the more recent "no amount is safe because of other risks." The "ideal" weight tends to fluctuate more with fashion trends than medical research.
In this world of confusing dietary advice, a number of diets have come to the rescue. A few of the diets include the alkaline, Atkins, carb cycling, Dash, Flexitarian, grapefruit, keto, intermittent fasting, Mediterranean, MIND, Ornish, paleo and Whole 30. Again, dietary warnings and recommendations can be confusing, helpful, lifesaving and in some instances, dangerous.
Today's American church is not delivering the clear, consistent, Bible-based and Spirit-empowered message of the gospel which the world so desperately needs and for which Christ so dearly paid. Church messages are filled with love, joy, peace, heaven, forgiveness and a variety of biblical and often unbiblical topics which emphasize the benefits of believing in Jesus as our Savior. However, in too many churches, little to no emphasis is placed on Jesus as our Lord. The early church was filled with disciples who had accepted Jesus as their Lord, and they shook the world. Today's world desperately needs a church that is filled with disciples.
Discipleship requires the complete message to be taught and modeled. Repentance, obedience, sacrifice, suffering, persecution, sin and hell are almost never mentioned in some churches. In other churches, political correctness and society's norms have redefined their meaning. The entire gospel needs to be taught in love.
Whether the topic is abortion, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, pornography, drugs, lying, greed or gossiping, the topic needs to be taught regularly, with balance, and in love. The dangers of not following the Lord should be carefully explained. The blessings of following the Lord should be taught. The possibility of complete forgiveness through repentance and confession should be emphasized.
The world needs people with the conviction and courage to warn others where they stand in eternity without Jesus, to teach what Jesus did for them, and to invite them into the kingdom. Similarly, the world needs people that will teach other believers the importance of repentance, obedience and discipleship.
- If we believe in danger of hell, let us warn others.
- If we believe that sin results in death, let us warn others.
- If we believe that the Bible is the Word of God, let us tell others.
- If we believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father, let us invite others.
- If we believe that Jesus is the answer to any problem, let us invite others.
Let us warn other believers of the dangers of not following Jesus. Let us warn the world of the dangers of not accepting Jesus. May the Lord Jesus fill us with the desire, courage, wisdom and love to warn others of dangers ahead.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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