Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Top 3 contributions to wellbeing by church leadership

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today. Several weeks ago we started an exciting series on the research findings from Teleios! A list of all our compelling findings can be found on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

Teleios recently completed a survey of visitors to the Instagram account, Instapray. We had 884 participants, mostly all comprised of youth (<18 years) as well as millennials (18-34 years), 77% evangelicals and 43% ex-US. We asked them regarding their Christian walk, and how church affected their wellbeing.

Last week, we discussed the positive effect on wellbeing by the church and its members on young evangelicals; especially through prayer, assisting the Christian walk and praise.

This week let's discuss the influence of church leadership on wellbeing. Interestingly, the effect of church leadership on wellbeing did not differ statistically among the international regions represented in our survey: the USA, Canada, Asia and commonwealth countries (P>0.05).

How did church leadership best help wellbeing among young evangelicals?

1.   Bible-based teaching and preaching (75%) – Overwhelmingly, this criterion was selected by participants. It is heartening to see such an important cornerstone of church function chosen by young evangelicals.

We know that the teaching of God's vibrant word is a vital function of the church. Such teaching occurs not only in the Sunday sermon, but in Sunday school, small groups, discipleship relationships and self-study. Certainly, great results can be anticipated in our lives by knowing His scripture by which the church greatly assists us (1 Timothy 3:2, 4:6, 12, 16, 2 Timothy 2:2, 25-26).

2.   Encouraging Bible based speech (51%) - This choice was a most pleasant surprise for second place. This topic is often an under stressed in church life. The Bible wisely indicates our speech should be primarily for the hearer, to meet their needs, and not for ourselves (Ephesians 4:29, 5:17-18, Colossians 3:16-17, 4:6).

3.   Powerful biblical vision for the church (44%) - Participants also nicely perceived that church leadership actually helps their wellbeing by directing the church in Biblically based goals! How wonderful is that!

The church may have some attendees, which we have shown through Teleios research, that seek an alternative self-focused agenda. The church leadership’s role is to stay close to biblical goals and keep the church directed to serve God with the accompanying fruit in individual member’s lives as well as the community.

Indeed, the church functions not to meet its own institutional needs primarily but to outreach to the world as well as to equip its members to go out and impact the community for the gospel and the common good (Matthew 28:20, 1 Timothy 2:1, Galatians 6:10, 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 5:15).

See more information from this survey at the Teleios website at www.teleiosresearch.com.

I marvel at these survey results that demonstrate, across the world, the precious unity provided by the Bible and promoted by the Holy Spirit among young evangelicals. Surely, we have a great God who preserves and expands His word across generations for the benefit of all who hear.

Join us again next week as we continue to explore Teleios research and the benefits of what scripture tells us.

WC Stewart


Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Top 5 contributors to wellbeing among youth and millennials

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today. We started recently a series on discovering exciting research findings from Teleios! You can access the results of all Teleios’ compelling findings on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

Teleios recently completed a survey of visitors to the Instagram account, Instapray, mostly all comprised of youth (<18 years) and millennials (18-34 years) and 77% self-identified evangelicals. We had 884 participants and asked them questions about their Christian lifestyle, and how church affected their wellbeing.

Amazingly, the church’s influence on wellbeing did not differ between youth and millennials (P=0.09).

What helped wellbeing the most? Participants could select up to 3 choices from a list of 12 items. Please find more complete results on our website, http://stage.teleiosresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/DTS3-data.pdf.

Well this is encouraging!

1.     Prayer (59%) – Prayer is a cornerstone of our Christian walk allowing us to come directly before God, unafraid and give our petitions to him for ourselves and others. By prayer also we praise God and thank Him (Hebrews10:20-22, Philippians 4:6). The assembled church might assist prayer by acting as a guide to our supplications to God, a more expansive prayer experience and promoting prayer in our lives.

2.     Spiritual growth (56%) – Participants generally recognized the church helps them in their Christian lives and helps them become mature believers.

3.     Praise and worship (54%) – Praise of our gracious God for His righteous character and actions is essential for a healthy Christian Life. Praise allows us to remind ourselves that God’s thoughts and goals are greater than ours. God deserves our praise (Hebrews 13:15, Psalms 147-150)

But there is still room for growth …

4.     Emotional support (38%) – This finding is heartening in that young believers look to the church, perhaps specifically to the church leadership or their trusted Christian friends and colleagues, to help them through life with sympathy and advice. Access for young Christians, desiring support from believing peers, is an important function of the church.

5.     Comfortable and pleasing worship surroundings (35%) – I suspect that this finding is important not just in young people but for many older congregants as well. Indeed, a beautiful church, often combined with stirring music and liturgy combine to create an awe inspiring and encouraging ambiance.

Nonetheless, as Christians, we are commanded to take our Christian lifestyle beyond the mountaintop experience of a church service, or a faith-based conference, and practice our faith on a daily basis. Over time, scripture tells us that we should become confident in our relationship with God through knowledge and understanding; emotionally stable, making correct decisions between right and wrong, as well as teaching others (Hebrews 5:11-14, Colossians 1:27-2:3, 3:16-17, Ephesians 5:15-19).

Our Christian walk comprises generally of: prayer, praise, bible-based fellowship, learning scripture and teaching others scripture and the gospel (Acts 2:42,47). These practices promote our growth by the power of the Spirit to the maturity God desires for us (Galatians5:22, Ephesians 5:18).

The above list from our survey is encouraging in the emphasis of spiritual growth, prayer and praise in young church attendees. However, the amazing finding is that Christian youth have the same desires for their church experience as the millennial generation. It appears the Holy Spirit has used parents as well as church members, leaders and teachers to help form the next generation of believers to carry forth God's great work. Thanks be to God!

Please join me next week as we continue to explore the church and wellbeing. Thank you for reading my blog. Today I pray for each one of you blog readers.

WC Stewart


Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

God loves those depressed

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today.

We recently started a series on Teleios’ exciting research findings! A list of our and others’ findings is on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

Religion recently has been associated with good wellbeing in the medical literature (1,2). However, can religion help those who are mentally distressed?

Teleios recently reviewed the medical literature to examine the influence of religion on depression. Our study showed that religion in First World countries had a positive impact on:

·       Depressed individuals generally;

·       Preventing depression in the physically diseased and their relatives (caregivers);

·       Otherwise healthy subjects.

How can these positive findings regarding religion and depression be explained? We do not know for certain, however all the studies were performed in First World Christian countries. Christianity is unique among world religions in that access to God and salvation is through a gift of grace through faith alone and not by works.

Consequently, the Christian religion may have advantages in depressed people for the following reasons:

·       God’s love - Having a proper view of God as loving and allowing acceptance and access by prayer by faith alone through Christ’s gracious death on the cross for our sins (Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 10:20-22). Therefore, even if a person feels badly about themselves for having depression or because of their past actions, knowing God's acceptance might help allay these feelings.

·       Hope - Christianity provides an eternal hope. Regardless of how a person might suffer with depression on earth there is a greater hope in heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14).

·       Socialization – A caring and giving church might provide relief for depression by community service, positive social interactions and the encouragement of unified worship.

Despite the above speculation little research is available which specifically evaluates the elements of religious structure which might help depressed patients. MacIlvaine and Stewart and their coworkers have observed that Christianity generally assists wellbeing in both healthy and diseased populations (1-3). They especially noted that the more a person practiced and were knowledgeable about their faith, the better their wellbeing. This practice included: religious attendance, prayer, socialization at church, church or community service, speaking about their faith and Bible education, as well as basic knowledge about salvation (Acts 2:42,47)

Their findings are consistent with the findings presented above that an earnest and knowledgeable practice of Christianity helped depression such as: church attendance, general religiosity, spiritual beliefs, desire for spiritual growth, born-again experience and social support. In contrast, patients who limited the scope of their religious practice, or believed in an ungracious God (religious strain) experienced a lessor, or in some cases, a negative benefit.

This review suggests that Christianity might help patients with depression or symptoms of depression from a broad spectrum of demographic backgrounds. More research is needed to fully understand the effect of religion on depressed patients as well as the differences among religions and their influence on suffering patients.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please join me again next week as we discuss even more benefits of Biblical belief!

WC Stewart


1.    MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, Stewart WC. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014; 50:577-582.
2.    MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, Stewart WC. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-255.
3.    Stewart WC, Reynolds KE, Jones LJ, Stewart JA, Nelson LA. The source and impact of specific parameters that enhance well-being in daily life. J Rel Health 2016;55:1326-1335.

Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Stress Relief

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today.

We started recently a series on discovering exciting research findings from Teleios! A list of our and others’ findings is on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com)

Anxiety is a very common condition and is often defined as intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations (1). Anxiety is most unpleasant! Further, this condition is associated with a higher incidence of depression, suicide and substance abuse (2-4).

Fortunately, pharmaceutical treatments exist to help reduce anxiety, as well as non-pharmaceutical based therapies such as: herbals, meditation, yoga, psychological counseling, exercise, and refraining from drugs/alcohol and healthy sleep habits (5-7).

In addition, religious-based activities have been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety (8-11) and might be an important adjunct to other therapies. We reviewed recently the medical literature to determine the effect of religious practice on anxiety.

We found, in almost every study, that: religion in general, religious training, spirituality, faith, prayer, and church-based social support were associated with reduced anxiety (stress). In many instances depression was helped as well. These effects were observed in both otherwise healthy individuals and in various patient populations.

Importantly, the great majority of studies were performed in historically Christian countries.

Why would religion, in this case in primarily Christian countries, assist anxiety? The reasons are not known specifically, however, we speculate the following:

·       The belief in the care of an almighty God taking a personal interest in a person’s psychological suffering (accessed through: prayer, worship, and religious training) might give comfort and hope.

·       God’s direct intervention to assist the condition.

·       The hope of an eternal life that surpasses the suffering on this earth might also give psychological comfort.

·       Socialization with others of the same faith, inside or outside a place of worship, might provide a distraction from a person's anxiety as well as a reminder of their religion’s teachings.

Christianity is unique among religions in that it assures access to God by faith alone in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross (grace). In contrast, non-Christian religions, non-Bible believing denominations, and Christian cults perceive access to God by a system of works or a works/grace mixture. Such differences might make an important difference in a person’s psychological health based on their perceived acceptance by God.

The medical literature tends not to differentiate religions, or the extent of adherence to a particular religion, on the psychological impact of the individual. Future research should explore different religious tenants and their impact on mental health.

Our review suggests that religious practice and belief, as shown primarily in Christian countries, may assist individuals suffering with anxiety. Further research will hopefully provide better understanding of religious practices across cultures to enhance how clinicians can use this important aspect of patients’ lives to help treat their patients.

Thanks be to our glorious God that He has made us in wisdom, cares for us and helps us with our infirmities. Thank you for joining me today and come again next week as we continue the fruitful exploration of how Scripture helps us.

WC Stewart


2.    Beesdo K et al. Incidence of social anxiety disorder and the consistent risk for secondary depression in the first three decades of life. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2007;64:903-12.
3.    Gould MS, et al. Psychopathology associated with suicidal ideation and attempts among children and adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1998;37:915-23.
4.    Smith JP, Book SW. Anxiety and substance use disorders: A review. Psychiatr Times 2008; 25:19-23.
5.    Sarris J, et al.  Complementary medicine, exercise, meditation, diet, and lifestyle modification for anxiety disorders: A review of current evidence. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012; 809653.
6.    Bystritsky A, et al. Current diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders. P T 2013;38:30-8,41-4,57.
8.    Hamilton JB, et al. Reading The Bible for guidance, comfort, and strength during stressful life events. Nurs Res 2013;62:178-84.
9.    Krause N. Gratitude toward God, stress, and health in late life. Res Aging, 2006;28:163-83.
10.  Paukert AL, et al. Integration of religion into cognitive-behavioral therapy for geriatric anxiety and depression. J Psychiatr Pract 2009;15:103-12.
11.  Berry D. Does religious psychotherapy improve anxiety and depression in religious adults? A review of randomized controlled studies. Int J Psychiatr Nurs Res 2002;8:875-90.

Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How Christians make decisions

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for taking time to read it.

We have started a series about the exciting research findings from Teleios! A list of our findings is on our home page of our website (www.teleiosresearch.com)

Just recently Teleios performed a survey evaluating how Christians make decisions, and how they decide is associated with personal wellbeing as well as adherence to the Christian walk. In total, 858 people participated; of whom 51% were students, 67% female, 77% evangelical and 20% ex-US nationals. The average age was 23 ± 10 years.

How Christians make decisions

The respondents indicated they most often make spiritual and secular based decisions by taking a step of faith based on the Bible, although less so with secular decisions (63 and 51% respectively), waiting for guidance from the Holy Spirit (58 and 45% respectively) or asking someone with experience on the topic (37 and 40% respectively).

Once a decision has been determined, 87% of participants pray for reassurance from God, while 59% took an action based on faith. However, 30% participants struggle with their decision, not being sure if it was correct.

Most believed their decision-making was either pleasing to God, or to the Spirit, or made in faith (about 55% for each selection) while about 20% for indicated their choices might be emotional or self-seeking. Participants thought God helped them make decisions by having a plan for their life (63%) while almost as many believed He led them based on the Bible (53%).

Effect on personal wellbeing

Personal wellbeing did not differ statistically among responses for spiritual decisions, but for secular decisions those who used wisdom from prior biblically based experience reported higher wellbeing (4.9) The rating scale was 0 - 6 with the higher number indicates the better score.

After a decision had been made those who generally acted based on their faith, or knowledge of God’s Word, noted higher wellbeing (4.7). Further, those who believed that God uses prayer to guide their decisions indicated higher wellbeing (4.8).

Effect of adherence to the Christian life

For those who were adherent to the Christian lifestyle (prayer, praise, fellowship, outreach and Bible study) most relied on biblically based wisdom and experience in determining decisions (4.2). After they decided, they most often sought reassurance from a mentor, or believed their decision was biblically based (score of 4.2). They typically believed God uses the Bible to lead them (4.2).

The findings of our survey suggest that Christians generally take decisions seriously basing their choices on what they perceive to be input from God, the Bible or the Spirit. However, those who most closely practiced their Christian walk and who based their decisions on God's word enjoy better wellbeing than other survey participants.

A fuller description of findings can be found on the website http://stage.teleiosresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2017-04-20-Decision-IG.pdf.   
Thanks for joining me today and come again next week as we continue the fruitful exploration of how Scripture helps us.

WC Stewart


Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Are there unbelievers in the church?

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for taking time to read it.

We have started a series on discovering exciting research findings from Teleios! A list of potential benefits in the Bible as shown by Teleios research is found on our home page of our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

Today let’s look at the compelling findings of a recent survey Teleios performed that explored the incidence of tares in the church.  A tare is a plant that resembles wheat but cannot be correctly identified until harvest; so, Jesus’ term means those who appear as a Christian, but really are not true believers. Please read last week’s blog which discussed this fascinating topic.

To investigate the incidence of tares in the church, we performed a survey of users of the Instagram account, Instapray, often visited by young adult Christians. In total, 1526 individuals participated and 73% described themselves as evangelicals. Just over half had at least some college education and the average age was 23.

The key finding in the survey was that while 94% of participants, when prompted by the correct answer, indicated they were saved by grace, while only 16% (78% difference) had the confidence in the knowledge of their salvation to provide a correct answer without a written prompt. Was there a difference in the personal characteristics of the confident group of individuals who indicated without prompting they are saved by grace?

Participants who most confidently identified themselves as saved by grace:

  • Adhered more closely to the practice of their faith (prayer, praise, fellowship, outreach, Bible study, sharing the Gospel)
  • Had greater confidence in the security of their salvation
  • Indicated better personal general wellbeing but also specific measures of wellbeing such as: contentment, peace, joy and purpose
  • Enjoyed reduced guilt levels

The Teleios survey reflects wonderfully how knowing and believing God's word can impact a person's wellbeing. Scripture indicates that our great salvation is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) and those who understand this well enough to confess it without prompting, as well was believing that it cannot be lost, on average enjoy better wellbeing.

Participants who most confidently identified themselves as saved by grace also indicated they had less feelings of guilt. The reduced guilt levels might have resulted by this group’s better understanding of the complete sufficiency of Christ’s forgiveness and that there is no sin so horrendous for which Christ’s precious sacrifice did not atone. Indeed, what a great Savior we have who provides for us every benefit not only to salvation but also a mentally healthy life!

Summary: This Teleios survey suggests that if a young adult who identifies themselves as evangelical can express confidently that they are saved by grace, and actively practice their faith, they may possess higher levels of wellbeing than those who do not. More results are on the Teleios website at: http://stage.teleiosresearch.com/index.php/gospel-survey/.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. I’ll look for you again next week.

WC Stewart


Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What is a tare and why is that a big deal?

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for taking time to read it.

We have started a series on the exciting research findings from Teleios! A list of potential benefits is found on our home page of our website (www.teleiosresearch.com). Today let us explore the incidence of “tares” in the church.

Christ promised in Matthew 13 that there would be tares in the church. A tare is a plant that resembles wheat but cannot be correctly identified until harvest); so, Jesus’ term means those who appear as a Christian, but really are not true believers. Christ indicated tares would be difficult to differentiate from true believers until the end times. Nonetheless, since the church includes unbelievers, we should try our best to discern their identity so we might help them come to faith (1 John 2-4).

We investigated the potential incidence and effect of tares in the church by surveying users of the Instagram account, Instapray, often visited by young adult Christians. In total, 1526 individuals participated and 73% described themselves as evangelicals. Just over half had at least some college education and the average age was 23.

We evaluated the potential incidence of tares by asking participants how they were saved in a multiple-choice question which included no responses indicating ‘saved by grace’. To answer the question correctly the participant had to choose ‘other’ and supply the correct answer.

The second question then asked respondents if they were ‘saved by grace through faith alone.’ After seeing this participants could not return to the prior question and change their answer.

Interestingly, in the first question only 25% knew the correct response was not available and supplied an answer under ‘other’. Of these, approximately 60% included some statement regarding being ‘saved by grace or faith without works’, approximately 16% of the total survey population.

In contrast, the second question, which provided the right answer as a choice, was selected by 95% of participants. These two questions created a spread of 16% - 95% (79% difference) between those who could express salvation by grace without a written prompt versus having to read the correct answer.

This is important to pastors and lay teachers because, it suggests at a minimum, a significant percent of people identifying as church attending evangelicals do not clearly and/or confidently understand their salvation; and might be a tare. Additional survey questions found that these potential tares often demonstrated several other attributes:

  • Reduced adherence to the Christian faith
  • Lower levels of wellbeing
  • Greater levels of guilt
  • Less favorable opinions of church leadership

Why is this information important? It may explain some of the difficulties in the modern church in accomplishing efficient and effective ministry. We found through our prior surveys that a significant minority of congregants come to church with alternative agendas than a biblically based purpose which include reasons of especially power and self-seeking attention.

If the church considers those with persistent alternative agendas, may not actually be Christian, it might help the leadership know how to help them. They need to hear the gospel! All the attention and approbation in the world will not solve their problem. 1 John chapters 2-4 are clear that those who do not agree with the basic doctrine of Christ, do not show love or obedience, other church membership should lovingly question their salvation.

Thank you for joining me today. We'll discover more about the Tare survey results in next week's blog. Please join me then.

WC Stewart


Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Something on which to meditate

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for taking time to read it.

We have started a series about the exciting research findings from Teleios! Our first evidence, presented over the last several weeks, was that peer-reviewed and Teleios sponsored scientific studies support improved wellbeing with Christianity in both healthy individuals and those suffering with disease! A list of potential benefits are found on our home page of our website (www.TeleiosResearch.com).

Today let us explore meditation versus church attendance. Why do that? The world constantly tries to replace God with something they consider just as good that is consistent with their goals. Their biggest desire is to replace God with the state where everyone is individually tethered to the government for their life’s sustenance.

On a more personal level, the world often encourages the practice of meditation as a help to wellbeing. We see this in advertisements, particularly from drug companies, who wish to depict people in some pastoral setting maintaining some impossible postural stance, supposedly taking the company’s new medicine, and enjoying good wellbeing! Of course, God or prayer would never be considered in such ads.

Further, meditation is frequently used in the medical literature as a secular method to increase wellbeing for patients and at the same time avoid suggesting or endorsing religion.1 However, surveys show individuals who attend church, at least occasionally, and the vast majority believe God exists. Our culture generally does not live in fields doing slow motion exercises as depicted on drug advertising. Accordingly, we reviewed the medical literature to compare the effect of meditation to church attendance on wellbeing in physically healthy subjects.

Our review included 37 articles and showed that several types of meditation practices, and church attendance of a variety of denominations, provided improved general wellbeing among physically healthy populations (http://stage.teleiosresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2016-06-25-Meditation-V1.pdf).  

However, such a simple solution as replacing religion with meditation has several potential problems:

·       Meditation is a religiously based practice derived from Hinduism.2 Therefore, the practice of meditation does not completely avoid religion.

·       The long-term effect of meditation over a person’s lifetime has not been well studied. In contrast, historically, people that attended church their whole lives have done so without known general detrimental clinical effects. 

·       Meditation only is practiced by approximately 9% of individuals in the United States; whereas church attendance is a foundational institution in American culture, attended by 70% (at least once monthly to yearly).3,4

·       Christian church attendance is associated with other specific findings, not associated with meditation, which might positively contribute to general wellbeing such as:

o   Community service

o   Prayer

o   Socialization

o   Praise

o   Confidence in a positive relationship with God based in a biblical definition of eternal life as a free gift through faith in Christ’s sacrifice.5-8

·       Further, improved wellbeing is associated with adherence to the Christian walk.  

o   The articles we reviewed did not differentiate the quality of Christian practice of participants, as church attendance is only one activity. Teleios has shown those who adhere more closely to their Christian faith have improved wellbeing. Accordingly, such practices might lead to improved wellbeing over what meditation would allow. A well-designed prospective study would be needed to show this.

o   In contrast, the several medical studies that have showed religion had no positive impact on wellbeing, the practice of the patients’ religion was internal (self-focused) much like meditation is by nature. Christianity at its heart is a service and love for others.

Our review of the medical literature suggests meditation and church attendance may offer a benefit to wellbeing. However, the complete practice of Christianity, which may include church attendance, generally provides better wellbeing than church attendance alone.  

Please join me again next week as we continue to explore exciting results of Teleios’ research and what it means to our lives.

WC Stewart






5.    MacIlvaine WR, et al. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-5.

6.    van Olphen J, et al. Religious involvement, social support, and health among African-American women on the east side of Detroit. J Gen Intern Med 2003;18:549-57.

7.    Ryrie CC. Basic theology. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1999.

8.    MacIlvaine WR, et al. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-82.                         

Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.