In a stunning display of confidence, based on nothing more than wishful thinking, Thomas Midgley addressed reporters in October 1924, and declared that adding lead to petrol would have no adverse health effects whatsoever. He boldly assured the Surgeon General that “the average street will probably be so free from lead that it will be impossible to detect it or its absorption.” All this despite the fact that he was himself recovering from lead poisoning, and of the 49 workers at Standard Oil’s lead facility in New Jersey, 5 were dead and 35 in hospital within days of Midgely’s press conference! Somehow it was approved and for the best part of a century combustion engines the world over pumped out poisonous fumes with lethal consequences.
It just goes to show that no matter how confidently someone may proclaim good news, their claims need to be tested over time to see whether they stack up. Jesus once proclaimed that He had come to ‘bring life and life in all its fullness.’ It’s a bold claim indeed that needs to be tested. But perhaps it’s worth reflecting that when Jesus walked the earth people were dying from lead poisoning while in the 21st century people continue to claim that they are finding new life in Jesus.