Early in the history of our church the Lord "bestowed upon us the great blessing of light upon the health reform, that we may obey the claims which He has upon us, and glorify Him in our bodies and spirits which are His, and finally stand without fault before the throne of God." In the instruction given to the church, we find a picture of activity and accomplishment in medical lines that has never been fully realized.
At the recent Autumn Council, in Battle Creek, a plan was brought forward proposing that the large corps of medically trained workers in our ranks be invited to unite in a nonprofessional, voluntary association under the direction of the Medical Department of the General Conference. The medical leaders from all our sanitariums in North America in their pre-Council session heartily endorsed the plans for this Association, and later the proposal was authorized by the Autumn Council in session.
A complete statement of the plan of organization, the purposes and objectives, the platform of principles, and the organ of communication is included in this number of THE MINISTRY. Briefly stated, the purposes and objectives of the Association are to promote health education and to foster activity in medical missionary lines. All through the years since the founding of this denomination, there has been sounding "a call to medical evangelism." Genuine medical missionary work is prominently emphasized all through the writings of the Spirit of prophecy. This phase of work is said to be "the pioneer work of the gospel. It is the gospel practiced, the compassion of Christ revealed." It is also repeatedly referred to as the "right hand of the gospel" which is to open doors and "prepare the way for the reception of the truth for this time."
Equal emphasis has been given to the need for, and the importance of, health education. "There is a message regarding health reform to be borne in every church. There is a work to be done in every school."
Another brief quotation appears to be particularly pertinent for our time:
"As we near the close of time, we must rise higher and still higher upon the question of health reform and Christian temperance, presenting it in a more positive and decided manner. We must strive continually to educate the people, not only by our words, but by our practice. Precept and practice combined have a telling influence."—"Testimonies," Vol. VI, p, 112.
What group could more effectively take a leading position in this work of education and teaching by precept and example than the medical workers? What could do more to inspire confidence in our health message and stimulate interest in and observance of the authentic instruction given than for the medical group of the denomination to unite, with zeal and earnestness, in properly teaching these principles that make for health, and for mental and spiritual well-being?
If any important, far-reaching results are to be realized, the large army of well-trained medical workers in our ranks must unite and actively enlist in forwarding this important work. There is a mighty task before us. Will you help meet the challenge?
There never was a time in the history of this denomination when a revival and reformation in respect to the health question was more needed than now. Never was there a more propitious time for an advance step in these lines.
"We have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary work. The world is a lazar house filled with victims of both physical and spiritual disease. Everywhere people are perishing for a lack of a knowledge of the truths that have been committed to us. The members of the church are in need of an awakening that they may realize their responsibility to impart these truths."—Id., Vol, VII, p. 62.
Since the work of the gospel minister and that of the medical missionary are not to be divorced, but are to go hand in hand, it seems most fitting that the Medical Missionary Association should choose The Ministry, the official organ of the Ministerial Association, as its official organ and medium of communication, through incorporation of this eight-page Medical Missionary section.
We as medical workers will surely be greatly benefited by the virile, inspirational messages found in The Ministry each month; and it is also our hope that the gospel workers will find help and inspiration from our section devoted to the interests of the Medical Missionary Association. This section is not to be used for departmental propaganda, but is to be exclusively (1) informative, (2) inspirational, (3) for relation of experiences in America and lands overseas, and (4) for helpful outlines, including materials suitable for health talks and demonstrations. Through many contributions from all the groups of members we hope to make this an intensely interesting and profitable section.
Elsewhere in our department you will find the complete plan for the organization which, we believe, adequately sets forth the purposes and objectives of the Association. We urge that you thoughtfully and prayerfully consider this matter. All physicians, dentists, graduate nurses, and dietitians, and other qualified medical workers who are church members, who love our health principles and will volunteer to teach them in a representative manner, are earnestly urged to join this Association.
An effort has been made to reach by letter all medical workers whose names and addresses we have on our roster. Those who read these words but have not received our letter will please write to the Medical Department for complete information and enrollment card. We will appreciate your assistance in helping to make our list of names complete. If you have received your enrollment card, but have not signed it yet, please do so today and send it to the General Conference office along with your subscription to The Ministry. It is important that you begin with the January, 1938, number.
Membership cards will be issued upon receipt of your enrollment application. Wholehearted, concerted, harmonious action on the part of all will bring the desired results.
Welcome, Medical Missionary Members!
M. N. Campbell, Vice-President of the General Conference for North America says—
A hearty welcome is extended to the new member of the General Conference family of interests known as the Medical Missionary Association of Seventh-day Adventists, sponsored and directed by the Medical Department. For many long years we have hoped for just such an organization as this to accomplish for our medical workers what the Ministerial Association has done for our ministers and Bible workers. We believe that a large percentage of our men and women who have taken courses in medicine, nursing, or dietetics, have done so with the expectation of connecting in a definite way with the work of this denomination.
We are most thankful for the large corps of medically trained workers who are giving themselves so devotedly to our organized institutional and conference work. And the fact that many have found it necessary to use their training apart from service in the organized work does not in any sense indicate that they have been any less loyal to the faith than those engaged in denominational employ. Our physicians and nurses are godly and loyal members of the church, and have been willing, when called, to forsake comfortable homes and attractive incomes for the front line in missionary service. A large number are serving the cause in local church relationships, and by their labors and contributions have proved strong defenders of the faith. They, too, have long felt the need of some sort of leadership in the promulgation of the health principles of the church such as is now afforded through this Association.
Choosing The Ministry as the medium for voicing its sentiments, this newborn Association is brought into closer relationship with the gospel ministry, and the two arms of the body are thus enabled to work more closely together. As the song expresses it: "In all sorts of weather we'll all work together, and see what can be done."
It is high time the health principles vouchsafed this people were given their rightful place in our work. There has been a woeful departure on the part of many from the light that Heaven has caused to shine upon our pathway. This backsliding from divine counsel has weakened the strength of such, both physically and spiritually. Our health teachings are a blessing to all who accept and follow them. On the other hand, much prejudice has been awakened over extreme or fanatical presentations of so-called health reform by persons who were entirely unqualified to engage in such teaching. These two extremes we are to avoid. And such is the program of this new Association.
We believe we shall now have the organized cooperation of many who by education and experience are fully qualified to set these principles in a proper light before the public and our own people as well, and thus we shall regain the ground we have lost while the health work was allowed to languish. With the Medical Department of the General Conference reorganized and greatly strengthened; and the Medical Missionary Association developed and functioning in a strong way, we entertain high hopes for the return of all of our people to the better way of living. And we are convinced that our medical workers who have labored on through the years will find new inspiration in the plans that are being laid to lift up the health principles to the level specified by divine, counsel. May God bless the new Medical Missionary Association and its full membership!