After six years of work in the medical college, as director of the department of Medical Evangelistic Field Training, it is my conclusion that we as a people have not yet realized or appreciated the great possibilities of medical evangelistic work in proclaiming our message. The time has come when gospel ministers and workers should begin in earnest to train for work in medical missionary lines. The Spirit of prophecy outlines the future for us thus:
"I wish to tell you that soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical-missionary work. The work of a minister is to minister. Our ministers are to work on the gospel plan of ministering. . . . You will never be ministers after the gospel order till you show a decided interest in medical-missionary work, the gospel of healing and blessing and strengthening."—"Counsels on Health," p. 533.
In view of some of these startling statements, we here at the college have tried to give the students a practical medical evangelistic training in the field. The Lord has given us blessings that have been far beyond our expectations, for in the student efforts that we have conducted in the last six years, we have baptized over three hundred persons. This has given the students a helpful and inspiring experience.
Perhaps some of the ministers are a little afraid to push the medical work to the front in a big campaign, for fear it might hinder the attendance, but they need have no fear if it is conducted along right lines. The world is health conscious, especially in reference to diet. We always have classes in dietetics and home nursing. It is a very good plan to have a series of lessons written out, and then, before the classes start, to arrange with a goodly number of people to take the work. "Every gospel worker should feel that the giving of instruction in the principles of healthful living, is a part of his appointed work. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it."--"Ministry of Healing," p. 147.
At the present time, the students of the Medical College have erected a tent nearby which they have named "The Medical Evangelistic Tent." Every night in the week, except Saturday, the students combine preaching the gospel with teaching health principles. The effort is conducted along regular evangelistic lines. The medical student giving the health talk takes half of the time, and the student presenting the religious topic takes the other half.
Suggestive First-Week Subjects
Health Topic—"Religion, Health, and Science." Religious Topic—"Wonders of Creation."
Health Topic—"Correct Habits of Eating." Religious Topic—"A Message to You From Sun, Moon, and Stars."
Health Topic—"How to Have a Contented Mind."
Religious Topic—"Will the Old Book Stand ?"
Health Topic—"The Etiology of Diseases." Religious Topic—"Seven Prophetic Words That Are Breaking the League of Nations." THURSDAY NIGHT
Health Topic—"Masterpiece of Creation."
Religious Topic—"The Rocks Are Telling."
The medical evangelistic work grows as the people begin to realize its worth and dignity. This sort of program builds body, mind, and soul. Our tent seats between four and five hundred people, and it has been well filled. The interest has been excellent, even though we have had over sixty different speakers. Once the medical students see the joy of linking the medical and evangelistic phases of our message, their sphere of influence is greatly enlarged.
This past week, the wife of one of our doctors came into my office and said, "Brother Seat, my husband is having the most glorious time of his life doing medical evangelistic work." Then she went on to tell that he had been invited to speak in the Baptist and Methodist churches in his city. Largely through his personal effort, he and others raised up a church of over forty-two members. I asked her if it didn't hurt his practice or his standing professionally. She said absolutely not, his practice was steadily growing. He did it all in answer to invitation; so he was keeping within the ethics of his medical profession.
Typical Encouraging Experiences
Other doctors have paid for literature which other church members have distributed. When an interest was developed in this way, the conference sent an evangelistic tent to the town, and as a result, several churches were raised up. After a church is raised up, the local doctor is frequently chosen elder in that place, and shoulders a heavy responsibility there. "Our medical missionaries ought to be interested in the work of the conferences, and our conference workers ought to be as much interested in the work of our medical missionaries."—Ellen G. White Manuscript 40, 1904.
Last month one of our doctors was making a professional call on one of the patients who had spent some time in the White Memorial Hospital. The man told him that he wanted to become a Seventh-day Adventist. This doctor and I partook of the Lord's supper with him. I asked him, "Why did you make up your mind to become a Seventh-day Adventist ?"
He answered, "It was the sweet Christian way in which those nurses and doctors treated me." Especially did he refer to the doctor present. He went on to say that it was not because of any one's urging him, but just the quiet Christian influence that emanated from those who were responsible for his medical care. This man was a Jew. He knew that we were Christians, but had bought a Bible unknown to us, and had found for himself the truths of Jesus in His word.
One Sabbath, while distributing literature before church, our Bible worker met three little children who asked if they could attend our Sunday school. the next day. She informed them that we didn't have it the next day, but that she would ask their mother if they could come the next Sabbath. Upon entering the home, she found the mother very ill, and immediately began to put into practice the principles of medical evangelism. She arranged for one of our consecrated doctors to give the mother medical attention. Her husband had been out of work ; so they couldn't bear the expense, but she was taken care of just the same. The woman and her sister shed tears of joy because the Lord had sent this medical missionary to them. They expressed their determination to attend the Adventist church and find out what we teach as the truth from the word of God. Thus the health reform message was again used as an "entering wedge."
Nothing can take the place of medical-missionary work when it comes to opening doors for the reception of this precious truth.