The first aim of every minister and every physician should be to rescue souls from ruin. How this is to be done, and the most effective means of doing it in the shortest time, is our chief concern today. Over and over again in the Spirit of prophecy we are admonished that the ministry of health and the ministry of the Word should not be divorced.
"If our physicians and our ministers can work together in the presentation of truth to the people, more can be reached than could be influenced by the minister laboring alone."—Medical Ministry, p. 263.
In the recent evangelistic effort here in Columbus, we have endeavored to carry out this counsel with B. P. Gernet, the pastor of the church. Because of the special music and other attractions on Sunday night, it was thought best not to have the medical lecture preceding the sermon, but to present it on Monday evening, when the entire evening could be devoted to this feature.There were several disadvantages at the outset —all the stores were open on Monday night, the school auditorium was not too accessible, and I was in the midst of establishing myself in private practice in this city. The medical profession always puts a new doctor on trial, and certainly any form of advertising would be unethical. So the medical subjects were put on the handbills, which were distributed each week, but no doctor's name appeared. It was stated only that they would be given by a medical lecturer.A dignified program was prepared, with the subjects outlined as shown [page 33]. The proprietress of the most distinguished restaurant in Columbus said she never put anyone's programs on her tables, but she called up and asked for five hundred of my programs to place before her high-class guests. These she distributed freely at first, but later on she felt it was too closely related to a religious setting.Our, health lectures have been well attended. So far as possible we have endeavored to make use of visual education. The people's interest is held if they see something going on.The room should be made attractive with posters on health. Displays of health foods, donated by our own factories and local companies, always add interest. On certain evenings we pass out balanced menus and suggestions on health principles. The health magazines and small books are always on a small table for display or for Sale. When I spoke on vitamins, a number of attractive trays were set up, so that the people could see which foods contained specific vitamins. On the evening a food lecture was to be given, we served a special whole-wheat cracker and a small square of pecan loaf. The lecture on home treatments was ably demonstrated by hydrotherapy treatments given by nurses from the Harding Sanitarium.Nearly all other lectures are illustrated by colored slides. The one on cigarettes will be emphasized by injecting a small white mouse with the vapor of the smoke from one cigarette. (It expires immediately.) Burning a one-dollar bill (a bill can be salvaged if only one half is burned) and telling how much is spent in this country in one year for tobacco, is always impressive. (Borrow the dollar from a prominent smoker, if possible.)
One has to get right out into the laboratory of human relations, as carried out in the field, to see the great need of the, "right arm." Here one can observe the benefits of the union of medical and gospel ministry. In verity the medical work is the gospel in practice.
Too often our ministry has been carrying on a left-handed work, not so effective as it would have been had the "right arm" been released from its sling and put to work. The right arm is to open doors. Just for one day try opening all the doors you pass through, with the left hand. How awkward it seems! How many movements and steps one must make before one can finally pass through the doorway.
The medical work has been largely devoted to the practice of medicine, and too often the dollar sign has obscured the true vision of the medical ministry. Now there are new visions before us. God in His mercy is impressing the hearts of His faithful servants with the importance of carrying out His program. Satisfying results will follow.
We revere some of our stanch Christian doctors who have always held high the principles of health reform, and who today are endeavoring to establish this service in its rightful place. God is setting His hand to the finishing of His work. Winston Churchill said, "We will do the job if you will send us the tools." We can finish the job, because we have the tools to do it with.
In His Word God has united these two lines of work, and no man should divorce them. (Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 289.) After the scales of moneymaking and professional success fall from our eyes, these gems of truth found in the Spirit of prophecy shine forth in their clearest luster.
It is my firm belief that before an evangelistic effort is started a solid foundation should be laid. To start out, some lively, interesting cooking schools should be held for our church people, to which they may invite members not of our faith. Several of these classes could be held in various parts of the city, if necessary. An interested nucleus of many influential persons would follow into the medical lectures which could then be blended in.
As centers of friendly interests spring up in various parts of the city, when the evangelist comes in, he has an attentive following from the first. There is not that cold prejudice to break down. The minister should meet with the schoolof-health classes a few times, and people will be drawn to his meetings. Moreover, these people will be confirmed in the faith. They are stabilized because of the appeal of a rational health-giving program. With this strong foundation, it is not an emotional mass movement which passes as soon as the occasion is over. Conversion often has its Waterloo at the table.
There is a peculiar sense of pleasure in having a part in this great program. I am sure that the founders of our medical college would be delighted to see her sons and daughters devote more of their God-given time and talent to this work of health education and soulsaving.