Medical Evangelism for Ministerial Workers

All gospel workers' should have some medical training.

DUNBAR W. SMITH, M.D., Associate Medical Secretary, Southern Asia Division

Many are the counsels of the Spirit of prophecy that place a strong emphasis on the importance of gospel workers' having some medical training. Here are just a few:

"I wish to tell you that soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical mission­ary work."—Counsels on Health, p. 533.

"As religious aggression subverts the liberties of our nation, those who would stand for freedom of conscience will be placed in unfavorable positions. For their own sake, they should, while they have opportunity, become intelligent in regard to disease, its causes, prevention, and cure. And those who do this will find a field of labor anywhere."—/bid., p. 506."So far as possible it would be well for evangelical workers to learn how to minister to the necessities of the body as well as the soul, for in doing this, they are following the example of Christ."—Re­view and Herald, Sept. 10, 1908.

"All gospel workers should know how to give the simple treatments that do so much to relieve pain and remove disease. . . ."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 ff."— Ministry of Healing, pp. 146, 147.

"The minister will often be called upon to act the part of a physician. He should have a training that will enable him to administer the simpler remedies for the relief of suffering. Ministers and Bible workers should prepare themselves for this line of work; for in doing it, they are following the example of Christ. They should be as well prepared by education and practice to combat disease of the body as they are to heal the sin-sick soul by pointing to the Great Physician. They are fulfilling the com­mission Christ gave to the twelve and afterwards to the seventy, 'Into whatsoever city ye enter, . .  heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.' Christ stands by their side, as ready to heal the sick as when He was on this earth in person."—Medical Ministry, p. 253.

David Livingstone said, "When God sent His only Son into the world, He sent Him as a missionary and as a physician." Jesus came as our example in how to labor for souls as well as in holy living. With only three and a half years of public ministry, about half the term of missionary service in a foreign field, He organ­ized and established the greatest institution the world has ever known, the Christian church. It comes as a surprise to know that during those three and a half years "Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching."—Min­istry of Healing, p. 19.

Jesus intended that the Christian ministry should combine in its service the work of teach­ing and that of healing. He said, "As my Father bath sent me, even so send I you" (John 20:21). When He sent forth the ordained ministers He commanded them "to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:2). Later when He sent the seventy representing lay par­ticipation in the gospel program, their commis­sion was, "Heal the sick . . . , and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Luke 10:9). Again just before returning to heaven, in His last message to the church, His command is, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . . Lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:15, 18).

Believing, in the light of the foregoing, that some medical training would be of great value to the workers of the Southern Asia Division, the Surat Mission Hospital administration is authorized by the Southern Asia Division to offer a six-week course in medical evangelism. Six weeks is a short time, but by choosing good students and offering a concentrated program of study and lectures, a great deal of informa­tion of a practical nature is added to the arma­mentarium of the evangelists and any other workers who may attend.

Curriculum of the Course

The curriculum is as follows:

First Aid-18 hours. This is a comprehensive course dealing with bandaging, lifesaving, and other first-aid procedures. It is planned that the students take the regular examinations and re­ceive certificates. There are many occasions in the villages where an evangelist with this train­ing can be of great service to his fellow men. Hydrotherapy-24 hours—including the les­sons as prepared by the General Conference Medical Department, with practice under care­ful supervision.

Horne Nursing-24 hours—with instruction in methods of caring for the sick in the home, use of thermometers, et cetera.

Nutrition-18 hours—stressing the impor­tance of a healthful, balanced, diet, and how to prepare it for the average Indian family. India has foods that, rightly combined and prepared, would make as good a diet as could be obtained anywhere. Instruction in the use of these foods along with instruction in the doctrines of the Advent faith would go a long way to help prepare the people for the coming of the Master.

Principles of Sanitation-24 hours. Much of the disease in India is due to poor sanitation.

Why should not the evangelist instruct and help the people for whom he is working, to improve their sanitary facilities?

Health and the Spirit of Prophecy-18 hours. This is given so that the teaching of Mrs. E. G. White in regard to the principles of health re­form might be understood.

Medical Evangelism-18 hours, which in­cludes symptoms and simple remedies for common diseases; how to use a medical approach to awaken an interest in Bible studies, and how to give health talks.

Medical Ethics-6 hours. Some additional time is devoted to orienting the students in regard to medical ethics. The six-week course in medical evangelism is not for the purpose of training medical practitioners. Our evangelists with this training should, however, be able in time of disaster, as well as on other occasions, to cooperate fully with accredited medical men. This training program is under the direction of Ruth White, R.N., B.Sc. Instructors include joelle Rentfro, M.D., Rodney Davidson, physi­cal therapist, Mrs. Rodney Davidson, R.N., Anbu Arthur, R.N., and the writer.

A class of ten is taken at a time. The response from the field is enthusiastic. The first group to take this course included a conference president and a group of workers who are shortly to carry the banner of the cross into the previously unentered territories of Kashmir, Kulu Valley, and the Himalaya mountain back-country. It is planned that other hospitals in Southern Asia will soon offer similar courses.

We trust that as these workers continue in further service they will enjoy the success prom­ised in the following quotation:

"In new fields no work is so successful as medical missionary work. If our ministers would work earnestly to obtain an education in medical mis­sionary lines, they would be far better fitted to do the work Christ did as a medical missionary. By diligent study and practice, they can become so well acquainted with the principles of health reform, that wherever they go they will be a great blessing to the people they meet."—Medical Ministry, p. 239.


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DUNBAR W. SMITH, M.D., Associate Medical Secretary, Southern Asia Division

March 1955

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