Let's Capitalize on Health!

Everyone is interested in health today. This is a wonderful time for us to capitalize on this great issue of health.

CLIFFORD R. ANDERSON, M.D., Washington Sanitarium and Hospital

Everyone is interested in health today. Popular magazines all over the world are featuring articles on health in every issue. 

The latest discoveries of medical science are now common topics of conversation. People everywhere are anxious to learn how to preserve their health. Books on health and diet are sell­ing by the millions. Health lectures are very popular. In spite of atom bombs, people are still anxious to stay alive as long as possible.

This is a wonderful time for us to capitalize on this great issue of health. To no other people has such a comprehensive message been given. Our viewpoint on health is up to date. It is completely in harmony with the teachings of modern medicine. Years ago we were laughed at for our stand on such things as tobacco. But not today. The medical profession now agrees with us on such issues as the smoking of a ciga­rettes. Cancer research workers are continually bringing more evidence to light, demonstrating the close relationship between lung cancer and smoking. In January, 1954, the American Medi­cal Association banned all advertising of tobacco and alcohol in its journals. This is very sig­nificant.

For half a century there has been a steady rise in the sales of cigarettes. But all this has sud­denly changed. The tide has turned, and for the first time in twenty years there has been a marked decline in the sale of cigarettes. Smok­ers are getting scared. The tobacco salesmen are now talking about the "health protection" of filter cigarettes, and some are even claiming "double health protection," whatever that might be. The great disgrace of the radio and tele­vision networks is the advertising of alcohol and tobacco to the children and youth. Surely this is the time when we as a people should be tactfully telling the other side of the story. People are wanting to know the truth. We should be telling them that the more they smoke the sooner they will die.

Take a brief look at the meat industry. No article of diet has seemed through the years to be more secure. And yet nearly every magazine today carries full-page advertisements extolling the "virtues" of meat as a food! Why? Could it be that people are finding something better? We should be guarded in what we say on this debatable issue. It is mentioned here only to show how intensely interested people are in health today.

Health Lectures Break Down Prejudice

Long ago we were told that "medical mis­sionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel, the door through which the truth for this time is to find entrance to many homes," and further, it "will do much toward removing prejudice against our evangelical work."—Evangelism, p. 514. (Italics supplied.) This was our Lord's method of approach. He won the hearts of His hearers by a message that brought healing to both body and soul. Such methods will bring success today.

There are some favored cities, such as Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., where we have large medical institutions. In such places our work is well known to the public. But there are great cities all over the world, where the public have had little or no contact with us as a people. We can hardly hope to establish medi­cal institutions in all of these large centers. The cost of building hospitals is almost prohibitive today. And yet these vast areas all have to be reached before the work is finished.

The "Entering Wedge"

How can we hope to break through in these great centers of population? How can we reach these large Catholic, Moslem, and pagan cities with all their restrictions and prejudice? We may never be able to build fine medical insti­tutions near most of these areas, but we can reach their hearts with a spiritual approach reinforced by an attractive health message over the air. Listen to the servant of the Lord:

"I can see in the Lord's providence that the medical missionary work is to be a great enter­ing wedge, whereby the diseased soul may be reached."—Counsels on Health, p. 535. (Italics supplied.) Multitudes everywhere are searching for a better way of life. Many of them are in­different to spiritual things. They need the "entering wedge" to awaken their interest and bring them to God.

What type of health message should we pre­sent? Should we outline a long list of prohibi­tions concerning diet and bad habits? No, this would only confuse and annoy many of those whom we might reach. Over the air it is best to avoid anything that might be interpreted as narrow-minded or fanatical. There is so much that we can say on the positive side. It is wise to avoid negatives in general. There is nothing evangelistic in a negative approach. We need a broad-minded, soul-winning program with a positive message. Our listeners are looking for something different, something that is practical and uplifting. Let's capitalize on health!

"Your Radio Doctor"

About two years ago A. E. Rawson, radio secretary of the Southern Asia Division, was in America on furlough. Like all good missionaries, he and his wife were thinking how they might enlarge and strengthen their expanding radio ministry in Southern Asia. While in Washing­ton, Mrs. Rawson had to have a major opera­tion. During her recovery from surgery, Elder Rawson felt impressed to try a new approach in helping to reach the hundreds of millions in that vast Southern Asia Division. Many listeners are prejudiced against Christianity, but he thought that some might listen to a message on health. It was his plan to approach Radio Cey­lon with a half dozen health lectures, with the suggestion that they might be broadcast as a public service. So a few sample lectures were prepared and recorded on tape and mailed to Southern Asia. Elder Rawson is a superb sales­man. "Your Radio Doctor" has now been on the air with a new program every week for well over a year, and the listening response has been most gratifying.

To avoid raising prejudice, we were in­structed to omit all references to such things as alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee. These items are advertised over Radio Ceylon to listeners all through the Orient and the Middle East. It was also definitely stated that no mention was to be made of the Bible or Christianity.

At first it was not easy to comply with these restrictions. But soon we found that they were a blessing in disguise. It was not difficult to an­swer a question about lung cancer, and then drop in a word about cigarettes! And in dis­cussing nervous tension, what was more natural than to offer a little medical advice about the excessive use of tea and coffee? An indirect attack is often a much more effective way of handling such controversial topics, and it does not raise anyone's blood pressure!

Having to omit any specific references to Christianity was no great problem. We found there was no objection to our speaking of Daniel as that great prime minister of Babylon, and then casually mentioning his name. We can speak freely about the great lawgiver of Egypt (Moses), and the greatest philosopher of ancient Rome (Paul). We have often quoted the words of Jesus and referred to Him as the Master and the Great Teacher. No objections have been raised thus far. We have also been able to introduce Ellen White by name to our listeners, and have described her on a number of occasions as an outstanding authority on health. We have told the story of her childhood accident and how she was healed by prayer. Many people have sent in for copies of this story in printed form. Our listeners are familiar with her book The Ministry of Healing, for it is quoted frequently.

This indirect approach has brought many interesting and unexpected results. Pastor T. R. Torkelson writes that many Catholics are listen­ing to these programs. One listener from Paki­stan even stays home from the movies rather than miss these health talks. Another writes:

"I was suffering from a nervous breakdown, having been told that the valves of my heart were destroyed. This affected me for almost two years from the time of my son's death, a boy of eighteen who died of tuberculosis. After a time I heard your talk on 'Heart Trouble and Your Nerves.' I began to take courage, and am now quite O.K.—thanks to God and the Radio Doctor. I have a large family of seven children, and I am now able to work as before. Please send the written talks soon, as I am sure I will derive comfort and courage from them instead of going from one quack doctor to another."

Other listeners have written asking for quanti­ties of our literature for use in community centers, Red Cross centers, and clinics The most unexpected recognition has come from doctors and public health officials. One of the leading doctors of the World Health Organiza­tion, a subsidiary of the United Nations, was asked by their representatives in India, Pakistan, and Ceylon to contact us and express their personal appreciation for the Adventist "Radio Doctor" program. In medical circles we could hardly hope for higher commendation. We hum­bly thank God for this wonderful opportunity of helping to carry the message to the unreached millions of Southern Asia.

Identified With Our Church

No attempt is made to camouflage our iden­tity. Each broadcast is introduced as a special presentation of the Voice of Prophecy. At the close the announcer states that this program originates at the General Conference of Sev­enth-day Adventists, and is presented for the benefit and uplift of humanity. All this adver­tising, as well as the radio time, is given to us absolutely free. The worth of this free time has been estimated at more than ten thousand dol­lars per year.

These programs are broadcast each week over short-wave to nearly half the world, without any cost to the Southern Asia Division. People as far away as the borders of Russia are writing in to the Voice of Prophecy in Southern Asia, expressing their thanks for the free medical advice. No technical terms are used in these lectures. Each program is given in simple lan­guage, suitable for all types of listeners.

The present leaders of the Government of Burma are not favorable to Christian missions, and yet they requested the "privilege" of broad­casting our radio health program each week over their network, both in English and in Burmese, at their own expense—and they are doing the translating for us! More recently, C. R. Bonney has begun using these programs on Radio Luxembourg, beaming them to the British Isles. The brethren in Indonesia are translating these lectures for use over their network. This material is also being used by B. 0. Maxson in his radio work in Mexico. At present this is the only type of program we can put on in that country. And we now have the opportunity of broadcasting also over the Ca­nadian network.

Radio stations everywhere are on the lookout for programs that have genuine listener appeal. Well-prepared health broadcasts are usually ac­ceptable. Many stations might consider putting them on free of charge, as a public service. Perhaps the stations over which our ministers are broadcasting might be glad to carry such a program in connection with their work. Listeners can be invited to send in for free copies of these health lectures, and then urged to take the Bible correspondence courses. All such broadcasting should be tied in with the soul-winning agencies of the conference.

Transcriptions of our Radio Ceylon broad­casts are available for any broadcasters who may find opportunity to use them. We believe it is better if such programs advertise either the Voice of Prophecy, Faith for Today, or the local broadcast. Wherever possible, we feel that such a health program should be identified as a special service to the community, presented by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This will help to break down prejudice and make people feel that we are not as odd as they might have been led to believe.

Radio and television are two of God's won­derful agencies for the finishing of the work throughout the world. They are reaching out into almost every home today. What a privilege it is to be able to appeal to people directly in their own homes! Millions of them are perplexed and sick with fear. In their anxiety over what is happening in the world around them, they are destroying themselves with such evil things as alcohol, cigarettes, and harmful drugs. We have a definite responsibility to tell them the truth. We should tactfully present the dan­gers of such evil habits, and show them how to live right.

When Jesus was here He used a healing approach to open minds to receive spiritual things. This is still His chosen method today.

When rightly used, the ministry of healing will break down prejudice and win friends in high places. People everywhere today are longing for guidance and counsel. They want to know how to live right. To us has been given a wonder­ful, life-giving message. Are we making the most of this entering wedge?

Our Lord has shown us how to reach the people of our generation. Why not take advantage of His methods? The right arm can open many doors that are now closed. Let us give the world the ministry of healing. Let's open the minds of the people to receive the message that will prepare them to meet their Lord and Saviour.

Let's capitalize on health!

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CLIFFORD R. ANDERSON, M.D., Washington Sanitarium and Hospital

June 1955

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