Time to Wake the "Sleeping Giant"

AS the pastor answered her knock, a breathless little lady burst into the church office. "Tell me," she blurted, "do you really do all that here?"

-Ministerial secretary of the Far Eastern Division at the time this article was written

AS the pastor answered her knock, a breathless little lady burst into the church office. "Tell me," she blurted, "do you really do all that here?"

"Why, I'm not sure," he answered. "What are you talking about?"

"Those words out there on the cornerstone of the church," she replied. "The ones that say, 'Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.' Do you really do all that? I need to know." The pastor, not having even noticed the inscription before, stammered and stuttered and tried to give the best answer he could under the circumstances.

The sad thing about it all is that so many of Christ's disciples today are not even aware that most of these kinds of things are part of the ministry of the church.

This is so in spite of the fact that His intention in giving this instruction to His followers in Palestine was that it should be a demonstration of how His church was to carry on its work from that time until His second coming. The church, however, seems to be asleep to its responsibility in fully carrying out the wealth of instruction we have on medical missionary work.

Napoleon has been credited with the statement, "China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep on for God only knows what will hap pen if she wakes up."

It would seem appropriate to declare that the - Seventh-day Adventist Church, too, is a sleeping giant, a long way behind its potential. That it has the potential, however, for fulfilling a worldwide responsibility is evident because:

1. Sufficient manpower is available as far as numerical number is concerned.

2. The message for the world has been clearly defined.

3. There is no dearth of methods for reaching the individual soul or the masses.

4. The means for financing global operations is in the hands of adherents and friends.

5. Motivation is not lacking. Listen to the prayers, conversations, and sermons. Read publications. There is a burden of heart.

6. Power is available. "But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect ... to the ends of the earth . . ." 1

In spite of all this potential, something is holding the church back. True, advances are being made in specific fields of endeavor and in many geographical locations. When we consider it thoughtfully, however, we recognize that the accomplishments are small compared to the potential, the need, and that which will be realized before the "well done thou good and faithful servant" is heard.

A vital, if not the major, factor which has brought on this condition in the church is that so many of us fail to grasp the concept of the salvation of the whole man. Great emphasis has been placed upon the spiritual phase of life in the building of a character that will be taken to heaven. The importance of the mental has been highlighted through concern for the avenues to the mind and soul. Strange, but true, the third major area of life the physical has been largely neglected. The rationale behind this appears to be Why be over-concerned? The body is mortal. God will give it immortality at the Second Advent. It could not possibly be as important as the mind and the soul.

But, frankly, haven't we inverted our values? Someone has said, "We are straight on the state of the dead. We know all the texts and can refute the arguments, but when it comes to the state of the living we are confused in our values." A careful study of inspiration will reveal that knowing what happens to man at death is vital, but really more important is knowing how to live. "You shouldn't leave the more important things undone." 2

The importance of the body is certainly pointed out in the following words: "The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character." 3

The question of whether or not this concept is Biblical is quite adequately covered by two statements the apostle Paul makes. "And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy the kind He can accept. . . . Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world. . . ." 4 "May the God of peace himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again." 5

It is clearly the emphasis of Scripture that salvation is three fold, including the spirit, mind, and body. These three areas of concern are interrelated. What affects one affects all. When a sanctified mind is in control, the body will not be abused. Under the blessing of God, health will abound for the one who not only recognizes the importance of concern for the whole man, but who acts in accordance with sound principles of healthful living.

Scripture reveals that, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," 6 and "the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." 7 Not only has each individual collectively sinned against God, but each of the three areas has been affected. Sin affects spirit, soul, and body. All have sinned, but the good news is that Jesus came to bring complete restoration of all that was lost.

Christ's mission and its possibilities are pointed out in the fol lowing words: "It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration; He came to give them health (physical) and peace (mental) and perfection of character (spiritual)." 8 It is important to note that restoration is not complete unless it includes the physical, mental, and spiritual. Concerning Christ's ministry to the complete man we are told, "From Him flowed a stream of healing power, and in body and mind and soul men were made whole." 9

Focusing our attention upon man as he stood before his Creator in Eden, we see that at the close of the sixth day all creation, including man, was "excellent in every way." 10 In relationship to man this could only be true as man was sound, excellent, or completely whole in body, mind, and spirit. "Their countenances glowing with the tint of health . . . they bore in outward appearance the likeness of their Maker. . . . Every faculty of mind and soul reflected the Creator's glory." 11

That God set into operation fixed laws for all creation is quite clear in Scripture. "After his kind" involves chemistry, cell, tissue, organ, system, and body, which just could not be the product of mere chance.

Dr. Clarence Cook Little has aptly written, "We are familiar with the great diversification of activity in a large city. It does not seem possible that our own bodies could quietly and steadily be carrying on a more complicated and extraordinary process of manufacturing, storage, repair, communication, transportation, police, waste disposal, administration, food production, temperature control. Yet it is true." 12 The complexity of just one cell, the intricate interaction between the multitudinous interrelated parts of the body, and the wonderful satisfaction that can result from harmonious action defies description. Anyone who has studied anatomy, physiology, bio chemistry, or any other of the sciences related to the study of the human body, knows that the body can function adequately only as prescribed principles or laws are in operation.

"The living being is stable. It must be so in order not to be destroyed, dissolved, or disintegrated by the colossal forces, often adverse, which surround it." 13 This allusion to the principle of homeostasis of the body by the French physiologist, Charles Richet, reminds us that unless there is natural law to govern the created, its existence is in jeopardy.

It has been proved countless times both in controlled experiments of the laboratory and in everyday life that a knowledge of the laws of the body and adherence to them bring positive results. Ignorance and willful neglect of those same basic principles require a dreadful toll. The law, "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," 14 still works daily and realistically.

Summarizing the above, we see clearly why the physical element is included in the plan of salvation.

1. God created man in His own likeness physically, mentally, spiritually.

2. Man, though composed of physical, mental, and spiritual areas, is one inseparable unit. What affects one, affects another.

3. The Creator set into operation laws to govern all creation physically, mentally, and spiritually.

4. Basic health principles are scattered throughout Scripture. The largest concentration is found in the writings of Moses.

5. It is important to note that the large percentage of natural laws are unwritten in Scripture. Principles are there, but the actual laws have been discovered as man has studied, experimented, and observed the functions of the body.

6. Continued balance, stability and growth are dependent upon adherence to those laws.

7. Man sinned and came short of God's image in the physical, mental, and spiritual areas of life.

8. Christ came to seek, save, and restore physically, men tally, and spiritually.

9. The body is the medium through which mind and soul are developed for the building of character.

10. To neglect the natural laws is as disastrous as neglect of the moral.

With this in mind we must look ahead. What about the future? What is the gospel that is so urgently needed in the church and by the world? Listen! "The very essence of the gospel is restoration. . . ." 15 Physical healing is bound up with the gospel com mission so intimately that "teaching and healing are never to be separated." 16

A basic knowledge of physiology and hygiene is not only beneficial but necessary if one is to honor the Creator in all things. An understanding and faithful practice of the essentials involving air, water, sunshine, food, exercise, rest, and temperance are as necessary to making and keeping man whole as a willingness to live in harmony with the moral law.

We know that "sinful indulgence defiles the body, and unfits men for spiritual worship. He who cherishes the light which God has given him upon health reform, has an important aid in the work of becoming sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality. But if he disregards that light, and lives in violation of natural law, he must pay the penalty; his spiritual powers are be numbed, and how can he perfect holiness in the fear of God?" 17

We should ever keep in mind that "God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health, and make no efforts to prevent disease. . . . Those who will gratify their appetite, and then suffer because of their in temperance, and take drugs to relieve them, may be assured that God will not interpose to save health and life which are so recklessly periled." 18

The counsel of the apostle James seems particularly pertinent in this respect, "Remember . . . that knowing what is right to do and then not doing it is sin." 19 Isn't it time to awake and shake off the apathy, which has benumbed us as a church for so long? Natural law for the physical body is certainly as vital as moral standards for the spiritual. Man is threefold, but one being. There is one God with divine law for the benefit of the whole man.

Is not the understanding and practice of healthful living as a basis for sanctification a "sleeping giant" among us? If so, imagine what will happen if this giant wakes up.


REFERENCES

1. Acts 1:8, The Living Bible.

2. Matthew 23:23, The Living Bible.

3. Ellen C. White, The Ministry of Healing, p.

4. Romans 12:1, 2, The Living Bible.

5. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, The Living Bible.

6. Romans 3:23.

7. Luke 19:10.

8. Ellen C. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 17. [Words in parentheses supplied.]

9. Ibid., p. 17.

10. Genesis 1:31, The Living Bible.

11. Ellen C. White, Education, p. 20.

12. Reader's Digest, Our Human Body, p. 8.

13. L. L. Langley, M.A., Ph.D., Homeostasis, p. 2.

14. Galatians 6:7.

15. Ellen C. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 824.

16. Ellen C. White, The Ministry of Healing, p.

17. Ellen C. White, Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 10.

18. Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, pp. 13, 14.

19. James 4:17, The Living Bible.


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-Ministerial secretary of the Far Eastern Division at the time this article was written

June 1973

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