God, Doctors, and Drugs!
By William F. Dankenbring
Does God Almighty condemn doctors and drugs, hospitals and medicine? Are all doctors really servants of Beelzebub, the god of this world, Satan the devil? Is modern medicine nothing more than “witchcraft” in the sight of God?
Many have been foolishly misled — deceived — and have suffered the consequences because of their IGNORANCE of the truth regarding this vital question! The truth, and true understanding should not be taken lightly — it could literally SAVE YOUR LIFE, or that of a dear loved one!
Why is it that so many assume that doctors, medicine and drugs are automatically ANTI-God, hostile toward the way of God, and that this article should really be entitled “God Versus Doctors,” or “Faith Versus Drugs”?
What abysmal, darkest ignorance!
What is the truth?
Sadly, millions today trust in a false faith. Thousands have been completely confused about the subject of faith and healing. Many assume that to take any drug or medicine is to show a complete lack of faith in God to heal! And since God says He is our Healer (“I am the Lord that healeth thee,” Exodus 15:26), they refuse to have anything whatsoever to do with doctors, drugs, the medical profession, or hospitals — so long as they have any choice in the matter!
And as a result, far too many innocent people, from the aged to children, have needlessly died!
In the eyes of some, going to a hospital with a sick child shows a serious lack of faith in God, so they stubbornly refuse to see a doctor when a family member becomes ill. To them, such an action is a complete lack of faith. Therefore they refuse medical help.
The Words of Jesus Christ
What greater authority can we have on the subject of healing, doctors and medicine, than the Great Healer Himself Jesus Christ?
Jesus healed more people during His lifetime on this earth than any other human being. He did so supernaturally, with the divine power of God. He had a special GIFT of healing, and performed countless miracles as a SIGN that He was truly the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God!
What, then, did Jesus Himself say that those who are sick and diseased should do? Did He say that they should do nothing? Did He say that they should merely have faith? Did He simply command them to come to Him for divine healing whenever they or a loved one became sick?
At one point in His career, when He was surrounded by crowds of people, Jesus answered this question. He declared to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the time, and to the people: “They that be whole need not a physician, BUT THEY THAT ARE SICK” (Matt.9:12).
What did Jesus mean?
Was He saying exactly what He seemed to be saying — that is, that SICK PEOPLE NEED A DOCTOR? In other words, He told the masses that healthy people don’t need a doctor, but it is sick people who need the services of a physician!
Who said that?
Does that sound like heresy to some? Those were the words of none other than Jesus Christ, the Savior Himself! He simply acknowledged in this verse that sick people do need a physician. What could be more simple and direct than that?
Jesus repeated the SAME LESSON in the book of Mark. He declared: “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick” (Mark 2:17). Or, as the Phillips Version has it, “It is not the fit and flourishing who need the doctor, but those who are ill!”
James Moffatt translates this verse, “Those who are strong have no need of a doctor, but those who are ill.” Check any translation you wish. They are all very much the same. In other words, Jesus plainly said to the people, and to His own disciples, that the SICK NEED A DOCTOR! And He was not referring to Himself. He was illustrating a sound principle.
Will we listen to Christ Himself?
“GOOD…Like a Medicine”
Some have claimed that a medicine is nothing more than a poison. They say that medicines, drugs, cannot HEAL! They say that God is a jealous God, and is jealous of His Divine prerogative as our Divine Healer! For some reason, such people seem to look upon medicines as a false god! The use of medicines, to them, is tantamount to IDOLATRY!
But where did they get that idea?
First of all, medicines are NOT poisons! But the truth is that anything, used to excess — even common, ordinary table salt -becomes a poison!
The dictionary defines a “medicine” as “any substance, such as a drug, used to treat, prevent, or cure disease or improve health.” Even alcohol, or wine, or some other strong alcoholic beverage could be classified as a medicine!
Does the Word of God condemn the use of alcohol, or any other medicine? To the contrary, the apostle Paul COMMANDS the evangelist Timothy, to use this medicine! He says, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities” (I Tim. 5:23)
Wise king Solomon recommended the use of strong drink as a special medicine for people who are suffering greatly, are very close to death, or very depressed. He wrote: “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery (or pain) no more” (Proverbs 31:6-7).
Obviously God does NOT consider good medicines as any sort of idol or false god. He is NOT jealous of medicines at all in fact, He recommends their use! You see, it is God who designed the healing properties of certain plants, drugs, and substances– the calming, relaxing, soothing, restorative, curative, and purgative properties of various substances of the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms. God intended that we discover them, and use them, with wisdom and discretion! God intended mankind to discover the healing properties of quinine, antibiotics, sulfa drugs, digitalis, and other modern medicines, as well as the nutritive values of vitamins and minerals in the human diet.
God’s Word has further instruction about the use of a good medicine. Solomon wrote, “A merry heart doeth GOOD LIKE A MEDICINE…” (Prov.17:22).
What? Read that again! Ponder it! Did you know that? God actually inspired Solomon, in his great wisdom, to write down in Holy Scripture that MEDICINE IS GOOD!
What could be clearer than that?
God’s Word nowhere condemns medicine. Rather, He condemns PAGANISM — worship of any false gods, or pagan idols! The sin of Ahaziah was not going to a doctor, and taking an ancient medicine — it was consulting a pagan god — IDOLATRY!
Notice! King Ahaziah “fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of BAALZEBUB (the “lord of flies”) the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.
“But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise,go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die” (II Kings 1:24).
We read in verse 17, “So he died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken.” Ahaziah’s sin, of idolatry,resulted in his death. But his sin was not taking some remedy,medicine, or ointment for his illness. It was that he scoffed at the true God, and ignored the God of Israel, and his priests,who were learned men in the field of medicine, health,sanitation, and public hygiene (remember, God is the author of the laws of public health and hygiene in Exodus, Leviticus,Numbers and Deuteronomy!), and deliberately consulted an neighboring pagan people’s god! This flagrant idolatry was punishable by DEATH!
Does God condemn anywhere in Scripture the wise and careful use of medicines? Not at all. Rather, during the millennial reign of Christ, God says, “And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow ALL TREES FOR MEAT (food), whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit
thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth NEW FRUIT according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the FRUIT thereof shall be for meat (food), and the LEAF thereof for MEDICINE (Hebrew, “for bruises and sores”)” (Ezek.47:12).
The Hebrew word Solomon used for “medicine” in Proverbs was gehah and simply means “a cure, medicine.” The word Ezekiel used was teruwphah meaning “a remedy, medicine.”
There should be no question or doubt, then, that Almighty GOD approves the proper and judicious use of medicine for the purpose of healing, curing, restoring health, as a remedy for illness!
If anyone wishes to argue about this — let him argue with God!
The WISDOM of Solomon!
Solomon, the wisest man who lived before Christ, understood this fundamental truth many have missed, in their desperate search for faith. He wrote 3,000 years ago about the GOOD that medicine and doctors can do! He sagely admonished us all, “A merry heart doeth GOOD like a medicine” (Prov.17:22). Notice! Here he plainly showed that a medicine can do GOOD — and so can a merry heart!
Are medicines and drugs, taken from plants, herbs, fungi, or other sources in the natural world, purified and refined, wrong for a Christian to take when sick?
Are medicines evil, a thing of horror?
Not according to the teaching of the Holy Word of the living GOD!
God Himself answers this question when He inspired the prophet Ezekiel to write, concerning the future Kingdom of God and the period of time known as the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ: “And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat (food), whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the LEAF thereof FOR MEDICINE” (Ezek.47:12).
The apostle John saw a similar vision of the future Kingdom of God. He declared, “In the midst of the street of it (the New Jerusalem!), and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the LEAVES of the tree were for the HEALING of the nations” (Rev.22:2).
Notice! What purpose do the leaves of the tree serve? Moffatt describes it thus: “Their fruit shall serve for food, their leaves for healing ” (Ezek.47:12).
God designed long ago that there should be HEALING PROPERTIES, medicinal qualities, in leaves, herbs, and various plants! He Himself designed the penicillin mold which grows on old bread! God is the Creator and Author of these things! Should we accuse doctors of “witchcraft” when they are only building on the foundation of knowledge which God has revealed? Of course not!
Isn’t it about time we face up to these facts? Isn’t it time we admit that self righteous, holier-than-thou faith, if it can even be called true faith, is not of God, but is based on sad spiritual ignorance and foolishness?
Remember, God only promises to do for us those things which we CANNOT do for ourselves. He does not turn on the light switch for us when we enter a room. He does not brush our teeth for us in the morning. He expects us to do all we can for ourselves. Faith only involves those things which we CANNOT do!
ONLY GOD Can Heal,
It has been said that only God can heal. In a sense, that is true, because God says He is our Healer (Exo.15:26). However,what many have completely overlooked is the question of HOW God heals. God can heal in many different ways. He can heal directly, supernaturally, instantaneously, miraculously as when Christ performed a great miracle (Mark 6:56). Or He can heal slowly, gradually, letting a sick person mend over a period of time. A nobleman’s son was healed by Christ even though He never went to touch or anoint the child. When the nobleman returned home, he found his son well. “Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house” (John 4:52-53).
God can heal in many ways. Naaman the great Syrian general was offended because God’s prophet told him to go and wash seven times in the Jordan river to be cleansed of his leprosy. Now I warrant you, if he had not obeyed this simple, trivial command, he would never have been healed! But he repented of his anger, and humbled himself, and “went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (II Kings 5:11-14).
God sometimes heals by using natural healing processes. Sometimes He works through the ministrations of nurses and physicians. Sometimes he works through the application of medicine and healing salves and ointments (II Kings 20:7) including a poultice of dried figs. Sometimes He works directly with and even inspires the efforts of human physicians, such as “Luke, the beloved physician” (Col.4:14).
Now stop and think a moment. Luke could not have been called a “beloved” physician unless two things occurred: 1) he was much loved and appreciated for his labors; and 2) his primary labors and work involved being a physician — a medical doctor! In fact, many commentaries show that Luke probably studied at the greatest medical school or university of his time — at Alexandria, Egypt!
On the other hand, some physicians are utterly worthless, men of useless knowledge and no moral character whatsoever. They would be called “bad” physicians — somehow they became licensed, but they have no real knowledge or expertise! It was such physicians Job was thinking about when he described and compared his three friends to “physicians of no value” (Job 13:4).
Jesus met a woman who had “suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse” (Mark 5:26). He healed her of her blood ailment (verses 27-34) because of her faith.
The truth of the matter is, the vocation of physician is a very high, respectable, and worthy calling. It deserves the best that a person can give. It requires great time spent in study -years and years of education at great expense. It is not a vocation we should deplore, sneeze at, ridicule, or thumb our noses at. It deserves the utmost respect and appreciation.
But — and this is very important — we should choose our physicians very carefully! As in any human profession, there are many snakes in the grass, many no-accounts, many ne’er-do-wells, many frauds and charlatans in the medical business! So my advice is, when you are ill — be careful! Don’t just choose whatever physician avails himself — don’t just use the telephone book. You may not know what you are getting. But get reputable advice and sound counsel — find out who is the best in any given area of expertise, and go to the best!
If a doctor restricts himself to “orthodox” or “conventional” medicine alone, he is running on one cylinder instead of eight! You need someone who knows his or her way around the block -someone who:
* Knows many types of therapies for EVERY common disease
* Is responsible to YOU, not his peers or his hospital
* Isn’t hypnotized by drug company claims — and conned by their constant barrage of gifts to doctors
* Has the intestinal fortitude (guts!) to prescribe a course of treatment for you that may differ from “consensus opinion”
* Always tries to uncover the CAUSE of your problem, not just the diagnosis
* Knows which safe and natural therapies will complement your treatment.
You may have to travel out of your area to find such a doctor, but they DO exist.
A close friend of mine’s son had a condition that was completely misdiagnosed by a minister. He thought the child had a demon and suggested that if the child did not obey the parents, he should be thrown out on the street! But the very wise mother took the boy to a highly qualified, highly recommended physician who spotted right away that the boy lacked a particular chemical in his brain. The hospital began treating the boy right away — he was very close to death! — and saved the boy’s life! The boy has made amazing strides ever since as God has blessed and used the physicians’s knowledge to bring gradual HEALING! There was no demon involved at all, except in the superstitious mind of an ignorant man who should have known better!
The truth is, a nation with highly trained and capable physicians is a very blessed nation in God’s sight. This fact is implied by the words of God made to Jeremiah the prophet. God says to His wayward people, “why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold of me. Is there no balm (Hebrew tsoriy, meaning “to crack”, as by pressure; hence to leak; distillation; balm -an ancient painkilling, soothing medicine!) in Gilead? is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jer. 8:19-22).
How plain! Physicians should bring health, healing, recovery from illness! That is the role and function God intended them to perform! But sadly most have gone away from the laws of nutrition and health, and are in ignorance of the basic laws governing human health and vitality which God ordained!
But the point in Jeremiah is clear. Physicians ought to be teaching the people the laws of health and nutrition! They ought to be putting millions on the track to good health! But today we see a world gone astray. Although physicians can do much good, and the medical discoveries in modern times are indeed
breathless and astonishing, nevertheless most physicians have really missed the boat, as many health oriented experts and doctors themselves pro- claim loudly!
Today’s health crisis is frightening. The statistics are alarming. Doctors themselves are perplexed and astounded. Today we are seeing an avalanche of new, never before seen or understood maladies which have no cure — such as AIDS, herpes,new forms of venereal disease, drug-related diseases, immune deficiency diseases, besides mounting hordes of cancer victims and other so-called degenerative diseases. These curses are, as a whole, the result of BROKEN LAW (see Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 for the details which will take your breath away!)!
But rather than change their way of life, and luxury, people as a whole are insensitive to the truth and unwilling to repent. Smokers continue to smoke even though their life expectancy is shortened by many years, and smoking is proven to bring on the onslaught of horrible suffering and painful diseases such as cancer, emphysema and heart disease! Other people have other bad habits which contribute to the scourge of sickness around us.
You should read as much as you can on PREVENTATIVE medicine-there are many good books out there that discuss vitamins, herbs and other forms of alternate medication. Having a good knowledge of what’s available might PREVENT these afflictions from striking YOU and your family! Remember the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure!”
A Personal Example
Can doctors do a lot of good?
Apparently some people distrust doctors so much that they are willing to gamble with the life of themselves, and their own children, rather than see a doctor under any circumstances!
I have already shown you plainly from the inspired and holy Word of God that physicians can have great value and usefulness, and that their calling and vocation is a highly honorable and worthy one, one to be highly esteemed.
Let me give you a wonderful, personal example, if I may. Several years ago my lovely and beloved wife suffered a miscarriage early in the morning, and was bleeding heavily. The bleeding wouldn’t stop. I rushed her immediately down to St. Luke’s hospital, just about a mile from where we lived. It was 6:00 AM in the morning. We entered the emergency room, and they immediately began working on her.
But then a problem developed. I had no “medical insurance” as such at the time, so the question arose as to how I was going to pay the bill (estimated to be about $1000 at the time). Although I had enough money in the bank, to write them a check for the amount, that was not good enough. Since the bank was not open, they could not verify my account balance!
The matter hung in a crisis! I firmly argued with the hospital representatives and insisted that they admit my wife, who was in a life-threatening situation, rather than attempt to send her down to a community hospital in Los Angeles! The whole idea seemed absurd to me! I literally exploded in fiery wrath and indignation on the inside, but kept control of my emotions on the outside. I politely but firmly insisted that they take her in. They then mentioned that perhaps they could, if the doctor who would have to do the operation would agree to it, so I insisted that they call him at home. They did — and God blessed us. He was ready, willing and able to come down immediately.
While on the operating table, my wife’s heart literally stopped beating. The doctor had to apply heavy, intense pressure on her chest, to get the heart beating again! The operation was a complete success, and Cappy was in the hospital only one day.
During this time, she lost quite a bit of blood and was very anemic, and it required about two months of bed rest for her to build up her blood and her strength. During this convalescence, many loving Church brethren brought by dinners, helped with house work, and showed in many ways that they really cared.
But what is the point? Why do I tell you this very personal story?
I do so for your benefit, for your admonition and learning. I do so to show you, from personal experience, that doctors and physicians, although they are human, and not perfect, nevertheless, are often indispensable and invaluable!
Don’t be deceived! Don’t be misled! Learn to appreciate EVERYBODY’S talent, gift, and training and experience! One of my good friends used to be a medical doctor who used to be on the staff of Ambassador College in Pasadena! If it had not been for the concern, care and knowledge of such a man, my wife would doubtless have died!
To this day I thank God, and bless His Name, that He spared her– and used a physician like “beloved Luke” to do it!
The Role of Drugs and Medicine
Many modern medicines and drugs come from plants. These include antibiotics, cardiotonics and certain analgesics. The antibiotic penicillin comes from a mold. Digitalis, used to stimulate the heart, is obtained from the leaves of the purple foxglove, a garden flower. The pain reliever morphine is taken from opium, which comes from the juice of the opium poppy.
Pharmaceutical companies produce other useful drugs from animals and minerals. Insulin is used by millions of diabetics and comes from the pancreas of cattle and hogs. The mineral iodine is used to make tincture of iodine, a liquid that helps prevent infection when applied to cuts and bruises.
Many synthetic drugs have also been created in the laboratory, including aspirin, sulfa drugs, and many sedatives and tranquilizers.
A clay tablet from the ancient Sumerian civilization in the Middle East, dating to about 2,000 years before Christ, lists about a dozen drug prescriptions. An Egyptian scroll from about 1550 B.C. lists over 800 prescriptions and refers to about 700 drugs. The ancient Chinese, Greeks and Romans also used many drugs. Although many of these ancient remedies were useless, some were very effective. The Greeks and Romans, for example, used opium to relieve pain, and took squill, another plant drug, to strengthen a weak heartbeat. The Egyptians discovered the laxative effects of castor oil, and the Chinese ate liver to cure anemia.
The real drug revolution began about 1800 A.D. Since then scientists have discovered hundreds of drugs, the causes of many diseases, and have learned much about how the body functions. In the process, the practice of medicine has been revolutionized. In 1806 morphine was the first plant drug to be isolated from its plant host. Within a few years quinine and other plant drugs were also isolated, enabling researchers to learn more about the composition and effects of plant drugs, allowing them to prescribe them more precisely and with greater understanding and confidence.
Most of the major drugs used today have been discovered since 1900, including the hormones, antibiotics and sulfa drugs. The first barbiturate was introduced in 1903, and barbiturates have since become the most widely used sedatives.
Drugs today benefit mankind tremendously. On the other hand, they can be used improperly and cause great problems. They help cure and prevent many diseases, relieve body pain and tension, and help the body to function properly. But their misuse can lead to addiction for millions of people.
Today man can cure, control or prevent hundreds of diseases through the use of drugs, machines, and surgical operations. Partly as a result of medical progress, people today live longer in the United States than they did just 94 years ago! In 1900 the average life span was 50 years; today it is 71 plus years.
Modern medicine is not mere witchcraft in a new guise, as its accusers would have you believe. It is based on knowledge gained through careful study and experimentation. It seeks to save lives and relieve suffering. Many thousands of men and women in the medical profession spend their lives caring for the sick.
Modern doctors have detailed knowledge of the human body and are specially trained in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. The United States has about 318,000 doctors today who provide medical care. Rigorous training and education is required before a person can become a medical doctor. And as medicine has become more scientific, it has also become more complex. Doctors used to care for patients almost single-handedly. Many visited patients at their home. But today most doctors work as members of a medical team, in association with other doctors, nurses, laboratory workers and other skilled professionals. Because the field of medicine is so complex, many doctors have begun to specialize, and become expert in a very specialized, limited field of knowledge. This contributes to much better health care, on the whole.
One area which is gaining more and more attention is the prevention of illness. However, much still remains to be learned about the role of nutrition, vitamins, and the prevention of illness. Unfortunately, many doctors are very ignorant in this area and are only knowledgeable in their own specialty.
All in all, the story of modern medicine reads like an amazing detective story. The discovery of many of the modern pain killers and therapeutic drugs is an intriguing, fascinating story. The book The Microbe Hunters tells the thrilling saga of the development of modern medicine.
One of the most valuable tools in the modern medical arsenal is drugs. Every year penicillin and other germ killing drugs save the lives of countless victims of meningitis, pneumonia and other infectious diseases. The use of these and other drugs has helped millions of people live longer, healthier lives.
The sulfa drugs, and antibiotics, our greatest germ-fighting drugs, did not come into use until the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Before that time about 25 percent of all pneumonia cases in the United States died from the disease. These drugs quickly reduced the death rate to less than 5 percent!
Nevertheless, drugs are a two-edged sword. They can also cause sickness and death. Even helpful ones can cause harm if used improperly. All chemicals which affect living things can be called drugs. Some drugs can have dangerous side effects, especially if overused. Obviously they should only be used with care and expert guidance from a knowledgeable physician.
Faith AND Works
Although God is our Divine Healer, and His Word is full of promises to heal us when we are sick, was this promise ever meant to REPLACE the wise and prudent ministrations of doctors and highly trained men of medicine, who have spent many years gathering their knowledge and learning their business?
Why is it that so many cannot see through the devil’s ruse. He is the self-righteous accuser of the brethren who says vehemently, “It is doctors OR God — take your choice!” He is the one who claims, “You cannot believe in God and medicine!” “You cannot have faith in God if you put faith in doctors or their medicine!”
It is the devil who tempts people to disobey the Word of God and to refuse the plain words of Christ, who said that indeed the sick are the ones who NEED A PHYSICIAN! And when He said those words, He was not referring to the Divine Physician at all! The Jews knew very well what He meant. They knew He was referring to highly trained, skilled human beings, men educated in medical science!
It is the devil who is always trying to get people to think in terms of “either or.” It is “Either this Or that.” He is the one who sets up the straw questions, in order to confuse people. He says, for example, it is “Either Law OR Grace,” you must make a choice between the two. He fails to tell people that God’s Way is based upon “Law AND Grace.” The devil wants to deceive you into thinking it is “Faith OR Works.” But as the apostle James so clearly wrote, we must combine our faith WITH good works! He declared: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” (James 2:14).
Consider this question. Apply it to a situation where you are sick and in bed with a high fever. Can faith alone save you? Is it enough to merely BELIEVE and claim God’s promises to HEAL you? Is it sufficient to merely ask for prayer and to be anointed?
The principle should be clear. James said, “Notwithstanding, (if) ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”
In other words, if you don’t “take your medicine,” what good will your faith alone do? What does it profit?
James went on: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is DEAD, being alone” (Jas.2:17).
Here is a prime reason so many continue to be sick, and why others have died needlessly! They did not properly combine their faith with works! They stopped short of true righteousness! They trusted in faith alone to save them!
Mere Faith Is Not Enough!
James continued, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works (here is that “Either Or” question again!): shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee MY FAITH BY MY WORKS (James knew it was not a question of one versus the other, one or the other, but a question of faith PLUS works, faith AND works!)” (Jas.2:18).
How clearly this applies to the question of medical science, drugs, medicines, doctors, and hospital! The real question is not whether a Christian should consult doctors, or take medicine prescribed by a doctor, as opposed to simply having faith alone, but whether if he does so he does so IN FAITH IN GOD!
Mere belief is not enough. Mere faith is not enough. God nowhere tells us you should have faith and then do nothing. Rather, He says you should have faith, and then do ALL YOU CAN, humanly, until there is nothing left for you to do!
It is tragic how much suffering is due to sheer ignorance of this well established Biblical principle!
James went on, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils (demons) also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, o vain man, that faith without works is dead?
“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? (This, remember, was an act which God had specifically commanded Abraham to do, as a test of faith! This should not be taken out of context, or construed to mean that you are “offered upon the altar” every time you or your child becomes sick!)
“Seest thou how faith wrought with his works (he DID something! He took immediate and definitive ACTION! ), and BY WORKS was faith made perfect?” (Jas.2:19-22).
James concluded, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (verse 26).
The “works” James is speaking of are the works of righteousness and obedience to the laws of God. Among these laws of God are laws of health, nutrition, sanitation, cleanliness, exercise, proper rest, and the natural laws or properties of medicinal qualities God has placed within various plants and substances. A wise man avails himself of all knowledge when he needs it. He does not dismiss helpful knowledge with cavalier contempt, which he mistakes for “faith.”
The lesson to be learned here, then, is one of right BALANCE! God does not intend for His people to go “off the deep end” on the question of faith! It does not please God to see unnecessary suffering or sacrifice. God nowhere condemns the right use of doctors, drugs or medicines in the pages of the Bible.
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THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
Just how should a LOCAL CHURCH be governed? Does ONE pastor look after a church, or does the Bible indicate that there are a PLURALITY of pastors in each congregation? How about ELDERS and OVERSEERS? What are their functions? What part do TEACHERS play in the local church? Read about the awesome RESPONSIBILITY God places upon His SHEPHERDS; and learn the surprising truth about local church government and how it eventually became PERVERTED!
SHOULD YOU WISH PEOPLE “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”?
Most people living in this day and age rarely, if ever, QUESTION the customs they observe — including that of BIRTHDAYS! Because of the SUBTLE ways pagan observances and beliefs have crept into the “Christian” church, thousands upon thousands of sincere people never question the EVIL behind their use. Are YOU one of them? If you celebrate BIRTHDAYS in any shape, form or fashion you are celebrating a “feast” that God hates — a feast whose origin is deeply rooted in PAGAN GOD WORSHIP and the Mystery Religion of ancient Babylon!
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