The Advent Movement | Survey 17, Part 1

–The Gospel of Salvation for Body & Mind–


God’s plan, as revealed by Jesus for His church, is that through the church shall be ministered to men health for the body and salvation for the soul. Those two things belong together, not accidentally, but they’re planned. Please put down in your notes Matthew 4:23. There we read, concerning Jesus in the beginning of His ministry, that He went about all Galilee teaching, preaching, and healing. His instruction to the 12 as He sent them out was that they were to unite the preaching and the healing. He said:

Freely ye have received, freely give. – Matthew 10:8

The 70 likewise were given that double commission:

Heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. – Luke 10:9

When Jesus left His church and went up to Heaven, He left behind the double commission:

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. – Mark 16:15-18

Thus we see that our dear Lord, in establishing the church, gave the force of His example and the power of His precept to this concept: that healing the sick and preaching the truth are two parts of one great whole. The gospel of salvation for body and mind.

In Matthew 19:6, Jesus says that what God has joined together man should not separate. God has joined these two things together, and that Biblically-stated principle is definitely applied to this subject.

In the work of the gospel, teaching and healing are never to be separated. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 141

As one of our teachers at the medical college used to say, “Never is not very often, is it?” We are told what to expect as we unite these two:

It is as these two lines of work are united that we may expect to gather the most precious fruit for the Lord. – Medical Ministry, pg. 27

Now if you were the devil, what would you do about it? Wouldn’t you try to separate them? Wouldn’t you try to keep them separated? Yes. But thank God, in this movement and in this message, God has placed these two in such relationship that neither can function as it should without the other. It is through the blended ministry of these two phases that the purpose of this message is yet to be realized. This is why God put health reform and medical missionary work in this movement. He put it there by revelation.

In a past study, we reviewed a wonderful revelation that came June 6, 1863, in the little farmhouse at Otsego, Michigan, where the Spirit of God came upon Ellen White; and the great subject of health reform was opened before her. About two and a half years later, at Rochester, New York, on Christmas day, another great vision opened to her the importance of our people having an institution. Its function, its work, and its plan all were described. That concept came to be represented by the word “sanitarium.”

In those two great visions, with many other visions that followed through the years, God gave to this people a wonderful plan with two great objectives. One was to get this people ready for the coming of Jesus in body, mind, and soul. The other was through this message and ministry of love to make friends, melt hearts, and prepare the outside public to receive the message of Seventh-day Adventists concerning Biblical truth. Those are the two great purposes.

Medical missionary work and health reform still have those two great objectives – to prepare our own people for the coming of Jesus, and to melt and win the hearts of those around us to whom we minister in practical ways. As we have indicated, Satan would try to separate this health reform medical missionary program from the ministerial, evangelistic, doctrinal, soul-winning work of the church. He knows that neither is complete without the other. As we shall see in our class today, he worked through both sides to accomplish this separation.

We are dealing especially with the 1880s and 1890s. On the one hand, there came to be an attitude (on the part of many of the ministers and many of the lay members) a lack of interest in health reform, a failure to carry out the health reform, and with it, as a natural result, a spirit of criticism and ridicule and opposition toward those who were teaching it and carrying it out.

All that was bad enough. If it had stopped there, the history that we have to tell today would have been entirely different. But it didn’t stop there. As many of the ministry and many of the church ignored or opposed health reform, and criticized and ridiculed those who promoted it, there was a reaction on the part of the medical missionaries, the doctors and nurses, and those who were in sympathy with them in this great work of health reform and medical missionary ministry. They began to criticize the ministry and the church for failing to live out health reform, and for failing to put their strong influence behind the medical missionary program.

As a result, they became independent. They tended to put a disproportionate emphasis upon the humanitarian work of looking after the orphans, caring for the needy, and looking after the poor, especially in the slums of the cities. Their work came to take on more and more the atmosphere of the Salvation Army methods and the good humanitarian work of other denominations and other medical missionaries who were laboring to lift humanity without paying any attention to the distinctive doctrinal truths of the Third Angel’s Message.

We will go into the references on what I have just been giving you. But I wanted to give you that little “bird’s-eye view” of the picture. In the latter part of the period we’re discussing, there came to be also some doctrinal differences. Dr. Kellogg led out in teaching a type of instruction regarding the body and mind and soul, which was a kind of pantheism and taught that God was in everything.

This came to be a vital issue as the conflict came out into the open. But these other things that I have mentioned were deep, basic, underlying causes that went back through the years. In Elder D.E. Robinson’s book The Story of Our Health Message, he has summarized these different basic causes in a very fine way. In the closing paragraphs of his chapter “Variant Views Arise,” you will find some of these points mentioned as a summary. You should give this chapter careful study.

Speaking of the first point that I have mentioned, he lists as the first element in this whole problem a trend on the part of ministers and lay church members to ignore or to oppose some of the principles of health reform as they had been accepted and taught in the earlier days. Then he goes on to mention the reaction and some of the other elements.

I say, parenthetically: As we study these various points, it would be well to ask ourselves, “How many of these ingredients are with us today?” As the servant of God, instructed in vision, viewed these developing trends, her soul was drawn out in longing that the health reform and medical missionary work should occupy their true place in this denomination, should not pull off to one side, and should not be pushed off to one side.

And so she labored earnestly. She was pleading with the medical missionary workers to fill their proper place in the church and not to pull away. She was pleading with evangelistic workers to give the proper place to medical missionary work by uniting the medical workers with them in their work of evangelism in the churches, and also to study physiology, to learn health reform, to teach it, and to practice it themselves. In other words, the concept that the Spirit of Prophecy gives us of the union of the medical and evangelistic is that both are to be united in every member of the church.

That is not to do away with the idea that there should be ministers who spend their time largely in evangelism, and doctors and nurses who devote much of their time to the ministry of the sick. But these two groups can never be united as God intended they should be united unless the truths that they represent are united in each individual. And it’s that concept that should greatly impress us as we read the various references today.

Anticipating what we shall be studying, we shall find that the division between these two great parts of the church finally became so great that the Battle Creek Sanitarium passed out entirely from the control of the denomination. Dr. Kellogg and some associated with him were entirely outside the denomination. And the medical missionary work has never, from that time to this, recovered its proper ratio in relationship to the cause as a whole.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that it was dealt a “death blow.” We’ve always had a medical missionary program – before Dr. Kellogg came along and after he left us. But I simply state a fact when I say that, at the peak of Dr. Kellogg’s work around 1900 and 1901, the ratio of the medical missionary work to the work as a whole was much greater than it has been since. The facts and figures tell that story.

We shall see some of the experiences that led to this separation, but first we want to go back and see Heaven’s attempt to prevent the schism – the earnest efforts of our Lord to bring together and keep together these two great phases. As we study these attempts, I trust our hearts will be impressed with this fact: If Jesus desired so to bring and keep those two phases together, does He not carry that burden on His heart today? The great reason we need to study this is that we may find out how to fit into Heaven’s plan for bringing the medical and the evangelistic close together.

In future classes in this series, we will be studying the rise of Loma Linda and its work, the rise of Madison and its work. It’s a matter of history that both Loma Linda and Madison grew out of the Battle Creek apostasy. It was the circumstances which brought about the separation of the Battle Creek Sanitarium from the denomination that made necessary, and brought about, the establishing of Loma Linda and the establishing of Madison. We cannot properly understand the history of those two great educational institutions unless we have a clear picture of the background in the rise and fall of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. That’s another reason why we are studying these things.

Elder Robinson, in the chapter “Variant Views Arise,” presents a message that came from the servant of the Lord in 1897. He lists it as an early attempt, on the part of Sister White, to bring the medical and the evangelistic parts of the church closer together and to avoid the split which would come sooner or later unless these lessons were learned. This is on page 244-246 in the earlier edition.

It’s interesting that this message which was read at the General Conference of 1897 at Lincoln, Nebraska, was written in Australia in January of that year, and there was just time for that testimony to travel across the broad waters of the Pacific and get to this country in time to be read at that General Conference meeting. It was read by the leader of the medical work, Dr. Kellogg, to the General Conference.

Sister White said she was awakened at 11:30 that night and commenced writing. She told of the scenes that had passed before her, and the instruction that she was supposed to give. In her vision, she was listening to a group of ministers, editors, physicians, and others, discussing things.

The matters of exercise and reformatory methods in regard to the foods we eat were under discussion. Some were advocating a flesh-meat diet. Speaking in support of this diet, they said that without it they were weak in physical strength. But the words of our Teacher to us were, ‘As a man thinketh, so is he.’ The flesh of dead animals was not the original food for man. – The Story of Our Health Message, pg. 244

I may say that while there is a great deal more to health reform than diet, and while there is a great deal more to the diet question than not eating meat, it is a fact that down through the history of this denomination there has been an issue similar to what there was in the exodus movement. As you know, the great clamor of the Israelites back in the desert was for what? Who will give us flesh to eat? I simply read the testimony and relate the history. I trust we will understand that the diet question is bigger than meat, and that health is far bigger than the diet question. Nevertheless, that happens at times to be the sharp point. It seems to probe.

The educational work in the medical missionary line is a great advance step toward awakening man to his moral responsibilities. Had the ministers taken hold of this work in accordance with the light that God has given them in various lines, there would have been a most decided reformation in eating, in drinking, and in dressing. But there are those who have stood directly in the way of the advance of health reform.

They have held the people back by their indifference or depreciatory remarks, and their supposed pleasantries and jokes. They themselves, and a large number of others, have been sufferers, even unto death, but all have not yet learned wisdom.

The Lord would vindicate the word He has given to His servants. Had all united to walk in the light from the time the light was first given on this subject, there would have been an army of sensible arguments employed to vindicate the work of God. But it has been by the most aggressive warfare that any advance has been made…. All who claim to be teachers should urge, both by precept and example, the necessity of abstaining from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

God calls for reform in our churches. Satan is playing the game of life for every soul…. From the first dawn of reason, the human mind should become intelligent in regard to the physical structure. Here Jehovah has given a specimen of Himself, for man was made in the image of God. – Ibid


Invite a friend to join us in our survey on the history of medical missionary evangelism

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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.

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