Greetings MOL Family!
In today’s class, we will conclude survey 17, which highlights the history of the medical missionary evangelism work. Thank you for your continued support and your faithfulness in going through these studies with us! Don’t forget to encourage other Brethren in the church to join us weekly, as we seek to learn more about our Advent Movement history!
–Unity in the Work–
The work of praying with the soul in need of help belongs just as surely to the doctor as to the minister. On page 235, the testimony comes directly to one of the great points at issue. This first paragraph is one that you should mark and give earnest study to. If it awakens questions in your mind concerning things at the present time, those are good questions to have awakened. You should not rest satisfied until you know the answers to those questions as they relate to the present time. Remember that this was published in 1900.
As the medical missionary work becomes more extended, there will be a temptation to make it independent of our conferences. But it has been presented to me that this plan is not right. The different lines of our work are but parts of one great whole. They have one center. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, pg. 235
What did she say would be a temptation in medical missionary work? To make it independent of our conferences. Would that be all right? No. She says definitely that would not be right. The different parts of the work are all parts of one great whole. That was the warning back there in 1900. That may awaken certain questions in your mind. It should.
She then points out what happened in Lucifer’s experience:
“He sought to make himself a center of influence” – Ibid., pg. 236
Why was she putting that in there? She was seeking to save Dr. Kellogg and the medical missionary workers in Battle Creek from following Lucifer’s example. On page 237, she pictures the beautiful example of Jesus, in humiliation in giving of Himself. Speaking of those who were following Jesus:
They will do nothing to perpetuate division in the church. – Ibid, pg. 239
Never should a sanitarium be established as an enterprise independent of the church. Our physicians are to unite with the work of the ministers of the gospel. – Ibid, pg. 240
That was very clear. Is that still present truth? Yes. How can it be carried out today? That’s something that you need to be sure you know the answer to. I want to say this. The issues that were met in the Kellogg apostasy must be met and met right by every soul today. God can never finish this work, He never will finish this work, until there is represented in and through His church today that fullness of unity between the medical and the evangelistic. And it can only be on the proper basis.
On page 244, Sister White warns that satan was trying to tell some of our physicians that their talents were too valuable to be bound up with Seventh-day Adventists – that if they were free, they could do a very large work; that they were to be independent of the people – that is, of the church. So she’s warning against that.
On page 245 is another statement that bore directly upon a great problem in Dr. Kellogg’s experience. He tended to gather to himself many responsibilities. He was the medical director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium – an immense institution. He was the chief surgeon. He was the writer of many books. He was the editor of “The Good Health”, the health reform paper. He had many activities besides that. He had led out in establishing the medical college. He had a nurse’s training program. In his own home, he personally brought up 75 orphans. Many of them, he legally adopted; others were simply raised there. He had help in these various things, of course. He would have to. But he was looking after all these different things.
Then he had a great work going in Chicago in the missions there – a working men’s home, places where city work was carried on, a dispensary, and clinics. Besides that, he was experimenting and studying along various lines of rational methods. He was a pioneer in developing certain methods of electrotherapy. He was a pioneer in the science of psychiatry. He came to be looked up to by even the worldly medical men as a great pioneer. He had great influence in his day all through the medical circles of North America and even the world.
Besides all this, he was traveling in various foreign countries helping to establish new institutions. Those were not all of his activities, but that gives you a little picture of it. Notice the warning here on page 245:
When God calls a man to do a certain work in His cause, He does not also lay upon him burdens that other men can and should bear…. He does not want the minds of His responsible men strained to the utmost point of endurance by taking up many lines of labor.
Physicians in our institutions should not engage in numerous enterprises and thus allow their work to flag…. God cannot give in greatest measure either physical or mental power to those who gather to themselves burdens which He has not appointed….
The Lord does not require impossibilities of His servants…. Our sanitariums need the power of brain and heart of which they are being robbed by another line of work. Everything that Satan can do he will do to multiply the responsibilities of our physicians, for he knows that this means weakness instead of strength to the institutions with which they are connected. – Ibid, pgs. 245-246
Notice that the devil was not getting him to go down and play cards or gamble. He wasn’t getting him to go to the horse races. He wasn’t getting him to go down and establish grocery stores or mercantile establishments. He was getting him all spread out and bound up in various lines of activity, all of which were good things.
By the way, can a person get sick even on good food? He can if he gets too much of it, or too many varieties at the same meal. Is that right? That was what was happening. And probably, when the judgment books are opened and we look at them during the thousand years, we will find that this was one of the great factors that eventually led this dear man out on the dark mountains of separation from this movement. Here again we can all learn precious lessons.
Every sanitarium established among Seventh-day Adventists should be made a Bethel. – Ibid, pg. 252
What does Bethel mean? A house of God – a place where men find God. It was to be a soul-winning place, not just a place where people got help for their bodies. By the way, is that still true? Oh, yes.
On page 259, we are in another chapter with another emphasis. Remember that this was published in 1900 for the church at large. While in the chapters that we’ve just gone through, God was giving earnest counsel, seeking to help our medical workers to come into line with the ministry, and not to put too much emphasis on the work in the slums of Chicago. Yet along with it are the most earnest appeals to our church members everywhere to join in this work for the poor and needy. Here is that beautiful expression which is later in Ministry of Healing:
As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation come into their wretched homes, ministering to the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and tenderly pointing all to Him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger—as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up. Faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them, and they are prepared to listen as His word is opened. – Ibid, pg. 259
So what God was trying to do was to get the whole church working with Dr. Kellogg in this work of helping the poor and needy. Not any of them spending all their time working in the slums, but uniting this work for the poor and needy with the evangelistic work everywhere, thus revealing the character of God. The servant of the Lord points out that the reason God has given this work to the whole church is that it’s necessary to develop our own characters:
While the world needs sympathy, while it needs the prayers and assistance of God’s people, while it needs to see Christ in the lives of His followers, the people of God are equally in need of opportunities that draw out their sympathies. – Ibid, pg. 261
So, even if Dr. Kellogg and his band could have done it all for the church, what would happen to the church members? They would dry up in selfishness.
It is to provide these opportunities that God has placed among us the poor, the unfortunate, the sick, and the suffering. They are Christ’s legacy to His church. – Ibid
On page 262, at the bottom of the page, it is indicated that to do this work costs us a sacrifice, but that’s why we need it. If we learn to do it without sacrifice, is it fulfilling its purpose?
Page 263 says it can’t be done by proxy – putting the burden of helping the poor on some institution or some committee. On page 267 comes the clear message of the Spirit of Prophecy pointing to the 58th chapter of Isaiah. I believe I have heard that this chapter is referred to more often than any other chapter. Here she connects it with the keeping of the Sabbath. Is Sabbath-keeping in there? Sabbath reform? Work for the poor and needy? Yes. But notice that in Isaiah 58 it’s an individual work. Deal whose bread to the hungry? Thy bread. Bring the poor who are cast out to the Salvation Army? No. To thy house. It’s an individual work.
On page 267 is one of the great paragraphs in this section. I want you to mark it, and notice that the Spirit of Prophecy called upon our people to get medical missionary workers out into the churches giving health lectures and teaching the members of the church how to do Christian health work. When this was originally written, it was written to the president of the General Conference and the president of the Michigan Conference. They were to take these medical missionary workers and, instead of spending their time just working under Dr. Kellogg’s directions in the slums of Chicago or the Battle Creek Sanitarium, they were to be sent out into the churches to do health education work and Christian health work, and teach the members of the churches how to do it.
I ask you: If these counsels could have been heeded fully by the medical missionary workers on one hand and the church and the ministry on the other, where would we have been today? I will tell you what I believe. I believe we would have been up there under the tree of life. I believe that with all my heart. So I urge you to study what happened, and why, that we may see what yet remains to be done before Jesus can
Our Father in heaven, we thank Thee for the wonderful counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy, balanced and beautiful. Oh, help us to appreciate them with all our hearts. Help us to succeed where Dr. Kellogg failed. Help us to learn to love our brethren whether they praise us or criticize us. Help us to learn how to go forward with the work of reform, not in an independent spirit, but in a loving, brotherly spirit. And I pray that Thou will yet bring to this denomination the lost reform, and prepare us for the latter rain and the loud cry. We ask it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.