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Health to you

27th April 2013

Dominating up to and beyond the election will be the increasing deficit blowout and more and more focus on the medical industry, which eats up the biggest bite of taxpayers' dollars. Even Australia Prayer Network quoted:
an investigation will be launched into whether doctors and the companies that run major medical clinics across Australia are conspiring to rip off Medicare by rushing through large numbers of patients and overdoing referrals, after a former top health investigator last year warned that up to $3 billion in taxpayer funds was at risk'.
The medical industry is protected and fattening at the expense of welfare to vulnerable families. Tucked in here somewhere is the courageous Madigan bill to cut Medicare funding for gender-selection abortions. That throws the spotlight on the worst child abuse happening in this country, as well as overseas.

So what do thinking Christians do? Take note of Scripture. Is anyone sick? What is our first port of call - not the last, after all the tests and treatments have happened, often leaving folk in an undecided painful state? ‘Call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord' (James 5v14). What God-honouring health are we missing - what money are we wasting ("she had spent all her money on the physicians" (Luke 8v43)!),what ignoring of ‘body of Christ' protocols for health care, what assumption of the world's ways? Sure such prayer may put you in contact with another human instrument of help - but anxieties are held at bay, fears rightly arrested by tucking up under the wing of the Lord. This is no pretence stuff - deepening courage in Christ's grace, and as the psalmist shows, persistent gut-wrenching loud cries may be drawn as we learn our sonship at another level!

Another Scripture of gentle warning yet sure promise. Look at King Asa in 1 Kings 15. ‘Though his disease was severe he didn't seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians'. Jesus said seek first God's kingdom and righteousness and all these things (yes health anxieties, along with food and clothing daily needs) will be given-cared for as well (Matt 6v33). Let the King rule, go to him, persistently, helplessly, determinedly.

Christian patients, remember the worldly medical industry is just that. Health workers are as needy for customers as the owner of the newsagency in the same shopping complex. That's understandable, we are all the same. Don't make a medic what they are not. Patients, with their anxieties and expectations are often more of the problem.

And a word to Christian doctors. Don't over-service, don't rush patients (use patience) with the quick prescription of the latest drug the pharmaceutical vendor has talked up. Take the care needed or have the honesty to say: ‘I really can't help you.' Don't conform to the AMA, or the clinic fraternity ‘groupthink'. Your oath is to Christ not Hippocrates or the clinic group. Have courage to admonish church-going patients to follow the teaching of Scripture and refer them to the pastor/elders - see above. You are not their pastor. You may see less people but you will do better in the eyes of God. If correction is needed do it now, before the awful scrutiny of the world falls upon you as it has upon worldliness in the church. Let faithful Christians, pastors, doctors and all show in practice an alternative to what is becoming a trouble in our nation. We need New Testament consistent health care, not worldly health snare.



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8 people have commented on this entry

  1. 1

    It’s hard to be in this world and “not of it” and doctors are very much in the mix here unfortunately for them. They can be persecuted from many different directions at the same time and so sometimes this can lead to an early retirement for Christian doctors. But to those who hold out until the end in Christ there are great rewards awaiting.

    Regards and thanks… Mike

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/01 at 10:26 PM

  2. 2

    Mike-not my intent to go hard on fellow believers in the medical service but to warn and remind Christian medico’s of the example they are amongst colleagues and the sick. There will doubtless soon be a strong focus on the profession because of cost blow-outs.(8 bill more than medicare gathers)Can’t doctors encourage the rumour that a lot of visits are unnecessary? The big issue for our Bible-informed churches is: do we follow the opportunities available to us for healing and health care, directed therein?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/03 at 07:57 AM

  3. 3

    I read Ian Clarkson’s missives often with interest and enjoyment, sometimes with bemusement, but the latest offering “Health to you” from this neo-Mary Baker Eddy is ill-informed to say the least, if not offensive. I can only presume that he has had a bad experience and has extrapolated that experience to a noble profession. As a retired medical practitioner I can confidently say after many decades of observation, that the prime motivation of the vast majority of doctors, nurses and others in the health professions is the care and comfort of their patients. Certainly, as in any walk of life (including the ministry), there are a few bad apples who are out to make money. But that is no excuse to tar all with that brush. Certainly, Jesus healed the multitudes. But Jesus is no longer walking this earth. Certainly, James advised calling the elders of the church to pray. That was very reasonable advice as quite frankly in those days the medical profession had very little of value to offer. But today, thanks be to God, things are radically different and countless men, women and children have been delivered from dreadful diseases or helped to cope with ongoing, chronic diseases. This is the result of the combined efforts over many years of the so-called “medical industry” that he derides. The sensible thing to do if you are ill is to see your doctor. If he or she is able to help you, then give thanks to God. If you cannot be helped, then turn to God for strength to bear the burden. And what is this nonsense about “clinic fraternity groupthink”? Surely he is not giving an analogy to the ACC? He complains about “overdoing referrals”. Patients expect, rightly, that they will be given the very best of care. Medicine is such a complex discipline that no one person can master all of it. This often requires referral to an expert in that area or the ordering of some complex test.  If something is missed, then who will be the first to complain? Finally, I can perhaps quote some Scripture too – the labourer is worthy of his hire (Luke 10:7).

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/19 at 10:36 AM

  4. 4

    I was very disappointed to read the article by Ian Clarkson. I disagreed with his simplistic, moralising words from several different perspectives.
    Firstly, as a Christian General Practitioner of over 30 years’ experience, I found his comments about the “medical industry” highly insulting. Extreme and unsubstantiated statements like: “The medical industry is protected and fattening at the expense of welfare to vulnerable families” lose all credibility, when it is well recognised that most doctors (Christian or otherwise) are generally very willing to “bulk-bill” financially challenged patients. It would be much more cost-effective to charge higher fees, open only 9am to 5pm, and cut costs on clinical care standards. However, most of my colleagues are very willing to provide services at a significant discount to those in need, show compassion, provide preventative health care, spend appropriate time with patients, and behave towards all (staff, colleagues and patients) with respect and professionalism. Mr Clarkson advises: “Christian doctors. Don’t over-service, don’t rush patients… take the care needed… We need New Testament health care, not worldly health snare.” It is easy to make such generalised and patronising statements, but this is contrary to what we, as Christians, are called to do. Rather, we could learn a better way:  “Now we ask you brothers, to respect those who work hard among you…Hold them in the highest regard because of their work. Live in peace with each other…always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”  1 Thess 5: 12-15.  “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers.”  1 Pet 2:17.
    Secondly, as a patient myself, who has had numerous complex medical problems requiring frequent hospitalisations and surgical procedures, I found Mr Clarkson’s simplistic solutions for “the sick” very hard to take. Knowing well the Scriptural injunctions to be prayed for and anointed by church elders, I have often attended healing services and have had many prayers for healing. Sadly, my illnesses have continued to cause very difficult daily problems and challenges to all aspects of my life.  Mr Clarkson’s words: “What God-honouring health are we missing – what money are we wasting?” do not provide me with any sense of comfort. One of the hardest aspects of living with chronic pain and illness is handling the insensitive one-liners of others, especially Christians, who demonstrate a profound lack of care or compassion for what others live with every day. Perhaps Mr Clarkson could avoid adding to our pain and try instead to “weep with those who weep”.
    Dr Michele Browne

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/09 at 04:25 AM

  5. 5

    I feel for Dr.Michele Browne. I retired a decade ago after 50 years in General Practice; and would make the following observations.
    Since I graduated in 1950 Medicine has become more of a ‘business’ & less of a ‘profession’. There have been two outstanding changes in that for some doctors Medicine is more contractual than covenantal and there is increasingly an interested third party- be it insurance or
    Government- between ‘patient’ and ‘doctor’.
    In my opinion neither adds up to the ‘patient’s benefit.
    Arthur Hartwig

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/09 at 04:28 AM

  6. 6

    I was encouraged by reading Ian Clarkson’s article as he reminded us to go to the Lord Jesus Christ FIRST. I do think that he understated his good regard for Christian medicos in the process of outlining deficiencies in the current system of health care, but it seems to me he was focussing on encouraging sufferers and the medical profession alike to seek first the Lord Jesus Christ. Rallying the troops, as it were and blowing the trumpet call to be an example to others, as we work together as the body of Christ, growing toward His purpose. It certainly put a fire in my belly. A great reminder to call the elders to pray - and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to provide everything we need, including peace of mind, lack of anxiety. Nowhere has Mr Clarkson said NOT to seek medical assistance, or indicated the Doctors are to be treated with less than respect, or are not worthy of their hire. I am encouraged by the reminder that our FIRST response when things are less than they should be (whether medical, financial etc)is to call out to the Lord of All, Jesus Christ, and put our trust in Him to direct our path, whether sufferer or medico. Thanks for your encouragement to seek Jesus FIRST in our health (and in fact all other) issues instead of trusting first in man.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/17 at 07:37 AM

  7. 7

    I see Ian’s heart here. Ian is not trying to knock the medical profession; his intention here is to encourage Christians to go to their Father and healer Jehovah Rapha first, before running to a Doctor.

    As a Christian, we are God’s ambassadors. We are to represent Christ Jesus to the world.  The moment we stop saying what He would say, we cease to be His representative.
    Ian is a minister of God, he would be wrong to encourage Christians to do anything else. It is unbiblical for a Christian Believer to go to a doctor.

    Divine Healing and the healing provided for by Doctors are not the same thing.

    Divine Healing is an act of God through faith in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

    Nowhere in the Bible will you find a scripture that tells you to go to a man to be healed. We are to be fully consecrated to Him. You cannot blend the two. They do not compliment each other nor do they work together. They are two totally separate things.

    It would be the height of arrogance for a man to claim to be able to heal better than God.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/26 at 01:41 AM

  8. 8

    Like Rebecca, I am totally encouraged by Ian’s article here. It is so very rare because it is brave and true, something that you can hardly find in conforming-to-the-world, mainstream churches.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/20 at 06:51 PM