Medical Missions, an assessment by a historian

Sent to Heal by Christoffer H Grundmann
Sent to Heal by Christoffer H Grundmann

Christoffer Grundmann writes, “Most nineteenth-century people, medics and theologians alike, paid little, if any attention to medical missions — even if they were addressing mission. And when they did, they almost always did so in very limited confines, leaving their discussions to circles of experts. This isolation made it even more difficult for any general discussion of the subject to be carried on. At the same time, this indicates that medical missions hardly – if ever – succeeded in formulating and communicating the rationale for their work in such a way that others could fully understand them. Thus their potential impact on theology, medicine, intercultural dialogue, and dialogue between science and religion was considerably hampered by this inability (on the part of most of them) to engage in adequate reflection on the subject. This might simply have been the cost of their enormous day-to-day demands of the work itself, which consumed their energies…

“From the outset, however, medical missionaries were compelled to validate their work in the face of the common assumption that only those who preached and taught the gospel explicitly were real ‘missionaries.’ It was not surprising then, that medical missionaries tended to defend their work somewhat apologetically.”

Without adequately reflecting on medical missions, how do we expect to engage the next generation in the amazing opportunities God has put before us to bring healing to the nations?  Our physical bodies were made by God and declared “good,” although distorted by sin from God’s original design.  We need plenty of people to adequately reflect on this subject.  That’s why I am writing this blog!  It is my intention to stimulate you to think about the needs of this world from God’s perspective, and get involved.  Physical and spiritual needs were all of concern to Jesus as he walked this earth.  The foundation of all healing is the work He did on the cross, bridging the divide between heaven and earth.  But his work is not done only by addressing the heart need of man; He is also a God who cares about physical suffering, justice, and manifold other mental, relational and spiritual needs.  Let’s not be so busy we cannot talk together and help one another accomplish what is good.

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Doctor, epidemiologist, husband, father, Christian missionary physician

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