The Gospel—Integral to Healing
Editorial by Rick Christman
I've always had an interest in health and wellness. While in college, I served as a student missionary “health educator” for one year in Papua New Guinea. While living in remote jungle villages, I learned the devastating impact of malaria, dysentery, viruses and poor hygiene. I was grateful to provide the villagers with basic health education, as well as diagnose and treat (I’m not sure that was a good idea!) their various illnesses through natural remedies and medication. To my surprise, many of the villagers experienced improved physical health!
I also noticed that many of the same villagers struggled with deep-rooted health issues, such as anger, jealousy and various addictions. I quickly realized these issues were a result of their active engagement in worshiping evil spirits. There was only one remedy—Jesus! The apostle Paul says in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation” (KJV). The word “salvation” in this text comes from the Greek word “sozo,” which also means “healing” or “made whole.” Only the good news of Jesus can bring everlasting wholeness and healing!
Ellen White asserts, “We should ever remember that the object of the medical missionary work is to point sin-sick men and women to the Man of Calvary, who taketh away the sin of the world. By beholding Him, they will be changed into His likeness. We are to encourage the sick and suffering to look to Jesus and live” (Ministry of Healing, p. 144).
Rick Christman is the executive director for the Adventist WholeHealth Network