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Medical Missions.

1. Med-evangelistic work is a fruit of faith (Gl 5:6; 6:10).

2. LCMS resolved 1965 to “affirm that the church is God's mission to the whole man. Wherever a Christian as God's witness encounters the man to whom God sends him, he meets someone whose body, soul, and mind are related in one totality. Therefore Christians, individually and corporately, prayerfully seek to serve the needs of the total man. Christians bring the Good News of the living Christ to dying men. They bring men instruction in all useful knowledge. They help and befriend their neighbor on our small planet in every bodily need. They help their neighbor to improve and protect his property and business by bringing him economic help and enabling him to earn his daily bread in dignity and self-respect. Christians minister to the needs of the whole man, not because they have forgotten the witness of the Gospel but because they remember it. They know that the demonstration of their faith in Christ adds power to its proclamation” (Proceedings, p. 81).

3. Med. missionaries hold that all good gifts and abilities are from God and that all believers are called into the work of the ch. Thus the ministry of healing can and should be practiced in many forms, e.g., through Christian physicians in private practice, in govt. service in overseas countries, in full-time ch. work as med. missionaries; through first aid work by wives of missionaries. The aim and purpose of med. miss. work is the same as that of any other special Christian ministry: witness to Christ (Acts 1:8).

4. The Tambaram report (see Missionary Conferences) of the section on the Christian Ministry of Health and Healing, dealing with the basis of the medical ministry, begins: “The sanction and compelling motive of this ministry are found in the very nature of God, which is revealed in Jesus Christ as redeeming love. God's redemptive purpose embraces the entire range of man's spiritual, mental and physical need, and offers the one sure hope for a world in which sin and suffering abound. Through the Church, which is His body, the living Christ ministers to the needs of men. … As He identified Himself with the need and suffering of the world, so must His disciples identify themselves with that need and suffering, that the redeeming love of God may be mediated through them to the lives of others. … The ministry of health and healing belongs to the essence of the Gospel and is, therefore, an integral part of the mission to which Christ has called and is calling His Church.” (Quoted in P. V. Benjamin, “A New Outlook in Christian Medical Work,” The International Review of Missions, XXVIII [1939], 562–563)

5. The Division of World Mission and Evangelism of the WCC held a consultation on the healing ministry in the mission of the ch., in Tübingen, Ger., 1964, at the request of the Dept. of World Mission of the LWF and with its collaboration. The Report of the consultation, p. 2, describes the relationship of Christian understanding of healing to salvation: “The Christian understanding of healing begins from its place in the ministry of Jesus. There it was a sign of the breaking into human life of the powers of the Kingdom of God, and of the de-throning of the powers of evil. The health which was its fruit was … an involvement with Jesus in the victorious encounter of the Kingdom of God with the powers of evil.” (Quoted in C. H. Germany, “The Healing Ministry: Report on the Tübingen Consultation,” The International Review of Missions, LIII [1964], 471)

6. Modern med. missions go back to 1730, when Dr. Caspar Gottlieb Schlegelmilch (b. Sagan [Zagan], Silesia) was sent by the Dan.-Halle Miss. (see Missions, 5–6) to Tranquebar, India; be died August 30, 19 days after arrival. Other doctors followed. But the real upsurge came ca. 100 yrs. later under leadership of J. Scudder,* P. Parker,* D. Living-stone,* et al.

7. LCMS resolved 1911 to allow its For. Miss. Bd. to arrange for placing suitable doctors in med. missions, as means permit, and to exercise its judgment as to time and place (Synodal-Bericht, p. 128). Under sponsorship of LCMS women's socs. L. E. Ellermann* went to India 1913 and est. a dispensary at Bargur (Barugur), Madras. Other clinics and small hospitals in miss. fields have been made possible by special gifts from individuals, congs., et al., e.g., LWML and Wheat* Ridge Foundation.

8. Most LCMS med. miss. work has been done in New Guinea, S India, and Nigeria; other fields include the Philippine Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, and Guatemala.

9. Luth. chs. in the US give med. missions prominence in their work. WRB

See also Lutheran Medical Mission Association.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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