The Cult of Godly Medicine


I read an article the other day (can’t find it now) about a trend in a lot of evangelical churches following on the heels of the phenomenon of the vegetarian evangelical (don’t get me started on that one).

Anyway, this new trend is to forego traditional medicines in favor of natural and homeopathic remedies. There’ve been a few tragic cases along the way of people, including children, dying because of a lack of medical care.

In my house, my wife uses natural oils for a lot of stuff. Earlier today she was making homemade elderberry syrup to help fight a cold. But we don’t forgo medical care — certainly not with our children.

The basic point of the article is that there is nothing biblical about this quest for Godly medicine. In fact, Christ himself got sick. No, it is not precisely in the Bible, but to think otherwise requires a disruption in your Christology. Christ was fully God, but he was fully man also. Mankind gets sick. There may be no direct statement in the Bible that Jesus, growing up, got a head cold, but if he is fully man and experienced temptation and growing and exhaustion and hunger and suffering then in the experience of mankind, he more likely than not would have gotten sick too. (See Russell Moore on this point.)

But there is more to it than that.

Go back to the Noah account in Genesis. It is clear that mankind’s sin polluted the ground itself. Whether you think Christ got sick or not, pay attention to that. The nature of mankind’s sin is to pollute even the earth and other living creatures. Natural remedies are not Godly, but polluted too. I am not here, by the way, claiming that Christ somehow ingested sin or was sinful. I am merely pointing out that the ground itself was affected negatively by mankind’s sins and, consequently, natural remedies would bear the affliction of sin in some way.

All of these things go to the issue of separation many Christians in the evangelical community are grappling with. They want to separate from the world. But we are supposed to go into the world and teach and preach and witness and baptize. We cannot escape the world and it is a sin to retreat from it.

Retreating from the benefits of modern medicine in favor of mythological Godly medicine does nothing but potentially keep you sick and out of commission longer. Christ is the great physician. And he inspired an army of Christian doctors who go into the world administering life saving medicines and treatments to save others.

I guess it is really wonderful that in the United States we can live so comfortably we’d deprive ourselves of the basic medicines Christian missionaries are giving others around the world. But it is not Biblical. It is just a trend that is increasingly part of a larger problem in the churches of Christians withdrawing from society in direct contravention to the Great Commission.

If you think they work better than modern medicine, go for it. But don’t use your faith as your excuse for this belief.

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Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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