The Place of Medicine

A frequent question posed to biblical counselors concerns whether or not we believe there is a place for medical research and legitimate medical intervention when it comes to addressing man’s problems and needs. The answer is absolutely yes. The riches of God’s providence include medical advancements that shed further light on the connection of body and spirit and should cause us to stand in awe and wonder at how fearfully and wonderfully God made the human being (Ps 139:14). Perhaps the following explanation from my book Counsel One Another will provide help and clarification:

I am not eliminating the legitimate use of medical physicians for the diagnosis and treatment of problems that may truly have an organic, biological cause. The wise counselor may often recommend, and sometimes require, a counselee to go to his or her family practitioner for a complete physical to determine if there may be any physiological contributions to the problem(s). If appropriate tests fail to uncover something that is truly wrong with the body, the biblical counselor can then deal strictly with soul-related problems that need biblical correction. The Bible recognizes the place of true medicine in our lives: Jesus treated the presence of medical doctors as one of the realities of our living in sin-cursed bodies (Matt. 9:12); and the Apostle Paul had a medical doctor, Luke, as his traveling companion and personal attendant (Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11). However, some illnesses should also induce believers to call their pastor-elders for anointing and prayer, according to the instruction of James 5:13–16, so that the possibility of the presence of a sin-cause can be gently confronted, resulting in biblical confession. The Scriptures warn us not to seek the help of physicians in place of seeking help from the Lord (2 Chr. 16:12). If a counselee is seeking help from the Lord through biblical counseling, there is no reason for him or her not to be a wise steward of the vast medical knowledge that God has blessed us with, provided it does not become a mask that diminishes the reality of spiritual problems of the heart.

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